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Home arrow Israeli Apartheid Structures arrow Omar Barghouti: Message of gratitude and hope
Omar Barghouti: Message of gratitude and hope PDF Print E-mail
Apr 01, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Dear friends and colleagues,

Finally, I was allowed to access my email account after 12 days of being banned from doing so during the most intense phase of the ongoing interrogation I am subjected to by the Israeli authorities.

The BNC statement on this issue accurately sums up this latest chapter in the Israeli regime's war on the BDS movement.

Due to a gag order, I am not allowed to delve into any facts about the case. I am thus denied the ability to even refute the vicious lies published by Israel's regime against me. I am in no hurry to do so, though, as their main objective -- attempting to tarnish my reputation and, by extension, hurting the BDS movement -- has clearly failed.

Their campaign of repression has, to an extent, backfired. By preventing me from travelling to the US to receive the Gandhi Peace Award, jointly with Ralph Nader, Israel's regime has inadvertently increased the publicity around this award.

Before anything else, I read the many moving messages of solidarity that many of you have sent, and this gave me even more strength and hope to resist the McCarthyite witch hunt against me. I deeply appreciate your letters and the sincere sentiments of support that they convey. I am so grateful to everyone who wrote an article and every organization that issued a petition in this respect.

Nothing empowers human rights defenders facing political persecution like the warm feeling that there is a whole community of activists and people of conscience standing with them and carrying on the struggle no matter what.

For more than a year now my colleagues in the BDS movement and I have been warning about the "tarnishing unit" established by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs as a key organ in fighting BDS. As I have personally written and argued many times, this devious unit's key function is summed up in "digging up dirt" against human rights defenders and networks associated with the BDS movement and if no dirt is found in fabricating it.

McCarthy would be proud of his loyal heirs in Israel's regime of oppression and repression.

Many of you have asked how best you can support me to face this latest persecution. My answer is, without hesitation ... more BDS!

We need to expand, mainstream and build on our many inspiring BDS campaigns, academic, cultural and economic, as the most effective way to respond to the new McCarthyism designed by Israel's regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid and exported to states where its lobby groups enjoy massive influence.

Further growing our movement for freedom, justice and equality is the answer.

Highlighting and popularizing the recent, unprecedented verdict by a UN body that Israel is guilty of apartheid -- the second most serious crime against humanity in international law -- is the answer.

Countering their racism, hate, "black lists" and ugly colonial repression with our inclusiveness, categorical rejection of all forms of racism, and our boundless passion for freedom and justice is the answer.

Further strengthening our principled intersectional alliances with movements for indigenous, racial, economic, social, gender, climate and other forms of justice is our loudest response to their xenophobic, far-right, fascist-leaning agenda and their draconian laws.

As they desperately attempt to sow fear and despair, to chill our free speech, to tarnish our records, and to bully us into silence, we nourish our well-founded hope with generous doses of effective, strategic, morally-consistent campaigns for justice and equality and insist on our right to freely express ourselves and to defend our rights.

As humans, we need permission from no one to pursue our inherent rights. As human rights defenders, no degree of intimidation and bullying can deter us in our passionate, nonviolent resistance to injustice, inequality and colonial slavery.

Alone, we fail. Together, we prevail.

The latest savage, even irrational, attacks on our movement indicate, more than anything else, that we are indeed prevailing.

In gratitude and hope,
Omar

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Facts and Figures about the Current Darkness in the Gaza Strip

January 23rd 2008

Report from the Palestinian Hydrology Group
  1. Gaza Strip today is facing a very harsh siege which is expected to have severely negative humanitarian impact.
  2. The distribution of drinking water and the collection and treatment of wastewater completely rely on electricity and fuel in Gaza Strip.
  3. For several months now Israel has imposed a cruel siege on the Strip preventing people and goods from free movement. This has immobilized the importing of spare parts, pumps, pipes and other necessary accessories for the water and sanitation providing facilities.
  4. According to different sources the water and sanitation services are expected to be completely paralyzed within a matter of hours due to the lack of fuel reserves.
  5. About 133 water wells are being used for domestic purposes in addition to 33 sewage pump stations and three treatment plants; 10 of these groundwater wells function using fuel while the rest rely on electricity. Diesel powered generators are normally used as backup for the whole system but only for a limited time.
    The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility needs at least 100,000 liters of diesel per month to operate the water system. An additional 100,000 liters of diesel per month are needed for the sewage system to prevent wastewater from flooding the streets and residential areas.
  6. Reducing electricity and fuel supplies are potential causes to trigger an environmental crisis especially in the wastewater pump stations and treatment plants. If wastewater is not treated it will have to be pumped directly to the sea. This will for sure have a direct and negative impact on the groundwater aquifer and marine life.
    During winter time sewage pumps need to operate about 24 hours per day due to rainfall. Therefore, interruptions in fuel and electricity supply would be particularly significant.
  7. The sewage treatment plant in Beit Lahiya is also vulnerable to interruptions in electricity supplies. The treatment lagoons must be pumped regularly, or else the 10,000 people living in the area are in danger.  Six months ago, one of the lagoons over flooded and caused the death of five persons. Proper maintenance could have prevented the disaster.
  8. The water supply in Gaza City, with a total of 600,000 residents, in addition to a major part of the central portion of the Strip is expected to be completely cut-off as a result of ceasing the pumping from the municipal groundwater wells. The City also faces the threat of overflowing wastewater since the pumps (especially Al Samer and Aqoola stations) are expected to stop operating within the next 24 hours.
  9. If the current situation should persist the solid wastes generated in the Strip will accumulate in piles on the streets endangering the health of the locals.

The WaSH Monitoring Program calls on the International Community to push Israel to immediately cease all military operations, reopen the borders to allow the movement of people and goods and provide fuel supply and humanitarian aid to the residents of Gaza.

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