With much fanfare, the AFL Peace Team (an Australian rules football team made up of Palestinian and Israeli players) has once again come to Australia to compete in the AFL International Cup running from August 12 to 27. Indeed, what can be more appealing for those of us who are passionate about peace in Israel-Palestine than to welcome this team of Palestinian and Israeli youth who have learned to play and interact not as enemies but as teammates?
On August 18, as I woke up to the news of an attack that took place in Israel's southernmost city of Eilat in which seven Israelis died, the first thing that came to my mind was: “Who the hell did it?” As my brother excitedly narrated to me the details of the oddly mysterious incident, I was foolish enough to wish the assailants weren’t from Gaza. I naively said to my brother: “Let’s hope they don’t turn out to be Gazans.”
This years global uprisings remind us how infectious the revolutionary spirit can be. In recent weeks, a social movement within Israel has sprung to life in an almost spontaneous manner. A small housing protest that started on July 14 has swept hundreds of thousands of people into protest across the country. As in many other countries, people in Israel face rapidly rising living costs and the privatisation of public assets. Israel once saw itself as a welfare state (though its policies have been designed to benefit mainly the Jewish population since its inception).
As part of the “Don’t Dance for Israeli Apartheid” campaign in Ireland ― organized by the Irish Palestine Solidarity Committee (IPSC) ― activists in Dublin are protesting Irish dance troupe Riverdance’s decision to perform in Israel in September, ElectronicIntifada.net said on August 11. IPSC is organising a protest on August 18 outside the Gaiety Theater ― “the final action in our series of ongoing protests before Riverdance heads to perform for Israeli Apartheid”.
For more news on the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, see Electronic Intifada's BDS Beat South African students renew call to boycott Israel Representatives of South Africa’s oldest and largest student bodies in Johannesburg denounced an upcoming visit by a delegation of Israeli officials and propagandists to South African college campuses in an August 3 press conference, ElectronicIntifada.net said on August 5.
In recent weeks, something unprecedented has erupted in Israel. Protesting the high cost of living, especially of housing, predominantly young people have established protest camps. The campaign was sparked by a young single mother who, in desperation over her housing situation, pitched her tent outside the Knesset (Israeli parliament). Now the tent protests have spread like wildfire all over Israel.
It was a Palestinian legislator who made the most telling comment to the Israeli parliament last week as it passed the boycott law, which outlaws calls to boycott Israel or its settlements in the occupied territories. Ahmed Tibi asked: “What is a peace activist or Palestinian allowed to do to oppose the occupation? Is there anything you agree to?”
Celebrated US author and poet Alice Walker is among 38 people who will join Audacity of Hope, the ship sponsored by US Boat to Gaza as part of an international effort to break Israel’s maritime siege of Gaza. Walker has authored more than thirty books, the best known of which is the Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Color Purple.
“During the first years of the siege, we could still manage, but nowadays we have no alternatives,” says Dr Hassan Khalaf, deputy health minister in Gaza. “It is a major crisis: many health services have stopped, and I’m afraid this will spiral out of control, because Gaza doesn’t have the essential medicines and supplies needed.” Cancer, kidney, heart and organ transplant patients, as well as patients needing routine surgeries, including eye and dental surgery, have been suffering for the past five years under the Israeli-led, internationally-backed siege of the Gaza Strip.
Hundreds of Palestinian and Syrian refugees marched on June 5 from Syrian-controlled territory to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Refugees in Palestine and elsewhere marked the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Egyptian Sinai and Syrian Golan Heights. On the frontier with the occupied Golan Heights, hundreds were injured and more than 20 killed when Israeli soldiers opened fire with live ammunition on unarmed demonstrators.