Israel

'Palestinians must unite to tackle the occupation'

Shamikh Badra is the youth and students coordinator for the Palestinian People Party (PPP) in the Palestinian Gaza Strip. The PPP is a left-wing, secular party that is part of the Palestinian liberation movement. Badra is on a tour of Australia to speak about the situation in Gaza and Palestine's struggle for justice. Green Left Weekly’s Patrick Harrison spoke to Badra.

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US Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney generated a backlash with his claims in Jerusalem that the vast (20:1) disparity in income between Israelis and Palestinians can be explained by a superior Jewish Israeli culture and “the hand of providence” ― rather than by the systematic depradations of Israeli occupation on the economy of Palestinians.

Since the idea of Zionism (a Jewish state in historic Palestine) first gripped the minds of a few intellectuals, the state of Israel has represented its colonisation of the land of Palestine, and its uprooting of the Palestinian people, as a rejuvenation of the earth.

A poll released in May by the Israel Democracy Index has revealed most Israeli's hold deeply racist attitudes. The findings come in the wake of race riots and a crackdown on the rights of Palestinians.

The poll found 52% of respondents agreed with interior minister Eli Yishai that Africans were “a cancer on the body” of Israel, the June 7 Times of Israel said.

Yishai was quoted in the June 3 Maariv as saying most “Muslims that arrive here do not even believe that this country belongs to us, to the white man”.

Beyond Tribal Loyalties ― Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists
Edited by Avigail Abarbanel
Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2012.

Jews who come out on the side of Palestinians generally do not face terrible physical punishment, nor are they usually thrown in jail. But they often face ostracism, and this is what makes this community-creating book ― a collection of “Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists” ― so valuable.

A new report funded and supported by the British government accuses Israel of violating international law with its treatment of Palestinian child detainees, Electronic Intifada said on June 28.

It was was launched in London by a high-profile group of human rights lawyers on June 26.

Palestinians have achieved three consecutive victories in the past few months. In October last year, there was the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in an exchange deal involving the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Then there was a series of individual hunger strikes, which lasted unparalleled periods of time. These began with Khader Adnan, who went on hunger strike to protest against the Israeli policy of administrative detention (holding people in jail without charge, let alone a trial).

Manchester United legend Eric Cantona, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, UEFA President Michel Platini, renowned British film director Ken Loach and US intellectual Noam Chomsky are among international figures who have joined calls for Israel to release Palestinian footballer Mahmoud Sarsak.

25-year-old Sarsak is on hunger strike and close to death. A player with the Palestine national soccer team, he has been on hunger strike almost 90 days in protest at his imprisonment without charge or trial.

Thousands of Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli prisons have called off a hunger strike after winning several key concessions from Israel.

Solidarity protests have been staged in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, occupied Jerusalem, and Israel, and tens of thousands joined a rally in the town of Kafr Kana in the Galilee. Actions in solidarity with the hunger strikers have been organised around the world.

Six Palestinians on hunger strike against their illegal long-term detention without trial in Israeli jails were close to death on May 8, the International Committee of the Red Cross said that day. Two of the six, Tha’er Halahleh, 33, and Bilal Diab, 27, had, by May 12, been on hunger strike for 75 days.

The other four prisoners had been on hunger strike for between 51 and 68 days on May 12.

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