Palestine

The statement published below was released on August 9 by Samah Sabawi on behalf of the Australians for Palestine steering committee. * * * It has come to our attention that the Victorian Consumer Affairs Minister Michael O'Brien has singled out our organisation as well as a few others for investigation by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) for an alleged suspicion that we may have been involved in ‘secondary boycotts’ against Israeli-owned businesses in Australia.
The Israeli ambassador to Spain, Raphael Schutz, has just finished his term in Madrid. In an op-ed in Israeli paper Haaretz’s Hebrew edition, he summarised what he termed as a very dismal stay and seemed genuinely relieved to leave. This kind of complaint now seems to be the standard farewell letter of all Israeli ambassadors in western Europe.
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.
Michael Coleman is keen to rejoin a Gaza Freedom Flotilla at any time (although his parents would say something different). The youth worker from Sydney has just returned from taking part of the international protest against Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza. Coleman narrowly avoided a jail term for trying to help a Canadian boat — the Tahrir — leave a port on the Greek island of Crete as part of the Freedom Flotilla 2. He is very proud to have been part of an international protest which has again put the spot light back on to Israel.
Two Australian Palestine solidarity activists, former NSW Greens MP Sylvia Hale and Jews Against the Occupation activist Vivienne Porzsolt, were released from immigration detention by an Israeli court on July 13. The court ordered they not be deported. The judge ruled that while they had not broken any rules, they had a limited time to apply to the Israeli Defence Force to visit Bethlehem and Ramallah in the West Bank. The pair had told immigration on entry to Israel that they wanted to visit Palestine.
In June, four Australian set sail as part of the second Freedom Flotilla to Gaza with the aim of highlighting the suffering of its people at the hands of Israel’s illegal blockade. The flotilla, involving a dozen boats with hundreds of activists from more than 50 countries, aims to deliver humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinian territory. The convoy coincides with the deep process of revolt occurring across the Arab world — against regimes that often collaborate with Israel.
The campaign of repression, slander and sabotage against the Freedom Flotilla II in its efforts to break the blockade of Gaza shows how desperately Israel and its supporters wish to keep the conditions in the besieged Palestinian enclave out of the world's view. The illegal Israeli blockade, in place since 2007, has crippled the Gazan economy and brought widespread misery to Gaza's 1.5 million people. A secret US diplomatic cable from October 2008, released by WikiLeaks in January, revealed the situation was intentionally created by Israel. See also:
Media reports suggested that US President Barack Obama's May 19 Washington DC speech on the Middle East and North Africa contained a new proposal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. A look at the content shows this is false. The May 20 New York Times declared: “President Obama, seeking to capture a moment of epochal change in the Arab world, began a new effort [in his speech] to break the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, setting out a new starting point for negotiations on the region's most intractable problem.”
Palestinians have upped the stakes in their struggle for freedom and justice on the anniversary of al-Nakba (“The Castrophe”), as Palestinains refer to the ethnic cleansing that accompnied the founding of Israel in 1948). Israel responded with lethal repression.

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