Palestine

At the beginning of August the Israeli government announced it would cooperate with one out of two international United Nations-sponsored investigation commissions into the May 31 Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre. UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon claimed the move was “unprecedented”. The commission is composed of four people, one chosen by Turkey, one chosen by Israel and two chosen from a list provided by Israel. The latter two are former prime minister of New Zealand Geoffrey Palmer, who will be the chair, and outgoing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who will serve as vice-chair.
Early on July 27, Israeli bulldozers, flanked by helicopters and throngs of police, demolished the entire Bedouin village of al Araqib in the northern Negev desert. Despite having land rights cases pending in the court system, hundreds of al Araqib villagers were instantly made homeless a month after Israeli police posted demolition orders. Eyewitness reports say the police were accompanied by several busloads of right-wing Israeli civilians who cheered during the demolitions.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat said on July 15 the Libyan aid ship, Amaltheal (“Hope”) docked the night before at al-Arish in Egypt. The ship was bearing 2000 tons of aid supplies for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which is blockaded by Israel. The ship’s odyssey from Greece was marked by uncertainty and danger for the 21 passengers. It developed a mechanical problem that made it move very slowly on July 14. There was a question about whether its captain might try to take it right into Gaza, despite the Israeli military’s blockade.
Canada & Israel: Building Apartheid By Yves Engler Fernwood Publishing/Red Publishing Toronto, 2010, 168 pages. Most Canadians today would probably agree that their country's foreign policy is pro-Israel. Even Canada's “liberal” supporters of Israel complain that siding so explicitly with Israel damages Canada's role of a peacemaker. It signals a shift away from the country's perceived balanced approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The following statement was released on June 27 by the group Palestinian Queers for BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions – an international campaign to isolate Israel in protest against its treatment of Palestinians). Support for the BDS campaign has grown significantly since Israel’s massacre of peace activists on a boat taking aid to Gaza on May 31. * * * Palestinian Queers for BDS call upon all queer groups, organisations and individuals around the world to boycott the apartheid state of Israel.
The statement below was released by Asian left groups on June 25. To add your organisation’s name, email . * * * Israel stands increasingly isolated after its manufactured confrontation on May 31, 2010, with the peace flotilla, in which nine Turkish activists on the Mavi Marmara were murdered. So now is the time to increase the pressure on Israel to lift the siege of Gaza.
Seven oxygen machines donated to the Palestinian Authority by a Norwegian development agency were seized by Israeli officials, Ma’an news agency said on June 25. The Ramallah-based PA health ministry said the machines were en route to hospitals in Gaza and the West Bank. The ministry said in a June 24 statement that Israeli officials confiscated the machines, claiming the generators attached “came under the category of possible use for non-medical purposes” if they were delivered to Gaza.
On June 14, Muhammad Juma Abu Wardeh, a 17-year-old Palestinian labourer, was shot and wounded by Israeli snipers along the “buffer zone” in eastern Gaza as he collected materials for a cement plant in Jabaliya, north of Gaza City. Israel’s ongoing blockade against the Gaza Strip has prevented access to raw construction materials, forcing workers to risk their lives to trawl open agricultural areas for resources.
“[We are] saddened by the mixture of politics and sports.” So said a spokesperson for the Israeli Football Association in response to news on April 31 that the Turkish under-19 soccer team cancelled its match in Israel. Turkey's team made the move following the Israeli Navy's attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla that left at least nine dead and scores injured. Then on June 1, the Swedish Football Association (SFA) announced that it would formally request European soccer's governing body to cancel Sweden's under-21 game in Israel on June 4.
Lesbians, gays, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people across the world have rejected Israel’s brutal occupation of Gaza and are coming out in support of the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) campaign. In the wake of Israel’s bloody attack on the Freedom Flotilla and murder of peace activists on May 31, the myth that Israel is a liberal democratic state has been dispelled. But Israel continues to try to market itself as the only “gay haven” in the Middle East.
For more international union actions against Israel, see Solidarity with the Palestinian people - three-day strike for Israel commercial vessels World Federation of Trade Unions Athens, June 8th 2010 E-mails : Dear colleagues, trade unionists and workers,
Moshe Dayan, Israel’s most celebrated general, famously outlined the strategy he believed would keep Israel’s enemies at bay: “Israel must be a like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.” Until now, most observers assumed Dayan was referring to Israeli military or possibly nuclear strategy, an expression in his typically blunt fashion of the country’s familiar doctrine of deterrence.
After Israel’s May 31 raid on a civilian vessel trying to deliver goods to Gaza, Egypt announced on June 1 that it would temporarily open its border with Rafah to allow humanitarian and medical aid into the Gaza Strip. On May 31, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak responded swiftly to the Israeli navy's assault on the Freedom Flotilla, affirming Egypt's support for the people of Gaza. Israel’s ambassador to Egypt was quickly summoned by Egypt’s foreign ministry, and told Egypt condemns the violence against international activists and rejects the continued Gaza blockade.
It’s time the Israeli government’s PR team made the most of its talents, and became available for hire. Then, whenever a nutcase marched into a shopping mall in somewhere like Wisconsin and gunned down a selection of passers-by, they could be on hand to tell the world’s press: “The gunman regrets the loss of life but did all he could to avoid violence.” Then various governments would issue statements saying: “All we know is a man went berserk with an AK47, and next to him there’s a pile of corpses, so until we know the facts we can’t pass judgement on what took place.”
The socialist youth organisation Resistance unequivocally condemns the outrageous, illegal and murderous attack by the Israeli Defense Force on the civilian flotilla carrying aid to Gaza. Israel's assault kills twice. The theft of urgently needed humanitarian aid that was destined for the starving people of Gaza, and the murder of at least nine innocent people by the Israeli commandos, is inexcusable.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk, called, on May 31, for the international community to bring to justice those responsible for Israel’s deadly raid on a ship bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza, Countercurrents.com said that day. The raid killed at least nine people.

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