Palestine

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.

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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.

A ferocious media campaign, led by the Murdoch press, has been unleashed against Sydney’s Marrickville Council over a motion it passed endorsing the global campaign of boycott, disinvestment and sanctions targetting Israel. The council debated the motion, which was originally supported by all Greens and Labor Party councillors, on April 19.

Much of the hysteria surrounding the support of Sydney’s Marrickville Council for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel has focused on the comparison made by the global BDS campaign with the former apartheid system in South Africa.

Pro-Israel politicians and propagandists are quite aware of the power of the comparison. By describing a system where one part of the population has democracy and another doesn’t, it takes away Israel’s claim to legitimacy as a “Jewish democracy”.

Below is an extract of a letter Archbishop Desmond Tutu sent to the student leaders at UC Berkeley in March 2010 regarding Berkeley’s decision to divest from Israel.

* * *

I am writing to tell you that, despite what detractors may allege, you are doing the right thing. You are doing the moral thing. You are doing that which is incumbent on you as humans who believe that all people have dignity and rights, and that all those being denied their dignity and rights deserve the solidarity of their fellow human beings.

Israeli forces have sealed the occupied West Bank village of Beit Ommar since March 24 for an indefinite time.

Soldiers continue to arrest young Palestinian residents and hold them in Israeli detention centres.

In a move akin to the four-year-long economic blockade against the Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers have closed the six entrances to the village of 17,000 inhabitants.

It has imposed a widespread prohibition policy against all major imports and exports from the village. This includes gasoline, produce, raw industrial materials and basic supplies.

This went up on IS singer Macy Gray's Facebook page on January 17:

"I'm booked for 2 shows in Tel Aviv. I'm getting a lot of letters from activists urging/begging me to boycott by NOT performing in protest of Apartheid against the Palestinians. What the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians is disgusting, but I wanna go. I gotta lotta fans there I don't want to cancel on and I don't know how my NOT going changes anything. What do you think? Stay or go?"

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said that over the next six months, Wikileaks will be releasing more files related to Israel.

“There are 3,700 files related to Israel and the source of 2,700 files is Israel,” he told Al-Jazeera on December 22. “The Guardian, El Pais and Le Monde have published only two percent of the files related to Israel due to the sensitive relations between Germany, France and Israel.”

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