Palestine & Israel

Leaders of Palestinian political party Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, released a document outlining their guiding principles at a press conference in the Qatari capital Doha on May 1.

Much coverage focused on the document’s acceptance of Israel’s 1967 boundary as the basis for establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The document also includes pronouncements on how Hamas views the roots of the conflict, the role of Palestinian resistance and its position towards Jewish people.

ISRAEL BOYCOTT IS WORKING There is a reason why the Israeli government and pro-Israel organisations use everything from slander to vexatious litigation to oppose the global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The campaign is working. The June 12 Financial Times reported: “This week an Israeli financial newspaper covered a leaked government report estimating that BDS could cost Israel’s economy $1.4bn a year.
"We are here today,” Professor Stuart Rees told a media conference at Queens Square on October 30, “to express our outrage that a so-called independent law centre from Israel could attempt to stamp out freedom of speech in Australia.” "We call on the mainstream media to take an objective stand on the issue of Palestinian human rights.” The gathering concerned the move by Shurat HaDin, an Israeli-based law centre, to file a case in the Federal Court against Professor Jake Lynch of the University of Sydney's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.
The Israeli Law Centre, Shurat HaDin, has filed a complaint under the Racial Discrimination Act with the Australian Human Rights Commission against the Sydney Peace Foundation’s Stuart Rees and Sydney University's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies’ Jake Lynch. The complaint claims Rees and Lynch are supporting racist and discriminatory policies through their support for the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Israeli government. It is the first time Australia’s anti-racism laws have been used against people involved in the BDS campaign.
Green Left columnist Carlos Sands rants, raves, and is literally moved to tears by the arguments of defenders of Israel in his second outing on Green Left TV. And as 19 Palestine solidarity activists face court in Melbourne, he has some choice words for Max Brenner and the Murdoch media.
"A Jewish majority in a solely Jewish state necessitates perpetual discrimination against the Palestinians”, Anna Baltzer, a Jewish-American award-winning speaker for human rights in the Middle East, told an audience of 100 at the Queensland Parliamentary Annexe on October 27. Baltzer is an author, former Fulbright scholar and granddaughter of Holocaust refugees. She has lived and worked in the West Bank, and has contributed to four upcoming books on the Palestinian struggle.
PERTH — Jewish American author Anna Baltzer spoke to a packed audience of more than 100 people at a forum hosted by Friends of Palestine WA on October 21. She began by explaining that there were differences between the words "Jewish" (relating to faith or kinship), "Israeli" (relating to citizenship in the state of Israel) and "Zionist" (a political ideology). Most of her presentation documented the illegal occupation of Palestinian land sponsored by the state of Israel and the effects of that occupation.
The board of Pride Toronto held a press conference on the lawn outside its offices on May 25 to announce the phrase “Israeli Apartheid” would be censored from the upcoming 2010 Pride Parade. The decision, aimed at banning the Toronto-based activist group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from the gay pride parade, set off a firestorm in the community. This included refusals to take part in the festival and an open letter denouncing the decision by eight founding members who organised the first Toronto Pride parade in 1981.
On May 31, Israeli defence force commandos boarded an aid ship in international waters. The ship was trying to break the illegal military blockade of the Gaza strip and transport much-needed food and medical supplies. Nine aid activists were killed and several snap actions were held in Australia to condemn Israel’s actions and call for an end to the blockade. On June 1, 250 people rallied in Brisbane to condemn Israel’s attacks on the Gaza aid fleet. ALP vice-president Wendy Turner, and socialist activist and lecturer in creative industries Gary MacLennan, spoke.
Mal Tulloch, assistant NSW secretary of the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union, took part in a study tour to Palestine in March, organised by APHEDA, the aid organisation of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. The CFMEU has supported APHEDA since it was established in 1987. As soon as Tulloch arrived in Palestine, he realised it was not going to be a holiday. He shares his impressions below. * * * It was like a visit to a war zone, while also a great opportunity to witness what the Palestinian struggle has been about for the past 62 years.

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