Democracy

France bans pro-Palestine protests “France's Socialist government provoked outrage today by becoming the first in the world to ban protests against Israeli action in Palestine,” the Daily Mail reported on July 18. “In what is viewed as an outrageous attack on democracy, Socialist Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said mass demonstrations planned for the weekend should be halted … Thousands were set to march against the ongoing slaughter in Gaza.
In a September 2006 article for the Electronic Intifada, I defined the Israeli policy towards the Gaza Strip as an incremental genocide. Israel’s present assault on Gaza alas indicates that this policy continues unabated. The term is important since it appropriately locates Israel’s barbaric action ― then and now ― within a wider historical context.
A US drone attack in North Waziristan in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) killed 20 people on July 16. It brought the number of people killed by US drones in North Waziristan since June 12 to 50. The July 16 Nation reported, “five drones are still flying over the Datta Khel area and hampering the relief activities underway there. This … is fomenting a fear of the death toll rising.”
Two teenage asylum seekers have been taken from their homes in a community detention program in Adelaide’s inner-northern suburbs and sent to a closed detention centre, causing other young asylum seekers to run away from their homes in fear. On June 26, two young Vietnamese asylum seekers, who attended Woodville High School, were taken from their homes and detained by the immigration department.
It was the theme du jour at the B20 gathering in Sydney, which brought together more than 300 business leaders seeking to shape the agenda of the G20: Business knows best so leave the big decisions to us. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it and numerous self-serving CEOs happily served as a chorus. But the standout croaky voice was that of global media mogul Rupert Murdoch: “Everybody in this room knows dozens or hundreds of very, very fine businessmen. How many people know a politician who can run a business?”
News has broken that Israel has now followed its sustained air bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip, which has already killed at least 230 people, with a ground invasion. This weekend, rallies are being held in cities across Australia to rally for Palestine int he face of Israel's carnage (details below).
One petition I saw circulating recently called for both Israel and Hamas to put down their weapons. I dispute this approach that blames both sides equally. Israel is the aggressor. Not only is Israel bombing indiscriminately with a view to maximising civilian casualties, it continues to maintain its inhumane and illegal siege of Gaza. The kidnapping and murder of the Israeli teenagers was simply a pretext. There is no evidence that it was a Palestinian or a Hamas member who killed the teenagers. Israel has set itself as judge, jury and executioner. 
Unite the Union, the largest union in Britain and Europe, has unanimously passed a motion supporting the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro and re-affirming its support for the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign. The motion was presented during Unite’s June 30 to July 4 policy conference in Liverpool. Commenting on moves towards US sanctions on Venezuela in recent weeks, the mover of the motion said: “One can only conclude that some in the US share the Venezuelan opposition’s aim to oust the Maduro government”.

“David Cameron’s government is responsible for the most aggressive attack for over a century on our public services, our standard of living and on the future for jobs and a decent life for young people,” said the Radical Independence Campaign, which is pushing for a “yes” vote in Scotland's September 18 referendum on independence. “The millionaire cabinet are ruining the chances of a generation. By slashing services and privatising health and education they are driving our young people to despair.”

From the moment three Israeli teens were reported missing last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the country’s military-intelligence apparatus suppressed the flow of information to the general public. Through a toxic blend of propaganda, subterfuge and incitement, they inflamed a precarious situation, manipulating Israelis into supporting their agenda until they made an utterly avoidable nightmare inevitable.

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