national liberation

On May 31, Australian activists Ahmed Talib and Jerry Campbell were on board the Mavi Marmara, in international waters, en route to Gaza to deliver much needed aid to its besieged residents. Israeli commandos attacked the ship and shot dead nine solidarity activists. Talib was one of several activists shot and wounded. He and Campbell described the attack at a September 22 forum sponsored by Justice For Palestine.

Talib said: “The Israeli siege of Gaza had continued for three years, with world governments and international organisations not really doing anything against it.”

Fresh claims have emerged that an Indonesian “counter-terrorism” unit that receives Australian funding and training has perpetrated human rights abuses against independence campaigners in Maluku and West Papua.

Thousands of people mobilised across Honduras on September 7 as part of the “civic strike” called by the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP) to “demand that the neoliberal offensive against the poor be halted”.

The FNRP said rallies were held in the capital, Tegucigalpa and 10 other cities and towns.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority started on September 2. After the resumption of negotiations, Israel refrained from attacking Gaza for just two days.

Then it ordered the bombing of two Rafah tunnels that connect the besieged Gaza Strip to Egypt, killing two workers, and leaving two severely injured.

Palestinian-Iraqi refugees are some of the forgotten victims of the Iraq war. In 1948, Palestinians were forced to flee from Palestine and became refugees.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), around 34,000 Palestinian refugees were living in Iraq when the United States and its allies invaded in 2003.

After the invasion, many Palestinians faced harassment, threats of deportation, death threats, abuse by the media, arbitrary detention, torture and murder.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the murder of San Salvador Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was killed on March 24, 1980 by one of El Salvador’s infamous government-backed “death squads”.

As archbishop, Romero spoke out about economic inequality and violent government repression. The anniversary of his murder always triggers reflection on the nightmare the country experienced during the 1980-’92 civil war, which left 75,000 people (mainly civilians) dead, 8000 “disappeared” and 50,000 permanently disabled.

At dawn on August 20, the offices of Kurdish groups in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne were raided by Australian Federal Police and state police. Police alleged the groups were linked to the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which struggles for self-determination for the oppressed Kurdish minority in Turkey.

The PKK was listed as a “terrorist organisation” by the Australian government in 2005. Kurdish leaders in Melbourne, along with the association’s lawyer Chris Ryan, questioned the timing of the raid, coming as it did the day before the federal election.

West Papuan independence leaders have threatened a "total intifada" (uprising) against Indonesian occupying forces, following the failure of the August 4-5 Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) to discuss West Papua's demands for independence, the Sydney Morning Herald said on August 7.

The article is abridged from an August 11 Palestinian Centre for Human Rights report.

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The signs which dot the beach along the Gaza City waterfront read: "This beach is polluted.” Yet they serve only as obstacles for children running to the sea, rather than warnings of the serious health risks.

One need only stroll north along the beach for a couple hundred metres to see raw sewage being pumped directly into the Mediterranean Sea from one of the 16 discharge sites along the coast.

Yet thousands of people fill Gaza's beaches.

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.

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