Anna Baltzer is a US activist who worked in Palestine with the International Women's Peace Service documenting human rights abuses. She is author of Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories.
Boats — an enemy evoked by major Australian political parties to win elections — have become a symbol of international resistance to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. This is particularly the case since Israeli commandos attacked an aid flotilla headed for Gaza in May, killing nine people. With this in mind, the Berlin Coalition for Gaza (BCG) launched a one-boat “flotilla” through an inner-city Berlin canal on October 15.
“History was made early today on the other side of the world”, said Grant Morgan, an Auckland-based organiser of the Kia Ora Gaza convoy bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza in defiance of Israel’s siege. Kia Ora is a six-person New Zealand team that has joined the Viva Palestina covoy. “The vicious Israeli siege of Gaza has been broken by an international aid convoy of 400 volunteers from 30 countries driving 150 vehicles carrying vital medical supplies worth NZ$7 million.”
West Papuan leaders have rejected the possibility of talks with the Indonesian government until it acknowledges human rights abuses and ensures economic development, the October 5 Jakarta Globe said. Indonesia has claimed West Papua as its territory since a fraudulent vote by handpicked Papuans in 1969. It continues to deny Papuans the right to self-determination, repressing expressions of support for Papuan independence. Herman Awom of the Papuan People’s Council told the Globe: “We don’t want to talk to Jakarta because Jakarta never wants to talk to us.
On September 5, the Basque armed group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (Basque Homeland and Freedom, ETA), which has fought an armed struggle for Basque freedom for decades, released a video declaring that several months ago it had decided to stop armed actions, and announced a ceasefire. In its statement, ETA said: “In recent times, the Basque country has been at an important crossroads. The political struggle has opened up new conditions... “The time has come to build a democratic framework for the Basque country respecting the wishes of the majority of the Basque people...
On September 27, the repressive police apparatus of the Spanish state was brought to bear on the Askapena, the internationalist organisation of the Basque pro-independence left. Seven members were arrested across the Basque Country. Among those arrested was Walter Wendelin, who does a lot of solidarity work with Latin America. Many of the reports in the Spanish media make clear that the police operation is trying to target the relationships of the Basque pro-independence left with Latin America.
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.