Palestine

Seven oxygen machines donated to the Palestinian Authority by a Norwegian development agency were seized by Israeli officials, Ma’an news agency said on June 25. The Ramallah-based PA health ministry said the machines were en route to hospitals in Gaza and the West Bank.

The ministry said in a June 24 statement that Israeli officials confiscated the machines, claiming the generators attached “came under the category of possible use for non-medical purposes” if they were delivered to Gaza.

US-Palestinian professor Saree Makdisi and Canadian-Palestinian lawyer Diana Buttu spoke on June 30 as part of a national tour to promote the international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

At the public meeting, Makdisi compared laws in apartheid South Africa with those in Israel and said “There are exact equivalent laws in Israel of all the African apartheid laws.”

He said the discrimination “begins with kids entering day care and continues for the rest of their lives”.

On June 14, Muhammad Juma Abu Wardeh, a 17-year-old Palestinian labourer, was shot and wounded by Israeli snipers along the “buffer zone” in eastern Gaza as he collected materials for a cement plant in Jabaliya, north of Gaza City.

Israel’s ongoing blockade against the Gaza Strip has prevented access to raw construction materials, forcing workers to risk their lives to trawl open agricultural areas for resources.

On June 20, US group Act Now to Stop War and Racism (ANSWER) released a statement, abridged below, on the blockade of the docks in Oakland that prevented an Israeli ship unloading its goods as part of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign targetting apartheid Israel.

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On June 15, something amazing happened: British Prime Minister David Cameron apologised for the British army shooting Irish people.

“It was wrong”, said Cameron, after a government inquiry found the British army was responsible for the killing of 14 unarmed civil rights demonstrators, seven of them teenagers, in the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry.

On January 30, 1972, up to 30,000 people marched in Derry, in the six Irish counties occupied by Britain, to demand an end to internment, a policy that allowed for the jailing of people without trial.

Lesbians, gays, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people across the world have rejected Israel’s brutal occupation of Gaza and are coming out in support of the boycott, divest and sanctions (BDS) campaign.

In the wake of Israel’s bloody attack on the Freedom Flotilla and murder of peace activists on May 31, the myth that Israel is a liberal democratic state has been dispelled. But Israel continues to try to market itself as the only “gay haven” in the Middle East.

The murder of international peace activists on the Gaza flotilla by Israeli commandos marks a turning point in the international standing of the state of Israel. Even though we witnessed the horrific violence in Lebanon in 2006 and then in “Operation Cast Lead” in Gaza in 2008, Israel has largely been able to count on the support of the Western alliance and its clients in the Arab world.

Two days after the flotilla massacres on May 31, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt announced in response to mass demonstrations in Cairo and across the world, that Egypt was opening the Rafah border crossing, breaching the siege of the Gaza Strip that holds its 1.5 million people in a stranglehold.

Hundreds of Gazans flocked to the southern-most border of the coastal enclave. Many were left waiting on the border for days, denied entry to Egypt.

Israel stands increasingly isolated following its attack on the peace flotilla, in which nine Turkish activists on board the Mavi Marmara were murdered and many more wounded.

The attack on the flotilla, like the siege of Gaza, is aimed at demoralising Palestinians and their supporters. But the global pressure was enough to force Israel to announce a token relaxation of the blockade of the 1.5 million people crammed into the tiny coastal strip.

“[We are] saddened by the mixture of politics and sports.”

So said a spokesperson for the Israeli Football Association in response to news on April 31 that the Turkish under-19 soccer team cancelled its match in Israel. Turkey's team made the move following the Israeli Navy's attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla that left at least nine dead and scores injured.

Then on June 1, the Swedish Football Association (SFA) announced that it would formally request European soccer's governing body to cancel Sweden's under-21 game in Israel on June 4.

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