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French giant Veolia cut down to size for abusing Palestinian rights

Maren Mantovani and Michael Deas – The Electronic Intifada – 26 August 2011

The French corporation Veolia once appeared unassailable; today it is ailing. It is faced not only with the global economic crisis but also the growing impact of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against its involvement with Israeli apartheid infrastructure and transport projects. A recent merger between Veolia’s transport division and a subsidiary of the main French state investment fund indicates French industry and government have united to find a simple solution to Veolia’s problems: let the taxpayers finance Veolia’s income losses — and its complicity with Israeli war crimes and human rights abuses against the Palestinian people.

On 4 August, Veolia management held a conference call with major financial analysts to defend the company’s latest figures. It wasn’t an easy task. Veolia’s management was forced to gloss over the terrible financial situation of the group that has forced it to draw up sharp cost reduction plans, initiate a complete restructuring of management, plan the pullout from more than forty countries and search for more investors to cover a high debt.

Veolia has lost more than 50 percent of its share value since March 2011, according to tear sheet data from The Financial Times (“Marketdata: Veolia Environnement Ve SA,” accessed 25 August 2011).

However, among the underlying financial data discussed — €67 million ($96 million) in net loss during the first half of this year; €15 billion ($21.6 billion) net debts; €250 million ($360 million) yearly cost reduction — one number did not come up: the massive financial damage the company has faced at the hands of the BDS movement. Since the beginning of the Palestinian-led campaign in 2005, Veolia has lost contracts worth more than €10 billion ($14 billion) following high profile campaigns.

Veolia’s chief financial officer Pierre-Antoine Riolacci had to admit that its municipal services are suffering a downturn in some countries “in particular with pressure on the downside, namely in the UK where things are rather difficult.”

Ignoring London loss

Surely the CFO had heard the news from across the English Channel the day before the conference call, where Veolia had failed to be selected for a £300 million ($493 million) contract by Ealing Council in London following a determined campaign by the local branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

The worldwide campaign against Veolia was initiated in response to the company’s five percent stake in the consortium that is constructing the light rail project that links West Jerusalem with illegal Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the surrounding West Bank, thereby cementing Israeli colonization and creating the necessary infrastructure for its further expansion. Moreover, Veolia holds a thirty-year contract for the operation of its first line, due to open later this month. Veolia and its subsidiaries also operate bus services, waste management and a landfill all deep within the occupied West Bank, and all for the use of Israeli settlers. All of these projects contribute to war crimes, as defined by the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Refusal to withdraw from Israel

Despite its apparent desperation to reduce costs, Veolia has yet to implement the most effective cost reduction strategy it could: including Israel in the list of countries it plans to withdraw from. Rather than divesting from Israeli colonization of Palestinian land, Veolia is turning to the French state for financial assistance, involving public money in operations abetting Israeli war crimes.

This spring Veolia Transport merged with Transdev into a newly created company Veolia Transdev (“Veolia Transdev: Creation of the world’s leading private-sector company in sustainable mobility,” press statement, 3 March 2011).

Transdev was a subsidiary of the French Caisse des Dépôts (CDC), a public investment authority that manages public funds and is overseen by the French parliament. The CDC is now a 50 percent partner in the newly created Veolia Transdev transport company. According to Veolia’s Pierre-Antoine Riolacci, the entrance of Transdev intp the group has allowed Veolia to “cut back our debt by €159 million [$229 million].” The degree to which Veolia Transdev has come under the protection of the French state is evident in the fact that during the conference call, Veolia Transdev issues were directly dealt with by the CDC’s chief executive Jerome Gallot.

On its website, CDC boasts that it exists to “serve the general interest and the economic development” of France. But pumping French tax money into Veolia to make up for its financial troubles, thus allowing it to push forward projects that serve illegal Israeli population transfers into occupied Palestinian territory, is unlikely to help attain either goal. Moreover, the Jerusalem light rail project contradicts French government policy that East Jerusalem should be the capital of a future Palestinian state. Promoting the project in 2005, then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stated, “This [light rail] should be done … to strengthen Jerusalem, construct it, expand it and sustain it for eternity as the capital of the Jewish people and the united capital of the state of Israel.”

Even before its partial ownership of Veolia Transdev, CDC was involved in the light rail project through its subsidiary Egis Rail, which won a contract in 2008 to assist with managing the project. The current role of Egis Rail is unclear.

Private companies have long been heavily involved in Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights, such as building and maintaining the illegal settlement infrastructure, and the wall built on Israeli-occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank. But by investing in Veolia, the French government is bucking a recent European trend of governments to start ensuring public enterprises and institutions are not complicit with Israeli violations of international law.

The German government recently responded to public pressure by taking steps to end the state-owned company Deutsche Bahn’s involvement in the construction of a train line from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv passing through the occupied West Bank. Explaining its intervention, the German transport ministry pointed to the “potentially illegal” nature of the project and the fact that it is inconsistent with government policy toward Israel and the Palestinians (“Letter from German government to Die Linke parliamentarian concerning A1 train project,” 10 May 2011). The German foreign ministry has admirably published an alert on its website warning German companies about the potential legal consequences of Israeli projects in the occupied West Bank (“West Bank, Economy”).

Precedents set by other European capitals

The Norwegian government took a precedent-setting step when it excluded Elbit Systems from its investment portfolio. Elbit is an Israeli arms company involved in the construction of Israel’s illegal wall in the West Bank. It subsequently also excluded Africa Israel and Danya Cebus, two companies which build illegal Israeli-only settlements in the West Bank (“Norwegian government pension fund excludes more Israeli companies,” 23 August 2010).

The British government also took a stand on the issue when, in 2009, the foreign ministry pulled out of a deal to rent office space for its embassy in a building owned by Lev Leviev, the Israeli diamond tycoon who owns Africa Israel and finances development of illegal settlements in the West Bank. The British government also withdrew export licenses to Israel from UK arms companies that provided the Israeli military with weapons or components that have been used during the winter 2008-09 attacks on the Gaza Strip (“Israel arms licenses revoked by Britain,” The Huffington Post, 13 July 2009).

In September 2009, the Spanish government excluded Ariel university from a state-sponsored architecture competition after having become aware that it was located in an illegal settlement.

The French government, however, has so far failed to take action to end such complicity. By doing so, France is not only undermining important precedents set by its allies. It also violates its obligations under international law and the voluntary commitments it has made regarding good governance and corporate social responsibility.

France must honor obligations

When the International Court of Justice ruled on the illegality of Israel’s apartheid wall and related infrastructure in the occupied West Bank, it also ruled that third party states are obliged not to aid or assist the maintenance of the unlawful situation created by Israel or infringements of the right to Palestinian self-determination. Two companies owned by the French state fund CDC — Veolia and Egis Rail — are involved with and profit from such unlawful acts. This calls France’s commitment to international law into question.

In June, the United Nations Human Rights Council approved its new Guiding Principles for the implementation of the Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework, designed to help states and businesses understand their duty to prevent corporate abuse of human rights and their obligations under international law (“Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework,” 21 March 2011).

According to these principles, “states should take additional steps to protect against human rights abuses by business enterprises that are owned or controlled by the state … [including by] denying access to public support and services for a business enterprise that is involved with gross human rights abuses and refuses to cooperate in addressing the situation.”

Involvement in the light rail project also violates the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s guidelines on multinational companies. Considering that Paris is the seat of the OECD, this is particularly ironic (“OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises,” 2008 [PDF]).

The OECD guidelines call for companies to “respect the human rights of those affected by their activities consistent with the host government’s international obligations and commitments.” Israel’s settlements and associated infrastructure violate several key international law treaties, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all of which have been ratified by Israel and France.

The French government has become a shareholder in Veolia in full knowledge of that company’s role in supporting Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian land. The principal victims of this French policy are the Palestinian people. However, this development should also be of concern to all those who believe in the importance of a functioning system of international law and the implementation of human rights standards. The French people, whose taxes have financed the Veolia Transdev merger, should be especially concerned.

It will be up to campaigners in France and all around the globe to stop governmental buy-ins to illegal operations of private or state enterprises. It will be their task to ensure that the Transdev deal will not be enough to shield Veolia from the impact of the BDS movement’s demand for accountability. The group is in financial trouble and its CFO has admitted that Veoila is losing municipal service contracts in cities and regions that have seen meticulous grassroots campaigning. In December, Veolia will present the full list of countries which it is leaving (“Veolia to leave 37 countries as loss spurs quicker revamp,” Bloomberg, 4 August 2011).

This might be another chance for the company to show that it has learned that failure to respect human rights and the Palestinians’ right to self-determination comes with a price.

Maren Mantovani is coordinator for international relations with Stop the Wall, the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign.

Michael Deas is Europe coordinator for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC).

August 26, 2011 Posted by | Economics, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | 1 Comment

Western press and addressing grievances in Gaza

By Mohammed Suliman – The Electronic Intifada – 08/26/2011

In 2006, the Israeli authorities imposed an overall siege on the Gaza Strip forcing 1.6 million Palestinians to live under miserable conditions. Since then, Gaza, depending on the degree of instability in the area, has been largely covered in the world media, sometimes enjoying the status of a quasi-main theme.

However, many of these subjects dealt with by the Western press are quite unimportant to deal with publicly. The only importance they have seems to be that of their context.

One needs though to be as critical as not to fall victim to any deliberate misrepresentation of facts or any other well-handled, yet ill-timed treatment of any of these controversial subjects.

The real oppressor of Gaza women’s rights

Only last night, a fellow journalist and I had an argument over the recently recurring theme in the Western press of the oppression of women’s rights in the Gaza Strip. We both came to an agreement that one can confidently state women’s rights are flagrantly abused in Gaza but, unlike how Western press tends to show it, the question remains who the real oppressor of women’s rights in Gaza is.

The issue of women’s rights in Gaza is one part of a larger— to avoid the word “propaganda”—  misinformation scheme that should be seen as an attempt to divert the world’s attention from the indispensable issues which need to be constantly and unfalteringly addressed in the Western press.

Take this for example. “Sorry, Hamas, I’m wearing blue jeans” is an article that, on the surface of it, seems to be a credible and well intentioned attempt to encapsulate how women’s rights are abused a daily basis in Gaza by the government, the people, their religion and customs. It features the resentment of “a defiant Palestinian feminist from Gaza reflect[ing] on being secular in a religious land.”

Reading through the article, one can’t but feel irritated at the blatantly Orientalist character of it. It is indeed one of the most deeply flawed and misrepresentative articles that falls into this exact category of misinformation that I have spoken of earlier.

I will not go further to reply to this article since the real resentment felt toward it and generated by its blatant inaccuracy has already been highlighted by several responses which none has written but Palestinian women (and men) from Gaza refuting its baseless arguments and countering what it displays as “facts”.

The unfortunate “Gaza Youth Manifesto”

Likewise, recently a group of Palestinian youth from Gaza has issued a “manifesto” on their Facebook  page called Gaza Youth Breaks Out. It outstandingly highlighted the anger and frustration that have grown so immense inside the chests of young Gazans that they cannot be any longer suppressed. Unluckily, however, its writers poured out their fury indiscriminately at every possible cause they deemed as conducive to their miserable conditions instead of carefully underlining the principal source and prime perpetrator of this unendurable suffering.

Hence, the true causes for this suffering, i.e. Israel, its 2008/09 invasion of the Gaza Strip, the five-year relentless blockade, and its daily heinous crimes against Palestinian civilians, were (unintentionally, I assume) relegated and not as much accentuated as the uncommendable behavior of the Hamas government in Gaza toward its people which replaced Israel as the originator of Gaza’s youth distress.

That said, the GYBO manifesto has received worldwide attention from Western press and media outlets including the Guardian and the BBC. But did any of them take the time to listen to the grievances the manifesto itself prompted in a considerable portion of Gaza’s youth due to its misguided content and damaging quality?

Of course, not. Because simply that is what Western press had been looking for and now that it rose from within Gaza youth itself, they wouldn’t hesitate to embrace this unfortunate manifesto. (Note: under great deal of criticism, the group had to issue a second manifesto, which appears on the group’s Facebook page).

Whether deliberate or not, digressions as such only harm the Palestinians and are aimed at diverting the world’s attention from the base injustice the Palestinians are forced to live under besides the daily crimes committed against them by the Israeli armed forces. Moreover, they do seem to attract the attention of an audience, that has become used to  prosaic coverage of continuous and flagrant Israeli violations of basic human rights.

Still, this does not mean issues of human rights’ abuses should be disregarded. The suppression exercised by the government and other violations of human rights should always be brought to light to help fight against it.

But there is still a huge difference between objective reporting of  incidents of human rights violations and other obviously subjective and unrepresentative or misleading publications.

The “rising middle class” and addressing minor grievances

Similarly, a newly published Associated Press feature story throws light on the widening gap between a very tiny (rising?) middle class and the majority of the people who live under the poverty line, as the article illustrates.

Well-written, objective, and supported with facts and figures as it might seem, the article should nonetheless be dismissed as misleading and lacking in analytical interpretation necessary to explain the real origins of the discontent the people of Gaza have.

“A budding middle class in the impoverished Gaza Strip is]…[fueling perhaps the most acrimonious grass roots resentment yet toward the ruling Hamas movement.”

The introductory statement of the article is inaccurate since, from the beginning it presupposes the presence of this “resentment” toward the Hamas government in Gaza, and it doesn’t go further to place this feeling within its greater context which is that of the Israeli occupation and its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The only and real grievances the people of Gaza have are those toward Israel and its blockade of the Gaza Strip which has fueled in them so much anger and despair to the extent that, like the GYBO, they started to resent everything around them, on the top of which is the Hamas government. So even this sense of dissatisfaction toward the government is basically a form of grievous indignation toward Israel itself.

Quite normally people would hate the government under whose control they have had to endure the most miserable conditions. It is true the government in Gaza isn’t doing enough to at least alleviate the people’s Israeli-inflicted suffering. It’s also true that there is too much corruption inside the government itself to be concealed or ignored any longer, but trying to make these issues the prime source of people’s anger is dubious since it ignores the fact that what people are enraged about, above all things, is the Israeli siege.

However, since this siege is something the people of Gaza have started to take for granted,  criticizing the government, blaming it, and feeling resentment toward it has become a trend. It has become much easier and, indeed, practical for them. (One feels obliged to praise Israel for having relieved itself of the burden of taking responsibility for the people it occupies).

Although, the article makes it clear the majority of the people are discontented and frustrated, at some point it seems to ridiculously question the fact that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza while there are others— a very small minority— who live in self-indulgence. It also never accounts for the so called “rise of the middle class” in Gaza except by simplistically relating it to the attitudes of the Hamas government and the “corruption” of some of its “loyalists”.

The only thing this article seems to do is deflect the readers’ attention from the real origins of frustration in Gaza represented by Israel’s overall inhuman policy toward the Palestinians to few, indeed, unimportant issues.

Israel’s siege and crimes are always the issue

While in other countries, which seem to enjoy wealth and maintain stability, suppression is exercised by governments on a larger scale and women’s rights are abused at a more serious level, little attention is paid to them. Likewise, the grievances toward  an assumed middle class rise in Gaza is a completely preposterous issue to discuss when only a few days ago Israeli airstrikes killed 15 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. (update: 11 Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes during the past two days).

At a time when the people of the Gaza Strip, both wealthy and poor, are woken from their sleep by Israeli warplanes bombing their neighborhoods, grievances, suffering and anger of this sort is all what the world needs to know about Gaza.

August 26, 2011 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | Leave a comment

Seeking Social Justice Through Education in Chile

By Ramona Wadi | Upside Down World | 25 August 2011

The ongoing student protests in Chile are an unwavering accomplishment aimed at combating the social injustice riddling the country’s education system. What started out as a series of peaceful protests has become a manifestation of unity between students, artists and much of the general population in a stance defying the current government’s position regarding social class, cultural difference and political division with regard to education.

Upon assuming power in a military coup that ousted President Salvador Allende, General Augusto Pinochet implemented a series of policies that spelled poverty for the working class. To this day, remnants of the military dictatorship are evident in Chile. Upon Milton Friedman’s advice, Pinochet altered the education system in Chile. Responsibility for public schooling was transferred from the Ministry of Education to public municipalities. Private schools were financed by the voucher system in proportion to student enrollments. The elite families began enrolling their children into schools which charged for enrollment. No effort was made on behalf of the government to improve the curriculum, education quality or management, resulting in a society which, for decades had to contend with social class division within education.

Private universities meant excessive tuition fees, causing students and their families to incur debts whilst education quality was barely improved. Universities were mostly attended by students from the middle class and higher income families. Impoverished areas had no access to quality education, with low income families obliged to send their children to public schools where no incentives, such as better working conditions for teachers were offered, to promote and enhance student educational performance. Discrepancy in Chile’s education system led to society incurring yet another split. The current system exploits class as well as cultural differences. Low income families have no option but to send their children to public municipal schools. Mapuche people living in rural areas having to contend with an inferior education as well as lack of intercultural awareness.

Students are demanding the state assumes responsibility to provide free education and broader access to education. The students’ proposals include eliminating the business concept of education, ensuring the quality of public education, the creation of an education system which falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and ensuring educational rights for Chile’s indigenous people.

Protests have ranged from sit-ins, to barricades and marches, as well as hunger strikes as a mark of resistance. Hunger strike protestors have read statements holding the government responsible for their plight. Cacerolazo protests (a common form of protest in Latin American countries which involves banging on pots with kitchen utensils) have also gained ground within the movement and Chilean society. This form of protest, which can even be performed from home, has achieved a high level of solidarity with the student protestors.

Thousands of students in Santiago clashed with the police as force was used in an attempt to restore what the state defines as public order. The students were met with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets. In what may be portrayed as another relic of the dictatorship some protests were deemed illegal, citing the lack of a permit allowing students to demonstrate.

Camila Vallejo, spokesperson for the student’s movement described the state repression as a great mistake, adding that the student movement was not intimidated by threats and encouraging the students to persist in their various forms of protest.

President Sebastian Piñera’s attempts to appease the students have been rejected outright. In a televised speech, Piñera’s proposals, including a cabinet reshuffle and an annual education fund used to support public education, were dismissed as not addressing the students’ concerns and demands. While the students were calling on the government to end private education schemes, Pinera declared that nationalizing the education system would damage quality and freedom of education.1

The second attempt at reform was the government’s 21 point plan2, which was once again swiftly rejected by the students. The right to a quality education, promoting student involvement, promoting multiculturalism in higher education and an inclusive admission system were listed amongst the proposals being branded as reform.

The discrepancies in Piñera’s proposals highlight Chilean divisions. There is no mention of state takeover of education; hence the right to a free quality education for all society remains debatable. Education administered by the private sector remains the estate of the privileged, enforcing further gaps within Chilean society. Student involvement in education remains a distant objective, as protests continue to be met with force. Multiculturalism awareness and inclusive admission border on illusion when considering the intolerance and abuse of human rights suffered by indigenous people.

As a result of state repression against indigenous people, the Mapuche have been subjected to discrimination. Apart from the anti terror law, which allows the state to prosecute Mapuche in a military court, the community has been subjected to cultural repression. Yonatan Cayulao, leader of the Mapuche Federation of Students has proposed a Mapuche University3, stating that Chilean education has marginalized indigenous people in its quest to create a homogeneous nation. The Mapuche University would allow the community to protect their culture within their own environment.

In the latest turn of events, Camila Vallejo was reported to have delivered a letter4 to President Piñera, challenging the president to a transparent debate and urging him to acknowledge education as a universal right instead of a consumerism scheme, as he had previously announced. The letter denounced student segregation under the current education system and called for education to be guaranteed constitutionally ‘as a social law’.

Reminiscent of the past is the way nueva canción singers are uniting once again in support of Chileans. In a message broadcast on You Tube5, Inti Illimani’s Jorge Coulon reiterated his support for the students. “We admire and respect tremendously the current student movement in Chile and we are glad to participate in it since they (the students) are not only writing, but rewriting the history of Chile, which is full of episodes in which the students have been fundamental. The present time is one of them, and you – the students, are playing a leading role in this history.”

Pinochet’s influence in Chilean democracy is never far from the people’s consciousness. Each year Chile’s September 11th anniversary is marked with violent incidents and manifestations – a reminder that justice remains a remote illusion for many victims of the military dictatorship. With the protests set to continue, talk emerges regarding the possibility of the army being deployed against the students if the protests continue up to that date.

An issue which portrays the social injustice incited by Pinochet is the attitude of Chileans towards state violence. In a conversation with Julieta, a local anthropology student,  I was told “In Chile, because we are accustomed to police violence, we have naturalized this violence that we receive.” The memory of the military coup is far from being relegated to the confines of history. With a democracy that molds itself on past legislation, the concept of freedom and dignity for Chileans remains a battle to be fought from many societal aspects and the struggle for free education seems to have ignited the memory of the past to be combated in the contemporary realm.

Ramona Wadi is a freelance writer living in Malta. Visit her blog at http://walzerscent.blogspot.com.

Notes: 

1. http://www.gob.cl/destacados/2011/07/05/cadena-nacional-de-radio-y-television-presidente-pinera-anuncio-gran-acuerdo-nacional-por-la-educaci.htm 

2. http://www.mineduc.cl/index2.php?id_portal=1&id_seccion=10&id_contenido=15546

3. http://www.unpo.org/article/13030
4. http://www.nuestrocanto.net/joo/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2013%3Acarta-de-la-confech-al-presidente-sebastian-pinera&catid=36%3Achile
5. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itfa8lqaSfk&feature=youtu.be

August 26, 2011 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | 2 Comments

Elderly farmer murdered in Israeli airstrike

26 August 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, Gaza

Ismail Nimr Ammoum worked his whole life as a farm laborer. He did not have land of his own, he worked for others, planting, watering, weeding, whatever needed done. He was a strong man, and he loved to work, work did not bother him. He kept working because he loved to work, what else would he do? He lived with his sister in Buriej, but often spent the nights sleeping wherever he was working. On Wednesday, August 24, 2011 Ismail was working for the Al-Khaldi family. He had spent the previous several days living in a small wood hut on the land. At five A.M. neighbors heard the explosion of an Israeli missile strike, but they thought that the land there was empty, they did not realize that Ismail had stayed the night in the hut. That afternoon, the owner of the land came to check up on things. When he arrived he noticed that things weren’t right, he opened the gate and then he saw the hut. He saw Ismail’s shattered body lying in the rubble. He had been killed in the missile strike.

Ismail’s father was from Lod. He was a refugee; his family was expelled from his home by Israeli soldiers in 1948. He fled to Gaza with his children, eventually they numbered eight, Ismail, four more sons, and three daughters. Ismail’s father is not here to mourn his son. Not because he died of old age, but because Israel killed him. He died during Cast Lead, one of the almost 1,500 Gazans murdered during those cruel three weeks. He was killed when Israel bombed the police station in Buriej.

We sit talking with Nasser, Ismail’s nephew; it is obvious that he respected his uncle Ismail. He misses his uncle, his uncle who was killed for no reason, just an old man who loved to work on the land. Nasser asks, “How can the world do nothing when innocent people are being killed, it must do something.” The world does nothing, and all that can be done in response to the world’s indifference, is, like Ismail, to get up again and go to work, to go to the land, to not abandon it, to carry on living.

August 26, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | Leave a comment

On Al-Quds Day, marches in Middle East call for liberating all of Palestine

Al-Manar | August 26, 2011

Massive rallies for commemorating International Al-Quds Day have taken place Friday in various countries including Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Kuwait, Bahrain, as well as Gaza and the West Bank in occupied Palestine.

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, massive marches took place in various provinces, where people raised slogans like “Death to America”, “Death to Israel”, as well as pictures for Leader of the Islamic Revolution Imam Ruhollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei, and Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistances’ flags.

They chanted in support of Al-Quds and against all the Judaization conspiracies that the Zionist entity is executing against the sacred city.

For his part Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad delivered a speech before a crowd of commemorators in Tehran, in which he assured that Al-Quds Day is a day that revives human dignity, indicating that the Zionist entity is the axis of the unity of thieves in the world.

“The Zionist entity’s role is to spread incitement in the region and blocking any kind of development,” Ahmedinejad added.

Regarding the regional situation, the Iranian President emphasized that the right of self-determination, freedom, and spreading justice could not be attained with the assistance of the NATO forces or American military tanks. He further reassured that the West or the Zionist Entity will fail to have any Power in the new Middle East.

In Iraq, thousands of Iraqis, regardless of sect or affiliation, rallied in commemoration of Al-Quds Day. The Marchers called for the liberation of Al-Quds, and assured that it is the central cause for the region. Iraq furthered witnessed various conferences about Al-Quds and the importance of unity in order to defeat the Zionist entity and regain the Islamic Sanctity.

In parallel, millions of Egyptians demonstrated Friday near the Israeli embassy in response to Egyptian political and youth parties’ invitations for marches of millions, calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from their country.

The protestors raised Palestinian flags, pictures of late Egyptian President Jamal Abdul Nasser, and slogans against the occupying entity, including “We take part in Al-Quds Day to liberate Palestine”. They further called for ending diplomatic relations between Egypt and the Zionist entity, and reconsidering the application of the Camp-David accord.

In addition, Media reports have pointed out that demonstrators will return to the streets after the Iftar dinner and prayers, and will continue to protest until an official decision is issued regarding their demands.

August 26, 2011 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | Leave a comment

   

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