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Palestine: Another Desperate Cry for Help

Palestinian Christians 48eb2

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald tribune | June 23, 2017

The National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine (NCCOP) has just issued a final plea for help in the form of an open letter to the World Council of Churches and the ecumenical movement. It is signed by over 30 organisations in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza and can be read in full here.

The problem is well known to everyone who’s paying attention. The letter recaps for us: “We are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unlawful Balfour declaration, intensified through the Nakba [Palestinian ‘catastrophe’] and the influx of refugees, followed by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza and the fragmentation of our people and our land through policies of isolation and confiscation, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall.

“A hundred years later and there is still no justice! Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression are the rule…. Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leader’s callings – Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality.”

The letter harks back to the Amman Call of 2007. “We are concerned that ten years later the situation is worse…. the Amman Call did not achieve its goal of a just peace and we must ask ourselves today – why?”

Concern is also expressed at Israel’s “systemic assault on Palestinian creative resistance” (by which they mean BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions), and on their partners worldwide who use BDS to persuade Israel to end the occupation.

“While we are grateful for the ‘costly solidarity’ articulated in the Amman Call and exercised by many churches around the world, we are concerned that some churches have weakened their positions in the last ten years as a result of pressure. Many still hide behind the cover of political neutrality, not wishing to offend their religious dialogue partners.”

So now they ask us to do the following:

1. Call things as they are: recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law and the UN ESCWA report which said: “Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people”. They are concerned that States and churches continue dealing with Israel as if the situation were normal, ignoring the reality of occupation, discrimination and daily deaths. Churches united to end apartheid in South Africa, the WCC playing a pivotal role, and they are expected to do the same again in Palestine

2. Unequivocally condemn the Balfour declaration as unjust, and demand the UK asks forgiveness and compensates the Palestinian people for their losses. Unfortunately Zionist stooges in high places, like Theresa May, have said they will be celebrating the centenary of the Balfour Declaration “with pride” and inviting Mr Netanyahu along for the fun.

3. Take the strongest possible stand against any theology or Christian group that justifies the occupation and favours one nation over the other based on ethnicity or a covenant.

4. Take a stand against religious extremism and any attempt to create a religious state in Palestine or the region.

5. Challenge our religious dialogue partners, and withdraw from the partnership if they won’t condemn the occupation.

6. Encourage church leaders and pilgrims to visit Bethlehem and other Palestinian cities using Palestinian travel agencies, not Israeli.

7. In response to Israel’s war on BDS, defend the Palestinians’ right to resist non-violently, and support economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation.  Go further and include sport, cultural and academic measures until Israel complies with international law and UN resolutions.

8. Create lobby groups in defence of Palestinian Christians.

9. Urgently create a strategy within the WCC, like the programme “To Combat Racism”, to co-ordinate lobbying, advocacy and other activities aimed at achieving justice and peace and maintaining the presence of the Palestinian Christians.

“We fully grasp the pressure church leaders are facing here and abroad not to speak the truth, and it is because of this that we are raising this call,” says the NCCOP.

Their message ends with these ominous words: “Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of a catastrophic collapse. The current status-quo is unsustainable. This could be our last chance to achieve a just peace. As a Palestinian Christian community, this could be our last opportunity to save the Christian presence in this land.”

As I’m writing news has come in of a legal victory against the UK Government for trying to stifle BDS. The Government recently issued guidance to stop divestment campaigns against Israeli and international firms implicated in Israel’s violations of international law, and to protect the UK’s defence industry. Pension holders, for example, could have been forced into investing in companies complicit in human rights abuses contrary to their conscience and beliefs.

Thanks to action by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign the court held that the Government had acted improperly by seeking to use pension law to pursue its own foreign and defence policy.  Parts of the guidance are now held to be unlawful and no longer applicable local government in their pension decisions.

Other last-gasp appeals

The Amman Call mentioned earlier was issued exactly ten years ago at the WCC’s International Peace Conference “Churches together for Peace and Justice in the Middle East” held in Amman, Jordan. It contained a number of imperatives.

  • Enough is enough. No more words without deeds. It is time for action.
  • The Churches are part of the conflict, because they cannot remain silent while there is still suffering.
  • There is no military solution to the conflict, UN resolutions are the basis for peace and the Geneva conventions are applicable to the rights and responsibilities of the affected people.
  • Palestinians have the right of self-determination and the right of return.
  • Jerusalem must be an open, accessible, inclusive and shared city for the two peoples and three religions.
  • Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal, and constitute an obstacle to peace, and Israel’s “Separation Barrier” is a grave breach of international law and must be removed.

The Kairos Document of 2009 called itself a “cry of hope in the absence of all hope”. They said they had “reached a dead end” in the tragedy of the Palestinian people and the decision-makers “content themselves with managing the crisis rather than committing themselves to the serious task of finding a way to resolve it”. The faithful were asking: What is the international community doing? What are the political leaders in Palestine, in Israel and in the Arab world doing? What is the Church doing? “The problem is not just a political one. It is a policy in which human beings are destroyed, and this must be of concern to the Church.”

Kairos told the international community to stop practising “double standards” and start implementing international resolutions. “Selective application of international law threatens to leave us vulnerable to a law of the jungle. It legitimizes the claims by certain armed groups and states that the international community only understands the logic of force.” So Kairos was calling for a system of economic sanctions and boycott to be applied against Israel – not as a revenge tactic but action to reach a just and definitive peace.

It also urged churches to revisit the fundamentalist positions that support the evil policies imposed on the Palestinian people, and to stop providing theological cover for the injustices they suffer.

Local action

These heart-rending pleas are all very well but churches are hard to mobilise. Some have flirted with BDS but only after much internal wrangling. Others have allowed themselves to be put off by interference from their interfaith partners.

What can we ordinary mortals do?

Well, I pop into churches randomly and ask what links they have with the Holy Land. They usually stare at me in blank amazement and an awkward silence follows. I therefore recommend a national campaign to visit all churches throughout the land and ask that same question. Shame them.

But you never quite know when you’re up against the ‘enemy within’ – the Christian Zionist. Many readers will remember The Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism by the Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches in Jerusalem in 2006.

It says among other things:

  • We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message.
  • We reject the alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organizations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States [add the UK] that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine.
  • We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that support these policies as they promote racial exclusivity and perpetual war.
  • We call upon all Churches that remain silent, to break their silence and speak for reconciliation with justice in the Holy Land.
  • We call upon all people to reject Christian Zionism and other ideologies that privilege one people at the expense of others.
  • We are committed to non-violent resistance as the most effective means to end the illegal occupation.
  • And, of course, Palestinians are one people, both Muslim and Christian. Don’t anyone forget that.

Memorise it.

Did you ever hear any of the 26 Church of England bishops sitting in the House of Lords roundly condemn the British government’s unshakable support for the rogue regime in Israel that’s causing all this misery? No, they’re scared to death of ruffling the feathers of their ‘inter-faith dialogue’ partners and being branded antisemitic. And yes, the Church does have its fearless heroes but they are few and far between and not always tolerated. The Anglican Church by and large doesn’t give a damn about their brethren in the Holy Land or the military jackboot on their necks. And, by extension, they don’t give a four-x whether, in another 10 years, there will be any Christians left in the place where Christianity was born. No, maybe they will care, but by then it will be too late.

If I had my way every clergyman and every political leader calling him/herself a Christian would have the Jerusalem Declaration tattooed on their rump.

I’d like to invite some of them to spend a week with priests in the front line in Jenin, Nablus or Hebron for a real taste of life under brutal Israeli occupation; then queue for hours at daybreak with Palestinian workers in the obscene human holding pens at the Bethlehem checkpoint as they struggle to get to work… and home again; then watch Israeli bulldozers evict Palestinian families and destroy their homes for no good reason; then join Gaza fishermen as they try to earn a living while getting shot at in their own waters by Israeli gunboats; then stay with a Gaza family in the rubble, experience living with only 2 hours’ electricity a day, with the kids going to school in shifts and studying by candlelight; then sit down with Hamas ministers to learn what it’s like running this tiny, overcrowded enclave after 10 years of cruel blockade; then visit Gaza’s hospitals to see first-hand the crisis in medical equipment and spares; then watch the groups of young, uniformed Israeli gunslingers swaggering through the Old City of Jerusalem making that beautiful place so ugly….

The opportunities to learn the nasty truth about today’s Holy Land are endless.

And when they return home…. who knows, they might just feel pricked to do something about it. At least they could ensure every parish in England twins itself with a parish in the West Bank to offer solidarity and provide moral and material support.

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Largest Israeli Public Transportation Company Loses Netherlands Contract Worth 190 Million Euros Following Campaign by BDS Activists

IMEMC News & Agencies – June 23, 2017

Last month, Egged Bus Systems (EBS), a subsidiary of Egged Israel Transport Cooperative Society, Israel’s largest public transportation operator, lost a bid for a decade-long contract to run public transportation in the North-Holland region of the Netherlands, which includes the country’s capital, Amsterdam. This contract was valued at 19.1 million euros a year, with a total worth of 190.1 million euros.

Egged Bus Systems lost this lucrative bid after Dutch BDS activists launched a campaign charging its Israeli parent company with facilitating grave violations of Palestinian human rights and international humanitarian law.

Specifically, Egged Cooperative operates Jewish-only buses to and between almost all of Israel’s illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land in the militarily occupied West Bank, including remote outposts and East Jerusalem.

Egged buses traveling on Israeli settlement bus routes bar access to Palestinians. They use an extensive network of roads built to seamlessly connect illegal settlements on both sides of the illegal Israeli separation Wall to cities within present-day Israel.

The company thus supports and profits from a racist, segregated bus system that actively facilitates the maintenance and expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements, which are themselves considered war crimes under international law.

A spokesperson for DocP, a coalition of Dutch BDS activists for Palestinian rights, said,

We are very happy with this result, with the fact that our regional government rejected Egged’s bid to run North-Holland’s public transportation system.

People can now step into a bus in Amsterdam without helping pay for Israeli apartheid buses that discriminate against Palestinians. Without helping normalize coming and going from Tel Aviv to illegal Jewish-only settlements built on stolen Palestinian land.

There is nothing normal about the daily oppression faced by Palestinians, and I’m heartened that our Dutch BDS campaigns are growing in popular support and showing results.

Riya Hassan, Europe’s campaigns officer for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) said:

Congratulations to all the activists, organizations and collectives in the Netherlands who successfully built on their earlier BDS campaigns to exclude from their communities a powerful Israeli transportation company that profits from segregated busing, segregated roads and segregated Israeli settlements illegally built on stolen Palestinian land.

You have helped ensure that the regional council of North-Holland adheres to its own obligations under international law by not aiding and abetting Israel’s serious violations of Palestinian rights.

Egged Cooperative has also been accused of putting its Palestinian drivers in harm’s way, and not doing enough to protect them from violent Israeli extremists. In 2014, 100 Palestinian Egged bus drivers resigned fearing attacks by Israeli settlers and after Palestinian Jerusalem-line bus driver Yusuf Hassan al-Ramouni was found dead and hanging in an Egged bus.

Egged Bus Systems was one of four companies bidding for the lucrative public transportation contract in the Netherlands. The winning company Connexxion, a Dutch public transportation company, will provide buses and run public transportation in North-Holland for the next 10-years, beginning in July 2018.

Connexxion is itself owned by Veolia, a French corporate giant which was complicit in the Israeli occupation until an extensive BDS campaign cost it tenders around the world estimated to be worth over $20 billion, causing it to exit the Israeli market. Veolia and Connexxion have ended their complicity with Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights, but have yet to pay reparations to the Palestinian communities they harmed, and campaigners are still demanding that they do so.

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 2 Comments

US police arrest anti-nuclear weapons activists at UN

Press TV – June 20, 2017

A number of anti-nuclear weapons activists have been arrested in New York during a protest against Washington’s decision to boycott negotiations on a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

The arrests were made after the activists chanting slogans such as “US join the talks, ban the bomb,” blocked the entrances to the US mission to the United Nations.

The protesters sat in front of the doors before the police moved in. police said they warned the demonstrators that they would be arrested if they did not leave the place.

In March, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the United States, Britain and France had decided not to join talks on a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

The United Nations is currently holding a second round of negotiations about the issue.

The world body adopted a resolution in December to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading toward their total elimination and encouraged all member states to participate.

A total of 113 nations voted in favor of the resolution but 35 countries, including the United States, Britain and France, voted against it. Thirteen countries abstained.

According to the US military’s recent declaration, the United States has 806 deployed ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missile), SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missile), and heavy bombers as well as 1,722 deployed nuclear warheads.

The Pentagon is also equipped with a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV), a highly advanced version of the intercontinental nuclear missile carrying several independent warheads.

June 20, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

Palestine Scholars: Qatar stood by Gaza when nobody else did

Palestine Information Center – June 18, 2017

GAZA – Head of the Palestine Scholars Association, Dr Marwan Abu Ras, lauded Qatar’s pro-Palestine position and stressed Palestinians’ support for the government and people of Qatar.

“We are here today, in the blockaded Gaza Strip, to tell the world that our sole enemies are the Israeli colonizers who forced us out of our own and only lands,” said Abu Ras. “It is high time Arabs and Muslims combined forces in the face of the Israeli occupation.”

“We, Palestine Scholars, hail all those who have rallied round the Palestinian people and Gaza. We are most grateful to Qatar which has left its stamp in every street and at every home in besieged Gaza,” he said.

“Our homes have been lit, infrastructure rehabilitated, and hospitals equipped thanks to Qatar,” added Abu Ras as he paid tribute to the Qatari government and NGOs.

He slammed the Israeli occupation and all the other parties who have been involved in underway schemes to tighten grip around Gazans’ neck and famish the Palestinians.

June 18, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Jeremy Corbyn MP | Stop the Gaza massacre Demonstration London 10 January 2009

June 10, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Corbyn and UK Labour Victory Signals Pro-Palestine Mood, Diminished Israeli Legitimacy

Jeremy Corbyn at a pro-Palestinian rally in London, 2014. | Photo: Palestine Solidarity Committee
teleSUR | June 9, 2017

Jeremy Corbyn’s gains in the British general election mollified his political opponents, ranging from Rupert Murdoch’s yellow press to officials Tel Aviv, drawing outrage due to his support for causes considered taboo in Western capitals. Foremost among these causes is the popular opposition to Israeli war crimes and settler-colonialism in Palestine.

In fact, the Israeli state was established thanks, in no small part, to the British Empire’s occupation of the region following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, with Labour Party support playing a crucial role in laying the early groundwork for the state’s creation. Labour’s support for Zionism began when Sidney Webb, a founding leader of the Fabian socialist movement, penned the Memorandum on the Issues of War in August 1917, three months before the issuance of the Balfour Declaration, which recommended the creation of a “national home for the Jewish people.”

The document codified British Labour’s embrace of the First World War on the grounds that “the world may henceforth be made safe for democracy” through British war efforts while ironically denouncing “the imperialist aims of governments and capitalists” in the Middle East. The document also made a firm commitment to the resettlement of Jews in Palestine, calling for a “free state” to which European Jewry would be entitled the right to “work out their salvation, free from interference by those of alien race and religion.” Of course, British support for Zionism was a cynical and self-serving means to advance its own geopolitical interests in the region.

Labour’s 2017 election manifesto reflected, to some extent, a pro-Palestine mood among the party’s increasingly young support base that resembles Corbyn’s own record of solidarity with the Palestinian cause. In addition to revealing a social democratic aspect of Labour long suppressed or hidden from sight, the document stated the party’s commitment to a “two-state solution” to Israeli expansionism in Palestinian territories, warning Israeli authorities that it won’t tolerate further militarist excesses. It also states that a Labour government would “immediately recognize” the de jure Palestinian West Bank state. The manifesto further calls for a “world free from all forms of racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.”

However, the Israeli lobby – through the Labour Friends of Israel and the press – spared no effort to have references to West Bank settlements as “wrong and illegal” removed from the final draft of the party platform while also axeing a line referring to the “the continued humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” The manifesto also falsely equates Palestinian resistance “rocket and terror attacks” with the highly-advanced, destructive weaponry of the Israeli state.

The equivocation surrounding the drafting of points on the Israeli-Palestinian “conflict” raised questions about Corbyn’s willingness – or, rather, his ability – to consistently stand alongside the Palestinian struggle for self-determination while simultaneously leading Britain’s institutional center-left party.

Corbyn himself has visited Palestine nine times, in addition to multiple visits to refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria. In 2013, following his return from the Gaza Strip, he wrote to then-Foreign Secretary William Hague and urged that the U.K. “stop allowing Israel’s criminal politicians to come to our country.” The Labour leader has also called for the lifting of the blockade on Gaza, an end to the abuse of Palestinian civilians by Israeli occupation forces, and the holding of Israeli politicians accountable for crimes against humanity and other rights abuses.

While Corbyn has conceded that the two-state solution would be difficult to implement given the significant Israeli-backed illegal settlement activity in the West Bank, he remains a supporter of the widely-discredited proposal as “all that’s on offer.” To his credit, though, Corbyn is on record noting that the fundamental “key” to addressing the root of the tragedy is ensuring the Palestinian people’s right to return to the homes and lands from which they were ethnically cleansed during the Nakba of 1948 and the 1967 Israeli onslaught and annexation of remaining Palestinian territories.

While not a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s call to reject Israeli cultural, academic and economic products – a call seen as “reasonable” by two of five Brits from across the political spectrum, according to recent polls – he has called for “targeted” boycotts of universities involved in weapons research and the boycott of goods produced in illicit Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories. Despite that, the Labour manifesto fails to call for sanctions on the Israelis.

Corbyn also advocates engaging in diplomacy with regional players such as Palestinian Hamas and Hezbollah of Lebanon, noting their significant support base and the fact that, whether Tel Aviv likes it or not, they represent mass popular opinion in their respective countries.

Predictably, Britain’s right-wing – including many among the aggressively pro-U.S. Blairite New Labour clique – frantically sought to brand Corbyn’s humanitarian support for the Palestinian people as a reflection of “the new anti-Semitism,” a slur commonly applied to any stance opposing Israeli war crimes and impunity to the slightest extent.

Ultimately, British voters seemed unmoved by alarmist calls denouncing Labour as a bigoted party. This was proven when people from all walks of life – including British Jews – turned out in droves to support the party’s program and its candidates.

Labour’s victory came in spite of the hyperbolic attacks on Corbyn, perhaps signaling the shifting winds of public opinion regarding the Israeli occupation.

However, the longer-term question of whether an ascendant Corbyn will be able to sideline or dislodge U.S.-loyal and pro-Zionist layers within his own party – or resist the temptation to compromise with the Israeli lobby for the sake of political expediency – remains yet to be seen.

June 10, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Major Chilean Universities Heed BDS Call, Cancel Events Sponsored by Israeli Embassy

IMEMC | June 10, 2017

Student-led BDS campaigns resulted in two major Chilean universities canceling events co-sponsored by the Israeli embassy and featuring Joe Uziel, a director of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). On Monday, Alberto Hurtado of the University’s Anthropology Department announced the event’s cancellation, and yesterday the University of Chile’s Social Sciences Faculty did the same.

BDS Chile highlighted the reasons behind the campaign to cancel the event:

Universities cannot be passive accomplices in grave human rights violations. The State of Israel maintains an illegal occupation, colonization and apartheid regime against the Palestinian people, and the Israeli Embassy is this regime’s representative in Chile. In addition, the Israel Antiquities Authority is a government entity illegally based in occupied East Jerusalem that carries out illegal excavations in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Some of these illegal excavations are directed by the invited speaker, Joe Uziel.

The confiscation and theft of Palestinian cultural heritage are part of Israel’s attempts to erase Palestinian memory and cultural identity. Since 1967, the IAA has been deeply involved in cultural crimes and serious violations of international law, such as illegally removing and plundering hundreds of thousands of precious artifacts from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), including East Jerusalem. Fearing BDS campaigns, Israel has been trying to prevent information about archeological work in the OPT from being made public and to whitewash these violations by promoting events like these abroad.

Sharaf Qutaifan, from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) said:

Through the Israel Antiquities Authority, Israel attempts to bury the history of the indigenous people of Palestine, which was always home to groups with diverse cultures and religions. This is an extension of Israel’s policies of expulsion and cultural theft that it has carried out against Palestinians since its establishment. Israel has a troubling record of systematically looting Palestinian lands and properties, cultural treasures and even books and artworks, which continues until today.

We salute the Chilean students for pressuring the Anthropology Department of Alberto Hurtado University and the Social Sciences Faculty of University of Chile to take principled positions. Academic institutions should not lend their good names to Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights. We hope to see all Chilean universities fully free of Israeli apartheid.

BDS Chile celebrated the victory:

We welcome the decisions of Alberto Hurtado University and the University of Chile. The Palestinian people expect principled acts of solidarity in support of their human rights and the respect of international law. These cancellations demonstrate Chilean students’ determination to denounce Israel’s oppression and to work towards interrupting our universities’ ties with institutions complicit in Israeli apartheid.

This latest news is another stride in the growing academic boycott of Israel in Chile. Last year, law faculty students at the University of Chile overwhelmingly voted in support of BDS, as did more than 90% of the social sciences students. At the Catholic University of Chile, the Student Council also passed a BDS resolution by a large majority.

The cancellations are also another strike against the Israel Antiquities Authority. At the end of 2016, the 8th World Archaeological Congress published a resolution condemning Israel’s excavations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and called on international academic publishers to refuse publishing works related to archaeological research in those areas.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was initiated in 2004 to contribute to the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality. PACBI advocates for the boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, given their deep and persistent complicity in Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law. Visit PACBI at https://bdsmovement.net/pacbi and follow us on Twitter @PACBI

June 10, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daughters of Argentine Dirty War Perpetrators March for Justice

teleSUR | June 4, 2017

Argentine women whose fathers were condemned for human rights abuses during the Dirty War (1974-1983) marched for the first time in the country’s history to defend “memory, truth and justice,” along with the national march against gender violence Saturday.

“Histories of disobedience. 30,000 reasons. Sons and daughters of people responsible for genocide support memory, truth and justice,” read a banner held by a group of seven women in the middle of the crowd.

The women, between 40 and 60 years old, decided to take part in the massive march against femicides known as #NiUnaMenos as the first public appearance of their recently-created organization.

“They are very brave. As much for their personal history than their awareness of the genocide,” Martina Mirabelles, a teacher, who applauded the women according to AFP.

Patricia Isasa, who was tortured and raped in three concentration camps when she was 16 years old, called the “huge efforts” of daughters of torturers against their fathers and the patriarchal society,“historical”. “They are all victims of these cruel men,” she said.

Erika Lederer is the daughter of Ricardo, an obstetrician who participated in the coup against Salvador Allende and headed the illegal maternity unit of a military hospital at Campo de Mayo, stealing the prisoners’ babies. He killed himself when an investigation was opened against him.

His daughter said she suspected what her father was doing since she was a child, asking him “uneasy questions.” She became a lawyer because her father prohibited her from studying philosophy as she wanted, arguing it was for “lefties.”

“At home, there was a lot of domestic violence, to the point that I’d think: if he can do this to me, he can do even worse to unknown people,” she recalled, mentioning her “solitude” as well as the “shame” she could not share with anyone else.

She used to ask her father if he regretted anything, but he never admitted any wrongdoing, she added.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Beyond the binary: Two states, one state, failed state, no state

 Al-Shabaka | May 30, 2017

Though the international community has hailed the two-state solution since the early 1990s, it has become clear that Israel’s fragmentation of Palestinian people and territory over the past 50 years aims to make a sovereign Palestinian state impossible. While politicians explain this as a result of misunderstandings or missed opportunities between the two parties, the accurate explanation is that Israel does not, in fact, desire two states. This outcome would undermine its goal of conserving preferential rights for Israeli Jews in the territory under its control. Numerous progressives now argue that one state with equal rights for all is the logical alternative. While such a binational state may be just, it is highly unlikely, especially in the short to medium term.

A number of more cynical alternatives are more probable:

– A prolonged and intensified status quo would see continued Israeli management of a non-sovereign and dependent Palestinian entity in the West Bank, as Al-Shabaka analyst Asem Khalil has pointed out. A temporary solution for Gaza could be reached with Egypt, with limited movement of goods and people. The Palestinian Authority (PA) would remain a group of elite intermediaries to the Palestinian population, and the Palestinian entity’s lack of fiscal or developmental capacity would help render it a failed state.

– Over time, this scenario could become more deeply institutionalized through a permanent no-state solution, as my own analysis shows, whereby Israel perpetually controls the Palestinians while assigning some domains of governance to a non-sovereign local authority.

– A similar outcome would involve three states comprising Israel, a demilitarized mini-state in the Gaza Strip contained by Egypt, and a (settler) “State of the West Bank.”

The potential chaos of a post-Abbas era amplifies the likelihood of these scenarios. Any violent struggle for power within Fatah would lead to further fragmentation, and would strengthen Israel’s ability to promote statehood for Palestinians in Gaza while entrenching its presence in the West Bank. If the PA were to collapse, a wave of migration toward the East Bank could further increase the possibility of these outcomes.

Policy recommendations

1. Those serious about a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must move beyond the one or two-state binary and discuss the implications of a no-state solution for Palestinian self-determination.

2. Palestinians must recognize the potential for the status quo to become a permanent erosion of their rights in the absence of successful resistance strategies.

3. The international community must relinquish its assumption that the status quo is a post-Oslo transitional period, along with its “wait and see” approach. It must admit the failure of this policy and establish enforcement mechanisms, including regarding breaches of international law, that threaten to ossify the condition of apartheid.

Al-Shabaka is an independent non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and foster public debate on Palestinian human rights and self-determination within the framework of international law. This brief is written by Al-Shabaka policy member Amal Ahmad.

May 31, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 3 Comments

End the Greedy Silence – Enough Already!

By Ralph Nader | May 30, 2017

It is time Americans rise up against the corruption, inefficiency, and cruelty of our healthcare system and tell its corporate captors and Congress – Enough Already!

For decades other countries have guaranteed universal health insurance for all their people, at lower costs and better outcomes (President Truman proposed it 72 years ago in the US). When are we going to break out of this taxpayer-subsidized prison built by the giant insurance companies, drug goliaths and monopolizing hospital chains?

How long is Uncle Sucker going to pay through the nose for gouging drug prices, patient-denying health insurance companies and all the brutal fine print rules in consumer contracts whose trap doors are maddening tens of millions of Americans?

Deductibles, exclusions, waivers, co-pays, corporate immunities from injured patients, disqualifying changes in patients’ status and just plain stonewalling are just some examples of this cruel madness.

Not to mention the endless electronic bills with their inscrutable codes and unchallengeable charges – that is if you can get anyone on the phone to answer your questions. Billing fraud and abuses alone cost us up to $330 billion a year!

Why do we put up with “pay or die” drug prices? Why do we tolerate our fellow Americans dying in the tens of thousands each year because they cannot afford health insurance to get diagnosed and treated in time?

Do we know that the profiteering drug companies regularly are given a slew of handouts, including huge tax breaks, free drugs developed by our National Institutes of Health, and few restraints on their high pressure sales of dangerous and addictive drugs (eg opioids) or, together with their corporate middlemen, return the favor by charging Americans the highest prices in the world? Other countries put limits on such blatant greed and exploitation.

Groping for ever more profits, the big drug companies offshore production to less regulated labs in China and India, which amount to 60% of the drugs we buy and 80% of the active ingredients in all medicines sold in the US. Unpatriotic in the extreme!

Compounding these inhumane practices is a supine Congress, with few exceptions like Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D, TX), and state legislatures, misusing the power we entrusted to them. These legislators see large pharmaceutical companies as honey pots for campaign cash that work as hush money paid by hordes of drug industry lobbyists. So craven was the majority in Congress in 2003 that, when the drug benefits bill was passed, it prohibited Medicare from negotiating volume discounts for this lucrative corporate sales bonanza (Past Congresses authorized the Pentagon and Veterans Administration to bargain and they get lower prices as a result).

Despite the fact that these healthcare challenges have been dealt with more humanely and economically by other Western countries in the world, Americans are consistently told to tolerate an aggravating status quo. Scores of books, articles and television exposés highlight all the ways we’re pushed around, denied, excluded, harmed, overcharged and deceived, yet so many of these authors still maintain that our system of health insurance/healthcare can’t be replaced with a much better one? So these writers continue to advise us how to duck, slide and swivel our escape from a few of these commercials chains and scams.

In all the fine articles written to help consumers navigate Obamacare, Medicare, and private health plans, the authors trap themselves in this vast corporate cul-de-sac by never mentioning the way out.

That way is Single Payer or Full Medicare for all, everybody in, nobody out, with free choice of doctors and hospitals – at far lower costs, mortality and morbidity. These narrow reformers can’t escape their “it ain’t going to happen here” syndrome.

Really? Don’t they know that the public has long viewed Single Payer favorably (including a majority of doctors and nurses), even without political leaders standing up for it or mass media reporting this proven safe path.

The surrender to corporate tyranny infects the 112 members of the House of Representatives who have co-signed HR 676 to create full Medicare for all. They signed, but then gave in to a silent resignation by not fighting for it in Congress and back home.

When the companies and their apologists argue for a “free market” approach to healthcare, you can retort – what free market? Half the money coming to these companies is from the federal, state and local governments. Taxpayers also pay tens of billions of dollars for much of the discovery and testing of drugs. Tax breaks and loopholes in patent laws block generic drugs and distort the free market.

Drug patents are by definition monopolies. Concentration by mergers and acquisitions of hospitals, clinics and physician practices (note dwindling independent cardiology practices) raise serious anti-trust issues. Fine print contract peonage takes away the consumers’ freedom of contract, as do the daily buy and sell equations, so often rendered by third parties for patients. Corporate billing and other crimes are endemic. What free market?

Each of you can help the Single Payer movement build momentum. Ask your members of Congress in writing if they support HR 676 and, if not, demand their appearance in person at a town meeting arranged by people like you to answer why. If they refuse, peacefully picket their local offices.

Ask the newspapers, radio and television stations, including the culpable public radio and public television, when are they going to cover the basic full Medicare reform supported by tens of millions of their listeners and viewers?

Finally, go to the website SinglePayerAction.org to find out what other people are doing and what more you can do with your friends and co-workers.

One percent of you, together with popular backing, can make it happen, through a persistent civic hobby. Remember, you only have to turn around less than 450 members of Congress.

Enough Already?

May 31, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , | 1 Comment

Palestinian women’s center to keep name despite pressure from UN, Norway

Poster of Dalal al-Mughrabi, published by Al-Asifah in 1978 (Source: The Palestine Poster Project Archives)
Ma’an – May 30, 2017

BETHLEHEM – Days after Norway pulled its sponsorship from an occupied West Bank women’s community center and demanded a refund for construction costs from the Palestinian Authority (PA), with the United Nations (UN) promptly pulling its backing as well, the center has reportedly said it will not change its name, which the UN said “glorifies terrorism.”

The Dalal al-Mughrabi Women’s Community Center — named after a fighter in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) who played a role in a 1978 attack that left over 30 Israelis and 12 Palestinian fighters dead, including al-Mughrabi herself — was built in the Nablus-area village of Burqa in the northern West Bank.

The center was sponsored by both the UN and the Norwegian government, who provided partial financial support for the construction of the center, which had remained nameless until it was officially inaugurated earlier this month.

Official PA-owned Wafa news agency reported Tuesday that the head of the Burqa village council, Sami Daghlas, said “the center has no intention of caving in to the pressure and changing its name.”

Daghlas told Wafa that the center was built “to serve and empower young women in the village and to help them develop to become active members in society.”

According to Daghlas, the name Dalal al-Mughrabi was chosen by the villagers “to commemorate a Palestinian hero who sacrificed herself for her country and therefore they have no intention to change its name, regardless of the price.”

“Instead of fighting a community center that does not exceed 50 square meters in area and works on serving young women in the community, they should be objecting to regular attacks by (Israeli) settlers against the village and its people and to allow farmers to reach their land that was taken away from them,” Daghlas said, as he expressed his surprise at the actions of the UN and Norway, which he said were done “to satisfy Israel.”

The Times of Israel reported last week that the Norwegian Foreign Minister had condemned the PA for the name choice of the center, saying “Norway will not allow itself to be associated with institutions that take the names of terrorists in this way,” and demanded that the PA reimburse Norway for the costs contributed to the center.

In his interview with Wafa, Daghlas said that the people of Burqa did not object to returning the money to Norway, which he said “was only few thousand dollars used to repair and refurbish the building, and would never capitulate to pressure and blackmail.”

One day after Norway’s move to pull funding from the center, the UN pulled its sponsorship from the center, which it called “offensive.”

“The United Nations disassociated itself from the Center once it learned the offensive name chosen for it and will take measures to ensure that such incidents do not take place in the future,” the Times of Israel said, quoting a statement from Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“The glorification of terrorism, or the perpetrators of heinous terrorist acts, is unacceptable under any circumstances,” the UN statement said, adding that the UN had requested that the logo of UN Women be removed from the building.

According to Wafa, Daghlas said that the UN was responsible for funding some projects put on by the center.

Wafa also quoted Ahmad Majdalani, member of the Executive Committee of the PLO, as saying that “Israel glorifies Jewish terrorists and pays them money and no one objects to that,” referencing the assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and other Jewish extremists convicted of attacking and killing Palestinians and Israelis, who Majdalani said still receive Israeli government stipends through the national insurance plan.

May 30, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism | , , | 2 Comments

Israel regime threat to Middle East nations, humanity: Larijani

Press TV – May 29, 2017

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani says the “aggressive and racist” nature of the Israeli regime has always been and will remain a source of threat to the nations in the Middle East and humanity in general.

In a message on Monday, Larijani offered his congratulations to Secretary General of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, on the 17th anniversary of the liberation of southern Lebanon from the Israeli occupation.

He said resistance was the only way to liberate Palestine from the Israeli occupation.

“The multiple victories of the Islamic resistance [movement] against the Zionist regime (Israel) clearly demonstrate that the lofty aspirations of the Muslim Ummah for the liberation of the occupied Palestinian territories can be achieved only through harmony, solidarity and resistance,” Larijani added.

The top Iranian parliamentarian expressed confidence that unity and solidarity among different Lebanese groups would shape a “bright future” for people in Lebanon and the Islamic resistance movement.

The Israeli regime first invaded Lebanon in 1978 and later escalated the military operation into a full-scale offensive in 1982.

During the 22-year entanglement with Lebanon, the Israeli military took heavy blows from Lebanese resistance fighters and reportedly lost some 900 of its soldiers.

Following the 1982 offensive, known as the First Lebanon War, Tel Aviv refused to leave southern Lebanon and kept its military presence there in defiance of the UN Security Council Resolution 425 that called on the regime to immediately withdraw.

However, the Zionist enemy eventually buckled under the resistance put up by Hezbollah fighters and pulled out its forces from the occupied areas overnight on May 24, 2000, in what observers call a humiliating defeat for the regime in Tel Aviv and a glorious victory for Hezbollah.

Hezbollah’s victory also served as a source of inspiration for the Palestinians, who launched their second anti-Israel uprising, known as al-Aqsa Intifada, in the occupied territories only four months after Tel Aviv’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

Addressing the Lebanese nation from the southern city of Hermel on Thursday, Nasrallah said when southern Lebanon was occupied by Israel, no country in the world except Iran and Syria helped end the occupation.

He added that the resistance has grown strong enough not to wait for support from the rest of the world or from inside or outside the country.

May 29, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment