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Report: Ongoing Nakba Must End. Time Has Come for the International Community to Act

World  (tags: Nakba-dispossession, nakba day 2018, Nakba-the catastrophe, WAFA, Nakba Day excessive force, media, middle-east, news, palestine, world, usa, violence, HumanRights, crime, death, humans )

- 160 days ago -
The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council has issued a statement entitled: The ongoing Nakba must end: the time has come for the international community to act


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fly b (26)
Saturday May 12, 2018, 6:03 pm
Report: Ongoing Nakba Must End — Time Has Come for the International Community to Act.
May 11, 2018

The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council has issued a statement entitled: “The ongoing Nakba must end: the time has come for the international community to act.” (WAFA)

For the Palestinian people, 70 years of Nakba means seven decades of subjugation by Israel, characterized by occupation, apartheid and colonial policies and practices. It also attests to the chronic inaction and failure of the international community to fulfill its obligations and responsibilities under international law, to a lack of accountability and protection, and to the continued support of a shallow and biased peace process incapable of bringing about peace or justice. Nevertheless, after 70 years of Nakba, the Palestinian people remain resolute in demanding their most fundamental rights to return and self-determination.

Today, at least 8.26 million of 12.7 million Palestinians are forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of Israel’s ongoing policies of population transfer, annexation and colonization. Israel has persisted in its denial of reparations, refusing forcibly displaced Palestinians the right to return, restitution, compensation and guarantees of non-repetition as articulated in numerous UN resolutions. The remaining one third of non-displaced Palestinians, spread across Mandatory Palestine, is subject to ongoing policies of forcible displacement by Israel.

In recent years there has been a growing campaign led by Israel and the United States (U.S.) to terminate the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), the international body mandated to provide humanitarian assistance to Palestinian refugees. This is not the first attempt by Israel to delegitimize UNRWA, nor is it the first time a U.S. administration has withheld, or threatened to withhold, funding to UNRWA as a form of political blackmail. The voluntary nature of UNRWA’s funding, however, has made the provision of its services dependent of the will of donors and, consequently, has rendered it vulnerable to political pressure and interference. In fact, a historical analysis of Israel’s demands and U.S. conduct from the outset of the Oslo ‘peace process’ reveals an organized and targeted strategy designed to eradicate the fundamental rights of Palestinians in general, and the rights of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons in particular. This strategy is intricately linked to the demise of UNRWA, which serves as a reminder of the international community’s failure to find a viable solution for the world’s largest and longest standing displaced population. This situation has resulted in a severe financial crisis at UNRWA that has significantly affected the Agency’s capacity to provide the most basic services to Palestinian refugees.

On 6 December 2017, U.S. President Trump announced Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, becoming the first state in the world to recognize Israel’s unlawful annexation of the city. International consensus over the past seven decades has rejected claims by Israel to sovereign rights over the city of Jerusalem and condemned Israeli measures that have sought to alter the character of the city as having no legal validity, as reaffirmed by numerous UN resolutions. U.S. President Trump broke with this international consensus by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordering the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump’s declaration not only violates international law, it also deepens Israel’s unlawful annexation of East Jerusalem and illegal colonial and settlement enterprise in and around the city. Moreover, the declaration signifies a change in policy regarding final status issues which directly affect the conflict. The U.S.’s recent policies vis-à-vis Palestinian refugees, UNRWA and Jerusalem show a clear bias in favor of Israel, rendering the U.S. unfit to play a mediating role in peace efforts.

With the chronic lack of just and durable solutions, Palestinians organized marches demanding the right of return in the 1990s. The March of Return has been organized by Palestinians in Israel annually since 1998, each year taking place in a different village forcibly depopulated during the Nakba. The march has become the biggest event of the year for Palestinian citizens of Israel, with growing participation across the political and geographical spectrum, as well as from Palestinian youth. More recently in the Gaza Strip, the Great March of Return has seen thousands of Palestinians protesting for the realization of their fundamental rights and the end of the eleven years closure of the Gaza Strip.

Israel has responded to these protests with excessive, lethal force. Since the march started on 30 March 2018, Israeli forces have killed 40 Palestinians at the protests,including five children, two journalists, and two people with disabilities. Approximately 4,000 people have also been injured, over 2,000 from live ammunition. The willful killing and injuring of unarmed protesters represents a flagrant violation of international human rights law and constitutes a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It also constitutes a crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. These practices attest to the continued domination and subjugation of the Palestinian people. The marches, and Israel’s excessive use of force and unlawful killings, demonstrate the urgent need to ensure protection for the Palestinian people and to hold Israel to account in accordance with international law.

The lack of durable solutions for Palestinian refugees is also of great significance in the context of the destructive conflicts within Arab countries. These conflicts have resulted in secondary mass displacement of Palestinian refugees. During the war in Syria, of the 560,000 Palestinian refugees present in the country before the commencement of the war, 400,000 have been displaced, 120,000 outside the country and 280,000 internally, most of them requiring immediate humanitarian assistance.

The inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, principally to self-determination and reparations for forcible displacement, cannot be ensured by the humanitarian and political approaches currently deployed by the international community, which are based on an immense imbalance of power and lack any foundation in international law. Any just and durable solution to the Palestinian Question must begin with the adoption of a rights-based approach. Failure to do so will maintain a status quo in which international protection is absent, and in which Palestinians are condemned to a fate of acute hardship and further displacement. The passivity of the international community not only impacts those who have already been displaced, but also encourages further displacement as Israel continues to enjoy impunity for systematic and grievous violations of international law.

PHROC believes that a just and durable solution is impossible without the adoption of a strategy based upon justice, international law, and relevant international resolutions, including UN General Assembly Resolution 194 and UN Security Council Resolution 237. It reasserts that the international community must:
•Take all measures to ensure Israel’s compliance with its obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law;
•Genuinely strive to secure international protection – including durable solutions – for Palestinian refugees, primarily their rights of return and to self-determination;
•Ensure regular funding for the UNRWA is secured in order to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance and protection to all forcibly displaced Palestinians.

05/10/18 Higher National Commission of Great March of Return and Breaking of Siege Appeals to International Community to Save Gaza.

fly b (26)
Saturday May 12, 2018, 6:04 pm
In a press conference, on Wednesday, at the Palestinian Ministry of Information, the Higher National Commission of the Great March of Return and Breaking of the Gaza Siege appealed the international community, at all levels, to urgently intervene on behalf of the Palestinian people in obtaining their basic human rights, and ending the dehumanizing and unjust siege on the Gaza Strip.

“On 30 March, 2018, we, the Palestinian people in Gaza, launched a wide scale peaceful campaign: The Great March of Return in order to obtain our basic human rights, namely our right of return and to live in honor and dignity، by breaking the siege on Gaza,” the commission said.

‏It added: “For the last seventy years, we have been trying to achieve our right of return to our homes and property from which we were displaced when “Israel” was established, or, what we call it: ‘The Nakba’.”

The commission stressed that the Palestinian right of return has been guaranteed by the international law and reaffirmed by UN resolution 194, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, saying, “For decades, we have been suffering from the misery of homelessness and persecution of Israeli occupation.”

‏The Gaza Strip has also been suffering a 12-year Israeli-imposed siege which is illegal, immoral, unjust and dehumanizing. In 2003, Baruch Kimmerling described Gaza as: “the biggest concentration camp ever,” the commission pointed out.

The commission concluded, according to Al Ray, by appealing to the world and encouraging them to stand by the Palestinian people in attaining their freedom, independence and self-determination, and to call for the immediately lift the brutal siege imposed on the region.

For detailed document

fly b (26)
Saturday May 12, 2018, 6:12 pm
Hold Israel Accountable for Gaza Land Day Killings. (Video 2:19)
Apr 6, 2018

Israeli snipers used live fire on Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza on Friday, March 30, 2018, killing at least 18 and injuring more than 1,400.

It is past time to end Israel’s impunity to using excessive force against Palestinians.

Email your Members of Congress now to demand the US open an investigation into Israel’s unlawful killing of Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza:

US Must Hold Israel Accountable for Gaza Land Day Massacre.

On March 30, 2018, the Israeli military met unarmed Palestinian protesters participating in the Great Return March with lethal and excessive force.

Israeli snipers killed at least 18 Palestinians and injured more than 1,400 with live fire, actions that Human Rights Watch are calling "unlawful." Since then, Israel has continued to shoot at unarmed protesters, killing a total of 41 Palestinians, including at least three children and a journalist.

Israel is expecting to act with impunity – again. But you can help hold it accountable for its excessive use of force against Palestinian demonstrators.

Israel is the largest recipient of US military aid, and several US laws require the imposition of sanctions against a government which uses US military aid to commit human rights abuses.

Contact your Members of Congress today and demand an investigation to hold Israel accountable for violating these laws.

Great Return March.


fly b (26)
Saturday May 12, 2018, 6:35 pm
Eclipsing Factionalism: The Missing Story from the Gaza Protests.
May 10, 2018

By Ramzy Baroud

The Gaza border protests must be understood in the context of the Israeli Occupation, the siege and the long-delayed ‘Right of Return’ for Palestinian refugees. However, they should also be appreciated in a parallel context: Palestine’s own factionalism and infighting.

Factionalism in Palestinian society is a deep-rooted ailment that has, for decades, thwarted any unified effort at ending the Israeli military Occupation and Apartheid.

The Fatah and Hamas political rivalry has been catastrophic, for it takes place at a time that the Israel colonial project and land theft in the West Bank are occurring at an accelerated rate.

In Gaza, the siege continues to be as suffocating and deadly. Israel’s decade-long blockade, combined with regional neglect and a prolonged feud between factions have all served to drive Gazans to the brink of starvation and political despair.

The mass protests in Gaza, which began on March 30 and are expected to end on May 15 are the people’s response to this despondent reality. It is not just about underscoring the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees. The protests are also about reclaiming the agenda, transcending political infighting and giving voice back to the people.

Inexcusable actions become tolerable with the passing of time. So has been the case with Israel’s Occupation that, year after year, swallows up more Palestinian land. Today, the Occupation is, more or less, the status quo.

The Palestinian leadership suffers the same imprisonment as its people, and geographic and ideological differences have compromised the integrity of Fatah as much as Hamas, deeming them irrelevant at home and on the world stage.

But never before has this internal division been weaponized so effectively so as to delegitimize an entire people’s claim for basic human rights. ‘The Palestinians are divided, so they must stay imprisoned.

The strong bond between US President Donald Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is being accompanied by a political discourse that has no sympathy for Palestinians whatsoever. According to this narrative, even families protesting peacefully at the Gaza the border is termed as a ‘state of war’, as the Israeli army declared in a recent statement.

Commenting on the Israeli killing of scores and wounding of hundreds in Gaza, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, repeated a familiar mantra while on a visit to the region: “We do believe the Israelis have a right to defend themselves.”

Thus, Palestinians are now trapped – West Bankers are under Occupation, surrounded by walls, checkpoints, and Jewish settlements, while Gazans are under a hermetic siege that has lasted a decade. Yet, despite this painful reality, Fatah and Hamas seem to have their focus and priorities elsewhere.

Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, following the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords, Fatah dominated Palestinian politics, marginalized its rivals and cracked down on any opposition. While it operated under the Israeli military Occupation in the West Bank, it still thrived financially as billions of dollars of aid money poured in.

More, the PA has used its financial leverage to maintain its control over Palestinians, thus compounding the oppressive Israeli Occupation and various forms of military control.

Since then, money has corrupted the Palestinian cause. ‘Donors’ money’, billions of dollars received by the PA in Ramallah has turned a revolution and a national liberation project into a massive financial racket with many benefactors and beneficiaries. Most Palestinians, however, remain poor. Unemployment today is skyrocketing.

Throughout his conflict with Hamas, Abbas never hesitated to collectively punish Palestinians to score political points. Starting last year, he took a series of punitive financial measures against Gaza, including the suspicious PA payments to Israel for electricity supplies to Gaza, while cutting off salaries to tens of thousands of Gaza’s employees who had continued to receive their paycheck from the West Bank authority.

This tragic political theater has been taking place for over ten years without the parties finding common ground to move beyond their scuffles.

Various attempts at reconciliations were thwarted, if not by the parties themselves, then by external factors. The last of such agreements was signed in Cairo last October. Although initially promising, the agreement soon faltered.

Last March, an apparent assassination attempt to kill PA Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, had both parties accuse one another of responsibility. Hamas contends that the culprits are PA agents, bent on destroying the unity deal, while Abbas readily accused Hamas of trying to kill the head of his government.

Hamas is desperate for a lifeline to end the siege on Gaza and killing Hamdallah would have been political suicide. Much of Gaza’s infrastructure stands in ruins, thanks to successive Israeli wars that killed thousands. The tight siege is making it impossible for Gaza to be rebuilt, or for the ailing infrastructure to be repaired.

Even as tens of thousands of Palestinians protested at the Gaza border, both Fatah and Hamas offered their own narratives, trying to use the protests to underscore, or hype, their own popularity amongst Palestinians.

Frustrated by the attention the protests have provided Hamas, Fatah attempted to hold counter-rallies in support of Abbas throughout the West Bank. The outcome was predictably embarrassing as only small crowds of Fatah loyalists gathered.

Later, Abbas chaired a meeting of the defunct Palestinian National Council (PNC) in Ramallah to tout his supposed achievements in the Palestinian national struggle.

The PNC is considered the legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Like the PLO, it has been relegated for many years in favor of the Fatah-dominated PA. The PA leader handpicked new members to join the PNC, only to ensure the future of all political institutions conforms to his will.

In the backdrop of such dismaying reality, thousands more continue to flock to the Gaza border.

Palestinians, disenchanted with factional division, are laboring to create a new political space, independent from the whims of factions; because, for them, the real fight is that against Israeli Occupation, for Palestinian freedom and nothing else.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His forthcoming book is ‘The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story’ (Pluto Press, London). Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California Santa Barbara. His website is

fly b (26)
Sunday May 13, 2018, 9:52 pm
Events for May 14, 2018

Philadelphia: Palestinian Great March of Return – Solidarity Rally

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn: Jerusalem is Palestinian! Rally to end 70 years of colonialism

Montreal: Nakba 70 Action

Milwaukee: Nakba70 Rally and March

Prague: Protest against US Embassy Move, 70 Years of Nakba, Killings in Gaza

Athens: Solidarity with Palestinians against Israeli Occupation

London: Protest at the US Embassy for #Nakba70 and Right of Return

Detroit: Nakba Day – Jerusalem is (still) the capital of Palestine!

Berlin: 70 Years of Nakba

Events for 15 May 2018

Window Rock: Nakba: Diné Solidarity with Great Return March

Cape Town: National Protest for the #GreatReturnMarch and Against Israeli Apartheid

Vancouver: Mark Nakba70 – End Canadian Complicity

Johannesburg: Palestine Picket at the US Consulate

Copenhagen: Nakba=Catastrophe

Winnipeg: Al-Nakba 70 – Hope Lives in Remembrance

15 May, Odense: Commemoration of al-Nakba

Aalborg: We will never forget al-Nakba!

Washington DC: 70 Years too Long – Nakba Vigil and Storytelling

Oslo: Marking the Nakba, 70 Years of Exile

Helsinki: Protest 70 Years of Nakba

Gothenburg: Demonstration for Palestine

Stockholm: 70 years of displacement – Rally for a Free Palestine

London: Nakba Candlelight Vigil 1948-2018

Athens: 70 Years of Nakba, the struggle continues until the liberation of Palestine

Berlin: 70 Years of Nakba – Solidarity Demonstration for Palestine

Sydney: Protest for Palestine – 70 Years of Nakba

Malmo: Film and Conversation – Al Nakba, 70 Years of Exile

Manchester: Solidarity with Student Prisoners! Resist political detention!

Montevideo: 70 Years of Al-Nakba, 70 Years of Resistance

Sevilla: Nakba – 70 years of the occupation of Palestine

Valladolid: Rally to commemorate Al-Nakba

Gothenburg: Demonstration for Palestine

fly b (26)
Sunday May 13, 2018, 11:20 pm
Haaretz: Gaza Doctors: Israeli Fire at Border Protests Causing Wounds Not Seen Since 2014 War

fly b (26)
Monday May 14, 2018, 12:04 am
Israeli Shootings of Palestinians in Gaza “A Violation of International Law”.
May 13, 2018

UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk outlined on Canadian television why Israel’s attacks against Gazans in the March of Return violate international law. We speak to Peter Larson of Canada Talks Israel Palestine, who recently returned from Gaza.


SHARMINI PERIES: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore.

The Palestinian March of Return in Gaza continues, with tens of thousands of protesters demanding the right to leave what has become known as the world’s largest open-air prison, the Gaza Strip. The protests are expected to culminate to next week on May 15, the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, the deportation of most of the native population of Palestine, and what has now become the state of Israel. Israel is also celebrating its formation of the state of Israel on that very day. It is going to be a [inaudible] one.

In the meantime in Gaza, so far Israeli forces have killed over 50 Palestinian protesters and injured thousands. U.N. Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk has stated that what the state of Israel is doing by killing and maiming protesters by sniper fire is a violation of international law, when he was interviewed on Canadian television, CTV. Let’s have a listen.

MICHAEL LYNK: Most of the demonstrations, in fact, are unarmed demonstrations. The violence is really coming from the fire shot at them by the Israeli Defense Forces. Over the last, past five Fridays we’ve had over 40 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and over 5000 Israeli-Palestinians injured, including 1700 by live fire. Of the 1700, a number of these are very devastating injuries. The doctors at the main hospitals in Gaza are reporting that high velocity ammunition has been used against them. They’re reporting patients who are arriving with significant internal damage to tissue, to bone, to organs, where there are narrow entry wounds by the ammunition and high velocity, large exit wounds, which, all of which, I must point out, probably is in violation of international law. It’s an international law, it’s a violation of international law for security forces of any sort to be using deadly ammunition fire against unarmed protesters.

Deadly, lethal fire is only permitted as a last resort, only when the lives or safety of the security forces are in imminent threat of either danger or or death. It doesn’t appear to be the case so far in these five Fridays of demonstrations.

SHARMINI PERIES: Shortly after this interview was aired, the Special Repertoire Lynk, Michael Lynk, was accused of lying by the Israeli lobby group Honest Reporting Canada, who also condemned CTV for giving the special repertoire airtime. The special rapporteur’s claims made in that interview and also in a press release was supported in a recent statement by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, both of whom says that Israel was unlawfully killing and maiming protesters, and several other U.N. officials and of UN bodies joined and issued another statement, which was a joint press statement, which lays out in more detail why international human rights experts consider IDF sniper fire a potential violation of international law.

And to add to that, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has warned Israel that its action could constitute crimes under the Rome Statute. Here is how U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley responded to the UN reports on the Israeli violence in Gaza, and trying to blame the deaths that have occurred thus far on the Palestinian Hamas party.

NIKKI HALEY: Anyone who truly cares about children in Gaza should insist that Hamas immediately stop using children as cannon fodder in its conflict with Israel.

SHARMINI PERIES: With us to discuss all of this is Peter Larson. He has just returned from Gaza, and he represents an organization in Canada called Canada Talks Israel Palestine. Dr. Peter Larson writes a regular blog on the same site, and a frequent visitor to the region. Peter, I thank you so much for joining us.

PETER LARSON: Good to be here, thank you.

SHARMINI PERIES: So, Peter, you’ve just returned from Gaza, where you observed the March of Return, and took some videos, which we will be showing our viewers as we do this interview. I want to ask you, when pro-Israeli groups say that Palestinians are threatening Israel with their protests, what did you see?

PETER LARSON: Sharmini, I went to one, of their five camps, I went to one of them on the 27th of April. And what I saw is really, there’s two parts to the demonstration. Part of it is just tents, bands, marches, food, clowns, right at the edge of the Israeli no-go zone. And then there are some young people who are more aggressive, more courageous, who are daring to oppose the Israelis, yelling at them, throwing stones and so on. But as I could see, none of the stones could come anywhere near to reaching the Israelis.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right. Did you see any weapons on any of them?

PETER LARSON: I didn’t see that. I didn’t see any weapons. I didn’t see any stones. And I didn’t, I guess if you could call a a tire a weapon, I saw them pulling some tires down to burn them to the front. But even the front, Israel has established two separate fences on the Palestinian side. So even at the first fence it’s still another 50 or 60 yards from the perimeter fence, which defines Gaza.

SHARMINI PERIES: Right. So as we heard, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador at the UN, and when you listen to Prime Minister Netanyahu from Israel and other spokespeople from the government of Israel you are hearing more or less the same talking points. Trying to blame Hamas for what is going on on the ground, which they repeatedly say is violence that is created by Hamas. And what we have been witnessing, what people on the ground and what our reporters on the ground are reporting, is that largely the protesters are peaceful, free of any form of violence, well away from the actual military installations on the Israeli side. So tell us, you know, is this picture that I’ve just painted correct? What are your observations in terms of who’s organizing the march? Is it peaceful, and is Hamas involved?

PETER LARSON: There is a committee, a public committee, that includes groups like student unions, the bar association, women’s groups. It also includes Hamas and Fatah and so on, political parties. Hamas and Fatah are definitely involved. But based on what I saw, they are big political parties that have lots of members. It would be surprising if they weren’t involved. But it certainly did not appear to me that they were running it, or coordinating it. On the contrary.

SHARMINI PERIES: And were you witness to any of the sniper fires that was going on? I mean, we now have a total of about 50 people that have been killed by sniper fire. Did you witness any of that?

PETER LARSON: Yes I did. I’m not qualified to tell the difference between sniper and regular, a regular rifle. I certainly heard gunfire I could hear some automatic fire, and the occasional individual shots. I saw someone get hit about 50 meters in front of me, and I was standing at that time, I would say, 250 meters away from the Israeli perimeter fence. And we were being bombarded by tear gas, also I would estimate a good 250 meters into the, what the Israelis call the no-go area. Israel has unilaterally decided that Palestinians are not allowed to approach the perimeter fence, and so just doing so by the Palestinians is an act of defiance.

SHARMINI PERIES: Now, the interview that is in controversy in Canada, with the Special Rapporteur Lynk, who is on, who was on CTV. Now, he’s been condemned for saying what he did, plus CTV is being charged with giving the special rapporteur airtime. Tell us what you thought of the interview that took place on CTV, and was it, what was he saying anything that was contrary to what you witnessed?

PETER LARSON: No, I think what Michael Lynk was saying was quite consistent with what I saw. Now, I wasn’t at every place. There are five different camps. It was on different days. I went to two different camps on two different days. And in general I saw, it was overwhelming. You might be interested, I have a note here that I received from one of the organizers, who points out that this is a huge thing, and there are lots of young people in Gaza who are very unhappy and very angry. It’s not really possible to control them. The organizing committee has said that they don’t really approve of burning Israeli flags. They don’t really approve of flying those kites over and trying to cause, because they don’t really affect anything, and they just give a bad image. They don’t really approve of trying to break through the fence. But there are lots of young people who have been born in Gaza, never allowed to exit from it, and they can’t really control everybody.

SHARMINI PERIES: And Peter, you have a letter that was just sent to you by one of the organizers. Can you tell us who it is and read it for us?

PETER LARSON: Sure. So that’s from Ahmed Ratima. He’s 35-year-old Palestinian man from Gaza. He published a blog post in December saying we should do something like this. And it kind of caught fire. Because I think, and this is my view, not his, and my words, not his, that it’s clear that yes, the Palestinians in Gaza are going to resolve the problem, they have to have outside support. He says that this desperation is fueling this new generation. We’re not going back. He intends it to be entirely peaceful.

I think one of the most striking images in my mind is the picture of Hamas leaders standing up addressing the crowd, and behind them pictures of Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela. Now, for Hamas to be openly talking about nonviolent resistance is quite extraordinary. And I think that captures the sense of the organizing committee. We’ll see. I think there will be doubters. But I think we’ll see going forward that there has been a sea change here in an understanding of how this issue has to be addressed.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, Peter, I thank you so much for joining us. Peter Larson, with Canada Talks Israel Palestine, I appreciate your honesty, and the fact that you shared your observations and what you witnessed with us. Thank you so much for joining us today.

fly b (26)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 12:25 am
“Horrific, unprecedented”: Israel massacres almost 60 Palestinians in Gaza. (PODCAST)
14 May 2018

A report from the Great March of Return, after Israeli forces kill dozens of Palestinians in Gaza; excerpts of talks by Ghada Karmi, Joseph Massad, Ilan Pappe and Salman Abu Sitta.

Read more here:…stinians-gaza

(Photo: Palestinian protesters demand their rights during the Great March of Return, Rafah, Gaza Strip, 14 May. Photo by Mahmoud Bassam/APA Images)

fly b (26)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 10:28 am
Today’s lead ‘NY Times’ article on the Gaza massacre is a model of dishonesty.
May 15, 2018

Today’s main New York Times article on Israel’s massacre of Gazan demonstrators — the lead front-page story in the print edition — is a masterpiece of deceit. The article, by David Halbfinger, employs the time tested tools of distortion, including classic Orientalism, dueling narratives, one-sided use of sources, and hiding the perpetrators behind passive sentences, topped off by outright dishonesty.

The distortion starts in the first sentence. “Across the Gaza Strip on Monday morning, loudspeakers on minarets urged Palestinians to rush the fence bordering Israel. . .” An Orientalist gem, insinuating that Gazan protesters are motivated by religious primitivism, instead of Israel’s crushing blockade and regular armed attacks.

“. . where they [the Gazans] were met by army snipers.” “Met” is hardly the appropriate word here, especially after another Times correspondent, Declan Walsh, has already described how far off Israeli snipers shot a woman in the stomach right in front of him on Sunday night.

“At least 58 were killed and thousands injured. . .” Passive voice; conceal the killers.

In paragraph 4, Halbfinger turns explicitly to dueling narratives. “For generations, both sides of the conflict have been locked in competing mutually negating narratives. . .” The implicit question: Who knows which side is right? This is post-modernism gone lethal, a view favored by Western liberals who sense something is terribly wrong but who are too cowardly to criticize Israel. Sometimes, one side of a dueling narrative is fundamentally true, and the other is a pack of lies.

Lower in the article are 4 short paragraphs reported from the standpoint of the Gazan demonstrators themselves.

But then immediately, a reverent respect for the Israeli military’s point of view. For 7 paragraphs, Halbfinger took dictation from the army’s mouthpiece, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, who asserted that the Gazans were: “planting or hurling explosives”; flying flaming kites into Israel; trying to slip armed fighters into Israel to “wreak havoc”; launching an armed attack on the border fence; and firing “numerous shots” at Israeli soldiers — all of which amounted to an “unprecedented level of violence.”

Next, stenographer Halbfinger writes that “Israel responded with gunfire and tear gas, and Israeli jets struck five targets in a Hamas military training facility. . .” This is Orwellian. Lt. Col. Conricus makes up or grossly exaggerates Gazan actions, and Halbfinger then calls Israel’s vicious attacks a ‘response’ to things that never happened.

Conricus also alleges that “one Israeli soldier was wounded by shrapnel from what was believed to be an explosive device.” Halbfinger fails to report that if true, this would be the very first injury to any Israeli whatsoever, whether soldier or civilian, in nearly 7 weeks of protest during which Israel has killed 107 Palestinians and injured another 13,000.

You have to pause to see what is happening here. Israel has just committed the biggest single massacre since its 2014 invasion of Gaza. The Times has 3 correspondents in Gaza, including the aforementioned Walsh, Iyad Abuheweila and Ibrahim El-Mughrabi — all of them doubtless risking their lives to report from amid the mass killing, and their shorter secondary article in today’s Times is helpful. But the paper’s main report gives them 4 puny paragraphs and devotes twice as much space to unsubstantiated claims from the proven liars of the Israeli military. This is truly taking “dueling narratives” to ugly ends.

Halbfinger does not quote a single human rights group, not even the respected Israeli organization B’Tselem, which has implored Israel’s soldiers not to fire at the Gazan demonstrators. Palestinians are dying by the dozens and being grievously wounded by the hundreds — Medicines Sans Frontieres said sniper bullets are leaving exit wounds the size of a fist — but Halbfinger did not let the Palestinians speak.

David Halbfinger is a skilled reporter and he must know exactly how he is distorting what is really happening in Gaza. We suspect he is under tremendous pressure — from the Israeli government, from his editors, from some of his readers. Until the pressure to tell the truth increases, he (and his colleagues) will continue to whitewash.

fly b (26)
Wednesday May 16, 2018, 2:59 am
Ben Gurion ’48 letter barred return to Haifa.
27 May 2015

Over many decades, Israel’s self-serving deceptions about the Nakba in 1948 have been exposed for the lies Palestinians already knew them to be.

It was long accepted in the west that, as Israel claimed, Palestinians left their homes because they had been ordered to do so by neighbouring Arab leaders. The lie usefully distracted diplomats and scholars from the much more pertinent question of why Israel had refused to allow 750,000 Palestinian refugees to return to their homes after the war finished, as international law demanded.

The myth about the Arab leaders’ order, which had been steadily undermined by the work of the “new historians” of the late 1980s, was decisively punctured two years ago by an Israeli scholar who was given the wrong file by Israeli army archivists. It showed the story of the Arab leaders’ order was concocted by Israeli officials.

The same files should also have ended an equally diverting and lengthy debate about how many Palestinian villages Israel ethnically cleansed in 1948. Most Palestinian scholars were agreed it was well over 500; Israeli experts variously claimed it was between 300 and 400. Not that hundreds of ethnically cleansed villages was not bad enough, but Israel was happy to engage in a debate designed to make Palestinians look like inveterate exaggerators. Again, Israel’s archives confirmed the Palestinian account, with 530 villages razed.

Now another, related deception has been exposed. For decades Israel’s supporters have been arguing that Haifa, one of Palestine’s most important cities, was not ethnically cleansed of its population. The tens of thousands of Palestinians who fled under Israeli attack in April 1948 were later urged to return, according to Israel’s supporters, but they chose not to. Further proof, it seemed, that the Palestinians had only themselves to blame for losing their homeland. They chose to stay away.

Strangely, none of Israel’s propagandists ever seriously tried to suggest that the other 700,00 or so Palestinian refugees had been invited back home. It seemed as if the welcome supposedly extended in Haifa was reason enough for all Palestinians in exile to put aside their fears of Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy at its new borders and make the journey home.

But now a letter signed by David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister and the engineer of its ethnic cleansing policy in 1948, shows that, far from Haifa’s doors being thrown open, Ben Gurion ordered that the refugees be barred from returning.

Written on 2 June 1948, the letter was sent to Abba Khoushy, soon to become Haifa’s mayor. It states: “I hear that Mr. Marriot [Cyril Marriot, the British consul in Haifa] is working to return the Arabs to Haifa. I don’t know how it is his business, but until the war is over we don’t want a return of the enemy. And all institutions should act accordingly.”

Of course, that policy was not reversed after the war, as Ben Gurion hinted it might be. And one can wonder how much more specific his orders were to his army commanders if this was what he was telling civilian administrators.

The myth about Haifa was encouraged by Golda Meir, who wrote in her autobiography that Ben Gurion told her: “I want you to immediately go to Haifa and see to it that the Arabs who remain in Haifa are treated appropriately. I also want you to try and persuade the Arabs who are already on the beach to return home. You have to get it into their heads that they have nothing to fear.”

Meir added: “I went immediately. I sat on the beach there and begged them to return home… I pleaded with them until I was exhausted but it didn’t work.”

Heartbreaking – if only it were true.

How much longer must we wait to explode all the other myths associated with the Nakba, and much of Israel’s history ever since?

fly b (26)
Wednesday May 16, 2018, 11:13 am
UK: Jews deliver message of condemnation to Israel

In a message to world leaders, international organization of Orthodox Jews against Zionism reiterates support for Palestine.



The anti-Zionist Neturei Karta organization has delivered a message of support and solidarity to Palestine as well as one of criticism and condemnation to Israel over its treatment of Palestinian civilians.

In a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Monday evening, Elahanan Beck, the chief rabbi of Neturei Karta, said “we have to realize and understand -- helping the state of Israel is not in the favor of Jewish people”.

“The Zionists say they want to make a safe haven for Jewish people, they want to help Jews… but this is untrue. The most dangerous place today for Jewish people -- not to speak for Palestinians, but even for Jews -- is in the state of Israel,” Beck said.

Praising Erdogan for withdrawing Turkey’s ambassador to Israel after the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, Beck said: “If you want to help the Jewish people, follow the example of what the Turkish president did: withdraw your ambassador from there and come out in the clear”.

Tensions have risen in the region after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December and ordered the opening of a new U.S. embassy in the disputed and occupied city, a decision that has earned him global criticism and has broken many agreements regarding Jerusalem’s status.

At least 62 Palestinian demonstrators on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel who were protesting the embassy’s inauguration were killed Monday by the Israeli Defense Forces.

The killings have sparked a global outcry, with many world leaders condemning Israel, which claimed it was in self-defense.

“We are against the state of Israel. We are against occupiers, and we have to bring peace to the region,” Beck added.

fly b (26)
Wednesday May 16, 2018, 12:01 pm
No More U.S. Weapons to Israel.

Sign this petition to the U.S. government:

End the provision of free weapons to the government of Israel.

fly b (26)
Thursday May 17, 2018, 9:06 am
Why Do So Many Denounce Authoritarianism From Trump and Putin — but Not Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu?

We hear a great deal from liberals in the West these days about the rise of authoritarian and illiberal governments across the world: from Putin’s Russia to Orbán’s Hungary; from Trump’s America to Erdogan’s Turkey; from Modi’s India to Duterte’s Philippines.

We don’t hear so much about Netanyahu’s Israel — despite the fact that the country, as former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami has conceded, “is succumbing to its deepest ethnocentric impulses” and is “now well on its way to joining the growing club of illiberal democracies, and it has Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to thank.”

Some might say “on its way” is an understatement. According to Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem, the Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, the Jewish state could be considered a founding member of that particular club because it has enjoyed a “significant head start” on the rest. For example, the practice of “describing the opposition and specifically human rights organizations as traitors, and then also calling for their criminal investigation … may sound familiar to listeners from various countries … in which authoritarian governments are on the rise,” he tells me on the latest episode of Deconstructed, “but, hey, Israel has been there way before.”

Consider the array of “anti-democratic” laws that have been passed by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, over the past decade; laws which have had a chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression. In 2011, there was the “Boycott Law,” which made any Israeli individual or organization that calls for a boycott against Israel liable to be sued for damages. There was also the “Nakba Law,” which authorized the Israeli finance ministry to cut state funding from institutions that reject Israel’s character as a “Jewish” state or mark the country’s Independence Day as a “day of mourning.” In 2015, there was the “NGO Law,” which targets foreign-funded human rights organizations inside Israel and was described by Meretz politician Mossi Raz as a “semi-fascistic law that harms democracy and silences dissent in a way that is reminiscent of Putin’s Russia.” (Of 27 organizations threatened by this law, 25 of them are left-wing or human rights groups.)

Then there is Israeli public opinion, in which the shift to the authoritarian and racist right has been remarkable in recent decades. According to polling by Pew, nearly half (48 percent) of Israeli Jews now support expelling Arabs from Israel, while the vast majority of them (79 percent) believe that they are entitled to deserve “preferential treatment” over non-Jewish minorities in Israel.

On Deconstructed, I also spoke to Avner Gvaryahu, a former paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces who now serves as executive director of Breaking the Silence, an Israeli NGO that is “particularly reviled among right-wing Israelis” because it collects anonymous testimonies from Israeli army veterans about abuses they either committed or witnessed during their service in the Occupied Territories. According to Gvaryahu, the Israeli right has created “a toxic environment that I think will backlash in the future, but at this point, it’s pretty much destroying what’s left of the liberal values in our country.”

For making such provocative claims and exposing possible war crimes perpetrated by the IDF in the Occupied Territories, Gvaryahu, El-Ad, and their fellow human rights activists in Israel have not only been targeted by anti-democratic laws, but they have also been subjected to verbal abuse, harassment, and death threats. Senior members of the Israeli government have piled in, too. You think Donald Trump calling CNN “fake news” is bad? Netanyahu has attacked Breaking the Silence for spreading “lies and slanders [against] our soldiers around the world.” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has accused members of B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence of being “complete traitors” who are funded by “those same foundations that fund Hamas.”

I asked Gvaryahu how he reacts to such vicious and personal attacks from the most senior officials in his country. “We sort of joke about this … amongst the members of Breaking the Silence: At what point did we become traitors? Was it … the first time we read a left-wing blogger as soldiers? Was it when we read … some book when we were guarding [Palestinian prisoners] that this idea popped into our head, and we started questioning what we’re doing — were we traitors then as well? When we shared our experiences coming back home, speaking to some of our family members — were we traitors then? Or did we only become traitors once we … [began] breaking our silence publicly?”

In recent weeks, IDF snipers have come under heavy criticism for shooting and killing dozens of unarmed Palestinian protesters, including children and journalists, at the border with Gaza. For Gvaryahu, “the truth of the matter is that there are soldiers who are probably on the border now who will be part of Breaking the Silence in the future. Are they already traitorous at this point?”

El-Ad says he is isn’t surprised by the hostile rhetoric. “For 50 years, we’ve been defining any Palestinian opposition to the occupation as incitement. Then why wouldn’t we start defining Israeli opposition to the occupation as incitement and gradually closing the gap between the two sides of the Green Line — but in the wrong direction?”

With El-Ad, Gvaryahu, and their organizations under constant attack from right-wing Israeli officials and news outlets, isn’t it shameful that leading liberals in the West aren’t speaking out in loud support of them? That they are so keen to denounce the illiberal and authoritarian behaviors of Trump or Vladimir Putin, but so willing to give Netanyahu a pass?

This current Israeli government — the most right-wing, anti-peace government in living memory — is bent on demonizing and delegitimizing its domestic critics, especially human rights activists and civil society groups. Freedom of speech and expression be damned!

Why? Because Jewish criticism of the Jewish state has always been harder to dismiss or ignore. Whether it was Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt in the 1940s … or Natalie Portman earlier this month. The Israeli-American actress provoked uproar in Israel after refusing to attend an awards ceremony in Tel Aviv because she said she “did not want to appear as endorsing Benjamin Netanyahu” and objected to the “mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities” in Israel. And what was the response from the Israeli government? Cabinet Minister Yuval Steinitz claimed Portman’s boycott “bordered on anti-Semitism.”

Anyone who speaks out against the Israeli government’s repressive behavior, both inside and across the Green Line, must be silenced. That is now the authoritarian and ultranationalistic mentality that dominates not just inside the Netanyahu cabinet, but in the Knesset, too. Earlier this year, Israeli legislators gave initial approval to an amendment allowing the education ministry to ban organizations critical of the IDF from entering schools. Members of the Knesset explicitly singled out Breaking the Silence while debating the amendment.

Gvaryahu believes such a sweeping and draconian measure would be difficult to defend in the courts. “But more interestingly,” he tells me, “is even though this has been in discussion and there is pushback on schools that invite us, we’re still invited. We had this pretty amazing experience a few months ago where high school students invited us, and their principals were actually scared from the pushback. And they decided to cancel.”

Nevertheless, the Breaking the Silence boss continues, “the students themselves said, ‘You know what? We’re going to meet them in our own time, in our own home’ — 17-, 18-year-olds! Like, how do you motivate 17-, 18-year-olds in this time and age to do anything? And they, on their own time, out of school, said, ‘We’ll invite you.’”

Gvaryahu, therefore, says he is an optimist and has no plans to give up his campaign against Israel’s illegal occupation or human rights abuses anytime soon — no matter how much pressure is applied from above, and no matter how little support he gets from liberals in the West. The former soldier believes that he and his fellow activists can continue “breaking the silence” in front of more and more Israelis, especially younger ones. “They’re closing a door,” he tells me, “we’re going in through the window.”

Deconstructed with Mehdi Hasan

The Killing Fields of Gaza.

Israeli activists speak out on the occupation of Gaza.

fly b (26)
Friday May 18, 2018, 7:22 pm
‘Killing Gaza’: A New Documentary on Palestinians Under Siege. 23:15
May 18, 2018

In their new film “Killing Gaza,” journalists Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal capture the harrowing stories of Palestinians who survived the 2014 Israeli assault, and their struggles to recover and persist under a crippling blockade. Watch video.

fly b (26)
Tuesday May 22, 2018, 7:02 am
Things have continued, to this day, sadly!

Born in Deir Yassin (TRAILER) 3:02

Born in Deir Yassin, Neta Shoshani, Israel, 2016

One of the most important documentaries shown at the November 2017 edition of The Other Israel Film Festival held by the Manhattan JCC [Jewish Community Center] was Born in Deir Yassin by Neta Shoshani. She introduces her production with text stating the essentials:

April 1948: The Jewish state and army are soon to be established in Palestine. The underground paramilitary organizations – the liberal “Haganah” and the radical “Irgun” and “Lahi” are still in conflict over the identity of the new nation. “Irgun” and “Lahi” attack and conquer the Arab village of Deir Yassin near Jerusalem. Rumors of a massacre spread, causing a mass exodus of Arabs from all over the country. What happened in Deir Yassin is controversial to this day. Since 1951, on the streets of Deir Yassin, stands the “Kfar Shaul” government Mental Health Hospital.

Neta Shoshani’s documentary elucidates the 1948 massacre at Deir Yassin with archival material and numerous interviews with surviving senior members of the paramilitary organizations who participated or witnessed the killing. Jewish authorities, including Haganah, the Chief Rabbinate, and David Ben-Gurion, had condemned the attack. The careful reconstruction of the event is accompanied by a parallel narration, the story of a Hanna Nissan who spent her life in the Yassin mental hospital built in 1951 on the ruins of Yassin. Her adult son Dror, who was born and raised in the hospital, and an East Jerusalem orphanage, visits Yassin and the hospital. He is filmed quoting from a copy of his mother’s file given to him by the hospital. It contained her medical records, letters and correspondence. None of the Jewish participants of the massacre disputed that it took place though accounts differed in detail such as the number of civilians from the village who were killed, the survivors, the motivation for the attack, and presence of armed Arab men among the villagers. Lehi member Moshe Edelstein was horrified by the images of blown up women and children. According to Ami Isseroff, members of a Jerusalem youth group were ordered to bury remaining corpses because Irgun and Lahi members refused to complete the cleanup. They were 17 years old and not prepared for the massacre. Yehoshua Zettler, Lehi Commander of Jerusalem, acknowledged that he ordered the destruction of Deir Yassin. Uri Yankovski from the Haganah who took photos admitted that “they did a dirty job” but emphasized that “from a practical point of view Deir Yassin helped to reach our objectives”. The commander of the Irgun group, Ben Zion Cohen expressed pride in his role at Yassin “If there would have been more Deir Yassins not one Arab would be left in the land of Israel”. The paramilitary combatants carrying out the attack apparently had no military training or information about Deir Yassin. Ben Zion Cohen reports initiating the attack after he was shot in the leg by a sniper. Combatants were ordered by Cohen to destroy everything, to blow up the houses one by one with the 28 bombs they had and throw grenades into the houses knowing that there were children and women inside.

Dror’s mother pleads in a voice over with texts taken from her clinical files, that her son should not visit Yassin since it is an evil place and states that she named him Dror meaning freedom. She was diagnosed with signs of psychosis but no awareness of the illness. When the hospital staff advised her to have an abortion she refused, believing that having a child would balance her life. After her young son was taken from her, she escaped from the hospital and was found wandering the street medicated. Placed in a closed ward she was diagnosed as suffering from psychosis and amnesia. A 1967 report about Dror notes the rich fantasy life of the six year old child, his requests to see his mother, and suggests that he be given up for adoption. After some time in an East Jerusalem orphanage he became a member of a kibbutz and began exchanging letters with his mother. Grown up he succeeded in visiting her at the Kfar Shaud mental hospital. By that time his mother’s latest diagnosis stated that...” patient has paranoid hallucinations hearing voices warning her of murder…she is kept in isolation [and] attempts to heal her failed”.

As ordered by Cohen, the Irgun went from house to house leaving no survivor behind though a girl about 6 years old was found alive by Uri Yankowski. Political leaders ordered that the massacre be covered up but also requested photos be taken. Meir Pa’il from the Haganah information service standing next to the photographer observed men, women and children lined up against a wall and shot. There was pressure to act because UN representatives were expected to show up. Meir did not see photos or ask questions assuming Zionists did not want them to be seen “If Jews commit a massacre it is an atrocity” Uri Yankovski never saw the pictures he took either but recalled clearly what he observed. Yehoshua Zettler reported that some survivors were trucked to Jerusalem. Those refusing to be moved were told that they would be shot. It took two days to clean the site and get rid of the bodies. 30 half burnt corpses were stored in one room, a pile of burnt corpses was found at the entrance of the village. The cleanup crew included 17-year-old boys from the Haganah youth battalion. Sara Ben-Or from the youth group identified her post traumatic stress disorder as the consequence of being exposed as a young woman to the killed villagers and her discovery of a beheaded woman sitting on a chair. Most of the more than 100 victims were women, children and old men. When queried by Shoshani about the impact of their action which turned Arabs into refugees and the Israelis into occupiers, her respondents indicated that they were not aware of it but stressed that they failed to explain what happened.

Her attempt to view the photos from the massacre failed because IDF argued that “[it] cannot release photos because it may be detrimental to foreign relations”. There is no remedy apart from a Supreme Court appeal. When she again gets in touch with some former members of the para-military organizations involved in the Deir Yassin massacre who she had interviewed for the documentary they refuse to confirm their statements. All had received calls ordering them to be silent. This order was bizarre because their on the record statements were an important part of the documentary and there were apparently no attempts to prevent their use in the documentary. As her last remedy Shoshani filed a request with the Supreme Court to open the files. Her demand to release classified documents and photos of the 1948 massacre at Deir Yassin was denied in 2016 by three judges from Israel’s Supreme Court invoking the following reason:

The problems entailed is Israel’s foreign relations related to the events of 1948 have not been solved and the conflict has not ended yet. Therefore, we are convinced that publishing the documentation and photographs is liable to harm Israel’s foreign relations. We are particularly worried about the harsh visual effect. This effect is present in certain photos in the archive. Therefore, we find no grounds to intervene at this time.
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