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VIDEO: Israeli Shootings of Palestinians in Gaza A Violation of International Law

Health & Wellness  (tags: Great March of Return, occupation, siege of Gaza-massacre 2018, humanitarian, israeli massacres Gaza Strip, peaceful protestors, UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk, Israel attacks against Gazans, March of Return, international law violations, Refugees&Relief )

- 125 days ago -
UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk outlined on Canadian television why Israels attacks against Gazans in the March of Return violate international law


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fly bird (26)
Monday May 14, 2018, 10:45 pm
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

Story Transcript
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 bird (26)
Monday May 14, 2018, 10:47 pm
Israeli Shootings of Palestinians in Gaza "A Violation of International Law" . 12:39

fly bird (26)
Monday May 14, 2018, 10:52 pm
Israel slaughters Palestinians marching to return.
15 May 2018

Israeli occupation forces killed 58 Palestinians in Gaza on Monday as tens of thousands protested along the eastern perimeter of the territory.

Monday’s death toll is likely to climb higher as 70 were in critical condition and Gaza hospitals struggled to triage the staggering number of casualties.

The health ministry reported nearly 2,800 injuries – almost half of them by live fire.

Held on the eve of Nakba Day – when Palestinians commemorate the ethnic cleansing of their homeland before, during and after the establishment of the state of Israel in May 1948 – the demonstrations may have been the biggest protest ever held in the territory.

Monday marked the largest number of casualties in a single day in Gaza since Israel’s massive military assault that claimed more than 2,200 Palestinian lives in the summer of 2014, and was said to be the largest number of protester fatalities in a single day in the territory since the first intifada that began 30 years ago.

Protests are expected to continue on Tuesday.

Monday’s protests were held under the banner of the Great March of Return demonstrations, launched on 30 March, when Palestinians mark Land Day. The six-week protest was originally planned to culminate around Nakba Day.

Nearly 100 Palestinians, including 12 children, have been killed by Israeli forces during Great March of Return protests since 30 March.

While American officials and Israeli leaders celebrated the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem – in violation of international law – occupation army snipers gunned down children, paramedics and journalists and its air force hit multiple sites across Gaza on Monday.

Five boys and a girl were among those slain.

Additionally, the health ministry reported that an 8-month-old baby died as a result of gas inhalation.

The Palestinian human rights group Al Mezan reported that 42 of those killed were participating in peaceful protests when they were injured on Monday.

Paramedic Mousa Jaber Abu Hassanein was among those killed:

Fifteen Palestinians, including two children, were killed when Israeli forces fired artillery shells and opened fire at a crowd of civilians east of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, according to Al Mezan.

Israel claimed that its forces killed three militants attempting to place explosives near the Gaza-Israel boundary fence near the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

United Nations humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick stated that doctors at al-Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital, “are overwhelmed, dealing with hundreds of cases of injured, including women and children. They are stretched to the limit and are running out of essential medical supplies.”

He added that “Particularly worrying is that public hospitals in Gaza have less than a week of fuel reserves to continue their operations.”

Gaza’s health ministry put out an urgent call for blood donations to save the lives of those wounded.

On Monday, the Israeli military reported its first injury since the Great March of Return protests began. A soldier was lightly wounded and taken to hospital for treatment, the first Israeli casualty resulting from the protests, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Israeli forces have injured nearly 13,000 Palestinians during the Great March of Return protests, and some 6,800 injuries have required hospitalization, more than half of them caused by live ammunition.

Jason Cone, the US director of Doctors Without Borders, stated on Friday that “Even though there is not a war in Gaza, the injuries sustained by our patients are terribly similar to what we see in conflict zones,” with fist-size exit wounds and “bone … pulverized into dust.”

Gaza’s health ministry has called on Egypt to provide its hospitals with drugs and emergency medical supplies and to allow for the transfer of patients requiring specialized treatment unavailable in the Strip.

Gaza-based writer and scholar Refaat Alareer, who was present at Monday’s protests, told The Electronic Intifada Podcast that “every single minute, you would hear a shot here or there, and then someone would fall down.”

Ten journalists were injured on Monday in what Al Mezan observed was an escalation of the Israeli military’s targeted attacks on members of the press covering the Great March of Return protests.

Photojournalist Yasir Qudih, whose work has frequently appeared on The Electronic Intifada, was critically injured. Qudih had taken an iconic photo of a protester using a table tennis paddle to hit back a gas canister during a demonstration earlier in the month:

Another journalist, Motasem Dalloul, was reportedly fighting for his life after being shot by the Israeli army while covering the protests on Friday.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned the “shocking killing of dozens” in Gaza, calling for “those responsible for outrageous human rights violations” to be held to account.

The dissonant images of US and Israeli officials celebrating the opening of the Jerusalem embassy and of Palestinians being subjected to brutal violence in Gaza drew the scorn of many on social media.

Washington blamed Palestinians for their own deaths while President Donald Trump, whose daughter and son-in-law presided over the Jerusalem embassy opening, congratulated Israel on what he called its “big day.”

Four Palestinian human rights groups on Monday called on the UN Security Council to convene an emergency session to address Israel’s violence in Gaza and demand that Israel immediately lift its closure and blockade.

The groups called on the Security Council to “Implement all options to protect Palestinian civilians” and establish an independent and impartial investigation into Israel’s use of lethal force against Great March of Return protesters.

The Israeli rights group B’Tselem stated that “The fact that live gunfire is once again the sole measure that the Israeli military is using in the field evinces appalling indifference towards human life on the part of senior Israeli government and military officials.”

B’Tselem reiterated its call on soldiers to “refuse to comply with these manifestly unlawful open-fire orders.”

According to Israeli media, soldiers are ordered “to prevent demonstrators from crossing into Israel at any price, including use of live fire.”

If any Palestinians do manage to cross the boundary, Haaretz reported, “the orders are to shoot directly at them with intent to hit, to prevent them from getting into these communities.”

Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch stated that Israel’s open fire policies “resulted in a bloodbath that anyone could have foreseen.

On Monday morning the military dropped leaflets on Gaza warning Palestinians that they risked death by participating in the protests.

Al Mezan reported that the military had flattened sand dunes built up by demonstrators to provide cover from Israeli fire, “indicating an assumed intention on the part of the military to improve visibility for the purpose of targeting protesters.”

The rights group also reported that early Monday morning the military used drones to fire-bomb medical field tents. One day earlier Israel denied a team of doctors from the West Bank entry to Gaza.

Two-thirds of Gaza’s population of two million Palestinians are refugees from the lands on which the state of Israel was declared in 1948. Israel has long prevented Palestinian refugees from returning to their lands and homes because they are not Jewish.

fly bird (26)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 12:21 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)

Tania N (883)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 5:21 am
thank you for posting

Tania N (883)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 5:22 am
thank you for posting

fly bird (26)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 10:01 am
Erdogan slams international community’s apathy for Palestine.

Palestine is the centre issue in the world, Erdogan said.
May 09 2018

International community's indifference over the sufferings of Palestinians caused by Israeli attacks shows that no society has a safe future, the Turkish president said on Monday.

Speaking at the International Mount of Olives Peace Awards at the Cemal Resit Rey Concert Hall in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "Palestinians are the symbol of all oppressed people in the world because of the persecution, massacres and injustices they have been subjected to."

Erdogan said the Palestine cause was not an exclusive issue of a nation or a city, adding that the future of humanity would be determined according to its stance against the Palestine and Jerusalem cause.

“If the reverse happens, a dark future will be awaiting us, one in which all rights, freedoms, and moral and conscientious measures are absent or eliminated and in which tyranny prevails.”

Erdogan said what was happening in Palestine was the legitimization of tyranny, highlighting Israel’s mounting persecution against Palestinians whose sole guilt was trying to defend their own land.

"The indifference of the international community towards the Palestinians, who have had tens of martyrs and thousands of injured people during these [Israeli] attacks, is the sign of a future in which no society and individual will be safe," Erdogan said.

Erdogan accused the international institutions responsible for ensuring peace and security in Palestine, calling them “hypocrites.”

He also stressed that when it came to delivering aid, great economic powers fiercely competing with each other whenever an economic, political or military interest was at stake had fallen behind Turkey.

“And that is because humanitarian aid, totally an issue of conscience and morality, does not bring money, oil, gold, or political power," he said, adding that Turkey so far had spent $31 billion for the Syrians staying in Turkey.’s-apathy-for-palestine

fly bird (26)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 10:18 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 bird (26)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 11:37 am
Events for May 15 2018

Window Rock: Nakba: Diné Solidarity with Great Return March
Across France: Protests against the Massacre in Gaza
Houston: Emergency Protest for Palestine
Cape Town: National Protest for the #GreatReturnMarch and Against Israeli Apartheid
Olympia: Commemoration of 70 Years of Nakba
Orlando: Stand in Solidarity with Palestine
Edinburgh: National Nakba Commemoration Scotland
Brussels and Throughout Belgium: Silent Circles to Remember the Nakba
Vancouver: Mark Nakba70 – End Canadian Complicity
Washington, DC: Nakba Teach-In at Schumer’s Office – Free Gaza, Free Palestine
Ankara: 70 Years of Nakba
Johannesburg: Palestine Picket at the US Consulate
Amsterdam: Remember the Nakba – Stand for the Right of Return
San Francisco: 70 Years of Palestinian Resistance and Resilience
Copenhagen: Nakba=Catastrophe
Chicago: Emergency Rally – Reject US Embassy Move & Israeli Massacres
Winnipeg: Al-Nakba 70 – Hope Lives in Remembrance
Tucson: Nakba Day Vigil
Boston: Remember and Resist – 70 Years of Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine
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
London: Gaza – Stop the Massacre, Emergency Protest
Buenos Aires: Stop the Genocide of the Palestinian People
Rome: Solidarity 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
Adana: 70 Years of Nakba
Albertville: 70th Anniversary of the Nakba
Brussels: Stop the Gaza Massacre! Protest for Gaza
Dublin: Nakba Day Vigil – in Solidarity with the #GreatReturnMarch
Paris: Rally against the Massacre in Gaza
Calgary: Emergency protest for Gaza – 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
Istanbul: 70 Years of Nakba
Edmonton: Emergency Rally for Gaza Palestine
Bologna: Enough with the Israeli crimes!
Sevilla: Nakba – 70 years of the occupation of Palestine
Santiago: 70 Years Resisting the Nakba – Manifestation for Palestine
Valladolid: Rally to commemorate Al-Nakba
Barcelona: 70 Years of Resistance in Palestine, 1948-2018

Events for 16 May 2018

Paris: Rally against the Massacre in Gaza
Stains: Solidarity with the Palestinian People
Lille: Stop the Massacre in Gaza!
Toulouse: All to Capitole for Gaza and Jerusalem

Events for 17 May 2018

Saint-Etienne: Rally in support of the Palestinian People

Events for 18 May 2018

NYC: Nakba Day 2018 – Rally and March for 70 Years of Resistance
May 18 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Times Square, Times Square
New York, NY United States

Cleveland: Nakba70 – Gaza – Jerusalem
May 18 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Public Square, Public Square
Cleveland, OH United States

fly bird (26)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 11:57 am
Events for 19 May 2018

Bonn: 70 years of expulsion and occupation are enough!
Clermont-Farrand: Nakba – Gaza – BDS Demonstration
Montpellier: Stand with Gaza – Protest the Massacre
Florence: Protest to support Palestine and its resistance

Colleen L (3)
Tuesday May 15, 2018, 8:13 pm
Thanks Fly

fly bird (26)
Wednesday May 16, 2018, 3:08 am
The West’s pampering of Israel will lead to the next Gaza massacre.
15 May 2018

The contrasting images coming out of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories on Monday could not have been starker – or more disturbing.

Faced with protests at the perimeter fence in Gaza, Israeli snipers killed dozens of unarmed Palestinians and wounded more than 2,000 others, including children, women, journalists and paramedics, in a hail of live fire. Amnesty, the international human rights organisation, rightly called it a “horror show”.

Such horror is now so routine that TV anchors could only headline the news as the worst day of bloodshed in Gaza in four years, when Israel massacred civilians in its last major military assault.

Already gasping from the chokehold of Israel’s decade-long blockade of Gaza, local hospitals are now collapsing from the weight of casualties.

A few kilometres away, meanwhile, Israelis were partying.

So-called “liberal” Tel Aviv was busy “chicken dancing” with Netta, who had just won the Eurovision Song Contest and gave a free open-air performance to celebrate.

And in Jerusalem, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was glad-handing a bevy of US officials, including Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and policy adviser. They were there to beam for the cameras as the US opened its embassy in the occupied city.

The move pre-empts negotiations over the city’s fate and sabotages Palestinian ambitions for East Jerusalem to become the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Netanyahu’s grin said it all. As he mouthed platitudes about “Middle Eastern peace”, he finally had Washington’s blessing for all of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. And next year Europe will give its implicit blessing too by hosting the Eurovision Song Contest there.

But amid the euphoria, a few Israeli commentators understood that politics is about more than power – it’s about imagery too. The champagne-quaffing in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem while Gaza drowned in blood left a profoundly sour taste in the mouth.

There was more than a whiff of hypocrisy too in statements about “defending borders” from a state that has refused to declare its borders since its creation exactly 70 years ago – as well as from a Netanyahu government currently trying to establish a Greater Israel over the Palestinian territories.

But the hypocrisy was not restricted to Israel and Washington, which parroted Mr Netanyahu’s talking points.

There was an ugly equivocation from other western leaders. They spoke of “regret”, “tragedy” and “concern at the loss of life”, as though an act of God had struck Gaza, not an order from Israeli commanders to quell the Palestinian urge for freedom with live ammunition.

Equally dishonest was talk of the “need for restraint from both sides” and “clashes”, as though the protesters had been tussling with Israeli soldiers in hand-to-hand combat rather than being coldly picked off through telescopic sights.

Israeli politicians and media have desperately searched for a moral justification for these executions. They have talked of “kite terrorism” and a supposed stone-throwing threat to soldiers positioned hundreds of yards away.

While thousands of Palestinians have been executed or maimed, how many Israelis have been harmed in the past six weeks of Gaza’s protests? Precisely none.

This is a strange kind of terror.

The reality is that tiny Gaza is becoming rapidly uninhabitable, as the United Nations has repeatedly warned. For more than a decade Israel has blockaded it from land, air and sea, while intermittently pummelling the enclave with missiles and military invasions.

A senior New York Times correspondent tweeted on Monday that Gaza’s Palestinians looked as though they had a “death wish”. But two million Palestinians – a population rapidly growing – are inmates in what is effectively a shrinking prison, whose store rooms are almost bare.

Tens of thousands of them have shown they are prepared to risk their lives not for some death cult but to win freedom, the most precious human impulse of all.

And they have preferred confrontational, non-violent resistance as a way to shame Israel and the world into recognising their plight.

And yet instead, Israel has stripped them of all agency by falsely claiming that they are pawns in a game by Hamas to pressure Israel.

But in so far as Hamas is trying to influence Israel, what is its aim?

Last week, a gloating Israeli media reported that Hamas was quietly appealing for a long-term truce with Israel, effectively renouncing the Palestinians’ right to violently resist Israel’s occupation.

It would not be the first time. But whereas once Hamas sought a truce in return for a two-state solution, now it is said to have requested simply an end to the blockade and a chance to rebuild Gaza.

Even this minimal concession is rejected by Israel. Instead an Israeli minister responded to Monday’s slaughter by proposing that Israel assassinate the Hamas leadership.

Israel may be without remorse, but are western leaders feeling shamed?

Apart from South Africa and Turkey, none has so far withdrawn an ambassador. There are no calls for embargos on sales of arms, no demands for war crimes investigations, no threats of trade sanctions.

And no plans, of course, for the kind of “humanitarian intervention” western governments have keenly promoted in other parts of the Middle East where civilians are under threat.

For seven decades, the west has pampered Israel at every turn. The lack of any meaningful punishment for violating Palestinian rights led directly to Monday’s massacre.

And the failure to inflict a price on Israel for this massacre – in fact, the reverse: visible rewards with a relocated US embassy and the chance to host the Eurovision Song Contest – will lead to the next massacre, and the one after.

Handwringing is not enough. It is time for anyone with a conscience to act.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday May 16, 2018, 10:49 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 bird (26)
Wednesday May 16, 2018, 11:42 am
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 bird (26)
Wednesday May 16, 2018, 4:02 pm
Israel Slaughters Unarmed Palestinian Protesters While Trump Admin. Shouts 'Hamas!'
May 15, 2018

The Israeli military killed 60 and wounded 2,200 Palestinians protesters in one day, as Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner opened the US embassy in Jerusalem. Journalist Ali Abunimah says the Trump administration is misleadingly pointing the finger at Hamas to distract from Israel’s crimes.
Story Transcript

BEN NORTON: It’s The Real News. I’m Ben Norton.

The Israeli military’s repeated slaughter of unarmed Palestinian protesters in the illegally besieged Gaza Strip has escalated even further. At least 60 Palestinians were killed, and a staggering 2200 more were injured in a single day of bloody repression of protests on Monday, May 14. Shocking video showed Israeli snipers intentionally firing indiscriminately at Palestinian civilians, shooting to kill, and to permanently disable those who survive. The Red Cross said its hospitals and doctors are overwhelmed with patients.

1. SRIHARI: Within the first four hours we had more than 400 patients who came injured. We spent most of the time trying to control and stop the bleeding and stabilize the patients, so that they can go for surgery later, because we are getting more injured. How are we going to take care of them? Because those doctors are overworked, nurses are overworked. We are running out of all the stock.

BEN NORTON: The United Nations condemned the Israeli military’s bloody assault. And the government of South Africa, which has a long history of solidarity with Palestinians, recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest of the slaughter.

While countries throughout the world harshly condemned the Israeli massacre, however, the United States staunchly supported Israel. In fact, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were in Israel, while the IDF was slaughtering unarmed protesters, in order to open the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. Ivanka and Jared said nothing about the ongoing massacre of Palestinian civilians, while they received blessings from a top Israeli state-backed racist rabbi who compared black people to monkeys.

Well, joining us to discuss this scandal and the Israeli massacre of Gazans is Ali Abunimah. Ali is the director and co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, and the author of several books, including his latest, “The Battle for Justice in Palestine.” Thanks for joining us, Ali.

ALI ABUNIMAH: Thank you, Ben.

BEN NORTON: So today we’re speaking, it’s Tuesday, May 15, and this is Nakba Day, the day in which Palestinians commemorate the expulsion, the mass expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians when the state of Israel was created in 1948. And there are more protests going on, and there are already reports of further attacks on unarmed protesters by the Israeli military. Do you think today will be even bloodier, and can you respond?

ALI ABUNIMAH: Well, it, so far it hasn’t been. It’s already evening in Gaza. But it’s been a day when people in Gaza have been absolutely stunned by the scale of the bloodshed. There have been dozens of funerals, including the funeral of an eight-month-old baby who the health ministry said died from tear gas inhalation, because the Israelis fired tear gas hundreds of metres into Gaza at the area where families are camped out. And the death toll has continued to rise. At least two, and I think three, more deaths were announced today. And at least one person was killed today as Israel continued its attack on unarmed protesters.

I think one thing to emphasize also is the scale of the catastrophe hitting the health system in Gaza. This is already a health system that has been badly degraded by 11 years of Israeli siege, and no electricity to run life support systems for much of the time. Severe shortages in medical supplies. And then literally thousands of gunshot wounds. A doctor on I saw on Twitter, an American surgeon, made the point that there is no hospital even in the United States that would be able to deal with this level of mass casualties. That there would be emergency plans activated to move, to do triage and move injured people to other hospitals, or even other states or regions. But there is no capacity to do that in Gaza.

So the, the, the utter horror continues in this, in the sense that people, you know, are injured, and the capacity to treat them and deal with horrific injuries is very, very limited.

BEN NORTON: Yeah. And then can you speak more about the other forms of injuries? You’ve mentioned that thousands of people were shot just yesterday alone. There were reports of several hundred people being shot. And then of course this is six weeks of continuous massacres.

ALI ABUNIMAH: Actually, more than a thousand people, almost 1400 people, were shot with live ammunition just yesterday, and that’s on top of thousands previously. And what the medical, the doctors and the medical charities have noted is that many hundreds of the gunshot injuries are really horrific. They, leaving fist-sized exit wounds, and bone and muscle being completely pulverized, which means that limbs cannot be saved. Lots of Palestinians losing their legs, losing limbs, and will have lifelong disabilities. And it appears to be the case that the Israelis are using exploding or fragmenting bullets, which are banned by international law. They’re banned by multiple treaties because of the horrific injuries that they cause. But they appear to be using them deliberately to cause life-changing permanent injuries. So it’s really, it’s really just horrific. It is true horror.

BEN NORTON: Yes. And then, of course, the response from the U.S. has been outrageous and has been condemned by the international community. When asked about the Israeli massacre of unarmed protesters in Gaza, the White House Press Secretary Raj Shah avoided the question, and instead he pointed his finger at Hamas.

REPORTER: To be clear, does the U.S. not agree with the French that Israeli authorities should exercise discretion and restraint?

RAJ SHAH: We believe that Hamas is responsible for what’s going on.

REPORTER: So there’s no responsibility beyond that on the Israeli authorities. Kill at will.

RAJ SHAH: What I’m saying is that we believe that Hamas as an organization is engaged in cynical action that’s leading to these deaths. This is a propaganda attempt. I mean, this is a gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt. I think the Israeli government has spent weeks trying to handle this without violence, and we find it very unfortunate.

REPORTER: People were throwing rocks 50 meters from the wall, and were faced with sniper attack. Is the White House in denial of the splitscreen reality that’s occurring?

RAJ SHAH: Again, we believe that Hamas is responsible for this.

ALI ABUNIMAH: Well, this is the propaganda line that Israel always puts forward, is that all Palestinians are terrorists, and anyone who is killed must have deserved to die. And it’s, it’s propaganda that is designed to dehumanize Palestinians and to justify, and I would say facilitate, further killings.

And I wouldn’t also exaggerate the condemnation, Ben. Of course, the U.S. position is is predictably horrendous, but the European position has been utterly contemptible. I would say depraved. The European Union has refused to condemn this, week after week. They’ve continued, also, to pretend that somehow there is fault on both sides when not a single Israeli has been injured.

The European position deserves as much condemnation as the United States. And the only countries that have taken some diplomatic measure are South Africa, which withdrew its ambassador, and Turkey, which withdrew its ambassador today and called for three days of national mourning. And surely those those steps are welcome, but they have to be only the beginning of concerted international action to hold Israel accountable and stop these massacres. And what Palestinians have demanded is an arms embargo on Israel, as well as other forms of accountability. But so far we have seen absolutely no moves by the so-called international community to hold Israel accountable. So we cannot be satisfied with words, Ben even if they amount to harsh criticism. We need to see action. And in the absence of any action there has to be popular reaction in the form of boycott, divestment, and sanctions.

I was just in Dublin a couple of days ago for the Palestine Freedom Conference, and we were addressed by Micheal Mac Donccha, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, who was recently banned by Israel. And he gave a really strong speech, and called for Ireland to support fully the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, including boycotting next year’s Eurovision song contest, which will be hosted by Israel. So that’s what has to happen. It has to come up from the grassroots. If national governments won’t act, then people need to push their local councils, their cities, their states, whatever it is, their trade unions, their churches to take action, and together to put pressure on governments to end their complicity with these massacres.

It’s, for Palestinians, let me just say, Ben. For Palestinians, you know, we talk about Nakba Day as a day of commemoration, a day of looking back in history. But honestly, I don’t know any Palestinians who have been doing a whole lot of looking back at history, because we cannot cope with the current traumas with the current massacres, let alone to look back at the ones 30 years ago in Lebanon, in Sabra and Shatila, or 50 years ago in, in the West Bank, or 70 years ago when the, the Nakba happened. The Nakba has never stopped for 70 years. We continue to see a daily Nakba. And we ask, for how many more years will this go on? Palestinians cannot wait another 70 years for justice, for this horror to end.

BEN NORTON: Well, unfortunately we’ll have to end our discussion there. Thanks so much for speaking with us, Ali. Ali is the founder and the director of the Electronic Intifada, and the author of several books. It’s always a pleasure to have you on the Real News.

ALI ABUNIMAH: Thank you, Ben.

BEN NORTON: Reporting for the Real News, I’m Ben Norton.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday May 16, 2018, 9:58 pm
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.

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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 bird (26)
Thursday May 17, 2018, 7:48 am
Adalah & Al Mezan issue urgent motion on Gaza to Israeli Supreme Court.
PNN/ Bethlehem/

Two prominent rights organisations, Adalah- The Legal Centre for Arabic Minority Rights in Israel and Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, have continued to challenge the Israeli military’s use of lethal force against protesters in Gaza.

Today, they have released a briefing paper, which takes a thorough look at the joint petition they filed on 23rd April 2018 to the Israeli Supreme Court. This petition robustly contests the illegal firing of live ammunition by Israeli soldiers at unarmed protester in Gaza. As a final decision by the Israeli Supreme has not been forthcoming on the case, Adalah and Al Mezan issued a motion yesterday demanding an immediate response to their petition.

While the Israeli Supreme Court has been dragging its feet and playing for time, the death toll has risen substantially. Monday 14th May 2018 saw the bloodiest day of shooting yet, with 59 Palestinians killed and at least 2,771 more injured. Israel’s excessive use of force has now claimed the lives of over a hundred protesters, since the Great Return March began on 30th March.

Today’s briefing paper, a summary of the earlier petition, highlights both the atrocities committed by the IOF and the illegality of its actions. From the shelling of protest tents assembled along the Gaza border to the shooting of children and other innocents with ‘powerful rifles’, Israel’s response has been disproportionate to the unarmed reality of the protests.

The petition cites the testimonies of protesters, doctors, journalists and rescue workers, and also video documentation. The petitioners’ wish to submit the latter, via USB, was rejected by the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, the weight of evidence sent to the justices is sufficient to prove, beyond all doubt, the illegality of Israel’s actions, both under International Law and also Israeli Constitutional Law. For, the Israeli military have breached the Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and Israel’s Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.

The illegality stems from the civilian nature of the protests. As civilians, those who have participated in the Great Return March have the ‘rights to life and bodily integrity’; these rights can only be violated in the event that they pose a concrete threat to the life of another person. This has categorically not been the case with the marches: Palestinian stones are no match for Israeli automatic weapons.

Israel’s statement that the demonstrations, involving “leading inciters or breachers of order”, posed real danger to the lives of Israeli citizens is a bold and empty claim. The hollowness of these words should be clear to anyone who has watched recent footage from Gaza.

Roberto MARINI (88)
Thursday May 17, 2018, 8:28 am
thanks noted

fly bird (26)
Thursday May 17, 2018, 8:46 am
Events for 17 May 2018

Pensacola: Pensacola Stands for Palestine!
May 17 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Plaza, N Palafox St
Pensacola, FL United States

Regina: Emergency Rally for Gaza
May 17 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Victoria Park, Victoria Park
Regina, Canada

Milan: Protest for Palestine outside the RAI
May 17 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
RAI office, Corso Sempione
Milan, Italy

Siena: Rally in Solidarity with the Palestinian People
May 17 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Piazza del Duomo, Piazza del Duomo
Siena, Italy

Cologne: 70 Years of Nakba – Solidarity with the Palestinian people
May 17 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Hauptbahnhof – Köln, Hauptbahnhof
Cologne, Germany

Saint-Etienne: Rally in support of the Palestinian People
May 17 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Place d’Hotel de Ville, place d'Hotel de Ville
Saint-Etienne, France

Events for 18 May 2018

Toronto: Emergency Action for Palestine at Chrystia Freeland’s Office
May 18 @ 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Chrystia Freeland’s Office, 344 Bloor St W
Toronto, Canada

Venice: Mobilization Against the Giro d’Italia
May 18 @ 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Via Brigata Aosta and Via Zateri, Via Brigata Aosta and Via Zateri
Nervesa della Battaglia, Italy

NYC: Nakba Day 2018 – Rally and March for 70 Years of Resistance
May 18 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Times Square, Times Square
New York, NY United States

Cleveland: Nakba70 – Gaza – Jerusalem
May 18 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Public Square, Public Square
Cleveland, OH United States

Chicago: Jan Schakowsky – Justice for Palestinian Protesters
May 18 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jan Schakowsky’s Office, 5533 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL United States

Rome: Rally for Palestine at the US Embassy
May 18 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Piazza Barberini, Piazza Barberini
Rome, Italy

Nottingham: Gaza – Stop the Massacre
May 18 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Brian Clough Statue, King Street
Nottingham, United Kingdom

Tampa: Emergency Rally to Reject US Embassy Move and Israeli Massacres
May 18 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
N 56th St and East Fowler Ave, N 56th St and East Fowler Ave
Temple Terrace, FL United States

Events for 18 May 2018

NYC: Nakba Day 2018 – Rally and March for 70 Years of Resistance
May 18 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Times Square, Times Square
New York, NY United States

Cleveland: Nakba70 – Gaza – Jerusalem
May 18 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Public Square, Public Square
Cleveland, OH United States

Events for 19 May 2018

Glasgow: End Israel’s Bloody Massacre in Gaza
May 19 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Buchanan Steps, Buchanan Steps
Glasgow, United Kingdom

London: End British Support for Israel! Solidarity with Gaza!
May 19 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Barclays Bank London, Tottenham Court Road 190
London, United Kingdom

Cardiff: Gaza – Stop the Massacre
May 19 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Nye Bevan Statue, Queen Street
Cardiff, United Kingdom

Bonn: 70 years of expulsion and occupation are enough!
May 19 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Münsterplatz, Münsterplatz
Bonn, Germany

Clermont-Farrand: Nakba – Gaza – BDS Demonstration
May 19 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Place de Jaude, Place de Jaude
Clermont-Farrand, France

Montpellier: Stand with Gaza – Protest the Massacre
May 19 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Place de la Comedie, Place de la Comedie
Lyon, France

Florence: Protest to support Palestine and its resistance
May 19 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Piazza di San Marco, Piazza di San Marco
Florence, Italy

Hamburg: Freedom for Palestine – Stop the Massacre in Gaza!
May 19 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, Hachmannplatz
Hamburg, Germany

Milan: March in support of Palestinian Resistance
May 19 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Piazza San Babila, Piazza San Babila
Milan, Italy

Events for 20 May 2018

Anaheim: Nakba 70 and the Great March of Return
May 20 @ 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
611 S Brookhurst St, 611 S Brookhurst St
Anaheim, CA United States

Boston: Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Nakba in Palestine
May 20 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
City School, 614 Columbia Road
Dorchester, MA United States

fly bird (26)
Thursday May 17, 2018, 8:56 am
Seventy Years of Palestinian Resistance Since the Establishment of the State of Israel.
May 15, 2018

The brutal cost that Palestinians in Gaza are paying is because of their resistance to Israel- a resistance that began over seven decades ago.
Yara Hawari

The Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip has reminded the world of Palestinian resistance and the Palestinian struggle for rights. Since March 30, Palestinians in Gaza have engaged in peaceful, grassroots mass protests at the Israeli military fence that imprisons them, calling for an end to the dire conditions in the Strip as well as for the right to return to the land from which they were expelled 70 years ago this month – what Palestinians call the Nakba, or catastrophe. The protestors are literally placing their bodies on the line risking being shot by Israeli snipers. Before the US embassy move today, more than 40 Palestinians had been shot dead by Israeli snipers, and thousands had been seriously injured. Today saw the bloodiest day, with over 52 Palestinians killed at the demonstrations and again thousands injured. The brutal cost that Palestinians in Gaza are paying is because of their resistance to Israel- a resistance that began over seven decades ago.

In 1948, the Nakba (catastrophe in Arabic) saw the state of Israel established, 750,000 Palestinians forced into exile, and over 500 Palestinian villages and towns destroyed. Palestinian society was torn apart and Palestinians were geographically fragmented. Yet not only did the Palestinian people survive, they also demonstrated remarkable resistance to the attempt to erase them through sumud (steadfastness), collective action, and defiance. The Great March of Return is the latest manifestation of this legacy.

In the first few years after 1948, thousands of Palestinian refugees attempted to return to their homes, only to be shot by the Israeli military along the new borders. The Israeli state called them “infiltrators” and passed the Prevention of Infiltration Law to legislate its practice of preventing them from returning. Meanwhile, Israel placed the 150,000 Palestinians who managed to stay within the borders of the new state – the Palestinian citizens of Israel – under a severe military regime and politically repressed them.

Under this atmosphere the Palestinian citizens of Israel survived and even developed their own spaces of political, social, and cultural agency. In 1958, for example, a group established the Al Ard Movement, whose platform connected the struggles of all Palestinian people, no matter their geographic location, whilst also developing a pan-Arab tone. It called for a secular and democratic state in Palestine, as well as the right of return for the refugees. Israel frequently arrested its members and placed them under surveillance, and shut down its publishing operations. The movement was banned in 1964.

Although Al Ard had a short existence, it paved the way for other Palestinian politics inside Israel, such as the movement known as Abnaa al Balad, which is still active today. Abnaa al Balad grew out of the student movement and also initially presented a mandate for the development of a Palestinian democratic and secular state. The movement was at its height in the 1970s and gained further momentum after the event known as Land Day.

Land Day took place in 1976 following the Israeli government’s announcement that it would appropriate huge swathes of Palestinian land in the Galilee, in northern Israel. Palestinian citizens organised a mass collective action in resistance not only to the theft of the land but also to overall settler colonial policies of erasure. Protests in solidarity took place in other areas of Israel as well as the West Bank. Israeli authorities placed six villages in the Galilee under curfew, and met protestors there with serious violence: In addition to six killed, hundreds were injured.

A decade later, Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Israel joined together during the First Intifada. The uprising, which lasted from the late 1980s until the Oslo Accords of 1993, was the result of years of grassroots organising that built the foundation for political mobilisation. Palestinian left-wing factions took the lead during the 1970s, including by establishing popular committees, women’s committees, workers’ unions, student organisations, and volunteer groups. These groups took inspiration from other Third World anti-imperial struggles and were run in a decentralised, democratic, and collective fashion. Important to this struggle was the establishment of a self-reliant economy; as such, the movement explored economic models based on cooperatives that would not be subservient to the occupation and would serve the national and social Palestinian agenda. These models laid the foundation for current initiatives that aim to build economic resistance, such as Amoro, Palestine’s first mushroom farm.

Palestinian resistance doesn’t only take place in the occupied territories or in Israel proper. Palestinians in Yarmouk camp in Syria – home to over 25,000 Palestinian refugees in the 1970s and 80s – engaged in left-wing ideas of liberation and resistance, such as Marxist theories of revolution, during the time of the First Intifada. Many organised within the camp despite the dangers of doing so under the Hafez al Assad regime. Yarmouk was also home to youth organisations that would often rally in response to events in Palestine. Since the Syrian civil war, many of the refugees have fled the camp as it has suffered an ISIS invasion as well as siege and in the last weeks a severe bombing campaign that left the camp mostly destroyed by the current Assad regime.

A more recent act of resistance occurred in the summer of 2017, when Israeli authorities installed security cameras, turnstiles, and electric metal detectors at the Haram al-Sharif compound following an attack on Israeli soldiers by three Palestinian citizens of Israel. In response, the Islamic Waqf (trust) called for mass civil disobedience. Thousands of Palestinians from Jerusalem and around the country responded to the call, abstaining from entering the compound to protest Israel’s attempt to further control the space. Instead, they prayed in nearby streets and checkpoints. Israel met them with brute force, killing three Palestinians and injuring hundreds. Nonetheless, the perseverance of the protesters and their clear, tangible goal led to Israeli capitulation: The electronic metal detectors were removed.

This month thus marks not only 70 years since the establishment of Israel and the Palestinian Nakba, but 70 years of ongoing Palestinian resistance – only a fraction of which is outlined above. This discourse of resistance and survival must be the focal point of the Nakba narrative. It emphasizes that the settler colonial project has not succeeded in Palestine and that the indigenous Palestinians have long fought for their rights to and existence on the land.

fly bird (26)
Thursday May 17, 2018, 6:27 pm
As Gaza Sinks Into Desperation, A New Book Makes the Case Against Israeli Brutality.

Charles Glass
May 13 2018

Israel celebrates a double anniversary on May 15 this year, the founding of the state and the formal establishment of the Israeli Defense Forces, the name the state gave to its combined army, navy, and air force. Armed statehood fulfilled the political Zionists’ dream of gathering Jews from the ancient Diaspora under their own government in what they declared to be their “promised land.” During the battle over the land between 1947 and 1949, the IDF expelled three-quarters of the indigenous population. Of the 750,000 Palestinian Arabs who fled, 250,000 took shelter in Gaza, a tiny pocket of southwest Palestine then occupied by the Egyptian army. The destitute and traumatized refugees were three times more numerous than the 80,000 Gazans who took them in.

The United Nations passed but did not enforce annual resolutions calling for the refugees’ return. Israel invaded the territory in 1956, withdrew under American pressure in 1957, and invaded again in 1967. As its population grew to nearly 2 million souls packed into a pocket five miles wide and 40 miles long, Gaza has become a byword for misery. Former British Prime Minister David Cameron, no advocate of the Palestinian cause, called it “an open-air prison.”

In his new book, “Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom,” Norman Finkelstein presents Gaza’s case like a veteran prosecutor at a homicide trial. “This book is not about Gaza,” he writes. “It is about what has been done to Gaza.” He asks the reader to decide “whether this writer is partisan to Gaza or whether the facts are partisan to it.” He dissects three major Israeli military actions against Gaza – Operation Cast Lead in December 2008, Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, and Operation Protective Edge in July 2014 – as well as the Israeli commando raid on a Turkish aid flotilla in May 2010. His blistering critique encompasses the international response to those events and the prolonged siege of Gaza by Israel and Egypt. The book makes for harrowing reading, replete with exhaustive research and detailed analysis to explain Israeli objectives in Gaza. Summarizing the IDF’s use of Gaza, Israeli journalist Gideon Levy in the New York Times last April called it Israel’s “training field, a giant lab — for gauging the reactions of the nearly two million people it keeps under siege there, and for testing its innovating weapons, as well as the limits of what the world will let it get away with.”

Recent history indicates that Israel can “get away with” a great deal. It long ago closed Gaza’s port, airport and land border. The Palestinians’ traditional supporters in the Arab world, especially Saudi Arabia and Egypt, ignore them. Russia and China express sympathy while doing nothing. Nominal aid comes from Iran in the form of mostly ineffectual weapons for Hamas, a rare instance of the Shiite theocrats arming Sunni fundamentalists. Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin spoke for most of his countrymen when he said of Gaza, “If only it would just sink into the sea.”

Gaza is sinking, if not into the sea, into desperation. The Israeli embargo has rendered 65 percent of Gazans under the age of 30 unemployed. Health care suffers from lack of equipment and medicine. People cannot leave to find work outside, and children live with the trauma of never knowing when their homes will be bombed. When I was there in 2002, Dr. Eyad Sarraj of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program told me that almost half the children under 16 suffered bed-wetting due to constant fear. That was before the military invasions of the last 10 years.

Palestinians inspect the Israeli-bombed Zeitun district of Gaza City on January 23, 2009. A Hamas delegation from Gaza crossed into Egypt for talks to shore up the ceasefire with Israel which ended a 22-day assault on the coastal strip, a border official said. Israel and Hamas have observed their own ceasefires since January 18 when Israel ended Operation Cast Lead leaving a trail of devastation and 1,330 Palestinians dead, according to doctors. Egypt is trying to secure a durable ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and the reopening of crossings. AFP PHOTO/OLIVIER LABAN-MATTEI (Photo credit should read OLIVIER LABAN-MATTEI/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinians inspect the Israeli-bombed Zeitun district of Gaza City on Jan. 23, 2009. Israel and Hamas had observed ceasefires since Jan. 18, when Israel ended Operation Cast Lead.
Photo: Olivier Laban-Mattei/AFP/Getty Images

Finkelstein lists Cast Lead’s toll of sites destroyed or badly damaged: 58,000 homes; 28 schools and kindergartens; 1,500 factories and workshops; 190 greenhouses; 30 mosques; media centers (killing six journalists); and 80 percent of the agricultural crop. The ratio of Palestinian to Israeli civilians killed was 400 to 1. More than 300 of the 1,400 Palestinian dead were children. The onslaught included the deployment of white phosphorus, an illegal chemical agent that burns skin at temperatures up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit (816 degrees Celsius).

“What was Israel trying to accomplish?” Finkelstein asks. For the answer, he turned to the usually conscientious American scholar Anthony Cordesman. Cordesman’s report, based entirely on IDF accounts, wrote that Cast Lead’s goal was to “restore Israel’s deterrence and show Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria that it was too dangerous to challenge Israel.” That is not the same as self-defense, the usual legal justification for war.

The enormity of Cast Lead emerged in the meticulous report commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council in April 2009 under the eminent and pro-Zionist South African jurist Richard Goldstone. Goldstone agreed to chair a commission of inquiry on the condition that it examined crimes by all sides, including Hamas. His report, writes Finkelstein, turned out to be “a comprehensive, full-blown indictment of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians during the occupation.” Goldstone’s forensic and eyewitness evidence, much of it from Israeli combatants, was beyond reproach; but his conclusions — that Israeli forces had violated international law and were liable to prosecution — drew immediate fire from Israelis who had expected a whitewash. Former President Shimon Peres called Goldstone “a technocrat with no real understanding of jurisprudence.” “Professor Gerald Steinberg of Bar Ilan University declared that ‘Israel had the moral right to flatten all of Gaza,’” writes Finkelstein. In a wry aside, one of many in the book, he notes, “Steinberg founded the university’s program on conflict resolution and management.”

Israel’s hasbara, or propaganda, assault was so fierce that Goldstone recanted in the Washington Post on April Fools’ Day in 2011. He had not consulted his co-commissioners, who continued to defend the integrity of their report. The eventual effect of the campaign against Goldstone, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and some of Israel’s own human rights societies was to frighten critics of Israel’s Gaza policies into virtual silence. Operations Pillar of Defense and Protective Edge followed. They are unlikely to be the last as long as Gazans demand an end to the siege that cripples their lives, and Hamas refuses to disarm while insisting on its right under international law to resist military occupation.

No one who ventures an opinion on Gaza — which the U.N. predicts will be “unlivable” by 2020 — is entitled to do so without taking into account the evidence in this book. For that, at least, the people of Gaza owe a debt to Norman Finkelstein.

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Thursday May 17, 2018, 6:45 pm
Please listen and share; PODCAST

Norman Finkelstein on the Latest Massacre in Gaza and the History of U.S. Support for Israel’s War Crimes
May 16 2018

JS: One of Norman Finkelstein first books was “The Rise and Fall of Palestine: A Personal Account of the Intifada Years,” and he describes his trips to the West Bank, beginning in 1988, at the start of the first intifada.

Norman would go back every summer and stay with Palestinian families, and this was the start of a long career and life dedicated to the liberation of Palestinian people and to a disciplined, scholarly multi-decade examination of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The story of Norman’s family is a harrowing one: His father was a Jewish resistor to the Nazis and survived both the Warsaw Ghetto and the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. His mother also survived the Warsaw ghetto and she was put in the Majdanek concentration camp; she also was sent to slave labor sites.

Norman grew up in Brooklyn. His father was a factory worker and his mother stayed home with the kids.

Maryla Husyt Finkelstein: I remember that my biggest desire and dream was if I ever survived, I would stay tall and tell people the story. I now am strictly a pacifist, and I believe that if you kill, you don’t achieve. With the first killing, you already lost.

JS: Norman’s life story is told in the documentary, “American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein.” His first involvement publicly and politically with the Israel-Palestine issue was the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in June of 1982. Norman started to demonstrate outside of the Israeli consulate just off 42nd Street here in New York City. And from his first protest, Norman didn’t shy away from using language that described the situation exactly as he saw it. The sign that he carried read: “This son of survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Auschwitz, and Majdanek will not be silent. Israeli Nazis, stop the Holocaust in Lebanon.”

Norman Finkelstein: So now I have both a political commitment and a scholarly commitment, and then obviously I’m Jewish, so I have a personal commitment.

JS: Norman Finkelstein became a serious and principled academic on Palestine and Israel, and he soon gained attention from Noam Chomsky. Norman was working on his doctorate at Princeton University, and for it, he carefully evaluated the claims made in a very popular book at the time by Joan Peters. It was called “From Time Immemorial” and it was on the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Norman wrote a long, detailed critique of her work and sent out his findings on that book to about 25 people. Noam Chomsky soon gave him a call and provided a warning.

Noam Chomsky: I answered him, and he told me later that I was the only person that answered him, and his question, “Does it look as if this is a good topic, a serious topic to study?” I said, you know, “I read it, it’s very solid. It’s a very good topic to study. But if you go into it, do it with eyes open. You are not only going to undermine this book, and show that it’s a fraud, but you’re going to undermine the whole U.S. intellectual community.”

JS: With each new book he’s written, Norman has found himself being chased out of the academy, usually under the guise of budget cuts or other technical issues. After teaching for nine years at Hunter College in New York, where Norman published “The Holocaust Industry” in 2001, the school claimed they had a shortage of funds and offered him less courses. That book was a searing indictment of the money made by using the stories of Holocaust victims.

Norman Finkelstein: I am not happy with what happened. I didn’t ask for a lot. I was earning $18,000 a year at Hunter. Nothing. And they kicked me out in the street after nine years.

JS: Eventually, Norman landed at DePaul University in Chicago. But then, during a televised debate hosted by “Democracy Now!,” Norman accused the famed lawyer and major Israel supporter Alan Dershowitz of plagiarism and he attacked what Norman viewed as his flimsy evidence to back up his positions on Israel and Palestine.

NF: If we’re going to have a civil debate, you’re going to have to remain —

Alan Dershowitz: It’s not going to be a debate about me, let me be very clear about that.

NF: I’m not debating you. I have no interest in you, Mr. Dershowitz. None at all. I’m interested in the scholarship and I’m interested in the facts and I’m interested in your book.

Now, in 1984, one Joan Peters published a book called “From Time Immemorial.” The book was universally recognized by serious scholars to be a fraud. Without wanting to toot my own horn, I’m widely recognized as the person who exposed the fraud. I know that book inside out. I read it at least four times, and I went through all 1,854 footnotes.

I started to read your book, Mr. Dershowitz. I then came to chapter one, footnotes 10, footnote 11, footnote 12, footnote 13, footnote 14, footnote 15, footnote 16. All of the quotes are from Joan Peters.

JS: Once again, Norman’s academic career came to a halt as he was attacked in the media.

Sean Hannity: That was Dr. Finkelstein, he’s a professor at DePaul University who might get his tenure on Tuesday if the university allows it, but how can people like this be teaching our children in the classroom.

JS: There was a battle at DePaul University over Norman’s tenure, and it was shut down after a public campaign against him. Norman says that he has not been offered an academic teaching position for more than a decade.

All in all, Norman Finkelstein has authored eleven books, including “The Holocaust Industry,” “Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History.” Norman’s latest book, which was published in January, is called “Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom.” The book is Norman’s opus on Gaza. It’s a meticulous, 440-page study of international law, of Israel’s sustained attacks against Gaza, its people and the book offers what may well be the definitive history of one of the most horrifying and sustained campaigns in modern world history. Not a single major publication has reviewed Norman’s new book. You won’t see him on cable news. He is, it seems, completely blacklisted. But he joins us now here on Intercepted.

Norman, welcome to the show.

NF: Well, thank you for having me.

JS: First, just your response to what’s happening right now on the ground in Palestine.

NF: Well it was eminently predictable. In fact, it was predicted. The Great March of Return, as it’s been called, and even if you looked at the Israeli papers, they were speculating about how many they would kill and it’s still unclear how many at the end of the day will be killed.

JS: When you say that it was entirely predictable, what do you mean?

NF: Well the Israelis said they were going to kill the people if they attempted to breach the prison gate. The people inside the prison said they’re going to try to break out of the prison. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out what’s going to happen in that scenario.

JS: When you say prison, what are you referring to?

NF: I don’t want to get too pedantic about this, but Confucius once said, “The beginning of all wisdom is to call things by their proper names.” I know that might sound like a fortune cookie entry, but in fact, it’s a pretty profound idea.

So, in the case at hand, if you look at the mainstream publications which echo Israeli propaganda, or if you just look at the Times, they keep referring to a “border fence.” A border fence is if two sovereign states stand on each side of that fence.

But then let’s look at the facts: The Hebrew University sociologist Baruch Kimmerling, who’s a distinguished sociologist, and he described Gaza, and now I’m quoting him, “the world’s largest concentration camp ever.”

The respected Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, they refer to the Gaza Ghetto, with the obvious resonances for Jews, the Warsaw Ghetto.

And then if you take the conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron, he referred to Gaza as an open-air prison.

So, is it accurate, is it calling things by their proper names to say that the Palestinians in Gaza are trying to breach a border fence? No. Palestinians in Gaza are trying to breach a concentration camp fence. They’re trying to breach a ghetto fence. They’re trying to breach a prison gate.

But that’s only half the story. Because it’s not even a prison.

Number one, beginning in 2012, United Nations began issuing reports. It said, “Will Gaza be livable in 2020?”

Then, in 2015, another report was issued by UNCTAD, one of the premier U.N. agencies. It said, “Gaza, on its current trajectory, will not be livable in 2020.”

Then, in 2017, a senior U.N. official said, “It seems like our forecasts have been optimistic.” Sanguine. He said, “Gaza has crossed the threshold of unlivability a long time ago.”

We’re not talking about poetry. We’re not talking about hyperbole. We’re talking about the assessment, the verdict of very conservative but professional and competent U.N. bureaucrats. Gaza is an unlivable space. 97 percent of Gaza’s water is contaminated. It’s unfit for human consumption.

Well what does that mean? Well, let’s take the opinion of Sara Roy, who is the world’s leading authority on Gaza’s economy. Both of her parents were in Auschwitz concentration camp. So, consider her language. She said: “Innocent people, most of them children, (because Gaza is overwhelmingly, majority children, 51 percent children) are daily being poisoned.”

And that’s a fact. And people don’t want to hear it, they get all squeamish. Why are you talking about concentration camps? Why are you talking about poisoning? Well, hey, don’t blame the messenger for the bad news. Israel is poisoning one million children.

Are the people of Gaza trying to breach a border fence? No. The people of Gaza are trying to breach an unlivable space in which the population is daily being poisoned. Those are the facts. But there’s something here that’s profoundly wrong.

I was profoundly wrong in my opinion. I like Bernie Sanders, and I worked very hard for Bernie during the campaign.

JS: So Sanders tweeted this on Monday when this was still very, very much in its early stages. “Over 50 killed in Gaza today and 2,000 wounded, on top of the 41 killed and more than 9,000 wounded over the past weeks. This is a staggering toll. Hamas violence does not justify Israel firing on unarmed protesters.” “The United States must play an aggressive role in bringing Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and the international community together to address Gaza’s humanitarian crisis and stop this escalating violence.” Your response, Norman.

NF: There was no Hamas violence. I’m not a defender of Hamas. I’m not an apologist for Hamas, but I do care about facts and I do care about truth.

The fact of the matter is, for anybody who is in the least bit familiar with the situation, Hamas has given very strict orders: No violence, no guns, no weapons, no provocations.

For the past two weeks, Hamas has been absorbing one provocation after another by the Israelis, because the Israelis are desperate, they are desperate, as they said in that famous WikiLeak, “we don’t do Gandhi well,” which means they don’t know how to cope with nonviolence because it looks bad when they start using their brutal force against nonviolent protestors.

So, they’re praying, they’re doing everything to provoke Hamas into resorting to some sort of violence so then they have their pretext to come in, and, as they call it, mow the lawn.

Well, Hamas has resisted the provocations and there are 10,000 things to criticize them for and I’ll be the first one to do it. But to their eternal credit, they’re exercising Herculean restraint in the face of the Israeli systematic methodical desperate provocations. It’s gotten so preposterous, so ridiculous that they need a pretext.

And now for Bernie to weigh in and talk about Hamas violence, first of all, let’s be clear: They have the right to use violence. They have that right under international law. As a general proposition, they have that right. That’s the law. A people fighting for self-determination or under alien occupation, they have the right to use violence in order to free themselves.

On the other hand, the law is very clear: An occupying power or a power denying people the right to self-determination, they have no right whatsoever to use violence.

So as a general principle, the people of Gaza, Hamas they have the right to use violence. But they’re not. And now for Bernie to do that. No — it’s unacceptable. That’s not calling things by their proper name. That’s being opportunist. It’s being cowardly. I know Bernie doesn’t believe it, but he has to protect his flank, pretend to be even-handed. No, this is not the time to be even-handed. It’s not the time to be even-handed. Those people have been suffering for 11 years under that brutal, inhuman, illegal, and immoral blockade.

I’ll quote now the New York state judge Mary McGowan Davis: “The blockade of Gaza has to be lifted immediately and unconditionally.”

Now, I want the listeners to hear that word. It’s unconditionally. It doesn’t say Hamas has to disarm. It doesn’t say Hamas has to stop constructing tunnels. That blockade is illegal under international law. It’s a flagrant violation of international law. It has to be lifted immediately and unconditionally. It doesn’t depend on Egypt, it doesn’t depend on the United States, it doesn’t depend on the Palestinian Authority — all of whom want to destroy Gaza.

No, the law is “immediately and unconditionally.” That merciless, cruel, brutal blockade of Gaza has to be lifted.

JS: We hear Raj Shah and others that are speaking on behalf of the Trump administration placing the blame entirely on Hamas, even when confronted with the number of civilians that have been killed —

Raj Shah: Well, as I said earlier, we believe Hamas bears the responsibility. This is a propaganda attempt. I mean, this is a gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt —

JS: As though Hamas is launching Palestinian civilians at Israel to be killed. How different, though, is that response that the Trump White House is offering versus previous assaults, onslaughts on Gaza when Democrats are in power?

NF: Well, it was the same. I’ll just give you two examples of the exemplary figure, namely Barack Obama. Operation Cast Lead began December 26, 2008, it ended January 17, 2009; what Amnesty International called 22 days of death and destruction.

And up until that point, it was the most murderous of the Israeli periodic operations against the people of Gaza.

Barack Obama had already been elected president in November. Now, Operation Cast Lead ends January 17. Why does it end January 17? Because Obama’s going to be inaugurated on January 20, and that stupefying narcissist didn’t want any distractions, any diversions from his inauguration. So, he passes the word to Israel: Stop Operation Cast Lead. That’s the only reason.

Now turn to Operation Protective Edge, which unfolds during Barack Obama’s term of office. Operation Protective Edge began July 7, 2014. It ends August 26, 2014.

The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross is a fellow named Peter Maurer. And you go to your Google and your Google “Peter Maurer Afghanistan.” He’s been there. Syria, Yemen, Central African Republic, Iraq — he’s been there. His job description is to bear witness at war zones.

In 2014, after Operation Protective Edge, Peter Maurer went to Gaza. He came out of Gaza and he said, “I’ve never seen such massive destruction ever before.”

Peter Maurer: I have seen a lot of children here suffering, a lot of serious injuries and you can only be shocked and shaken by what you see as a consequence of the war here.

NF: Bear in mind, that is the eighth Israeli murderous operation in Gaza in the last 15 years. Operation Days of Penitence, 2004. Operation Rainbow, 2004. Operation Autumn Clouds, 2006. Operation Hot Winter, 2008. It begins to sound like an Irving Berlin production. Operation Cast Lead, 2008-9, Operation Pillar of Defense, 2012. And then Operation Protective Edge. And now we have to add the new massacre the past few days.

What did Barack Obama do? He kept going out and kept saying, “Israel has the right to defend itself.”

President Barack Obama: I reaffirm my strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself.

President Barack Obama: We are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes.

President Barack Obama: As I’ve said repeatedly, Israel has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks that terrorize the Israeli people.

NF: You know when he finally criticized it? It’s an interesting story. Israel was systematically targeting the U.N. shelters. These were U.N. schools which had been converted into civilian shelters.

JS: This is 2014, you’re talking about.

NF: Yes. He bombed one shelter, a second shelter, a third shelter, a fourth shelter, a fifth shelter and then the pressure begins to build in the U.N. system. Ban Ki-moon, he finally had to say something and he condemned the bombing on August 3 of the U.S. shelter.

Now, the United States no longer even had the fig leaf of Ban Ki-moon. So finally, in the afternoon of August 3, the United States says.

Josh Earnest: The shelling of a U.N. facility that is housing innocent civilians who are fleeing violence is totally unacceptable and totally indefensible.

NF: And lo and behold, the night of August 3rd, Prime Minister Netanyahu announces Israel’s withdrawing from Gaza.

Only thing you needed to end that operation was one word from the United States. They could have stopped it. Barack Obama did nothing. Israel had the right to protect itself? Let’s just take some basic numbers: 550 Gazan children were killed. You know how many Israeli children were killed? One. 18,000 — 18,000 Palestinian homes were destroyed. You know how many Israeli homes were destroyed? One. 550 to 1. 18,000 to 1. And the only thing Barack Obama could see was Israel has the right to defend itself.

And not Israeli, not just today, but in the last six weeks, not a single Israeli, forget about killed, forget about wounded, not even a scratch. And you invoke Hamas violence? That’s way off base. It’s unacceptable.

JS: Has there been any significant change from Obama to Trump as regards Gaza?

NF: I would not say as regards Gaza. I would say it is probably true: The United States was putting some restraint on Netanyahu in previous administrations — I can’t document it but I think it’s reasonable to assume. You remember, for example, at that famous news conference where Israel demolished Shujaiya

— that’s another story. And it bears repeating.

Shujaiya is a civilian neighborhood in Gaza. It’s among the most densely populated civilian neighborhoods in Gaza, which is among the most densely populated places in the world. There had been a firefight outside Shujaiya and several Israeli soldiers were killed. So Israel went mad. Israel dropped more than 100 one-ton bombs on Shujaiya and fired thousands — thousands — of indiscriminate high explosive artillery shells into Gaza. And that was at that point, you might recall, in the news conference this is, they called it, a pinpoint operation — which in fact was true. They pinpointed Shujaiya and they proceeded to decimate it and Kerry was kind of infuriated and he uttered, I guess his mic was open and he wasn’t aware of it, he said:

John Kerry: That’s a hell of a pinpoint operation. It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation.

NF: So there had to be some constraints that were work. With this guy Trump, and that Pence guy, there are no restraints. Netanyahu said, “Don’t worry, all will be forgotten in two days.” All will be remembered is the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. And he’s right!

JS: So, this week, Israel is not only celebrating the founding of the state of Israel, but also it’s the date of the creation of the Israeli Defense Forces, the combined defense forces, and I want to read a quote to you that I know you’re familiar with from a lecturer at the IDF National Defense College, Arnon Soffer, he said this in 2004: “When 2.5 million people lived in a closed-off Gaza it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today. With the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam, the pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war, so if we want to remain alive we will have to kill and kill and kill, all day every day.”

NF: Now let’s just stop for a moment, go to my website, it’s going to be a little ways down, it’s going to be Netanyahu’s speech before the Jewish nation. Read what he says:

JS: “It’s easy to declare the people of Gaza must be exterminated, but it’s not an easy task to accomplish. Most of you will know what it’s like when 100 bodies lie together, when 500 are there or when there are 1,000. To have executed this ghastly charge and to have remained decent, it has earned us a glorious page in the annals of history. We have the moral right, we have the duty to our people to kill this people who would kill us. We have carried out this most difficult task out of love of our people and we have suffered no defect within us, in our soul or in our character.”

NF: Yeah. We’re killing this people who want to kill us. It’s a terrible task. We all shoot and cry, but that’s what we have to do.

JS: So, whose words did I just read there?

NF: If you substitute “Gaza” for “Jews,” that was Heinrich Himmler. It’s a very famous speech of his, where the Nazis, like some others who came later, they derived this kind of sick pleasure in pitying themselves.

JS: The notion that is put forth consistently by Israeli political figures, or, I just mentioned this geographer who is an instructor at the IDF University, that Israel has a right to kill these people because it’s in their defense, and that is sort of how it’s framed. If you say anything about Gaza on social media, you get hounded immediately by people saying, “Are you saying Israel doesn’t have a right to defend itself?”

NF: It doesn’t have the right to defend itself. You have the right to defend your border from attack. You have no right to cage in a people in unlivable space who are slowly being poisoned. You regain, you reclaim your right when you do three things. One, you end the illegal blockade of Gaza. Two, you end the illegal occupation of alien territory. And three, you give the people in Gaza and the West Bank the right to self-determination and statehood. The denial of all of those three rights means you lose any right to quote-unquote “defend yourself.”

Until and unless you end those three consecutive compounded illegal situations, you don’t have a right to self-defense. You lost that right because you do not have the right if you are inflicting a wrong.

Yes, Israel has the right to defend itself but not until and unless it stops tormenting and torturing the people of Palestine, and, in particular, the people of Gaza, until and unless: They have no right except to pack up and leave.

JS: What is Israel’s ultimate end goal in Gaza, particularly with Netanyahu in power?

NF: Netanyahu is a very narrow politician. He looks for quick victories. If you ask: What’s the long-term vision? There isn’t a long-term vision.

You have to understand, the whole Zionist movement, its history and then the state of Israel, they have holding actions. They wait. They wait. If you were to ask me now, what’s the holding action, what are they waiting for? Probably they’re waiting for a cataclysm of such dimensions that they can carry out another, you know, “miraculous clearing of the land.” That would be the ideal situation.

Until they reach the ideal situation, they’ll just wait. You know, people say: How much longer can it last, it’s gone — ? No, it doesn’t have to end. For Christ’s sake, the occupation has already lasted a half-century. They could keep it going.

As for Gaza, they’ll just let it vegetate and die.

JS: What is your analysis of Trump quote-unquote “ripping up” the Iran deal?

NF: It’s hard to gauge, first of all, whether there’s any foresight or far sight involved in what he’s doing. Now, I don’t believe that Netanyahu wants a war with Iran. However, it is quite possible that they have crossed the Rubicon, and Nasrallah, his speech he gave about a month ago, he’s not a fear monger and he’s not a scaremonger. He said: “I’m not saying it’s probable. I won’t even say it’s possible.” But he said: “We might be heading towards a regional war.” And if he says it, I think we need to pause and we need to really worry.

You know, people like Trump and Netanyahu who don’t look past the next day, Iran is a 5,000-year-old civilization. It’s very patient. You could see over the long term how slowly but surely, it’s building up a pretty impressive, what they call resistance front in the Middle East, and so they’re patient. And they may patiently wait for the right moment. And then we’re going to have a very — it’s not a mess, it’ll be a nightmare. It will be a nightmare.

JS: On that uplifting note, I want to thank you. No, I know, you always are — you take your work and the work of those around you very seriously, and I appreciate that stance. And thank you so much for all of your work Norman.

NF: Thank you.

JS: Norman Finkelstein is the author of “Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom.” That book may not be getting reviews in the most prestigious publications — or, really, any publications, except The Intercept — of our time, as, well, journalists are writing endless copy about Donald Trump’s tweets and other issues, but I do encourage our readers to pick up Norman’s book and make your own decision.

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Thursday May 17, 2018, 7:29 pm
Hold Israel Accountable for Gaza Land Day Killings. (Video 2:19)
Apr 6, 2018

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 bird (26)
Thursday May 17, 2018, 10:10 pm

fly bird (26)
Friday May 18, 2018, 6:43 pm
'There Is No Opposition in Israel' as Netanyahu Massacres Gazans, Israeli Journalist Says. VIDEO: 10:58
May 16, 2018

Renowned Israeli journalist Gideon Levy says "the victims of Gaza hardly touch anybody in Israel," as the IDF mows down protesters. Hardline right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a stranglehold on politics and the left barely exists.

fly bird (26)
Saturday May 19, 2018, 8:05 pm
UN Votes to Send War Crimes Investigators to Gaza (VIDEO)
May 18, 2018

The United Nations’ top human rights body has voted to send a team of international war crimes investigators to probe the deadly shootings of Gaza protesters by Israeli forces.

A resolution calling on the UN Human Rights Council to “urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry” was backed on Friday by 29 members.

The members – United States and Australia – voted against and 14 abstained.

Investigators must “investigate all alleged violations and abuses … in the context of the military assaults on large-scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018”, the approved resolution said.

The commission of inquiry will be asked to produce a final report next March.

The draft Resolution has been adopted by 29 votes in favor, 2 against, 14 abstentions.

Earlier on Friday, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN human rights chief, had backed calls for an international probe.

He heavily criticized Israel’s response to the weeks-long mass protests in the Gaza Strip as “wholly disproportionate”.

Israel was an occupying power and under international law, it was obliged to protect the people of Gaza and ensure their welfare, he said. But instead, Gaza residents were “caged in a toxic slum from birth to death”, added Zeid.

At least 62 Palestinians were killed and thousands were wounded in a single day of protests on Monday, but Zeid pointed out that “on the Israeli side, one soldier was reportedly wounded, slightly, by a stone”.

“There is little evidence of any attempt to minimize casualties on Monday,” said Zeid.

Since protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed 106 Palestinians, including 15 children. More than 12,000 have been wounded, at least 3,500 by live ammunition.

Speaking to the session via a video recording, Michael Lynk, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestine, said Israel’s use of force may amount to “a war crime”.

Both Israel and the United States rejected the council’s resolution, saying Hamas, which rules Gaza, instigated the violence – an allegation the group denies.

Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters in the Gaza Strip continued rallying near the fence with Israel on Friday.

(AJE, PC, Social Media)

fly bird (26)
Thursday May 24, 2018, 8:13 am
Video: “Nikki Haley, the blood is on your hands!” VIDEO
24 May 2018

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, barely uttered a few words of her lecture at the University of Houston on Tuesday before students interrupted her with protests against her complicity in Israel’s recent massacres in Gaza.

“Nikki Haley, the blood is on your hands, you continue to sign off on the genocide of a native people,” one student called out, kicking off the protest.

The video above, which circulated widely online, shows students holding up Palestinian flags and chanting, “Nikki, Nikki can’t you see? You are on a killing spree.”

They also chanted “free Palestine.”

According to The Houston Chronicle, several dozen protesters took part. After a few minutes, police “escorted” the protesters out, “while Haley waited, quiet, at the podium,” the newspaper reported.

Another camera angle shows Haley’s face as the students chant:

Haley’s visit to the University of Houston was sponsored by its administration. “We are privileged to have her visit our university,” President Renu Khator, stated.

Khator’s attitude highlights the vast gulf that typically exists between the corporate and government-aligned elites that run US universities, who generally abhor dissent that challenges the status quo, and students who take seriously calls for equal rights and global justice.

Prior to Haley’s speech, more than a dozen organizations, including Students for Justice in Palestine, the Muslim Student Association and Students for a Democratic Society, had condemned the university’s invitation to Haley, citing her unconditional defense of Israel’s slaughter in Gaza.

Following Israel’s massacre of dozens of protesters in a single day on 14 May, Haley told the UN Security Council that “no country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.”

She then walked out as the Palestinian Authority representative was about to speak.

The groups also noted Haley’s history of opposing free speech by advocates for Palestinian rights.

“Nikki Haley’s longtime commitment to silencing the voices of those who have spoken out against Israel’s atrocious acts against Palestinians traces back to her tenure as state governor of South Carolina,” the groups said. “Haley spearheaded the unconstitutional anti-BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement, making South Carolina the second state in the nation to sign into law a bill that prevents businesses from engaging in their First Amendment right to boycott.”

Campus newspaper The Cougar spoke to students who took part in the protest against Haley:

Omar Barghouti, a human rights defender and co-founder of the BDS movement, welcomed the students’ action.

“Israel’s regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid may think that just because it is in bed with the xenophobic right-wing Trump administration its massacre of Palestinians in Gaza will go unpunished,” Barghouti told The Electronic Intifada.

Barghouti added that “effective measures of accountability” being adopted around the world, including mass protests, waves of new support for BDS and calls for an arms embargo on Israel, were giving “tremendous hope to the tens of thousands of protesters in Gaza who are peacefully demanding their right to return to their homes.”

“The brilliant protest of student activists in Houston against empire and its extremely pernicious symbols is part of this hope,” Barghouti stated.

Tuesday’s protest against Haley recalls similar actions against Israeli and American officials involved in war crimes who have been given platforms by university administrations.
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