Samah Sabawi – Keynote Address at the Byron Bay BDS Conference

Although 70& of Australians supported Abbas’ unilateral bid for Palestinian statehood in 2011, including Jewish organisations, the Australian government voted no. This is despite Australia voting positively for partition in UN General Assembly Resolution 181 in 1947.

Samah Sabawi describes the history of zionist political injustice toward and theft from Palestinian people from 1947 to the present day, accentuating the duplicity of Israel’s settlement expansion. Israel wants all the resources and most Palestinian land, and deliberately avoids a just peace. 570 checkpoints hinder Palestinian life and growth.

Recognition of Israel without Israel declaring its borders is illogical and unacceptable. Israel has so far annexed more than 50% of the West Bank, rendering a Palestinian state unviable. Delaying tactics to just settlement with Palestinians have been used by Israel since its inception.

As Samah says, “Retaining the status quo works really well for them”.

The Australian government accepts Israel’s falsehoods even as the remainder of Palestinian land is stolen by Israel year after year.

To counteract Israel’s crimes, Samah and a growing number of people from Palestinian civil society advocate global BDS in order to put “a moral and economic cost on Israel’s human rights violations” as “there is no sense in pinning hopes on a state that may never be”.

Australia Links

The UNHCR rightly distances itself from Australia’s xenophobic offshore processing scheme
New law to control cyber data: Greens communications spokesman Scott Ludlam said the laws went further than the European convention, and that the government had failed to explain why the far-reaching powers were necessary

Salute to Roger Waters, in Full Solidarity with Palestinian People

I’m republishing Roger’s latest piece, written to support the proposed Presbyterian divestment from the Israeli Occupation, in full, as it moved me so much.

On Tuesday, I will be visiting Pittsburgh to perform my Pink Floyd hit “The Wall” at Consol Energy Center. By coincidence, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has gathered this week in Pittsburgh.

One issue the Presbyterians will be debating is whether to take action in support of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank, under siege in Gaza and as second-class citizens in Israel under the rule of the apartheid government there.

I write in support of those Presbyterians who would like their church to divest its holdings in three U.S. companies — Motorola Solutions, Hewlett-Packard and Caterpillar. These companies profit directly from Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and suppression of the Palestinian people in both the West Bank and Israel itself.

Divestment in these companies is supported by Jewish Voice for Peace, which has noted that “Caterpillar profits from the destruction of Palestinians’ homes,” that Motorola profits by providing safety equipment to “segregated communities on stolen land” and that Hewlett-Packard profits by providing “support and maintenance to a biometric ID system installed in Israeli checkpoints in the occupied West Bank which deprive Palestinians of the freedom of movement in their own land.”

When I wrote “The Wall” in 1979, I thought it was about me and the way I walled myself off from others because, for one reason or another, not the least of which was the loss of my father at Anzio in 1944, I saw myself as a victim. Thirty-three years later I have come to realize that “The Wall” has a broader message.

The theatrical wall I build each night serves as a metaphor for all the walls erected to separate us, human being from human being: walls between rich and poor, between opposing cultural, political or religious ideologies and particularly between the oppressor and the oppressed. The Israeli wall in the West Bank is a particularly graphic example. I make reference to that wall every night in my concert, but the injustices faced by Palestinians living under Israel’s brutal occupation and apartheid are not adequately addressed through theater and music alone. They warrant other forms of comment.

I applaud the Presbyterian initiative. In fact, I support the more wide-ranging BDS campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and have called on my fellow musicians to follow suit, just as we did in opposition to apartheid South Africa.

In 2005, 26 years after I wrote “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2,” Palestinian children protesting Israel’s apartheid wall sang, “We don’t need no occupation! We don’t need no racist wall!”

My original song was banned in apartheid South Africa because black South African children sang it to advocate for their right to equal education. In the West Bank, the children who protest the wall and sing my song face tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and even live ammunition.

I made my first trip to Israel and the West Bank in 2006. What I witnessed there shocked me to the core. The Israeli wall in the occupied West Bank is an appalling edifice, cutting farmers from farmland, family from family and children from schools and hospitals.

The standard Israeli response to criticism of the wall is that it is solely for defense. If that is the case, why was it not built on the Green Line (the internationally agreed demarcation after the Six-Day War of 1967)? Why does it snake through Palestinian land, as Israel grabs more and more land each year for illegal, segregated, Jews-only settlements?

No, this is not solely a defensive measure, this is a systematic colonization of conquered territory that contravenes the Fourth Geneva Convention and was declared illegal in an advisory but unequivocal judgment by the International Court of Justice at The Hague in 2004.

In light of the above and despite attempts to intimidate and vilify me by Israel lobby groups in the United States and elsewhere, I stand in solidarity not only with the Palestinian people but also with the many thousands of Israelis who, believing their government’s racist policies to be wrong, are increasingly making their voices heard. What courageous and beautiful voices they are.

The waters of this debate will inevitably be muddied, as they always are, by erroneous accusations of anti-Semitism leveled at those who favor selective divestment from companies complicit in Israel’s long record of human rights violations. I urge the Presbyterians assembled in Pittsburgh not to be intimidated, but to stand confident with the support of people of conscience everywhere, including tens of thousands of Jewish Americans who support divestment as an ethical obligation to end complicity in the occupation. I urge Presbyterians to adopt their selective divestment motion to make the price of collusion in human rights violations higher, and to send a message of hope to the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Good faith attempts to peacefully bring pressure on Israel to change its policies are no more anti-Semitic than similar actions against the South African apartheid regime were anti-Christian or anti-white.

In solidarity with Palestinian civil society and the nonviolent resistance movement in Israel itself, those of us involved in the struggle for Palestinian self-determination and freedom, including supporters of the BDS campaign against Israel until it fulfills its obligations under international law, will ignore the increasingly strident slanders of the Israel lobby and continue our nonviolent campaign. This is what solidarity and compassion look like. This is how we will win against injustice.

Roger Waters is a founding member of the British rock band Pink Floyd. Tomorrow, Rabbi James A. Gibson of Temple Sinai in Squirrel Hill argues that a decision by Presbyterians to divest in companies doing business in Israel would damage relations between Christians and Jews and set back conciliation efforts between Israelis and Palestinians.

Related Links

U.S. Presbyterian Church committee votes in favor of Israel divestment resolution
Committee Vote at assembly in Pennsylvania could be a sign that discourse among U.S. Christians on Israel is about to change, final vote to be held in the coming days.

Due to Israel’s Expansionism, Two States are Out of the Picture

ICAHD, ID SR on situation in Palestinian territories, 25th Meeting
02 July 2012

Israeli Committee against House Demolitions Mr. Itay Epstein, Interactive Dialogue with: – Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 A/HRC/20/32 . Item 7: Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories – 25th Plenary Meeting. 20th Session of the Human Rights Council. HRC Extranet.

Related Links

Israelis, Palestinians: 2 states in 5 years unlikely
Must read translation by Sol Salbe of an article on Israel’s apartheid roads

The art of intransigence, from Shamir to Netanyahu

It was Shamir who taught Bibi the method of pushing off the risk of concession without saying “no” to the Americans and inventing preconditions for the political process that the Arabs would undoubtedly reject. Shamir demanded that the PLO not be invited to the Madrid Conference that the administration of Bush senior convened at the end of 1991. Shamir demanded the Palestinian delegation be part of the Jordanian one and not include any representative from East Jerusalem. And just to be sure, he also demanded that every Arab nation, especially Syria, show up in Madrid.

To Shamir’s great surprise, the Palestinians agreed to all the conditions and found indirect stratagem that made a laughingstock out of Israel, such as finding East Jerusalem representatives who also happened to have addresses is Ramallah. I remember the panic in the Prime Minister’s Office after its staff read a piece I published in this newspaper about an American congressman who had visited Damascus bearing the message that Hafez Assad had decided to dispatch his foreign minister to the Madrid Conference. When I met Shamir a few days later, I couldn’t resist, and said to him, “You’re right, Mr. Prime Minister, you just can’t trust those Arabs.” Shamir, knowing what I meant, didn’t laugh. He was not amused.

Netanyahu’s policy on the settlements and his demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people demonstrate that Netanyahu is Shamir without the mustache.

Welcome to Palestine, Unless You Criticise Apartheid Israel

Handala on Air Flotilla 2One and a half thousand humanitarians are hoping to visit the West Bank to participate in a children’s education project. They are such a threat to the apartheid zionist entity that Israel is demanding airlines cancel tickets – so far Lufthansa, Jet2 and Air France have obliged, making them and other airlines who collaborate with Israel’s obscene demands legitimate boycott targets.

The activists have been invited by 25 Palestinian civil society organizations to spend next week in the Bethlehem area building an elementary school, planting trees, and repairing village wells that Palestinians say have been damaged by Israeli settlers.

Israel has a habit of barring those who critique its atrocious oppression and commit the sin of supporting Palestinian human rights, including Richard Falk, Noam Chomsky, Guenter Grass and Norman Finkelstein.

The bans on entering Israel are made on political grounds:

If you are a Likud supporter, flying into the Israeli airport should present no problem. But if you are a supporter of Palestinian rights, the Netanyahu government could stop you from going to Bethlehem on purely political grounds – even if you have never committed any crime and have no intention of ever committing one, even if you have never attended a Palestinian protest in the West Bank and have no intention of attending one. You could be barred by the Netanyahu government from going to Bethlehem simply for the thought crime of supporting Palestinian human rights.

Apparently, you can be deported by the Netanyahu government not because of what you do, but because of who you are. If you are an “activist”, then Palestinians welcome you to Bethlehem, but you may not be able to get there, because the Netanyahu government may deport you for being such an “activist”.

If Israel doesn’t want people to visit Palestine through the Tel Aviv airport, it should allow Palestinians to open their own and to administrate their own entries and departures – in other words, end the criminal Occupation enforced by Israel. After four and a half decades of brutal military Occupation by the apartheid zionist entity, the global community is stepping up boycotts, divestments and sanctions as punitive actions to end Israel’s criminal oppression and imprisonment of the Indigenous Palestinian population whose lands and resources Israel continues to thieve with impunity. Governments refuse or are unable to act responsibly to ensure Indigenous Palestinians have their full human rights and to enforce more than 30 UN Security Council resolutions of which Israel remains in breach.

UPDATE 15/4/12

How Israel orders your Airline around: The Letter which bars #Airflotilla2 activist from boarding (Update!)

Sami Kishawi marks the atrocious Israeli admonitions to humanitarians participating in the air flotilla and the hypocritical threat letter to airlines permitting them to fly.

News of detained WTP participants

Zionism is a *real* threat to 11 Israeli Jews now arrested at al-Lydd airport by the antisemitic #IOF for supporting #Fly2Palestine

Pro-Palestinian activists detained in Israel

Related Links

Like and share the Welcome to Palestine 2012 page
‘We have cancelled your booking’ — the criminalization of travel to the West Bank is laid bare to the world
Welcome to Palestine: ‘Even prisoners are allowed visits’
Israel in Europe: airlines cancel ‘flytilla’ passenger tickets
British airline bars 3 women traveling to Palestine
Airlines Cancel Tickets Of Dozens Of Flytilla Activists | #Airflotilla2
Airlines cancel activists’ flights to Israel

Palestine / Israel Links

Israeli forces raid West Bank civil defense office
Israeli fascist goonsquad attacks Palestinians and internationals. “Eight Palestinians and four internationals were arrested and at least three people were injured by the blows they suffered at the hands of police. One Italian woman suffered an injury to her shoulder that required hospitalization.”
Ben White on cultural boycott: “Boycott is a strategy, not a principle. And as such, it’s a response to a call from Palestinian civil society, which is seeking to mobilise international civil society as a way of realising their basic rights. It is a familiar tactic, used to resist local and global injustices. Are Palestinians prohibited from resisting colonial occupation – and looking for allies as they do so?”
Palestinians frustrated over Quartet statement ?

“Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi took a much harder line, saying the Quartet statement, which made no reference to Israel’s ongoing occupation of the territories, demonstrated “a lack of will” to establish a Palestinian state.

“Unfortunately, the Quartet did not propose any specific policy measures or means of engagement required to create a breakthrough in the current crisis,” she said in a statement.

“The real issue is not ‘negotiations’ but rather ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land,” Ashrawi said.

“The glaring absence of any reference to this occupation portrays a lack of will to bring an end to it and to establish a viable Palestinian state.”‘

OPT: Protection of civilians – OCHA Weekly report (28 March-3 April 2012) (3 April 2012) – Multiple war crimes, collective punishment, murders, mayhem, oppression – the apartheid zionist entity never fails to appall.

Israel’s Killing Spree on Verdun Street

Israel assassinated key strong Palestinian leaders in 1973 to assist continuance of its oppression and land theft. “each of the three slain men had singular qualities that made the Israelis want to eliminate them, says Maan Bashour, who was a member of the PLO information committee at the time as a representative of the Arab Liberation Front. “[They struck] Kamal Adwan because of his activities inside Palestine, and because he was the youngest of the resistance leaders and a major inspiration for youth; Abu Yousef because he was one of the main planners of the operations of the Black September organization; and Kamal Nasser, the freedom fighter from Ramallah, as a cultural and media star with his popular and especially Christian credentials,” says Bashour.”

Debating Palestine: Representation, Resistance, and Liberation – Abdulhadi argues: “We need to restore this sense of the indivisibility of justice and combat tendencies that present Palestine as an exceptional case of suffering and liberation.”

PACBI-Serrat and Sabina: Refrain from Entertaining Apartheid Israel until Freedom, Justice and Equality :

‘You both struggled under the oppressive and fascist regime of Franco in Spain, and must know what it means to resist oppression, and not to entertain it on its terms. We ask you in this spirit to stand with the oppressed Palestinians who are appealing to you to reconsider your performance. ‘

Ron Paul confirms his ziophilia, sucks up to conservative christan zionists
Oh oh, the zionist cover is blown – Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor knows Iran hasn’t threatened to wipe out Israel.
Rightwing zionist fleeces a poor Californian community and sends the profits to finance illegal settlements in Occupied East Jerusalem
How you know the PA collaborates with Israel: it shuts down the Palestinian Human Rights Foundation “claiming the group’s activities were not consistent with the interests of the Palestinian people.”
Don’t let the rightwing fanatics censor truth – Don’t let the Religious Right silence Desmond Tutu
The zionist SWC proceeds to attempt to obliterate Muslim culture – even the graves of dead Muslims are not exempt from annihilation. “Since the plans to construct the Museum of Tolerance on Mamilla Cemetery began in 2004, nearly 60 other descendants of those buried at the cemetery and I have made repeated appeals to try and stop the disinterring and destruction of the remains of our ancestors.
Israel’s Lawless Settlement Project ~ Fact Checks

Why Does the Occupation Continue – Max Ajl reviews Shir Hever’s “The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation”
We are privileged, say 2 Israeli refusers

Happy Summer Solstice 2011

Nutanyahoo expresses his wish that violent settler rioters will be prosecuted in military courts, as are occupied Palestinians. Does this presage the advent of similar juridicial trying of Israelis who are in solidarity with Palestinians, arrested for protesting Israel’s apartheid wall, land grabs and occupation?

Barak would rather treat the settler thugs as a terror group yet suggests ‘administrative arrests’. Lieberman worries about the impact of the rioters on the fortunes of Israel’s illegal settlements projects, seeing them as “weeds that must be uprooted.”

The ministers’ comments came after some 50 settlers and right-wing activists entered a key West Bank military base on Tuesday, throwing rocks, burning tires, and vandalizing military vehicles.

In an apparent price-tag attack earlier Wednesday, anonymous perpetrators set a historical Jerusalem mosque alight, spray painting phrases such as “Muhammad is dead” and “Muhammad is a pig” on its walls.

Also on Wednesday, Justice Minister Ne’eman is expected to form a list of proposals geared at toughening legal actions against right-wing activists and in the wake of recent price tag attacks.

Prosecution under military law would marginalise the settlers from Israel proper and could also move the goal posts contemporaneously for solidarity protesters.

The zionist ‘State’ has spoken – violent acts against its ‘defensive’ apparatus are not civil crimes, but acts of war regardless of whether the ‘crime’ is committed by the occupied, or those who steal from occupied Palestinians. (Crimes of theft from Palestinians and even crimes of violence against Palestinians by illegal settlers however are rarely prosecuted by Israel.) With its response to the settler assault on its IOF, the state is setting itself against its own nationals.

This is the sort of contradiction which exemplifies fascism. In fascist states, the state, the collective of ‘nationals’ (and only Jews are nationals in Israel) is deemed to be more important than the rights of the individual. Yet those who belong to the state – its nationals, are expected to have allegiance to the state, although it puts itself before their rights. To go against the state means pitting oneself against a collective of which one is a part by nationality and allegiance, to which one already has surrendered one’s individual rights.

Peres, the ‘soft’ face of Israel, pokes up his hypocritical head and wails about the Ten Commandments, as if zionists, other than the odd spiritual zionist, have ever cared about keeping them where Palestinians are concerned. Deceitfully, the Yesha (settler) Council chairman attempts to cover up for the settlers, setting the tone for the usual retreat back to the customary defensive posture of entitlement to land theft by claiming provocation, including an oblique slur toward Islam.

“most of the settlers are opposed to violence. There is no justification for (these) actions, no matter what the religion of the victims is.” However, Dayan added that “in recent days there is a trend of incitement… against the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.

Who is inciting again?

Related Links

The Palestinian ministry of health in Gaza made an urgent appeal on Tuesday to all health and humanitarian organizations to help provide kidney units in Gaza hospitals
20 NGOs demand international quartet to end demolition of Palestinian homes

since the start of 2011, more than 500 Palestinian homes, wells and water containers and other basic infrastructure in the West Bank and Jerusalem have been destroyed, which led to the displacement of more than 1, 000 Palestinians according to UN statistics.

“This is more than double the number of people displaced over the same period in 2010, and the highest figure since at least 2005. More than half of those displaced have been children for whom the loss of their home is particularly devastating,”

Lebanon’s president highlights West’s hypocrisy on ‘democracy’ & treatment of Palestinians
Before the zionist invasion began in the 19th century, “Palestinians made up 95 percent of the indigenous population of Palestine”.
Maybe Newt can occupy Palestine, but Israel can’t
Palestinian flag raised at UNESCO marking admission as new member
The ugly face of ziofascism
Resistance key to freeing Palestine: Haniyeh
From Palestine to Syria: Free Razan @RedRazan