For more on ongoing protests visit: www.stopwar.org.uk

I understand there are at least nineteen people dead. Guardian article on global protests: World wide protests on Israeli attack on aid flotilla. How and where to protest see this Stop the War Coalition link. Rod Cox – who travelled with the first Viva Palestina convoy to Gaza – gives us insights on what happened here: Rod Cox and Gaza.

Update: Wednesday 2nd. June. The respected organisation “Fairness and Accuracy in reporting” published an important analysis of the often biased ways in which this tragic incident has been reported”. Read it here: Fairness and Accuracy in reporting Israeli Ship Attack.

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See this piece published by the Guardian online today:

Israeli air strike overnight

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News from the International Jewish Anti-Zionist network.  Together with the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign they have organised a  UK & Ireland tour with Hajo Meyer & Haidar Eid (Dr Eid via video link from Gaza) called:

“NEVER AGAIN.FOR ANYONE”. The IJAZ Network say:

“On January 27, Holocaust Remembrance Day, leading politicians from the U.S. and Europe will join in honoring the memory of Jews killed in the Nazi genocide. Yet the immensity of that tragedy is dishonored by the hypocrisy of the ceremonies: those who pay homage to the victims of yesterday’s silence are silent about today’s inhumanity. We say, “Never again!” For anyone. Never again for the people of Gaza. Never again for all those struggling against dehumanization, racism and genocide everywhere, every day”.

Hajo Meyer tells us: “My great lesson from Auschwitz is – whoever wants to dehumanise any other must first be dehumanised himself. The oppressors are no longer really human whatever uniform they wear”.

Dr Hajo G. Meyer was born in 1924 in Bielefeld, Germany. In 1944, after a year in the underground, he was caught and subsequently survived 10 months in Auschwitz. An IJAN member, Dr. Meyer is on the board of the IJAN.

Dr Haidar Eid is a refugee whose parents were expelled from the Zarnouqa village in 1948. Dr. Eid is a member of the PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel) Steering Committee and a co-founder of the One Dutch “A Different Jewish Voice”, of European Jews for a Just Peace. He is the author of three books on Judaism, Holocaust and Zionism. Democratic State Group.

He lives in Gaza, where he is an Associate Professor of Cultural Studies at Al-Aqsa University.

Tour Dates

♦ 21 Jan, 7.30pm: Sir Charles Wilson Building, University of Glasgow.

♦ 22 Jan, 7.30pm: D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, Perth Rd. Dundee

♦ 23 Jan, 2pm: Augustine Church Centre, Edinburgh.

♦ 24 Jan, 7.30pm: The Showroom & Workstation, Paternoster Row. Sheffield

♦ 25 Jan, 7.30pm: Quaker Meeting House, Liverpool.

 ♦ 26 Jan, 6pm: Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths, University of London.

♦ 27 Jan, 7pm: House of Commons (Portcullis House) Westminster, London.

♦ 29 Jan, 7.30pm: The Grosvenor Hall, Glengall Street, Belfast.

♦ 30 Jan, 6pm: Central Hotel, Exchequer Street, Dublin.

For the full schedule go to International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network. Never Again or the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign for more information or to sponsor one of these events, please contact: uk@ijsn.net or campaign@scottishpsc.org.uk

The IJAN say: “We are urgently looking for sponsors for the tour. If you haven’t already, please consider  endorsing/sponsoring the tour now! And we are also looking for representatives form communities that have faced genocide to participate in the planning of the tour and to respond to the main speakers“. 

‘Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me’ – Pastor Martin Niemöller

Gaza one year on

January 1, 2010

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First of January. Janus the god of  gates, doors, doorways, beginnings and endings. Looking backwards and forwards at the  same time.

 In December last year anti-war protestors stood together on the streets protesting against the Gaza massacre. After closing and controlling its borders, we heard news of Israel brutally bombing and then invading Gaza.

This week an email from the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network reminds me of  the 1,417 Palestinians dead including 313 children and youth:

” Since the attack, which destroyed houses, wells, factories, schools, hospitals, police stations and other public buildings, the blockade has created conditions of genocide through contamination of water supplies due to white phosphorous, raw sewage pouring into the sea, and the prevention of food, medical and other humanitarian supplies from entering Gaza. People living in Gaza are already feeling the terrible long-term effects including a huge increase in birth defects and in cancers, especially in children”.

Over the past year many of us made trips to Palestine in solidarity. To bear witness. To bring food. To film and to write the reality.

 I would have wanted to be there too. For the present – and this time – family circumstances did not and do not allow me to go the distance. I had to travel to Palestinians online instead. 

Travelled in my head each day to the month-long protest that took place at the Rafah border organised by the International Movement to Open the Border. To speak to the women who sent me messages and photographs. Posted twice, three times a day – learning there were some things that would never see the light of the mainstream press. Began to understand why no-one would pay a writer to write about it. Followed the story anyway. Days and days and months of it.

Travelled to the Palestine Trade Union solidarity conference in Liverpool. Heard the writer   Sameh Habeeb speak for the first time. He’s helping us to understand Obama, Afghanistan and Palestine:

 Obama’s failure will only increase over time. The troops in Afghanistan will be doubled, as well as the loss of lives of Americans due to this careless policy. The American-made Iraq will never exist. Palestinians will continue to be denied their inalienable rights granted by International law and a Palestinian state will not be realized in the near future.

Gazans will remain suffering under the internationally endorsed siege, with its children continuing to be killed and starved. All of this is due to American foreign policy, which is concerned with economic and material self-interest rather than humanitarian concerns. Indeed, neither Barack Obama nor the American government will solve such problems as they remain bias and supporters of the victimizers against the victims”.

Last year I started out thinking I had the freedom to write the truth as I saw and heard it.  A late night phone call from a government office shook me out of this particular day-dream.  It wasn’t that simple.

This month I read:  “the Gaza Freedom March coalition mobilised an international contingent of over 1,300 international delegates for a non-violent march alongside the people of Gaza which was planned to take place yesterday”.

I read: “The Egyptian Foreign Ministry informed the organisers on December 20 that the Rafah border will be closed over the coming weeks into January, and that they will not be able to enter Gaza.  Egyptian embassies and missions heard a clear message from supporters of the march by phone, fax and email. Let the delegation enter Gaza and let the Gaza Freedom March proceed”.

I’m thinking:  This place is familiar. The author of the blog GHAZAWIYYA has the following to say (see this link for the source – quote unedited).

“The Viva Palestina convoy should not have accepted to leave to Lathqiyyeh in Syria based on what Egypt demanded they do. This is not resistance. The convoy should have held on their demands despite the Egyptian regimes refusal to allow them to pass through Nweiba’.

What the Egyptian authorities are doing is to put off people, and they are succeeding in doing that as long as their is no persistence and resistance. Now, one other thing I would like to criticise Viva Palestina’s Alberawy for is his statement that the convoy is “humanitarian and in solidarity” that does not wish to pressure the Egyptian government! Not that I am for the humanitarian discourse, but, I mean isn’t it humanitarian enough for Mr. Alberawy to uncover the Egyptian regime’s injustice and corruption?

Couldn’t Viva Palestina have took advantage of this refusal by Egypt to defy this wicked and torturous regime? They should have kept the half a million dollars to support the solidarity workers in Aqaba and work on a movement to Jordan in support of a civil disobedience”. (Quote source: the blogger Natalie Abou Shakra  at GHAZAWIYYA)


Aljazeera comment: “Hamas says that it is on the verge of starting its own investigation into whether it committed war crimes during Israel’s war on Gaza.

The probe is one of the main requirements of the recent UN-backed Goldstone Report into the conflict, which took place during December and January. Most of the report’s criticism was reserved for Israel.

In a rare interview, Ismail Haniya, the deposed Palestinian prime minister, also told Al Jazeera’s Zeina Awad that he is still hopeful of exchanging Gilad Shalit, a captured Israeli soldier, for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.”

On the subject of the U.N. fact finding report referred to in the previous post, the Guardian interviewed all parties and published the footage today. See this link.

Here is a poem, received today. Written by Ehab Lotayef and inspired by the International Movement to Open the Rafah Border:Rafah

On the gates of Gaza
Fists are banging
and voices are getting louder
every day

At the gates of Gaza
the masses are gathering

Activists chanting
displaced people
aimless soldiers

Women insulted
enemies protected
A wailing grandmother
and frail old men

A young boy
weeping
A mother in tears
A paperless teenager

An army losing reason

Destruction
blockade
and no one to the aide
Are the children of Gaza
born to be slaves?

No medicine
No food
Barriers
and shackles

Bang your fists
on the gates of Gaza
and shout so your voice
shatters the blockade

Wipe out the darkness
wake up the sleeping
free the hostages
remove the barriers

The walls must fall

The walls will fall
and behind the walls
we’ll witness the sun
of a brighter day

In Solidarity – International Movement to Open Rafah Border

The International Middle East Media Centre reports:

 “U.S. officials have visited Egypt and the Rafah terminal to discuss “a detailed plan that includes high-tech equipment to uncover tunnels…the U.S. officials said that the congress-supported plan aims at securing the 13.5 border line between Egypt and Gaza. The congress approved allocating 50 million USD to secure the borders between Egypt and Israel”

Today I asked a spokesperson and member of the International Movement to Open the Rafah border IMORB for  a statement on this situation by email. They said:

“Israel and Egypt are maintaining an harsh blockade to the 1,5 millions people in Gaza Strip and the only way for them to get medicine, food, clothes, petrol, and all the basis products is through the tunnels. If US and Egypt close all the tunnels, life in Gaza will be unbearable. Many people will die, particularly the sick people.

As we are heading towards new general elections (presidential and legislative ones) which are expected to come on next January, USA, Israel and the international community want to force Palestinians in Gaza to make the right choice : to vote for the collaborator party and leader. And to insure they will do the right thing, they have to impose an hermetic siege without the help of the Egyptian people and tunnels!

Palestinians will be forced to collaborate with their occupier and to recognize its right to dispossess them. It is not only a shame, it is a crime ! Where is justice ?  Where is the right to freedom ? This is the kind of democracy westerners countries promised to the Palestinians (for the racist zionists : a subhumanity !!)”

According to the news section of the website Almasryonline

“Israel conducted an airstrike using F16 bombers on the Egyptian Gaza border yesterday morning. Egyptians living in Rafah were thrown into a state of fear and mayhem, many of them fleeing their houses in fear of the vibrations resulting from the near-by bombing.

The air raid resulted in the death of four Palestinians and the wounding of 9 others”.