Archive for the Non-violent resistance Category

Message in a bottle

Posted in Activism, Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, International community, Non-violent resistance, Operation Cast Lead, Siege, Songs, Videos with tags , , , on 19/06/2011 by 3071km


 

Advertisements

Joint-Statement: Nakba at 63 – Confronting the Ongoing Nakba

Posted in Activism, Fatah, Gaza, Hamas, History, International community, Israeli occupation, Non-violent resistance, Palestine, Peace process, Siege, USA foreign policy, War crimes, West Bank with tags , , , , , , , , on 14/05/2011 by 3071km

Authors: various

Published: 14th May 2011

_____

After 63 years of the Palestinian Nakba, and despite 20 years of unsuccessful peace negotiations, the Palestinian people continue to be denied their most fundamental and inalienable rights to self-determination, national independence, sovereignty and return to the homes and properties from which they have been forcibly displaced. Living under the Israeli apartheid regime and in forced exile away from the towns and villages, hills and olive groves that they call home, the Palestinian people remain steadfast in their struggle to end the systematic human rights violations committed against them and return to their homes of origin.

Meanwhile, the international community, especially the USA and the dominant member states of the UN continue to shield Israel from accountability and maintain extensive economic and diplomatic ties which finance and subsidize the Israeli regime. This persistent support has taken place under the guise of a ‘peace process’ which has worked to embellish Israeli violations with the facade of peace; a situation Israel has exploited to increase its international and regional economic and diplomatic links. As the pretense of negotiations falls away, so too does the cover it provides Israel to continue its policies, a reality reflected in the growing civil society response insisting upon the application of international law to end Israeli impunity.

An accounting for the collapse of the peace process, a failure now a recognized reality by all parties involved in it for the past 20 years, inevitably leads to the need to establish a strategy which puts the realization of Palestinian rights at its center and focuses on the practical action needed to bring Palestinian rights into reality, combining grassroots, civic struggle on the ground with international pressure on Israel to respect the rights of the Palestinian people.

The latest agreement between the two main Palestinian factions is an encouraging first step towards establishing such a strategy. However, genuine national reconciliation and unity can only come about through the inclusion of the Palestinian people in their entirety in contributing to and deciding upon the way forward for the Palestinian people. It is in this vein that the campaign for direct elections to the highest decision making body of the Palestinian people, the Palestinian National Council (PNC) was relaunched, to ensure that the voice of all Palestinians, including those with Israeli citizenship and refugees living forced exile are included.

These attempts at national unity take place against the backdrop of political transformations in neighboring Arab countries which reassert the power of people to take their fate in their own hands in seeking freedom, justice and equality. In 2011, the year of revolutions, it is as clear as ever that the Palestinian people are at the centerpiece of a regional-wide yearning for rights, denied to them by powers concerned more with geopolitical influence than upholding the rule and values of international law. Ending the particular systematic denial of rights suffered by Palestinians as a result of Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid is therefore intrinsically tied in with fate of the millions of demonstrators on the streets of the Arab world.

On the 63rd commemoration of the Nakba and as part of activities to confront ongoing forcible transfer of Palestinians by Israel, We the undersigned organizations call:

On the Palestinian leadership to:
• To adopt a coherent strategy which places at its forefront a just and permanent solution for Palestinian refugees and IDPs, based on their right to return and in accordance with international law, universal principles of justice and UN resolutions 194 (1948) and 237 (1967);
• Ensure genuine national reconciliation and unity as a matter of urgency, and rebuild the PLO as a legitimate and credible platform representing the entire Palestinian people and its political organizations through initiating direct elections to the PNC;
• Support and activate popular resistance in all forms permitted under international law.
• Establish a consultative mechanism with professional civil society organizations to support the efforts of the PLO in international fora.

On Civil Society, Governments, UN Members States, Organs and Agencies to:
• Support civil society led direct actions in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle such as the Gaza freedom flotilla;
• Build and expand the civil society-led movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and exert stronger pressure on states to implement sanctions and adopt decisions and resolutions which support the global BDS Campaign;
• Redouble efforts for investigation of Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity and prosecution and punishment of those responsible, as well as efforts to prevent Israel’s accession and integration into international and regional organizations.
• Implement international protection standards for Palestinian refugees and IDPs.

————————————————————————–

– BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
– The Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI)
– Defense for Children International/Palestine Section
– Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
– Housing and Land Rights Network: Habitat International Coalition
– Joint Advocacy initiative -The East Jerusalem YMCA and YWCA of Palestine-
– Kairos Palestine
– The Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign

Israel is behind Juliano and Vik’s murder

Posted in Activism, Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, Hamas, Israel, Non-violent resistance on 18/04/2011 by 3071km

Date published: 17th April 2011
Source: In Gaza
_____

excerpts from Lauren Booth on the killing of Vik:

The killing of Vittorio (Vik) Arrigoni in Gaza this week follows (too) closely, the murder of pro-Palestinian peace activist Juliano Mer Khamis in the West Bank. Juliano, 52, was shot dead outside the Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp on the West Bank on the 4th April. His documentary Arnas’s Children detailed the work of his mother in helping Palestinian children deal with the trauma of living under Occupation through the use of drama and self – expression.

Juliano was untimely, bloody, end was one he had predicted three years ago on Israeli television.

Vittorio Arrigoni was found, this week, hung, by armed ‘fanatics’ in an apartment in Gaza. An end he would never, ever, have predicted.

There was worldwide condemnation for the killing of both men.

That a man dedicated to non violent resistance should die in violence is bad enough.

Worse, far worse is this; That his avowed enemies the ‘Fascisti’ in Israel (as he would call the government there) seek to make political gains from a life lived in direct challenge to them. This, as much as the sight of that last, dreadful film showing his eyes taped and his face bruised, is a knife in the heart of all who loved or knew of him.

The headline ‘Italian peace activist killed by Palestinian extremists’ is an Israeli propagandists wet dream. A gift as potentially large in its political implications as the now inevitable retraction by the UN of the Goldstone report.

Why?

Two reasons. firstly, if nothing is done, and fast, Israel will use the momentum of these two machinated events, as an excuse to re invade the Gaza Strip under the auspices of ‘terrorism and security’ issues.

Secondly, Israeli is seeking to end the growing momentum of the siege breaking movement and the increasing appeal of the ISM (International Solidarity Movement).

Which brings us to timing of both Juliano and Vittorio’s murders. Both men were respected for their creative work. Juliano, for inspiring a new generation of actors and writers in Jenin and for his film making on the subject of life under Occupation.

Vik for his award winning writings and broadcasts, on the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza.

Both men were part of a new uprising, arguably, the most successful yet. The uprising that hurts Israel where it hurts most – in the TV studios of Europe and the US, right in the intelligentsia. Their impact on the Israel ‘fascisti’ machine was a phenomenon in the expanding worlds of twitter and facebook. They had voices like no others in this movement.

More though. Vik was pivotal in the reformation of the ISM Gaza Group, the non violent resistance team, put on hold after the murders of two of its members by Israeli forces ; Tom Hurndall and Rachel Corrie. After it became clear that Israel’s leaders had taken the decision not only not to ignore the human rights of internationals in the West Bank and Gaza (thus putting them on a par with Palestinians), but to actively target them. The ISM in Gaza took time to consider whether it could encourage, young activists to join them on the ever increasingly mission to accompany Gazans about their daily business. Human shield work. Tom Hurndall and Rachel Corrie’s deaths were part of a dedicated attack by Israel on the work of the increasingly effective ISM.

More recently, IOF commanders have been focusing their attention on the Freegaza Movements efforts to break the siege of Gaza by sea.

It is no coincidence then that both Juliano and Vittorio should die within two weeks. Both, at the hands of unknown Palestinian ‘cells.’ As they say on children’s TV – tell us boys and girls what’s wrong with this picture?

Still unsure who was behind Vittorio’s murder? Well, how often have the Israeli press lauded and applauded ‘covert ops’ in the Occupied Territories? Want some examples? Fine. In 1952, Shin Bet agents were sent undercover to spy inside Palestinian villages. Ten Jewish men assimilated into Arab communities in the early 1950s, marrying local women and starting families with them, were, all the while serving in the Shin Bet as “mistaarvim,” literally- masqueraders. The men learned the Palestinian dialect, studied the Quran and espionage techniques in an Intelligence Corps base near Ramla. With a detailed cover story, they were sent into Palestinian villages and cities pretending to be refugees from the Nakba returning home.

Just this year, Israel has carried out an assassination in Dubai of a Hamas member (or as it was known in the British media – the ‘passports scandal’). Mossad operatives have kidnapped a Palestinian engineer from the Ukraine, who is now, illegally held in an Israeli prison.

And what of the sadistic coercion that Palestinians with chronic illnesses have been subjected to by Shin Bet? Known in Gaza as treachery for treatment? A Palestinian patient requests a permit from the Israeli- Palestinian Civil Liaisons Department to be allowed to travel from Gaza to the West Bank or Israel for an operation. After exhausting efforts, patients receive permits and go to Erez. Prominent human rights centres report that Shin Bet officers,then attempt to coerce and entrap patients, to do dirty work for them in their home towns and villages in return for rapid and/or ongoing medial treatment.

Yes folks, spies-for-health.

Israel then, ‘has form’ when it comes to lying, murdering, and coercion, for its own ends.

As Hamas rounds up the perpetrators of this most recent, deadly crime, the Gaza grapevine is buzzing with the news that they will indeed be found to be, (as suspected from the get-go), Israeli collaborators.

Statements of denial from the ‘Salafis’ accused of the murder have already been issued. Despite the fact the Western media is still running with the story of their guilt.

There were statements from Tawid wal – Jihad and Ma’sadat al- Mujahedin An excerpt from a statement read, “we strongly deny any responsibility for or connection to the kidnapping of the Italian (Vittorio Arrigoni)… Our statements are distributed exclusively through Shoumouk al – Islam, Attahadi Network and the Ansar al-Mujahideen Network…Any statement attributed to us that are not released through these channels, have nothing to do with us, even if they are published on Jihadi websites…”

So, who benefits from the killing of Vittorio Arrigoni? And what is the significance of the timing of his murder?

Well, if it smells like s***t and looks like s**t it almost certainly is – Israel.

Sure, the kidnappers’ video looked genuine at first. It had all the customary layout of the kind of ‘Jihadi’ videos that the tabloid press loves: the black flag of Islam, the Quranic verse in the introduction, footage of the kidnapped victim. But a small detail on the black flag, underneath the precious, Islamically untouchable phrase ‘There is No God, but God’ raises questions about the authenticity of the groups grasp on Islam. The extra words read something like “the Brigades of Muhammad Ibn Maslama.” This has been hard for experts to verify because the video is being systematically pulled off YouTube. But one thing is certain;

‘Jihadis’ never write ANYTHING on the flag besides La Ilaha Ila Allah.

Also unusual, was the lack of customary logos of the Jihadi media distribution channels: Shoumoukh al-Islam, Ansar al-Mujahideen, Global Islamic Media Front, etc. (See the statement of denial above).

You know what, right now, who cares?

Vik; friend, solidarity activist, hero, author, is dead and his enemy is making gains from his life. A life dedicated to the opposition of Israeli Fascism.

We know all to well, the bloody massacre that took place last year on the Mavi Marmara, committed by Israeli forces.

Now, as the second Armada plans to chart the same course on or near the anniversary of that sailing, Israel is pulling out all the stops, in its efforts to stop, frighten, threaten and deter, hundreds more activists from taking action against their Apartheid state.

Israel’s ambassador to Turkey, Gaby Levy, has just asked the Turkish government to help halt the flotilla movement saying their sailing would be a “provocation.” Asked about the pressure, a Turkish foreign ministry official told Reuters: “We listened to the message given by the Israeli side and told them this is an initiative by civil society.”

The official did not elaborate.

Strike one, for Israel.

But the efforts continued.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on EU ambassadors in Jerusalem saying “This flotilla must be stopped.”

And there’s more. On April 1, Netahyahu’s office asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to stop the flotilla setting sail.

Netanyahu told Ban Ki-moon that the mission of ships was being organized by (guess who folks?) “Islamic extremist elements” intent on bringing about “a flare-up.”

Then, on Wednesday, the morally bankrupt, Silvio Berlusconi, told Israel Radio, that he would work to prevent the next flotilla bound for Gaza, from sailing.

Berlusconi said that a peaceful Middle East is farther from reality now than it ever has been before, adding that Israel has no viable peace partner. He even asserted that Israel is the only Middle Eastern country that the West can trust, and that Israel should join the European Union.

The next day, Vik was kidnapped.

The same night, before any realistic negotiations could take place for his release, Vik was murdered.

Feeling sick yet? Yeah, me too.

Because this was a hit. A hit carried out to intimidate, to frighten off those who have already signed up for the next flotilla to Gaza and may be traveling there for the first time, Those unsure of the exceptional good will and generosity of the people there. A good will Vik would tell you about.

We mustn’t let the Israeli ‘fascisti’ succeed in their latest terror tactic. Early signs are that for all the pain Vik’s death has caused, all the tears that have flowed. that we, in the solidarity movement will only grow more determined, in light of this crime.

Since his death the ISM has reported a sharp rise in people wanting to go to Palestine.

Meanwhile, a Freegagza Movement contact, tells me that no one from the next convoy expected to include Turkish, Algerian, Scottish, Spanish, Dutch, Irish, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Jordanian, Malaysian, Indonesian, Swiss, US, Canadian, British and French nationals, has pulled out as a result of Vik’s murder.

Obama doubtful on Middle East peace

Posted in International community, Israel politics, Israel's separation wall, Israeli occupation, Israeli politics, Non-violent resistance, Palestine, Peace process, USA foreign policy, West Bank on 15/04/2010 by 3071km

Source: Aljazeera English

Barack Obama, the US president, has admitted that Washington’s power to influence stalled negotations between Israel and the Palestinians in limited.

Speaking to reporters after hosting a nuclear security summit on Tuesday, Obama said he had little hope for swift progress towards Middle East peace, more than a year after taking office and declaring it a high priority for his administration.

US-led peace efforts have been stymied by a dispute over Jewish settlement construction on occupied Palestinian land that has strained ties between Washington and its close ally Israel.

Internal rifts among the Palestinians have also posed challenges to the process.

“The truth is in some of these conflicts the United States can’t impose solutions unless the participants in these conflicts are willing to break out of old patterns of antagonism,” Obama told a news conference on Tuesday.

‘Constantly engaged’

The US president recently acknowledged he had underestimated the obstacles to a renewed peace process, and some critics have called his approach naive.

“The Israeli people, through their government, and the Palestinian people, through the Palestinian Authority, as well as other Arab states may say to themselves: ‘We are not prepared to resolve these issues no matter how much pressure the United States brings to bear’,” Obama said.

IN DEPTH
Video:
White House split over settlements
Will the US tackle settlements?
Netanyahu firm on Jerusalem
Focus:
Jerusalem: A city divided
Jerusalem’s religious heart
Q&A: Jewish settlements
Israelis divided over settlements
Riz Khan:
A partner for peace?
Middle East peace process
Battle over settlements
Inside Story:
US and Israel poles apart
Programmes:
Israel: Rise of the right
Holy Land Grab

But he said that the US would press on, “constantly present, constantly engaged”.

“It’s going to take time, and progress will be halting,” Obama said. “And there will be frustrations.”

Despite shuttle diplomacy and unusual pressure on Israel, the Obama administration has been unable to reach even the modest goal of reviving talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Last week, Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, acknowledged that his government had yet to resolve its differences with the US over Israeli construction in occupied East Jerusalem – a major sticking point that torpedoed indirect talks before they could even start.

Netanyahu said both countries were still working to find a solution but staunchly defended his government’s continued settlement building in Jerusalem as a “long-standing Israeli policy”.

“There are things we agree on, things we don’t agree on, things we are closing the gap on,” Netanyahu said.

“We are making an effort.”

The breakdown in US-Israeli ties began after Israel announced plans to build 1,600 new housing units in occupied East Jerusalem during a visit by Joe Biden, the US vice-president, drawing sharp condemnation from Washington.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state in any two-state solution to the situation and have demanded that all settlement acticity is halted before talks can resume.

Negotiations between Israel and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority have been stalled since Israeli forces began a 22-day military offensive in the Gaza Strip, controlled by the rival Hamas movement, more than a year ago.

To shoot an elephant

Posted in Activism, Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, International community, Israeli occupation, Non-violent resistance, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Siege, Videos, War crimes with tags , , , , , , , on 06/02/2010 by 3071km

Source : To Shoot An Elephant

To download click here.

_____

Sinopsis

 

“…afterwards, of course, there were endless discussions about the shooting of the elephant. The owner was furious, but he was only an Indian and could do nothing. Besides, legally I had done the right thing, for a mad elephant has to be killed, like a mad dog, if it’s owner fails to control it”.

George Orwell defined a way of witnessing Asia that still remains valid. “To shoot an elephant” is an eye witness account from The Gaza Strip. December 27th, 2008, Operation Cast Lead. 21 days shooting elephants. Urgent, insomniac, dirty, shuddering images from the only foreigners who decided and managed to stay embedded inside Gaza strip ambulances, with Palestinian civilians.

George Orwell: “Shooting an elephant” was originally published in New Writing in 1948.

Context

 

Gaza Strip has been under siege since June 2007, when Israel declared it an “enemy entity”. A group of international activists organized a siege-breaking movement, the Free Gaza movement. Thanks to their efforts, and despite the Israeli ban on foreign correspondents and humanitarian aid workers to cover and witness operation “Cast Lead” on the ground, a group of international volunteers: self organised members of the International Solidarity Movement were present in Gaza when the bombing started on December, 27th 2009. Together with two international correspondents from Al Jazeera International (Ayman Mohyeldin and Sherine Tadros), they were the only foreigners who managed to write, film and report for several radio stations what was happening inside the besieged Palestinian strip.

Were they journalists? Were they activists? Who cares!. They became witnesses. Being a journalist or being whatsoever depends on how you feel. It is an ethical responsibility that you manage to share with a wider audience what you and those who are around you are going through. It will be the result of your work that will lead you to a professional career as a journalist or not, rather than pre-assumptions and labels. Make them know. Make those who you want to: listen and be aware of what you are aware of. That is a journalist. Having a card, with “press” written on it, or getting a regular salary is not necessary to be a witness with a camera or a pen. Forget about neutrality. Forget about objectivity. We are not Palestinians. We are not Israelis. We are not impartial. We only try to be honest and report what we see and what we know. I am a journalist. If somebody listens, I am a journalist. In Gaza´s case, no “official journalists” were authorized to enter Gaza (apart from those who were already inside) so we became witnesses. With a whole set of responsibilities as regarding to it.

I have always understood journalism as “a hand turning the lights on inside the dark room”. A journalist is a curious person, an unpleasant interrogator, a rebel camera and a pen making those in power feel uncomfortable. And that is the concept of my work in Gaza: To fulfil a duty in the most narrated conflict on earth, where the story of the siege and the collective punishment that is being imposed by Israel on the whole population of the territory in retaliation for rockets sent by Hamas will never be told with enough accuracy. For this it has to be lived. I sneaked inside Gaza despite Israeli attempts not to allow us to enter and I was “politely” asked to leave by those in power in Gaza. That is my idea of journalism. Every government on earth should feel nervous about somebody going around with a camera or a pen ready to publish what he or she manages to understand. For the sake of information, one of the biggest pillars of democracy.

This is an embedded film. We decided to be “embedded within the ambulances” opening an imaginary dialogue with those journalists who embed themselves within armies. Everyone is free to choose the side where they want to report from. But decisions are often not unbiased. We decided that civilians working for the rescue of the injured would give us a far more honest perspective of the situation than those whose job is to shoot, to injure and to kill. We prefer medics rather than soldiers. We prefer the bravery of those unarmed rescuers than those with -also interesting, but morally rejectable experiences who enlist to kill. It is a matter of focus. I am not interested in the fears, traumas and contradictions of those who have a choice: the choice of staying home and saying no to war.

Crew

 

Directors: Alberto Arce/ Mohammad Rujailah

Script: Alberto Arce/ Miquel Marti Freixas

Editing: Alberto Arce/ Miquel marti Freixas

Sound: Francesc Gosalves

Posproduction: Jorge Fernández Mayoral

Co-production/distribution: Eguzki Bideoak.

Translation: Mohammad Rujailah/ Alberto Arce

Design Team: Mr. Brown and Mabrilan

Duration:112´

Berlusconi fails to notice apartheid wall

Posted in Everyday life in the West Bank, Fatah, Gaza, Israel politics, Israel's separation wall, Israeli occupation, Israeli politics, Non-violent resistance, War crimes, West Bank on 04/02/2010 by 3071km

jjj

Date Published: February 4, 2010

Source: The Palestine Telegraph

 Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi travelled along the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem on Wednesday but he said the failed to notice the eight-meter-high Israeli apartheid wall.

At a joint news conference with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, an Italian journalist asked Berlusconi about his impressions of the apartheid wall. “I’m going to let you down because I didn’t notice,” Berlusconi replied.

The Italian leader said he had not paid attention to the wall despite that the fact that Palestinian sources confirmed that protocol obliged Berlusconi to get out in the cold and rain to switch from an Israeli car to a Palestinian one at the Israeli checkpoint in the wall, where a steel gate controls access to and from the West Bank.

“I was getting my thoughts in order on what I would say to the president,” he said. “I apologize for that.”

The wall at Bethlehem is part of a long barrier, which Israel claims is necessary to prevent armed Palestinians from reaching its cities from the West Bank.

“We opposed Goldstone who tried to incriminate Israel for responding to Hamas rocket firing. I am proud that Italy knew to act on time during the bombing of Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Italy is proud of gestures such as our government’s refusal to attend the second Durban conference which sought to make intolerable accusations of racism and violence against Israel,” Berlusconi said in the Knesset plenum on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Berlusconi and called him a dear friend. He did not comment on Berlusconi’s address in the Knesset and thanked him for his interest in the Palestinian case.

Bethlehem, February 4, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) – Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi travelled along the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem on Wednesday but he said the failed to notice the eight-meter-high Israeli apartheid wall.

At a joint news conference with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, an Italian journalist asked Berlusconi about his impressions of the apartheid wall. “I’m going to let you down because I didn’t notice,” Berlusconi replied.

The Italian leader said he had not paid attention to the wall despite that the fact that Palestinian sources confirmed that protocol obliged Berlusconi to get out in the cold and rain to switch from an Israeli car to a Palestinian one at the Israeli checkpoint in the wall, where a steel gate controls access to and from the West Bank.

“I was getting my thoughts in order on what I would say to the president,” he said. “I apologize for that.”

The wall at Bethlehem is part of a long barrier, which Israel claims is necessary to prevent armed Palestinians from reaching its cities from the West Bank.

“We opposed Goldstone who tried to incriminate Israel for responding to Hamas rocket firing. I am proud that Italy knew to act on time during the bombing of Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Italy is proud of gestures such as our government’s refusal to attend the second Durban conference which sought to make intolerable accusations of racism and violence against Israel,” Berlusconi said in the Knesset plenum on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Berlusconi and called him a dear friend. He did not comment on Berlusconi’s address in the Knesset and thanked him for his interest in the Palestinian case.

FREE GAZA IRELAND TO SEND “IRISH BOAT” TO GAZA

Posted in Activism, Gaza, Gaza reconstruction, International community, Non-violent resistance, Operation Cast Lead, Siege with tags , , , , , , , , on 13/10/2009 by 3071km

E-mail received: Monday 12th October 2009

Source: Free Gaza Movement

_____

The crisis in Gaza is unacceptable. For nearly four years, Israel has subjected the Gaza Strip to an increasingly cruel blockade, leading to severe increases in unemployment, poverty, and childhood malnutrition. Israel’s 22-day assault on Gaza last December & January killed over 1400 civilians and destroyed thousands of homes, schools, mosques and hospitals. It’s been almost a year since these attacks and thousands of Gaza’s Palestinians are still living in rubble. Maintaining the Gaza siege and denying Palestinians the right to rebuild their lives is unconscionable.

Free Gaza Ireland is working closely with the international Free Gaza Movement to acquire an “Irish boat” to sail to Gaza as part of an international flotilla challenging Israel’s brutal siege.  Since August 2008, international volunteers in the Free Gaza Movement have been sailing to Gaza, suceeding 5 times to break the siege. Ours remain the only ships to reach Gaza since 1967.  More than simple charity, the Palestinian people need our solidarity and political action. They need us to challenge the policies that leave them in need of humanitarian aid.

Caoimhe Butterly, renowned Irish human rights campaigner and Gaza Project Co-coordinator for the Free Gaza Movement stated that:  “Our delegations  have been deeply shocked by the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Gaza. Israel’s ongoing occupation and the severity of the siege on Gaza is designed to isolate people as well as devastate the infrastructure of Gaza. Free Gaza’s mission is a reminder of not only the efficacy of using non-violent direct action to confront injustice, but also of the deafening silence of the international community.”


With Ireland’s help, the Free Gaza Movement hopes to sail to Gaza before winter sets in with ships carrying badly needed humanitarian and reconstruction supplies. On board will be Irish TD’s, journalists, human rights activists & Irish musicans who will perform in Gaza with local artists as part of a series of cultural events linking up with Ireland.  We urge everyone to join us in concretely asserting the right of the Palestinian people to have access to the outside world. We will not stay silent as the Palestinian people are deliberately starved and humiliated. Like all peoples in the world – Palestinians have a right to life with dignity.

www.freegaza.org


Niamh Moloughney
Irish Free Gaza Coordinator

niamh@freegaza.org
091 472279/085 7747257