Where now for Palestine?

After US president Bush’s visit to Palestine in in January 2008 Israel cut power and fuel in its siege of the Gaza strip yet again .

See http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19128.htm http://www.petitiononline.com/SaveGaza/petition.html for details.

Given the points raised below in the email about Israel’s cutting power and fuel in its siege of the Gaza strip in Palestine, I think that the Stop the War Collective (STWC) in Brisbane should be asked to address what is happening in Palestine.

Nothing was said at pre-election rallies held in November 2007.

Where is the point of fighting electoral politics with petitions and appeals to the Labour Party? Nothing happens. The ALP government is both pro-US alliance and pro-Israel.

There will be no peace anywhere in the Middle East without the liberation of Palestine.

Added to the silence on Palestine, nothing has been said by Australian political parties to condemn recent Israeli bombing of Syria.

Neither did the Coalition nor Labor criticise the war against Lebanon in July 2006.

Foreign ministers support Israel’s lie that it is protecting its borders.

The book Where Now for Palestine? : The Demise of the Two-State Solution depicted here is available from Avid Reader bookshop in 193 Boundary Street, West End.

The ‘Electoralist’ Approach
Does the approach below work? Where is the evidence that it achieves anything?

Petition: Bring your concern about the Gaza siege to the candidates competing for your electorate

Dear [Candidate],

As a Queensland [ / Brisbane / Lilley/ Griffith/ Moreton/ whichever/ electorate] voter I am writing to you and all the other candidates competing for [this seat / Queensland / Brisbane seats] to let you know how upset I am that no Australian politician or political party has made clear protest to the Israeli embassy in Canberra concerning the cruel siege which the State of Israel has been imposing for many months on the entire population of the Gaza Strip.

The crisis has been alarmingly heightened by the decision taken by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on 25 October 2007 to cut off the supply of electricity and fuel to the Gaza Strip.

Ehud Barak’s inhuman decision follows a prolonged siege which has led to an almost complete paralysing of economic activity in the Gaza Strip, where some eighty percent of the population have fallen below the poverty line.

This shocking siege includes a prohibition on the entry of milk powder for babies and the denial of vital medical treatment to patients who cannot leave the Gaza Srip for treatment. The shooting of Qassam missiles by Islamic Jihad and by Fatah’s Al- Aqsa brigade (while Hamas has been observing a unilateral ceasefire) cannot be an excuse for such a severe collective punishment imposed on one and a half million inhabitants, constituting a severe violation of human rights and international law.

In its authoritative commentary on Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the International Committee of the Red Cross has clarified that the prohibition on collective punishment does not just refer to criminal penalties, “but penalties of any kind inflicted on persons or entire groups of persons, in defiance of the most elementary principles of humanity, for acts that these persons have not committed.”

The UN Agency for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has described the closures at these crossings, as “unprecedented.” (http:// www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/EVOD-77SHRQ?OpenDocument 6 Oct 2007) UNRWA Senior Liaison Officer Saahir Lone reported in June that the Agency had been forced to close nearly half of its food distribution centres.

Asked whether the Agency had an emergency food stockpile, Mr. Lone explained that a chronic lack of funding and restrictions on the movement of goods in and out of the Gaza Strip had made it difficult for the Agency to maintain a food reserve. (http://www.un.org/unrwa/ news/briefings/PressCon_15jun07.html)

I look forward to hearing from you an explanation of your party’s views and actions on this severe violation of human rights and international law. The European Parliament recently adopted a resolution calling on the Israeli government to end the siege. There should be urgent action to raise a bi-partisan resolution in the Australian parliament too, to pressure the Israeli government to lift the siege imposed on the population of Gaza.

With respectful regards,

*********************************************************************************************************************************************

The Gaza Bombshell

After failing to anticipate Hamas’s victory over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election, the White House cooked up yet another scandalously covert and self-defeating Middle East debacle: part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs. With confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials, David Rose reveals how President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever.

by David Rose April 2008

Condoleezza Rice and George W. Bush

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George W. Bush, whose secret Palestinian intervention backfired in a big way.

“A Dirty War”

The Al Deira Hotel, in Gaza City, is a haven of calm in a land beset by poverty, fear, and violence. In the middle of December 2007, I sit in the hotel’s airy restaurant, its windows open to the Mediterranean, and listen to a slight, bearded man named Mazen Asad abu Dan describe the suffering he endured 11 months before at the hands of his fellow Palestinians. Abu Dan, 28, is a member of Hamas, the Iranian-backed Islamist organization that has been designated a terrorist group by the United States, but I have a good reason for taking him at his word: I’ve seen the video. more>> http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/04/gaza200804?printable=true&currentPage=all

7 thoughts on “Where now for Palestine?

  1. Public forum

    Monday, March 10, 7pm (cheap meal available at 6:30pm)
    CEPU Building, 41 Peel St (cnr Merivale St) South Brisbane
    entry by donation

    Breaking the siege of Gaza:
    eyewitness report from Palestine


    Featuring guest speakers:

    Kim Bullimore: Kim spent 8 months in 2007 living in the Occupied West Bank. She is a member of the International Women’s Peace Service in Palestine, a team of women who provide international accompaniment to Palestinian civilians and who document and non-violently intervene in human rights abuses, while also supporting acts of non-violent resistance to end the illegal Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories and to oppose the Apartheid Wall.


    Halim Rane: Fair Go for Palestine

    ——————————————————————————–

    In October 2007, Israel instituted wide-spread fuel and power cuts as part its ongoing and illegal collective punishment of 1.5 million people living in Gaza. On Jan 20, the Gaza Power Plant was forced to close down as reserve fuel ran out leaving more than 800,000 Gazans in darkness. The closure of the plant also affected the water supply and the disposal of sewage, as fuel and power was needed to filter drinking water and to run sewage treatment plants. More than 40% of Palestinians didn’t having access to drinkable water. After 85 days under complete siege and worsening humanitarian conditions, the Palestinian resistance took matters into their own hands, blowing up the wall, that separated Rafah in Palestine and Egypt. Within hours, up to 350 000 ordinary Palestinians had flooded into the Sinai in order to buy much needed supplies, including food, clothing & fuel.

    Come to this public forum to discuss these and other recent events and find out what you can do to get involved in building solidarity with Palestine.

    For more information:
    Phone: 0400 720 757 (Kathy)
    Email: brisbaneiwd@gmail.com

    Organised by: Brisbane International Women’s Day Collective
    Endorsed by: Stop the War Collective & Fair Go For Palestine

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  2. Al-Nakba (the catastrophe of Palestinian dispossession) will not be mentioned on 12 March 2008

    Dear Prime Minister of Australia,

    I am indebted to Sonja Karkar’s moving article “Australian Government continues its love affair with Israel” for informing me that on 12 March when Israel celebrates its 60th Independence Day our Australian Prime Minister will lead a parliamentary motion to honour Israel and the Opposition Leader will second the motion – then celebrations will take place at a reception in the Mural Hall of Parliament House together with both sides of Australia’s federal parliament. At the same time some 11 million Palestinians worldwide whose collective memory is seared with the narrative of their people who fled in terror during Israel’s 1948 purge of Palestine will mark al-Nakba (“the catastrophe”) and 60 years of Palestinian dispossession and displacement and a savage, relentless occupation that is smothering the lifeblood of the Palestinians of Israel and the Occupied Territories of Palestine.

    While Palestinians are starving in Gaza, being sold out in the West Bank, and dying in air-raids, their very existence under threat, every Australian ought to be asking why our Prime Minister and both sides of parliament – without any friendly caution or advice on Israel’s numerous violations of international law, United Nations resolutions and human rights conventions – are so insensitive to the Palestinians and their supporters living here and to the continuing suffering of the Palestinians living under brutal occupation and exile.

    Palestinians were never asked if they would agree to the foreign imperial division of their country. Most had their family homes and lands taken from them by Zionist forces ruthlessly pushing for a Greater Israel not intended by the 1947 United Nations Partition of Palestine. All suffer indescribable pain knowing that many of their people live a hellish existence under Israel’s occupation. It is on this human wreckage of Palestinian lives that Israel celebrates its independence, honoured so gratuitously by our government.

    Such demonstrations of affection are not new. Our former Prime Minister John Howard had already fostered this extraordinary bond when he declared Australia as Israel’s closest friend. Many of his ministers followed suit and none was more accommodating than former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer when he said that he wore Israel as “a badge of honour” even as Israel’s war planes decimated the Lebanese landscape in 2006.

    All this falls hard on the heels of the new Prime Minister’s moving apology to our own indigenous people and raises many questions about the sincerity of that momentous gesture. The similarity between the grievous losses suffered by both peoples – the Aborigines and the Palestinians – is not fanciful. Both peoples have been the hapless victims of the great white colonial enterprise and in both cases, it would have succeeded brilliantly, if these people would have just disappeared. But it is not so easy to kill off people and their dreams.

    Around 7.2 million refugees are languishing today in refugee camps waiting to return home and to receive compensation for the calculated decimation of their society – one that had successfully developed culturally and economically over centuries, despite four hundred years under Ottoman rule.

    Israeli tanks and soldiers are still shelling Gaza, and Israel is further tightening its siege on this tiny sliver of land with a population almost at bursting point The recent smashing of the wall with hundreds of thousands of desperate Palestinians swarming into Egypt to look for food and other basic necessities gave the world a glimpse into the misery of their lives. And, in the West Bank, Israel is increasing – not decreasing as it promised to do in the most recent peace negotiations – the number of checkpoints that totally suffocate the ordinary daily movement of another burgeoning population.

    The surest sign though of Israel’s real intentions, is its blatant disregard of international law and all requests to stop its illegal settlement project that is literally turning thousands of Palestinians on to the streets – homeless and stateless and forced to rely on the world’s pitiful humanitarian aid that can never bring them economic or political independence.

    As conditions deteriorate for the Palestinians, and the words “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing” begin to enter mainstream consciousness after being given voice by former US President Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Tutu, Israel is employing new public relations strategies to secure its legitimacy in the global community. In Australia, where sport dominates so much of our cultural life and social interaction, using sport as a vehicle for peace is a powerful image. This latest venture by The Peres Centre – named after one of the more notorious Zionist architects of Palestinian ethnic cleansing – is already bedazzling the AFL administrators with the idea of people crossing all boundaries “for the simple love of the game” – a notion that would never be entertained by a government at war with an enemy state and one that has been rejected when political pressure through sports’ boycotts is deemed necessary to stop countries behaving oppressively. Nowhere else was this so effective than in South Africa’s anti-Apartheid struggle.

    There is no excuse for our leaders in politics and business to buy into this scam when they know that some 4 million Palestinians are being denied justice and basic human rights under Israel’s illegal military occupation, with no sign of reprieve. If it were not for the West’s craven politicians indecently rushing to join Israel’s circus, Israel would long ago have had to find a solution to give justice and dignity back to the Palestinians.

    Regrettably, our leaders will continue to pursue their self-serving policies until ordinary, decent people force them to accept that our common humanity is worth more than the lucrative deals that bring such enormous profits to the multinational corporations, and from which many governments benefit. It is by no means impossible. Just as people brought down the Apartheid regime in South Africa, the people can bring down the ethnically divisive Zionist regime in Israel as well. This is why the word “apartheid” so rattles Israel’s supporters.

    But, we have a long way to go, especially when governments insist on continuing their love affairs with Israel. In the meantime, al-Nakba – the Palestinian catastrophe of dispossession and displacement – is being accelerated. This crime against humanity is what needs to be acknowledged in our Parliament and not a motion honouring Israel. The Australian “fair go” that our Prime Minister so fondly embraces, has never sounded so hollow or sunk so low.

    It is a shameful day for Australia.

    Yours sincerely,

    Ray Bergmann

    [See Sonja Karkar’s moving article “Australian Government continues its love affair with Israel” at the website http://www.pm.gov.au/contact/index.cfm where Australian citizens can post a message of no more than of 10,000 characters to their Prime Minister].

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  3. Certainly the best thing I’ve seen for quite a while on the Israel/Palestine conflict, an antidote to some recent rhetoric about peace process, etc.The link – http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13749.htm enables you to watch the movie on line.
    Jeff Halper, who will be visiting Australia August/September is one of the commentators on the implication of the continually expanding settlements in the West Bank. Please try and watch it, pass on to others.
    I recommend prompt viewing – material of this nature has a habit of mysteriously disappearing from the web! And suggest that the film raises the question:

    Does Israel recognise the right of Palestine to exist?

    Richard.

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  4. If anyone reading this has the time I think it is worth typing up a letter based on Ray’s (shown above) and sending it to your sitting member and to the person standing against him/her in your electorate.

    Only 2 stamps and a bit of your time for desperate people in a diabolical situation.

    I sent one to Wayne Swan and the liberal candidate (whose name already escapes me) today.

    Thanks in anticipation.

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  5. Good onya, Ian. Not clear whether putting my name in here puts it on the petition – thought that needed an adress. Mine is 9 Cameron St. South Brisbane.

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