Call for Union Boycott of Israel

BDS Movement requests international trade unions to build ties with Palestinian unions

A trade union boycott of Israel means that trade unions cut economic, social and political ties with Israel and build ties with Palestinian unions. Trade unions should respond to the BDS call that has, among others, been put forward by the major Palestinian trade unions. Palestinian workers are suffering under Israeli apartheid policies of exploitation that aim to bring in the profits necessary to maintain the occupation. Trade unions globally must transform workers solidarity into practice and ensure that they are not indirectly providing financial support to the Occupation by propping up the Israeli economy.

The organized labour movement in Palestine has, since its inception in the 1920’s, faced attacks from the Zionist movement, in particular the Histadrut. The Histadrut championed the idea of the “conquest of labour”, aiming to replace Arab workers with Jewish ones. Histadrut activists campaigned against the Jewish businessmen employing Arab workers, at times engaging in violence. The early Histradrut union structures reflected the discriminatory nature of Zionism, trying both to elevate Jewish workers above Arab ones while at the same time organizing Arab labour in separate unions linked to and under Histradrut control. Furthermore, the union actively undermined Arab strikes, supplying Jewish scab workers.

Following the Nakba, the indigenous Palestinian movement collapsed, leaving the Histradrut in full control. In 1965, the General Union of Palestinian Workers (GUPW) was founded to organize Palestinian labour in the West Bank and Gaza and in the diaspora. In 1986, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) was formed out of the labour movement in the West Bank and Gaza.

Labour in the West Bank in Gaza is greatly suffering on account of the Occupation. In Gaza, unemployment and poverty have skyrocketed.

In the most recent siege, Israeli jets bombed the PGFTU building. In the West Bank, both employers and workers have been hurt by the destruction of infrastructure, land theft and movement restrictions. Palestinian agricultural workers in both Gaza and the West Bank have been especially hard hit. Those in the West Bank are forced to compete, on a totally unequal level, with Israeli agro-business in the Jordan Valley while those in Gaza are unable to move their produce to do lack of fuel and Israeli closure polices.

The Occupation aims to further conquer Palestinian labour through a series of joint industrial zones wherein Palestinians will essentially work as migrant workers on their own land for low wages in poor conditions without the option to organize.

Palestinian workers living inside the Green Line face apartheid labour conditions. The Histradrut is the only trade union in Israel and continues to work on a racist framework.

It was not until 1965 that Palestinians could vote in union elections, and until today no Palestinian citizen of Israel has been a part of the high governing body of the union. Around half of legally employed Palestinians in Israel work in low-wage sectors. Palestinians are barred through a number of mechanisms from holding high-level jobs in Israel. More that half of Palestinian citizens of Israel are below the poverty line, as opposed to around 16% of Jewish Israelis. Palestinian women are grossly under represented in the Histadrut, with little being done to improve their situation. Rather than taking up these problems, the Histadrut chooses to ignore them.

Barred from building their trade union, Palestinians (within Israel) are mobilizing in workers organizations such as Sawt al Amel (Labourers Voice) to struggle for their rights.

Sawt el-Amel/ The Labourer’s Voice is an independent grassroots organization founded by Palestinian Arab workers in Nazareth in 2000, in order to defend and promote the rights of Arab citizens in Israel to work and social security. http://laborers-voice.org/

See http://www.bdsmovement.net/?q=node/124

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Trade Unions and branches endorsing the Palestinian Unified Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

Palestinian Trade Unions and branches endorsing the Palestinian Unified Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

Name (Signatory – Position) Place Affiliation/n.a. (not affilliated)/independent

1. PGFTU (Rasem Mahmoud al Baiary – President) Gaza PGFTU

2. General Union of Palestinian Workers (GUPW) national (Haidar Ibrahim – Gen. Secr) Ramallah GUPW

3. General Union of Palestine Labor Vocational Associations (Hasan Sharakeh – Gen. Secr) GUPLVA

4. PGFTU (Bashir al Seesi – Head of the public service union (Gaza), national Exec. Committee member) Gaza PGFTU

5. PGFTU, (Toubas Ibrahim Daraghme – President of branch) Toubas PGFTU

6. General Union of construction workers (Ibrahim Daraghme – President) Toubas PGFTU

7. General Union of agricultural workers (Walid Shahin – Vice President) Gaza PGFTU

8. General Union of textile workers (Zaki Abd el Fatah Khalil – President) Gaza PGFTU

9. General Union of tranportation workers (Sabdi Said – Gen. Secr.) Nablus PGFTU

10. General Union of educational services (Sharif Salam – President Gaza PGFTU

11. General Union of construction workers (Sa’id Abd el Jabar el Jidan – Steering Committee

member) Nablus PGFTU

12. Union of petrochemical workers (As’ad Sabgi Ikhbariye – President) Jenin PGFTU

13. Union of public sector (Basam Maslamani – President of branch) Toubas PGFTU

14. Union of public sector (Abd Hakim as-Sbitani – President) PGFTU

13. Farmers Union (Jamil mustafa Anaya – President) Qalqiliya/Azzo PGFTU

14. Union of industrial workers and artisans (Nasser Mahmoud tawfiq – Gen. Secr.) Nablus PGFTU

15. Union of petrochemical workers (Muhammad Zuhdi al Hazam – President) Nablus PGFTU

16. Union of petrochemical workers (Zilmi Mustafa Ahmad mu’qidi – president and treasurer) Salfit/Zawiya PGFTU

17. Union of petrochenical workers (Amjad Abed Silaj – President) Nablus PGFTU

18. Union of textile workers (Na’eem Jamous – President) Nablus PGFTU

19. Union of transportation workers (Yousef Abed Rahim Aboushi – President) Toubas PGFTU

20. Union of public transport drivers (Khaled al Zaghl – President) Tulkarem PGFTU

21. Union of workers in the tourism sector (Mahmoud Ahmad Salah – President) Jenin PGFTU

22. Agricultural workers Union (Khaled al Zaghl – President) Tulkarem PGFTU

22. Union of agricultural and industrial workers (Azmi Azzat – President) Jenin PGFTU

23. Union of transportation workers (Kayed Jihad Awad – President of branch) Jenin PGFTU

24. United Council of workers Union (Bilal Ahmad – President) Ramallah PGFTU

25. Labour union front (Izam Nawaf Hammad – Steering Committee member) Arabe/ Jenin PGFTU

26. Progressive Labour union front (anonymous leadership) Gaza PGFTU

27. GUPW, Ramallah (Zahida ‘Arif Jamil al Masri – Steering Committee member) Ramallah GUPW

28. GUPW, Nablus (Arif Samhan – General Secretary) Nablus GUPW

29. GUPW, Toubas (Muhammad Jamil Yahya Sawafta – President) Toubas GUPW

30. GUPW, Jerusalem (Abdallah Sa’ed al Hindi – President) Jerusalem GUPW

31. GUPW, Jenin (Safa Ahmad Sulaiman Haj Hassan – Member of administrative committee)

Jenin GUPW

32. GUPW, Ramallah (Hani Lutfi Abu Salem – Treasurer) Ramallah GUPW

33. General Union of Health Service Workers (Salamah Abu Zu’ayter – President) Gaza n.a.

34. General Union of Transport (Muhammad Juma’ Abu ‘Ajineh President Gaza n.a.

35. Union of Construction and Building (Nasri Muhammad Mahmoud Akmil – President) Jenin n.a.

36. Union of Psychologists and Sociologists (Ahmad Dawi’at – President) Nablus independent

37. Union of Municipalities and Public Sector Employees (Basam Fares Hasan Sadiq – Vicepresident) Nablus n.a.

38. Union of Educational Workers, Printers, Media & Publishers (Samir Sub’i – Pres.) Tulkarem n.a.

39. Union of Bank Employees (Abd al Halim Abu Zu’ayter – President) Gaza n.a.

40. Union of Pharmaceutical Industry Workers (Muhammad ‘Abas Ahmad – General Secretary) n.a.

41. Union of Textile Workers (Nawal Shahade – President) Jerusalem/ar-Ram n.a.

42. Union of Public Service Employees (Maysoun Ahmad Othman – President) Salfit/ Zawiya n.a.

43. Union of Construction Workers (Hani ‘Amer Muhammad Husnat – Representative) Hebron n.a.

44. Union of Food and Agricultural Workers (Muammad Sa’adi – President) Nablus n.a.

45. Union of Transportation Workers & Mechanics (Mufid Abu Zahra – Pres.) Nablus n.a.

General Union of Palestinian Workers (GUPW). the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU). the Coalition of Independent Democratic Unions

http://www.stopthewall.org/downloads/pdf/union_s.pdf

31 responses to “Call for Union Boycott of Israel

  1. Dear Friends,

    The terrible news has come through that the Israeli military has shot dead 4 Palestinian youth in less than 24 hours in the West Bank.

    Mohammed Qaddous, age 16, was killed when he was shot from behind by the Israeli military with live ammunition.

    Ussayed Qaddous, 19, from the same village of Iraq Burin was also shot in the head with live ammunition and died several hours later.

    The Israeli military has denied the use of live ammunition, despite medical proof to the contrary.

    My teammates from IWPS, Marie and Gwen, were in the village at the time of the shootings and I have included their report below.

    Two other Palestinian from the village of Awarta, which is also in the Nablus region were shot dead in the hours following the death of the first two boys by the Israeli military.

    The Israeli military is claiming the two boys attacked them with pitchforks.

    However, according to the villagers of Awarta, who my team mates from IWPS have since spoken too, the young man and boy, Muhammed Faysal (19 yrs) and Salah Muhammad Qawariq (16 years) were killed by settlers.

    According to Marie and Gwen, while they can not ascertain the manner of the boys death at this time, they believe the story about the boys attacking the IOF is unlikely.

    What is not in dispute, however, according to my team mates is that the boys were unarmed and were killed in cold blood.

    In addition, to the report from my colleagues at IWPS, I have also included a report from Haaretz on the shootings.

    In solidarity, Kim

    ps: please note Palestinians usually have four names as part of their formal family names – as a result, in addition to the chosen ‘personal’ name used to refer to a person, Palestinians may often be use (using) other names from their formal names to refer to the same person.

    http://www.livefromoccupiedpalestine.blogspot.com

    http://www.directaction.org.au

    Like

  2. Justice for Palestine meeting

    Hi everyone,

    A reminder that there is a Justice for Palestine meeting on this Wednesday (24 March), 6:30pm at the TLC Building, (2nd floor), 16 Peel St, South Brisbane. Please come along to help make plans for building this year’s Al Nakba commemoration rally.

    in solidarity,
    Kathy

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  3. Kathy Newnam from 'Justice for Palestine'

    The Cairo Declaration to end Israeli Apartheid by the Gaza Freedon marchers.

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  4. Stalin cannot be blamed on the racist underpinnings of Marxism. Engel’s book “Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State” outlines the racist ideology. Just look at the shit he says of Australian Aborigines.

    Marxism shares the arrogant European assumption of cultural superiority over indigenous and peasant people.

    “Pure Marxism” is just an illusion of hobby politicians, as is the warm inner glow of engaging in tokenistic actions.

    Just because I do not engage in your hobby groups does not mean I am disengaged from struggle or organisation, for I am not.

    Like

    • Hello John,

      We are getting off the track here, this thread is about the call for a ‘Union Boycott of Israel’ — it is not a debate about Marxism.

      Nevertheless your caricature of marxism as being ‘racist’ should not go unremarked.

      Engels makes only one reference to Australian Aborigines in “Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State”.

      It is in the form of a single sentence:

      “The Australian aborigines and many of the Polynesians are still in this middle stage of savagery today.”

      Of course this is incorrect. Engles was eurocentric because of his lack of data on other cultures, yes; but his mistake about Australian Aborigines was a scientific one. He thought that Australian Aborigines and Polynesians are ‘homo erectus’ not ‘homo sapiens’ (‘man the wise’). In other words he mistakenly thought they were part of the early stage of the evolution of the human race [Australopithecus]. His error is transparent to the modern reader as is disclosed in the notes to the online edition of Frederick Engels Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State.

      In his defence, Engles knew little of Australia. He had never been here. His and Marx’s own philosphy of ‘historical materialism’ made such mistakes by someone lacking in that experience both explicable and likely. He wrote in the mid 19th century, before evolution had been accepted, yet he made the following conclusion about the early stage of human development [long before Aboriginal people came to Australia]:

      “The development of articulate speech is the main result of this period. Of all the peoples known to history none was still at this primitive level. Though this period may have lasted thousands of years, we have no direct evidence to prove its existence; but once the evolution of man from the animal kingdom is admitted, such a transitional stage must necessarily be assumed.”

      Puting your accusation of ‘racism’ in context, Engles is describing the early development of the human race in “Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State”.

      If you wish to debate this further, this is not the place, so please keep to the topic.

      As another supporter of Justice for Palestine succinctly put it in a recent email:

      We should encourage all to see the way imperialism tries to divide and rule the world.

      Surely we should recognize any trade union that, regardless of race, takes up the struggle to defend workers native born and imported.

      Australian workers defended the Aboriginal strike on Lord Vesty’s station of Wattie Creek.

      It is not a matter of us choosing this race against that race but rather trade unions deciding to reject opportunistic behaviour and having a non-racist approach to truth and justice.

      Ian Curr

      PS For the record, the full L.P Hartley quote is:

      “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.”

      Like

  5. 'The past is a foreign country'

    ‘The past is a foreign country’ — LP Hartley in The Go Between.

    Hello John,

    I said my comments about Lenin and Trotsky are not definitive. The problem lies not with the ideas of Marx, Mao, Lenin or Trotsky or with the other revolutionaries but with the practice of those ideas.

    I asked earlier how can you learn good practice if you will not act in the world and live only in the shade? This is a contradiction many of us face. I did not live in the world of Trotsky and Lenin so who am I to rehash the old debate you provoke by accusing them of racism. You ignore everything else but place your focus there. Why?

    As Rosa Luxembourg said: “Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”

    As a person in his 60th year I am weary of the ‘infantile disorder’ that provoke such debate.

    If you or anyone else really wanted a definitive answer to the contradictions of Marxism there are many more qualified than I.

    For starters it would be of benefit to have lived through that era – a time when feudalism still existed and the peasants were hungry for private ownership of productive land — a contradiction that neither Lenin nor Trotsky could overcome in the years that followed the Russian revolution of 1917.

    The contradiction between the desire of the proletariat to collectively own the means of production and the stubborn longing by the peasants for the family to own a plot of farmland i.e. to be small farmers — this was one contradiction that led to the rise of Stalin. Stalinism could only fail, if, for no other reason than the fact he tortured and hung so many communists.

    If you want to understand this contradiction you need only revisit George Orwell’s Animal Farm which has recently been animated for YouTube. This animation is accompanied by these rather simplistic but helpful notes

    As should be well known, the characters in Animal Farm were inspired by the Russian Revolution and the events that followed – the pig Napoleon is the farm’s Josef Stalin – but Animal Farm was not simply a satire on the Russion Revolution. Orwell’s message was intended to be broader. In his own words: “I meant the moral to be that revolutions only effect a radical improvement when the masses are alert and know how to chuck out their leaders as soon as the latter have done their job. The turning point of the story was supposed to be when the pigs kept the milk and apples for themselves”.

    If you are interested you may view it by clicking through to YouTube [the authors have prevented embedding here].

    As I foreshadowed earlier, I think it time to end this discussion on “Call for Union Boycott of Israel“.

    Thanks to all those who contributed.

    in solidarity
    Ian

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  6. Who says workers must lead, not peasants? There is nothing scientifically innevitable about this, it just highlights the racism of Marxism that embraced eugenics as legitimate science. It was this notion of eugenics that justified Trotsky’s genocide of Russian peasants.

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  7. أرضكم أرضنا .. دمكم دمنا .. قدسكم قدسنا .. أبناؤكم أبناؤنا. واننا على موعد مع الصبح !! أليس الصبح بقريب ؟

    “Your land is our land, your blood is our blood, your sons are our sons and we are awaiting the dawn, is not the dawn drawing near?” — Sayid Hassan Nasrallah

    This is a response to the critique of ‘our mob’ by John Tracey in this thread.
    Ian Curr
    January 2010.

    Hello John,

    I refer to your comments.

    I re-wrote my comments previously to better express what i was trying to say and to keep the length of this thread manageable.

    I do not recognise the people you refer to as ‘our mob’, your use of the familiar aboriginal term sounds strange when your own words place yourself outside our mob.

    I suspect your reference to ‘our mob’ is but a memory and a pretty distorted one at that.

    There was a movement once but it is long gone and forgotten by all but a few. As I have stated previously , I doubt the existence of an ‘organised left’ in Brisbane. I get around Brisbane quite a bit and i have not seen this so called Left in any of the places you would expect. They are not inside the Labor Party, they are not inside the Trade unions, they are not at the Universities. There are still some left unions but they are mostly paralysed by economism.

    I do not care for the ‘affluent west’ you describe, whoever they might be. As a reader more than a traveller I do not see much of this ‘affluent west’ — they are not on the bus or the train I catch. I sometimes drive through their suburbs or look at houses in my own suburb and I do recognise them but mostly from a distance. Perhaps I am one of them and don’t know it.

    But as a supporter of ‘Justice for Palestine’ the caricature you use does not suffice. ‘Justice for Palestine’ meetings are attended by public servants, teachers, bus drivers, railway workers, pensioners, community workers and unemployed workers. From where I sit they do not fall into your stereotype, but then as you have never participated in the activities of JFP you would not know. Your caricature of the BDS campaign as a Fateh front is pretty easy to see through, as Ray Bergmann has demonstrated . The only way for you to overcome your tendency to stereotype people is for you to participate, but then you refuse to do that despite repeated invitations. Why? A fear to give up long held belief? Or is that what previous ‘elders of the left’ have handed down to you?

    You are wrong to say that Workers BushTelegraph has demonised the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front [ZANU – PF] – there was reference to that organisation only once, in June 2008 – see my comments on the advert. for the vigil, Support the People of Zimbabwe

    A former Brisbane activist from the Vietnam war marches did organise that vigil in support of the people of Zimbabwe but I am sure he would not see himself as being part of ‘our mob’ or as part of the organised Left in Brisbane. As far as I know, this person is a successful restauranteur and businessman. I do know him but I do not think I have ever had a single conversation with him about politics, so he does not fall into the category of ‘our (my?) mob’ in any real sense, that is if you mean the Qld Democratic Rights campaigns of the late 1970s.

    You would do better to support the people who went to Gaza and did their best to break the blockade. Viva Palestina, the Boycott Divestments & Sanctions campaign, and the Gaza Freedom march are positive attempts to break the israel blockade of Gaza – and I would not rule out success for those organisations. Justice for Palestine and Australians for Palestine gave direct support to people from those groups to participate. Read the accounts by Kathryn’s report at ‘Kathryn from Cairo on the Gaza Freedom March‘, who, at personal risk, went and was arrested in Cairo.

    As for 2010, Galloway seems to have gained support for a convoy across the Medditerrean in March 2010. See ‘Galloway deported from Egypt, seeks help from Turkey’.

    The one mistake that people such as you and I should not make is to assume that somehow Palestinians can be expected to come up with the winning strategy, the way forward without mistake, the correct line of march.

    I have learnt that when faced with repression, the answers do not come easily and not without error and mistake. But you have to be in there to make the mistakes and to learn from them, standing outside the tent will not help. Equally to wait for repression to strike is to invite difficulty and not the easy road to revolution promised by some.

    Fortuneately there are those in the Palestinian community who invite some (selectively) into their tent so that they can understand the difficulty faced. I suspect Galloway is inside the tent, not outside it as you suggest.

    Much of what you say is concerned with the contradiction that arises between the centre and the periphery, the north and the south (in the political, not the geographic sense). I have refuted your claim that the solidarity
    movement is ‘western’ or even ‘Left’ (not in the socialist sense). I claim that the various groups, Viva Palestina, BDS, GFM, are part of an international solidarity movement who are supporting the Palestinian resistance. In reply you attack the ‘western Left’ for turning on the liberation struggles that it previously supported. This too is a caricature.

    As you have alluded previously, Frantz Fanon is concerned with contradictions between ‘the colonialist’ and ‘the native’. All one world but the centre dominates. Caught up in this is the fact that workers in the advanced countries are cushioned from immiserisation by a trickle down of imperialist rent from the colonised areas. This suppresses the revolutionary behaviour of the workers in the advanced countries.

    Internationalism on the other hand is when the workers see common cause and the centre does not dominate.

    Much of this is taken up in Seize the Crisis reprinted here from the Monthly Review.

    At one point the authors proclaim: ‘Long live the internationalism of the people in the face of the cosmopolitanism of the oligarchies!’

    This reference comes from academic traditions principally out of Latin America but also from other developing areas i.e. Andre Gunder Frank but also there is a reference to the US academics Baran Sweezy et al.

    These theorists draw from Lenin’s thesis on imperialism which justified why revolution is more possible in backward countries i.e. USSR rather than the advanced capitalist countries of Germany or England. Maoism also draws on this concept.

    It displays a contradiction in Marxism (maybe not Marx) between the notion that it is only advanced capitalism that leads to Socialism (inevitably) contrasted to the practical result on the ground where revolution springs up in largely peasant societies and is forced out of the conflicts of imperialism.

    The globalisation of the world has to an extent reduced the importance of this debate but it is also fundamental to the Trotskyist debate that permanent revolution is possible and to be encouraged.

    The other wing of Trotskyism, epitomised by international socialism, leans back to a pure form of Marxism that workers must lead, not peasants.

    These are by no means definitive statements but I hope it helps.

    in solidarity
    Ian Curr

    PS If you (or anyone else) have nothing more to say I think i will close this thread as there are already 23 responses and thousands of words (many of them yours and mine) with many hyperlinks, reports and videos. Of course you are free to respond to what I have to say above.

    [Thanks to comrades & friends (Ray, Louay, Kathryn, Joseph) for their help in providing facts and explaining some of the concepts in my responses above. Nevertheless I take responsibility for what I have written above].

    Some Blog/Web References
    Viva palestina
    ArtIntifada
    Silver Lining
    3 Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrike on Gaza
    Seize the Crisis
    Ray Bergmann on BDS

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  8. 'Galloway deported from Egypt, seeks help from Turkey'

    Galloway: Britain, Egypt need leaders like Erdogan
    Sun, 10 Jan 2010 08:22:43 GMT
    Galloway
    British lawmaker George Galloway has slammed Egypt for its support of the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, hailing Turkey’s support for the Palestinian people. Read More @ http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=115791&sectionid=351020502

    Like

  9. Two complaints to ABC

    Dear ABC

    I had complained to you without success about your suppression of the news about the relief convoy, Viva Palestina. That convoy was attempting to bring desperately needed humanitarian supplies to Gaza which has been devastated by Israel’s wanton bombing and shelling and starved of food, shelter and medicines by Israel’s US-supported three-year blockade.

    For reasons known only to you, you wished to shield your audiences from the plight of a besieged population. Well, I would like to let you know that, in today’s world, such blindfolding missions are futile: there are other sources of information. With just a few clicks of my mouse, I was able to watch the following news clips about the progress of Viva Palestina:

    My question, therefore, to you is: Who is the ultimate loser – the Australian public or ABC’s credibility?

    Yours truly

    David Albuquerque

    Like

  10. Aid convoy enters Gaza after attack at Egyptian port

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2010/0107/1224261822775.html

    MICHAEL JANSEN

    PEACE ACTIVISTS from 40 countries and vehicles loaded with food and medical supplies in the Viva Palestina convoy entered Gaza overnight from Egypt in spite of unrest along the border.

    Yesterday afternoon an Egyptian border guard was killed, and nine guards and 35 Palestinians were injured, five critically, when a protest erupted on the Gaza side of the frontier.

    The protest was against Cairo’s construction of an underground iron wall to halt smuggling of essential goods through tunnels beneath the border.

    The violence was quickly quelled by police dispatched by the de facto Hamas government determined to prevent further delays of the aid convoy, originally scheduled to arrive on December 27th, the anniversary of the launch of Israel’s latest war on Gaza.

    The clashes coincided with the conclusion of a deal between convoy organisers and the Egyptian authorities. Under this deal, all 515 activists and 159 lorries carrying humanitarian supplies would be permitted to enter the Strip while 59 lorries carrying generators and vehicles would be returned to the Syrian port of Latakia and dispatched to Palestinian refugee camps in Syria and Lebanon.

    Organisers rejected an Egyptian proposal to hand the heavy lorries over to Israel, which operates the goods crossings into Gaza. “We refuse to ask permission from Israel,” John Hurson of Co Tyrone, one of the dozen Irish citizens involved in the mission, told The Irish Times.
    British MP George Galloway, a leading figure in the Viva Palestina effort, argues that Israel does not deliver on its promises. He had been promised that all lorries would be allowed to proceed to the Strip if they were shipped to el- Arish.

    The original route of the convoy, rejected by Cairo, involved entering Egypt through a Red Sea port and driving overland to the Gaza crossing at Rafah. The organisation accuses Egypt of reneging on this agreement and of complicity in Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

    Last night activists were attacked in el-Arish port by 2,000 Egyptian police and thugs while awaiting a decision from Cairo on the fate of the convoy. Forty activists, including five members of the Derry team and one from Cork, sustained head wounds, gashes and bruises while 15 policemen were said to be injured.

    Four policemen were briefly held in retaliation for the arrest of seven convoy members from the US, UK, Malaysia and Kuwait. They were released following Turkish intervention.
    Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin expressed con- cern over the disturbances and said everything was being done to “ensure the safety of the [Irish] volunteers in el-Arish” and the “safe passage” of the convoy to Gaza.

    Meanwhile, in Bethlehem, Palestinians protested against the presence at the Orthodox Christmas Eve service of Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos and threatened to declare him persona non grata in the town where Jesus was born. He is accused of selling or leasing church land to Israel. Scout bands greeted the Syrian and Coptic patriarchs with drums and bagpipes when they entered Manger Square but fell silent when Theophilos arrived.

    The Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin said that his Department was doing everything possible to ensure the safety of Irish volunteers participating in the “Viva Palestina” aid convoy.

    “I was concerned to hear that a number of Irish citizens had been caught up in disturbances which took place last night in el-Arish, an Egyptian port near the border with Gaza, and that at least one of them had been injured in the incident,” he said.

    “I have been speaking with the family to assure them that we were doing everything possible to ensure the safety of the volunteers in el-Arish of one of the Irish volunteers in question. He said he had also spoken with Ireland’s Ambassador to Egypt, Gerard Corr.

    The Irish Embassy in Cairo has been in contact with the volunteers on the ground and with the Egyptian authorities, he said.

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  11. Viva Palestina Starts Entry To Gaza

    Wednesday January 06, 2010 21:28
    Report by George Galloway

    The Viva Palestina Convoy, and after facing ongoing Egyptian rejection and violent attacks by the Egyptian security forces, started on Wednesday evening to roll into the besieged Gaza Strip.

    Thousands of Palestinians, carrying flowers and flags, gathered in the streets while the convoy continued to move in.

    A Press conference would be held on Thursday and would be followed by the official ceremony of handing the international humanitarian aid.

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  12. International Action Center reports that “Egyptian security police have launched a brutal, unprovoked assault on the 500-member third Viva Palestina humanitarian relief convoy to Gaza. Dozens of convoy members have been injured and some are reported missing. The 500 convoy members and their 150 vehicles are now in the port of Al Arish, where they are surrounded by 2000 Egyptian riot police.”

    ABC Middle East correspondent Anne Barker reports that “Palestinians began protesting over the delay of an international aid convoy, led by British MP George Galloway, which is stranded at the nearby Egyptian port city of El Arish. Hundreds of youths began hurling rocks across the border at Egyptian guards at Rafah. Both Egyptian forces and Hamas police in Gaza began firing shots to disperse the crowd. An Egyptian border guard was killed and several Palestinians wounded. One Hamas official says 35 Palestinians were injured, including five who are brain dead, however medical staff have not confirmed the toll.”

    John T claims “The BDS campaign is being directed by the pro-Israel, pro-U.S. Palestinian Authority.” What’s his evidence for that statement? A quotation from the Jerusalem Post ridiculing the impotence of protesters against US-Israeli-Egyptian-PA violence?!?! Any other evidence from the Hazbarah brigade?

    On the contrary John T, the BDS campaign, as well as the endeavour by thousands of civil society protesters who have been shown the close collaboration of the Egyptian rulers and military with Israel-US-PA, is looked upon as resistance to the blockade by people in Gaza, and as resistance to the occupation by Palestinians everywhere, even including those who have not yet given up the crumbs dealt out by their tormentors! Where has anyone seen any Palestinian group, either from Fatah, or from Hamas, or from elsewhere, supporting John Y’s criticism of international civil society attempting to stand up to the violence? I haven’t!

    John T’s recommendation (to whom?) is “dismantling of structures of oppression”. Great idea John T – why don’t you get your people to do it immediately!

    Opinion of Ray Bergmann (who, unlike John T, has no glib recommendations or criticisms either to those facing genocide or to those who face violent suppression while they protest. If anyone has a sure-fire way of “dismantling of structures of oppression” then I’d like to hear it!)

    Like

    • Hello Ray,

      Firstly, my critique of BDS was not based on a Jerusalem Post article. That was on the Rafah protest and it certainly does not ridicule the protest as you suggest.

      The BDS comments were about the global BDS movement website.

      Here it is again
      http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/604

      You will notice the article is titled “Palestinian Authority Working to Implement boycott of Israeli settlement goods”

      If the global BDS website can promote the Palestinian Authority, to the point of publishing its blaming of Hamas for the blockade of Gaza, then I suggest the PA and BDS are in bed with each other.

      From my web surfing, I have found no other Palestinian involvement in the BDS campaign other than the PA. The whole campaign was set up by the PA before the split and that structure appears to have remained. I realise there is much self activity from global activists but that seems to have no connection to Palestinian leaderships.

      I assume you were not asking for evidence that the PA is collaborating with Israel, US. EU and world bank?

      It is true there is a Palestinian civil society movement that holds onto principles of western democracy, the global marketplace and non-violence. I do not condemn these people, I can fully understand why that is a better alternative to urban warfare. The PA’s collaboration has much support.

      But there are others, such as Hamas, whose notion of a civil society includes the capacity for violent self defence, and these people are just as entitled to international solidarity and support as the collaborationists.

      Civil society is part of the western ideology and the western peace process. There are many Palestinians, especially in Gaza who do not want to participate in Western democracy and the global market place. They support Hamas and see liberation coming through military and economic ties with regional nations and the stateless islamist revolution. They realise that the Israel/Palestinian conflict cannot be understood as a domestic problem but as central to the colonial powerplays of the whole region. They see that the Jewish state must be defeated one way or another, not co-operated with.

      These people, such as Hamas supporters, also have visions of peace and are actively engaged in non-violent projects and processes of all sorts. They too want a sophisticated democracy, but one created by themselves rather than the U.S., E.U. and world bank.

      In the colonial terminology of “savages” and “civilised”, the civil society notion can be perceived, especially by westerners, as the evolved modern consciousness to transcend that backward savagery of Palestinian violence.

      This modern westernised notion of “justice” or “peace” or “democracy” is used to de-legitimise Palestinian power – including a democratically elected government in Gaza. This is the core of the divide and conquer process orchestrated by the CIA and so-called advisors in places such as Zimbabwe and Palestine to disempower society and plug it into the global market network.

      And I have no glib recommendations and criticisms for Palestinian people, unlike the missionaries who believe they are taking the message of non-violence into Palestine.

      My comments are for Australians, that is why I put them on BT.

      Like

      • p.s. Ray,

        The PGFTU is directing the BDS campaign. They are prominent in the list of endorsements above.

        The PGFTU is aligned to Fatah.

        As well as the war with Israel, there is a civil war in Palestine roughly along Fatah and Hamas lines. The warring factions do not represent everyone but their war is real none the less.

        The global BDS movement has taken sides with Fatah. Even the Australians for Palestine group calls for a 2 state solution.

        The Global BDS movement, in publishing the PA’s blame of Hamas for the Gaza blockade shows how the movement is used by one side against the other. The focus on the evil of violence by western supporters reinforces this demonisation of Palestinian resistance.

        How many western supporters are even aware that their energy is being used in the civil war in the momentum of one side’s commitment to the western peace process including the repression and annhialation of the democratically elected government of Gaza – in large part by the PA and Fatah?

        It is not, as you accuse, from a Hazbarah perspective that I say these things but an anti-colonial perspective. The same process of war is going on in Zimbabwe, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. all in the name of peaceful civil society fully integrated into the global marketplace. This is the “peace” that the war on terror is protecting.

        How civil is civil society really?……..

        “CIA working with Palestinian security agents”
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/17/cia-palestinian-security-agents/print

        Like

      • Hello John,

        While the PGFTU may be prominent in the list of Palestinian Worker Unions endorsing the BDS campaign, the PGFTU and other worker unions are not “directing the BDS camapign.

        Here is yet another list of Palestinian organisations endorsing the campaign – you will see it includes organisations right across the whole of Palestinian society representing Palestinian refugees, Palestinians under occupation and Palestinian citizens of Israel:

        http://www.bigcampaign.org/index.php?page=the_palestinian_call_for_boycott_divestment_and_sanctions

        Endorsed by:

        The Palestinian political parties, unions, associations, coalitions and organizations below represent the three integral parts of the people of Palestine: Palestinian refugees, Palestinians under occupation and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

        UNIONS, ASSOCIATIONS, CAMPAIGNS
        1. Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine (coordinating body for the major political parties in the Occupied Palestinian Territory)
        2. Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizen’s Rights (PICCR)
        3. Union of Arab Community Based Associations (ITTIJAH), Haifa
        4. Forum of Palestinian NGOs in Lebanon
        5. Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU)
        6. General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW)
        7. General Union of Palestinian Teachers (GUPT)
        8. Federation of Unions of Palestinian Universities’ Professors and Employees
        9. Consortium of Professional Associations
        10. Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC)
        11. Health Work Committees – West Bank
        12. Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)
        13. Union of Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC)
        14. Union of Health Work Committees – Gaza (UHWC)
        15. Union of Palestinian Farmers
        16. Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI)
        17. General Union of Disabled Palestinians
        18. Palestinian Federation of Women’s Action Committees (PFWAC)
        19. Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
        20. Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
        21. Union of Teachers of Private Schools
        22. Union of Women’s Work Committees, Tulkarem (UWWC)
        23. Dentists’ Association – Jerusalem Center
        24. Palestinian Engineers Association
        25. Lawyers’ Association
        26. Network for the Eradication of Illiteracy and Adult Education, Ramallah
        27. Coordinating Committee of Rehabilitation Centers – West Bank
        28. Coalition of Lebanese Civil Society Organizations (150 organizations)
        29. Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), Network of Student-based Canadian University Associations

        REFUGEE RIGHTS ASSOCIATIONS/ORGANIZATIONS
        30. Al-Ard Committees for the Defense of the Right of Return, Syria
        31. Al-Awda Charitable Society, Beit Jala
        32. Al Awda – Palestine Right-to-Return Coalition, U.S.A
        33. Al-Awda Toronto
        34. Aidun Group – Lebanon
        35. Aidun Group – Syria
        36. Alrowwad Cultural and Theatre Training Center, Aida refugee camp
        37. Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced (ADRID), Nazareth
        38. BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Bethlehem
        39. Committee for Definite Return, Syria
        40. Committee for the Defense of Palestinian Refugee Rights, Nablus
        41. Consortium of the Displaced Inhabitants of Destroyed Palestinian Villages and Towns
        42. Filastinuna – Commission for the Defense of the Right of Return, Syria 43. Handala Center, ‘Azza (Beit Jibreen) refugee camp, Bethlehem
        44. High Committee for the Defense of the Right of Return, Jordan (including personal endorsement of 71 members of parliament, political parties and unions in Jordan)
        45. High National Committee for the Defense of the Right of Return, Ramallah
        46. International Right of Return Congress (RORC)
        47. Jermana Youth Forum for the Defense of the Right of Return, Syria
        48. Laji Center, Aida camp, Bethlehem
        49. Local Committee for Rehabilitation, Qalandia refugee camp, Jerusalem
        50. Local Committee for Rehabilitation of the Disabled, Deheishe refugee camp, Bethlehem 51. Palestinian National Committee for the Defense of the Right of Return, Syria
        52. Palestinian Return Association, Syria
        53. Palestinian Return Forum, Syria
        54. Palestine Right-of-Return Coalition (Palestine, Arab host countries, Europe, North America)
        55. Palestine Right-of-Return Confederation-Europe (Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden) 56. Palestinian Youth Forum for the Right of Return, Syria
        57. PLO Popular Committees – West Bank refugee camps
        58. PLO Popular Committees – Gaza Strip refugee camps
        59. Popular Committee – al-‘Azza (Beit Jibreen) refugee camp, Bethlehem
        60. Popular Committee – Deheishe refugee camp, Bethlehem
        61. Shaml – Palestinian Diaspora and Refugee Center, Ramallah
        62. Union of Women’s Activity Centers – West Bank Refugee Camps
        63. Union of Youth Activity Centers – Palestine Refugee Camps
        64. Women’s Activity Center – Deheishe refugee camp, Bethlehem
        65. Yafa Cultural Center, Balata refugee camp, Nablus
        ORGANIZATIONS
        66. Abna’ al-Balad Society, Nablus
        67. Addameer Center for Human Rights, Gaza
        68. Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association, Ramallah
        69. Alanqa’ Cultural Association, Hebron
        70. Al-Awda Palestinian Folklore Society, Hebron
        71. Al-Doha Children’s Cultural Center, Bethlehem
        72. Al-Huda Islamic Center, Bethlehem
        73. Al-Jeel al-Jadid Society, Haifa
        74. Al-Karameh Cultural Society, Um al-Fahm
        75. Al-Maghazi Cultural Center, Gaza
        76. Al-Marsad Al-Arabi, occupied Syrian Golan Heights
        77. Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Gaza
        78. Al-Nahda Cultural Forum, Hebron
        79. Al-Taghrid Society for Culture and Arts, Gaza
        80. Alternative Tourism Group, Beit Sahour (ATG)
        81. Al-Wafa’ Charitable Society, Gaza
        82. Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ)
        83. Arab Association for Human Rights, Nazareth (HRA)
        84. Arab Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD)
        85. Arab Center for Agricultural Development-Gaza
        86. Arab Education Institute (AEI) – Pax Christie Bethlehem
        87. Arab Orthodox Charitable Society – Beit Sahour
        88. Arab Orthodox Charity – Beit Jala
        89. Arab Orthodox Club – Beit Jala
        90. Arab Orthodox Club – Beit Sahour
        91. Arab Students’ Collective, University of Toronto
        92. Arab Thought Forum, Jerusalem (AFT)
        93. Association for Cultural Exchange Hebron – France
        94. Association Najdeh, Lebanon
        95. Authority for Environmental Quality, Jenin
        96. Bader Society for Development and Reconstruction, Gaza
        97. Canadian Palestine Foundation of Quebec, Montreal
        98. Center for the Defense of Freedoms, Ramallah
        99. Center for Science and Culture, Gaza
        100. Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ramallah- Al-Bireh District
        101. Child Development and Entertainment Center, Tulkarem
        102. Committee for Popular Participation, Tulkarem
        103. Defense for Children International-Palestine Section, Ramallah (DCI/PS)
        104. El-Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe
        105. Ensan Center for Democracy and Human Rights, Bethlehem
        106. Environmental Education Center, Bethlehem
        107. FARAH – Palestinian Center for Children, Syria
        108. Ghassan Kanafani Society for Development, Gaza
        109. Ghassan Kanafani Forum, Syria
        110. Gaza Community Mental Health Program, Gaza (GCMHP)
        111. Golan for Development, occupied Syrian Golan Heights
        112. Halhoul Cultural Forum, Hebron
        113. Himayeh Society for Human Rights, Um al-Fahm
        114. Holy Land Trust – Bethlehem
        115. Home of Saint Nicholas for the Aged – Beit Jala
        116. Human Rights Protection Center, Lebanon

        Like

  13. ABC
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/01/07/2787048.htm?section=justin

    Jerusalem Post
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1262339407809

    The recent Gaza border violence has exposed the contradictions of the nice western non-violent movement.

    The Freedom March has catalysed the worst violence since the war last year.

    Palestinians have certainly taken inspiration from the attempt to break the blockade, but not in the non-violent terms of the Western protesters.

    What do the non-violent activists do now? Do they condemn the Palestinian protesters for wrecking the non-violent project? Do they focus all the “solidarity” action on supporting arrested western non-violence comrades before the courts and suffering human rights violations in Egypt?

    The missionary illusion has blown up in the missionary’s faces..

    Like

    • Where lies the violence?

      Hello John,

      You may not intend to but I think you have implied assumptions about where the violence is coming from in the current situation on the Egyptian/Gaza border.

      Israeli jets constantly attack the resistance in Gaza. This has happened before and after recent attempts by the George Galloway-led Viva Palestina to get much needed supplies across the border at Rafah. As the article below describes the tunnels relied upon by Gazans for goods and supplies are constantly bombed.

      Such ill-informed and erroneous assumptions are common in the western mindset, often clouded by Christian guilt over the holocaust.

      When will people in the west distinguish between mortars and F16s, between Kalasnikovs and guided missiles, between stones and tanks?

      It is important to have regard of the facts on the ground in making your critique of the so called Western protesters.

      in solidarity
      Ian

      Israeli air raids kill one in Gaza (Al Jazeera)
      Friday, January 08, 2010

      Israel has launched air strikes against at least seven targets in the Gaza Strip, killing one man and wounding two others, Palestinian medics say.
      The casualties in the early hours of Friday occurred near Gaza’s border with Egypt where Israeli jets bombed two tunnels, which Palestinians use to smuggle goods into the blockaded coastal strip, medics and Hamas security officials said.

      The air raids came after Israel said a dozen mortar bombs and rockets were fired from the Hamas-run territory into Israel. No casualties were reported from those attacks.

      Israeli aircraft also hit three targets near Gaza City and two near the southern town of Khan Younis, striking empty buildings and open spaces, according to witnesses and Hamas officials.

      Israeli media reports said Israel had targeted a weapons factory in Gaza City but the military had no immediate comment.

      Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Gaza, said since Israel’s war on Gaza ended last January, the Israelis have responded to mortar attacks from the Palestinian side with air strikes on various parts of the Gaza Strip.

      On Thursday, Israeli jets dropped thousands of leaflets over northern Gaza and Gaza City ahead of the attack, warning many of the 1.5 million residents to stay clear of the heavily-secured border, after the mortars and rockets were fired into Israel.

      The leaflets, in Arabic, said anyone within 300m of the border “will be in danger”.

      See also Israeli jets attack Gaza
      Saturday, January 02, 2010

      Like

      • Ian,

        I have no illusions as to where the violence comes from. However, whether western non-violence proponents like it or not, many oppressed groups choose to respond to the massive violence of the state and capitalism with their own violence – especially when all peaceful means of change have been eliminated.

        You seem to be suggesting that Palestinian violence is an involuntary reaction to the violence of Israel. This attitude to violence belittles the Palestinian experience of history and the wisdom created by that history that has lead – through very deep thinking and grieving – to the decision to engage in violence within a moral framework of “by any means necessary”.

        The western activist moral framework of nonviolence and international law is not born of the Palestinian experience of violence but by the Western activists own gestalt and experience.

        It is interesting that the GFM and Viva Palestina information networks have provided links to mainstream news stories about the Rafah violence but have not made any comment themselves – despite the protest being the first convoy solidarity event in Gaza and the probable reason why Egypt opened the gate (to avoid further violence).

        Solidarity with Palestine must be on Palestinian terms, not the ideologies and wishfull thinking of the peace missionaries. This includes understanding Palestinian violence from the perspective of the Palestinian resistance rather than some international non-violence template.

        Like

      • Hello John,

        Taking up your points above and below:

        1) What we are seeing in Gaza and in the West Bank is Palestinian resistance to the violence of the US funded Israeli war machine. It is neither violent or non-violent, it is resistance. To live in Gaza is to resist, whether child, man, woman or grandparent. This is evidenced throughout this website by the words of its contributors. Contrary to your suggestions only a few of these are followers of ghandian non-violent resistance (Ciaron, Jim, Anne) but they have their place as do you with your different perspective.

        2) It is wrong to characterise the solidarity campaign as ‘western’ or as ‘the christian non-violent paradigm’, it is an international human rights campaign. Many of the most active and organised groups are not europeans. Palestinians are prominent in all these groups. For as long as i can remember Iraqis, Jordians and Syrians, Lebanese, Pakistanis, Indians and so on have been part of the Palestinian resistance, alongside their Palestinian brothers and sisters against Israel. In that sense, we are Palestinians ourselves.

        George Galloway’s leadership of the recently formed ‘Viva Palestina’ is made possible by the coalition of arab support that Viva Palestina has received since its successful north african campaigns in 2009. VP has passed through at least 15 national boundaries on each of its three north african campaigns. The regimes that patrol these borders are reactionary and opposed to the VP mission yet they are forced by their own people to allow the convoy through. You are mistaken about the nature of the VP campaign. The blockade of Gaza and the continuing occupation of the West Bank did give rise to international support for the Palestinian resistance, particularly in France, Britain and the US but that is only a very small part of the international solidarity campaign. Much of the support comes from Algerians, Libyans, Egyptians, Tunisians, Moroccans as well as Spainards, French, German and Dutch. As you know many of the participants in those campaigns are not European. To characterise the solidarity campaigns as being western is incorrect. If you mean to selectively criticise those on the basis of their being european or as being naive supporters of non-violence I do not think that is valid. The international solidarity campaign is neither violent nor non-violent. To give primacy to this question is to miss the point in the same way the mainstream media often does. It is to go for the sensation and not the underlying quest which is to free Palestinian and Jew from the grip of zionism, apartheid, and US control. It is wrong to separate people by nation or race because they are part of a whole movement — inseparable from their brothers and sisters through solidarity. This is evident in the events portrayed in the YouTube videos in this thread [Thanks to David Alberqueque].

        If you doubt the accuracy of what I say look at the statement by George Galloway on the following report after the convoy entered Gaza in early January 2010.

        3) In your comments you attach significance to Viva Palestina’s relationship with the mainstream media. you also counterpose Viva Palestina with the Gaza Freedom March. You suggest the BDS campaign is a creature of Fatah.

        Both Viva palestina and the Gaza Freedom march have the same objective – to end the blockade of Gaza, not for three days each year but for 365 days each year.

        The BDS campaign’s aim is to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine, especially in the West Bank.

        The ‘two state solution’ is absurd as the Apartheid Wall built by Israel demonstrates.

        VP does not rely on mainstrean media, unless you think Iranian Press TV or Aljeezeera English are mainstream. Nor is the BBC a friend of Viva Palestina. The BBC does report VP activities because of the mainstream support received by VP in Great Britain. Don’t forget that George Galloway is a member of parliament. Have a look at the media shown in this thread, particularly the youtube clips posted from David Alberqueque’s Two Complaints to the ABC concerning their bias. David has made similiar complaints to other mainstream media over the past year. The nature of his complaints are empitomised in the interviews that George Galloway has had with Al Jeezeera English (sorry, I can’t find the link i wanted here).

        John, you may be seeking answers to other questions, and that I do not understand what you mean.

        One question may be, what do we do if human rights fail as they did in Europe in the 20th century and they have done now in occupied Iraq. Such a breakdown requires a response from solidarity movements.

        Perhaps the response has already begun in places like Iraq, and we do not yet know about it.

        But the initial response will only come from there as it has always come from the Palestinian people. Groups come and go, but the resistance remains. Viva Palestina!

        Ian Curr
        Jan 2010

        Like

      • Hello Ian,

        1/ I agree and am not sure what innacuracy you are correcting.

        2/ It is true that there is solidarity from all parts of the globe but my comments are for and about western activists and supporters. My comments are particularly aimed at the christian non-violent paradigm that is so strongly promoted by BT, a paradigm that has been adopted by a far broader movement than just christians..

        3/ In relation to the Hamas protest against the detention of the convoy, where palestinians were shot and injured expressing solidarity with the convoy, (this is what I was talking about) Viva Palestina has indeed solely relied on the mainstream media.

        The only reference to the protest and shootings is a link to a BBC story on the Viva Palestina website.

        Galloway’s press conference at Rafah (above), where only hours earlier the protest and shooting occured, does not even acknowledge the Gaza protest.

        Perhaps there are legal or security reasons why Viva Palestina cannot comment on Hamas events but the bottom line is the Gazan Palestinian protest was publically ignored by Viva Palestina except for a link to the mainstream media,

        Like

      • Ian,

        You have changed your comments since I responded to them.

        I am talking to and about our mob. What the Algerian or Iraqi or Lebanese or Venezualen people do is another matter. The response of the affluent west is what I am talking about.

        Amongst Palestine’s strongest supporters is Zimbabwe’s Zanu PF party who, like Hamas is resisting world bank reconstruction and the institution of colonial/international law that permanently denies Zimbabweans land rights to anything but the most unproductive land – just like the 2 state solution in Palestine.

        The Western left, including BT, have played their role in in demonising Zanu PF and the veterens of the war of liberation just as much as the Western media and for the same reasons, the same liberation movement that once enjoyed the privelege of solidarity from the western left.

        But as the war of liberation reached its last stage – returning land to Zimbabweans – the western left joined the forces of capital in crushing the legitimacy of the Zimbabwean struggle.

        The most probable path to peace in Palestine is the total extinguishment of any political or military resistance to Abbas in Gaza. The recent bombing of the tunnels at the Egyption border (barely mentioned in all the solidarity) will speed this up. Between the Israeli and PA militaries the rest of the resistance should be mopped up soon.

        With the help of Britain, the US, the EU, the world bank and the UN, a peace will be designed that satisfies all these power’s needs for the area and a puppet government, just like Iraq and Afghanisatan will be put in place that guarantees the interests of the foreign powers including a hyper-militarised Israel to maintain instability in Asia and the middle East.

        I do not support this peace process, even if it is described as civil society.

        The motivation to support trade unions is just an ideological logic, not an intelligent response to historical circumstance.

        In Australia, Zimbabwe and Palestine, trade unions are firmly attatched to and participate in the agenda of foreign capital. They do not resist capitalism, they hang around the table grabbing any crumbs they can get that fall from the table.

        A solidarity and a movement based on trade union connections must neccesarily commit itself to the world bank agenda.

        There are many unemployed people, in Palestine, Zimbabwe and Aboriginal Australia whose perspective on history and needs are not represented by trade unions. They want to own their land rather than be a worker on a white farm. They want to own the bakery. not just get a slice of the pie.

        In Palestine, the Islamic trade unions incorporate culture and spirituality into their notion of workers organisation, an element not represented in the Fatah unions who went on strike against the Hamas government for higher wages for public servants when they knew the government had no money.

        A traditional trade union campaign for sure but it played its part in destabalising the democratically elected government of Gaza laying the foundation for the Israeli military attacks – and they are applauded in the name of solidarity?

        I just think it is a bit more complicated than the solidarity slogans allow. My heart aches for the people in Gaza who have survived, with great loss, the war only to see their vision of a Free Palestine absorbed into the Palestinian Authority’s program. It was this very program that they were fighting against yet their suffering is being used to promote it.

        [Editor’s Note: My reply is at ‘Our Mob’]

        Like

  14. Ian,

    While it is interesting to read an Israeli perspective on BDS, it is still a colonial/Westerner’s thinking about non-violence and his framing of the conflict in western terms..

    His BDS objectives are just a dot point wish list for nice things and bears no relation to the likely outcomes of the BDS campaign. They are tokenistic plattitudes.

    Udi Aloni says…..”Therefore, we must try to create the preconditions for non-violent resistance to emerge, in order to render violent resistance unnecessary.”

    Bullshit! The dismantling of structures of oppression is the only way to render violent resistance unnecessary. There is no road to peace except via justice.

    Who is “we” who must create these conditions? The Israelis? the global solidarity movement? Who are these angels of salvation who can do more for the liberation of Palestinians than what Palestinians have been able to achieve by themselves?

    I am not advocating violence or sending arms to Hamas. What I am saying is that the western, in particular the Christian focus on violence and non-violence is a distraction from the issues of power and economy that are at the core of the middle east war.

    Ghandi’s strategic focus was on power and economy and the self activity of the colonised as agents of their own liberation on their own terms. His non-violent struggle has also been expropriated and white washed by the self-appointed advocates of the down-trodden and their western peace ideology.

    Like

  15. Hello John,

    In the light of your comments about solidarity campaigns and specifically here about the Boycott, Divestments, Sanction campaign against Israel [BDS campaign], I have included an article in reply which was sent by Ray Bergmann to Justice for Palestine [JFP] and Qld Palestinian Solidarity Campaign [QPSC].

    To view the article (without Ads) see WBT @ https://bushtelegraph.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/bds-movement-requests-international-trade-unions-to-build-ties-with-palestinian-unions/#comment-7685 .

    To view it with ads see http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3829694,00.html .

    Personally I am not sure if the BDS campaign will attain its objectives which are outlined in the article referred to as:

    1. An immediate end of the occupation
    2. Full equality to all Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel
    3. Legal and moral Recognition of the Palestinian refugees’ right of return

    However I do know that the Israeli economy is heavily dependent on the palestinian people on both the production and consumption side.

    If Palestinians were to withdraw both their labour and their purchasing power, the Israeli economy would collapse. It would be a huge sacrifice and could be made possible by a highly co-ordinated international solidarity campaign. Currently such co-ordination does not exist but this does not mean that attempts to build such a campaign should be ruled out. Such a campaign would be revolutionary.

    The article at the link(s) above does give some clear idea of what BDS is about and those who support it.

    in solidarity
    Ian

    Like

  16. My recurring comments on BT is 1/ to suggest that “solidarity” action only serves the needs of those expressing the solidarity and 2/ The focus of these actions – the people suffering oppression – are objectified and used in telling the story from the solidarity-commentator’s point of view. The solidarity activist is the self appointed advocate for the objectified poor.

    What role do Palestinian people play in the BDS movement? Which Palestinian people? What Palestinian agenda?

    The BDS campaign certainly provides opportunities for international movements to reinforce their opinions, but what is it doing with regard to the Palestinian struggle?

    The BDS campaign is being directed by the pro-Israel, pro-U.S. Palestinian Authority.

    Their target is the specific industries of illegal Israeli settlements. This is partly because the PA will not engage in any illegal activity. A general boycott of Israel is illegal in international law. Because the Israeli settlements are illegal under international law then sanctions against them are legal under international law.

    Here is a recent media release by the P.A. regarding BDS.
    http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/604

    This media release also blames Hamas for the blockade of Gaza……

    “In the Gaza Strip, meanwhile, the territory’s Hamas rulers further restricted the movement of its 1.4 million residents. Gaza has been virtually cut off from the world since a violent Hamas takeover in 2007, with border closures enforced by Israel and Egypt.”

    The recent Gaza Freedom March has provided a nice non-violent focus for nice non-violent westerners to engage with, without having to deal with the local issues of political violence and the authority of Hamas in Gaza or the illegitimacy of a collaborationist authority in the West Bank..

    Again the recurring theme of the Freedom March has been non-violence and the supremacy international law.

    International law will provide an apartheid 2 state solution permanently instituting Palestinian poverty whose only economy will be labour for the E.U., U.S.A. and World Bank nodes of the global marketplace within the prosperous state of Israel. This is the peace process.

    As the western peace activists congratulate themselves for the marvelous acts of pity that they have performed, they are reinforcing the global conspiracy for an apartheid 2 state regime, not supporting the Palestinian resistance to these things.

    Making such a high profile of the ethic of non-violence clearly undermines and de-legitimises Hamas and the broader Palestinian resistance – not only now but its history also.

    Focusing on issues of violence and non-violence is a western smokescreen that distracts from the issues of economic domination of the middle east by the USA, EU and world bank – the real issues.

    The non-violent activists, the international lawyers, the trade unions and all the other feel-good -do-gooders are simply cogs in a global propaganda machine to appease western sensibilities around issues of justice while instituting the same old colonial paradigms that wealthy elites have been dominating people with for centuries.

    The violent savage was the old stereotype used to justify the repression of resistance to colonisation. Today the stereotype is the violent terrorist, a de-humanising stereotype reinfoced by the ideologies and public actions of the western non-violence and international law movements.

    Just like the colonial missionaries of old, the western activists satisfy themselves with offering an etherial hope, and nothing more, to the poor and outcast whilst simultaneously demonising their violent resistance to their oppression.

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    • Why I back Israel sanctions

      ‘BDS movement’s actions aimed at attaining goals of justice, peace and equality’ by Udi Aloni
      [See http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3829694,00.html ]
      Published: 01.05.10, 11:56 / Israel Opinion

      I find it appropriate that the Israeli public be notified of the emerging movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel (BDS), which has been growing at a breathtaking pace.

      Following bewildered reports published by Yedioth Ahronoth journalist Sever Plocker, who noticed that BDS has moved from the circles of the radical western Left to the circles of the bourgeois centre, I can add that this is now true for Israel-loving Jews as well.

      Obviously, this shift is taking place against the backdrop of Israel’s war on Gaza, waged one year ago, the publication of the Goldstone Report, and the local strain of apartheid policy nurtured by Israel, which differs from the old South African one in some aspects.

      This policy has local makings and signature. It is not only an Israeli High Court of Justice ruling to evacuate Palestinian living in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah from their homes, applying a “right of return for Jews only” rule, while Palestinians, on the other hand, are being denied this right.

      It is also the denial of Palestinian rights to send Palestinian policemen to carry out a “targeted assassination” of Jewish terrorist Yaakov Teitel (it should be noted that we object to all extrajudicial executions), while the alleged Palestinians murderers of a Jewish rabbi in Samaria can be extrajudicially executed, with the ballistic weapon examination proving their guilt being performed retroactively by the executioners, not by a court of law (the appropriate instance in this case should be an international tribunal, since most Palestinians are sure that at least two of the three had nothing to do with the murder).

      I am presenting these cases to illustrate the extreme inequality in our joint life, in this land, and emphasize the reasons behind the emergence of the popular global movement for solidarity with the Palestinian people. And please do not rush to your feet, protesting and chanting: “The whole world is against us, never mind, we shall overcome!”, because we shall not overcome.

      In comparison, non-violent resistance in such instances is always justified and also always necessary. Regrettably, such resistance is not always possible.

      The aforementioned violations of human rights are precisely the reason why many Jews all over the world have joined the BDS campaign, a key issue for those of us who are trying to prevent violence against Israel while simultaneously countering its arrogant and aggressive policies against the Palestinians living under its rule.

      Necessary violence
      The head of the New School’s philosophy department (located in NYC) has argued that “Violence is never justified even if it is sometimes necessary”. This statement lays a heavy burden of guilt on numerous resistance movements all over the world, who have been compelled to resort to violence against occupying forces.

      When the children in the Palestinian village of Bilin, whose land is being grabbed by Israel in broad daylight under the pretext of “lawful conduct”, using heavily armed IDF soldiers, throw stones at soldiers, the village elders tell them: “Your act of stone-throwing is totally justified resistance, but we have chosen non-violent resistance for this village, and therefore violence is unnecessary here”. As part of our support for this type of non-violent action in places like Bilin, and following forceful, violent IDF actions against the residents of the village, we, Israeli activists, have formulated our position in favor of BDS.
      When the state quells the non-violent yet effective resistance of a right-less minority with violent unlawful means, then violent resistance to the military forces enforcing this oppression is justified. Indeed, such resistance may not always be necessary, may not always serve the goals of the struggle, and its shortcomings may outweigh its advantages, but it is still justified in principle.

      Therefore, we must try to create the preconditions for non-violent resistance to emerge, in order to render violent resistance unnecessary.

      The most provably-effective form of pressure known to us so far is BDS. Thus, BDS action does not amount to negative, counter-productive action, as many propagandists try to portray it. On the contrary, BDS action is a life-saving antidote to violence. It is an action of solidarity, partnership and joint progress. BDS action serves to preempt, in a non-violent manner, justified violent resistance aimed at attaining the same goals of justice, peace and equality.

      If a critical mass of privileged Israeli citizens joins the non-violent struggle from the inside, standing shoulder to shoulder with the disenfranchised, perhaps outside pressure will no longer be necessary.

      The three very basic principles of BDS are:

      An immediate end of the occupation
      Full equality to all Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel
      Legal and moral Recognition of the Palestinian refugees’ right of return

      (Obviously, each community’s position will be taken into consideration during the desired negotiations).

      No right-wing lobby, not even the messianic-evangelical lobby, and no lawyer from the Alan Dershowitz school can hold back for long the global popular movement which wants to see an end to our local conflict and regional peace, according to the principles of international law, in the benefit of both peoples.

      http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3829694,00.html

      [Ed. Note: Thanks to Ray Bergmann for bringing this article to my attention]

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  17. Kathryn from Cairo on the Gaza Freedom March

    Hello everyone

    Sorry for the silence but things have been pretty bad (not to mention chaotic) this end. I’m sure you have heard some of the news that has been filtering through. Please see below a statement release issued today (and other statements from my fellow Marchers).

    On a personal note, during the night of the 28th December I was taken from my hotel room and was subjected to a night of interrogation at the hands of the Egyptian security service. The details of this I cannot discuss in this public email forum for understandable reasons. As a condition of my release I had to give an undertaking not to attempt to travel to Rafah and the consequences of my ignoring this were graphically described to me. I can only wonder incredulously about a government that considers someone like me a danger to national security…. not to mention my fellow 1,400 peace activists.

    It came as no surprise that I was not selected by the Egyptian government as one of the “100 truly peaceful” people out of the 1,400 eventually allowed to board the bus to travel to Gaza…….

    Our treatment here in Cairo only demonstrates how threatened the brutal Zionist regime and their international supporters must be feeling. We came in peace and were ruthlessly suppressed. Strangely enough I am still filled with hope. Evil cannot flourish forever and every gesture we make (no matter how small) results in educating more people to the TRUTH. The truth alone may not set our Palestinian brothers and sisters free but it is a damn good start!!

    VIVA PALESTINA!!!

    In solidarity
    Kathryn

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  18. Pro-Israel bias at SBS

    Dear SBS Ombudsman

    I fear your news editors are letting the presence on your board of Carla Zampatti, who has an association with a lobby group for Israel – the Westfield Group, influence news content in World News Australia and Dateline.

    I believe Carla has a conflict of interests and should be replaced by a neutral person. Please investigate the complaint I have submitted below to your news editors.

    Yours sincerely
    David Albuquerque

    The News Editors
    SBS

    SUB: “Power in defence of freedom is greater than power on behalf of tyranny and oppression.”

    Dear Journalists and Defenders of Freedom

    My salutation is deliberately chosen because I believe that what stands between tyranny and freedom is a fearless and independent media. With great respect, may I beseech you, the news editors of SBS, to think deeply of your actions today, December 27, 2009? and about the noble calling that is your profession – Journalism.

    Today, even as we speak, an aid convoy, Viva Palestina, that has travelled over 3500km and which bears specialised medical equipment and food supplies, including powdered milk for babies, sits idly in Aqaba, a Jordanian port, because of Egypt’s refusal to grant it passage to Gaza, where an entire population is suffering beyond belief and beyond humanitarian relief. Why? Because America and Israel have told Egypt not to let a single vehicle, or peace activist, pass through.

    People have travelled from more than 40 different countries to Cairo , while others have driven thousands of miles to Aqaba, to show their solidarity with the people of Gaza – the largest gathering of international solidarity activists in the history of the Middle East .

    And yet, today, you, on behalf of SBS, deliberately chose not to make even a passing reference in World News Australia to the Gaza Freedom March and the Viva Palestina Convoy – both being events of such great humanitarian importance.

    In doing so, you have disregarded the very recent appeal made by Richard Falk, the UN’s Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories: “People of conscience everywhere, as well as governments worldwide and the United Nations, should take note of the dire situation in Gaza,…

    “The ordeal of the 1.5 million residents of Gaza affected by the Israeli blockade, over half f whom are children, has been allowed to continue without any formal objection by governments and at the UN.”

    Can one Carla Zampatti on your board of directors and her affiliations and interests with the Westfield Group make you forget your obligations to your profession and your fellow humans?

    I cannot believe this is the SBS I once knew and respected. I am deeply, deeply saddened.

    Yours sincerely

    David Albuquerque

    Like

  19. The Religious Right And World Vision’s “Charitable” Evangelism
    by Michael Barker [Swans – December 28, 2009]

    “We analyse every project, every programme we undertake, to make sure that within that programme evangelism is a significant component. We cannot feed individuals and then let them go to hell.”
    —Ted Engstrom (former president of World Vision International) (1)

    Government organized foreign aid has long served as a vital means by which elite policymakers have cynically maintained a disparity of wealth between nations while simultaneously professing to do the opposite. In the United States, the major distributor of such “aid” is the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which presently has an annual budget in excess of $20 billion. Andrew Natsios, the former World Vision vice president, who has also served as the head of USAID (2001-05), demonstrated the manipulative nature of such large sums of money when he publicly acknowledged that he considers US-based organizations supported by this Agency to be “an arm of the U.S. government.” It is however more normal for officials distributing such geostrategic funding to emphasize the apolitical nature of such monies. The mainstream media does little to challenge this myth and regularly plays up the altruistic intentions of the government. Unfortunately, this means that in recent years a large proportion of the US public has believed that foreign aid was one of the two largest items in the federal budget, even though “less than 0.5 percent of the budget went for anything remotely resembling foreign aid.” See http://www.swans.com/library/art15/barker39.html

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  20. Galloway raps Egypt for stopping Gaza aid convoy

    Press TV: Fri, 25 Dec 2009 10:11:10 GMT

    British Lawmaker George Galloway has criticized Egypt over denying the Viva Palestina humanitarian aid convoy to enter the Gaza Strip.

    The humanitarian convoy to the Gaza Strip has become stuck in Jordan as Egypt is reportedly denying the convoy’s passage through its territory.

    “It’s a strange Christmas for us. We are stuck in Aqaba. 500 people, 210 vehicles, hundreds of tons of aid which is desperately needed in Gaza,” Galloway said in an interview with Press TV on Friday.

    “Our Jordanian friends are doing their best to keep us warm and to feed us,” he added.

    The British anti-war activist also called it a very complex situation.

    “It’s a very complex situation. We have on the Turkish level quite a diplomatic activity going on, because the Turkish prime minister personally appeared on live television in Damascus three days ago and asked the Egyptian government to facilitate this convoy; so this is a slap in the face, you can say, to the Turkish government,” he further explained.

    “We don’t yet know exactly what tactics we will follow. That would depend on the diplomatic situation, but one thing we are not going to do is run away. We came all this way to Aqaba.”

    “We are very sad not yet angry, but we will get angry if the days go by,” he noted.

    The humanitarian convoy arrived in Jordan on Tuesday and was expected to leave via sea to Egypt.

    The convoy left London almost two weeks ago with 80 vehicles. Its size grew with the addition of dozens of vehicles from Turkish charities.

    Galloway earlier appealed to Egyptian authorities to facilitate the convoy’s passage through its territory. The convoy aims to break Israel’s crippling blockade on Gaza.

    Lifeline 3, the third international convoy headed to Gaza under the name Viva Palestina, comprises 210 trucks laden with basic food items and medical supplies. 450 activists, including 30 Americans, 150 Turks and a number of Europeans are accompanying the convoy.

    The already impoverished Gaza Strip has been under a complete Israeli siege, with full cooperation of Egypt, ever since the Hamas resistance movement, which does not recognize Israel as a sovereign state, won parliamentary elections in a surprise victory in 2007.

    Israel’s three-week offensive against Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009 which left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead, including a large number of civilians, deteriorated the already dire situation.

    The Israeli assault led to the destruction of schools, mosques, houses as well as UN compounds, inflicting $ 1.6 billion damage on the Gazan economy.

    Like

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