Sameh Habeeb, founder-editor of the Palestine Telegraph newspaper, will be conducting a national speaking tour (“Eyewitness from Gaza”), hosted by Socialist Alternative.
Sameh’s first appearance in Australia is in Brisbane.
Tuesday 23 March at 6.30pm at QUT Gardens Point campus, O Block, Room 520
and his last at the Marxism 2010 conference at Melbourne University (1-4 April). He will also be speaking at four university campuses and in Newtown in Sydney. This will be the first occasion that Sameh has spoken outside Western Europe.
I’d like to invite all supporters of Palestine to come and hear Sameh speak in Brisbane on 23 March. This will be our first opportunity to hear from a Palestinian who was reporting from Gaza during the Israeli invasion last summer. Entry by donation. Following is Sameh’s latest piece on the Palestine Telegraph website.
Thursday, 11 March 2010 13:17 Added by PT Editor Sameh A. Habeeb
London, March 11, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) – It has been almost 17 years since the Oslo Peace Accord was initiated in order to bring peace between Palestinians and the state of occupation, Israel.
After 17 years the PLO – the sole “representative of the Palestinians” – stated Israel has a right to exit.
Fourteen years ago Clinton visited to Gaza in 1996, when the PLO and Fatah accepted Israel’s existence and amended parts of their charter that had aimed at destroying Israel.
For almost 14 years, Israeli governments, now Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s current Prime Minister have been procrastinating and manipulating Israel’s policies towards a Jewish ‘only’ state which undermines the peace process.
The goal of peace, however, is not attainable within the current paradigm of the Israeli government’s policies. Previous Israeli Prime Ministers have exposed this fact unknowingly by their lack of commitment and actions towards a lasting peace.
The problem exists in both the Israeli politicians and Israeli mainstream public opinion.
According to the Oslo charter: Palestinians and Israelis must have a peace curriculum in their schools and carry out joint actions in that regard. However, since that time, few joint actions, peace initiatives for youth and other events have taken place.
Israeli children attacking arab woman
Israel puts 100% of the blame for not having courses about peace on the Palestinian Authority (PA); going so far as to launch a campaign against the PA in order to sway International public opinion in Israel’s favor. The campaign included some documentaries and videos that quoted some individuals in the PA who said peace is not attainable until full rights are given to Palestinians.
The accusation was that the Palestinians were 100% responsible for the failure. However, Israel didn’t show any credible and honest interest in peace.
Manipulation began directly after the OSLO accord, Israel began delaying withdrawals from the occupied territories in the West Bank and continued to lie and overstep (thus breaching) the Oslo accords and flagrantly blamed the PA saying it didn’t condemn the so-called “terrorism”.
Indeed, no clear-cut evidence shows the public that Israel worked on educating its people about peace. Even the education system and books didn’t work on promoting peace, instead, radical Jewish religious groups were funded by Netanyahu.
Most importantly, in 1996, provocations were evident when Jerusalem’s mayor, Ehud Olmert, decided to open an exit for the Western Wall Tunnel. This resulted in direct confrontation between the Israeli army and unarmed Palestinian civilians who were stoning Israeli soldiers.
Many Palestinians have been killed and the situation deteriorated.
It was clear-cut evidence that Netanyahu had no interest in peace whatsoever and continued accelerating violence.
The situation has not changed – Netanyahu, is the same stubborn peace-hater who is being driven by a bunch of hooligan, right-wing Israelis (he is included in that category) and he is still violating International law.
Logically speaking, the recent Israeli government made it clear that peace will never be made by illegal Israeli settlers occupying parts of the West Bank with “settlements” (“colonies”). While it’s not new for the Israeli government – who adopted the same policy with either right or left wing governments.
This imperialist, expansionist policy of building outside the 1967 “Green Line” is ongoing with a militia of armed-settlers controlling more parts of land in the West Bank. Obama, was betrayed many times – every time the American administration called for peace, Israelis did not comply. After 5 visits or even more from American peace envoy, George Mitchell, Israel offensively continued building settlements and announced new plans for more colonies.
Not far from the settlements, Israel continues to build its new apartheid wall of “Berlin” where more Palestinian land is stolen, people are assaulted and homes are demolished.
In the West Bank, we see images of racism all over the place, for example, armed settlers have the right to use “Jewish only” roads while the Palestinians are prohibited from using them and if any Palestinians are found in these roads he/she will be sent to jail.
People in Qalelia city are living in a prison where the Israeli army opens and closes the gates at certain times.
What if Londoners couldn’t leave London and would have to go through only one gate and at a certain time? It is self-evident that this would not be acceptable since it is not democratic. Does the reality of Israeli checkpoints and the apartheid wall really help bring peace to the troubled region?
Not far from these “Jewish-only” roads, the checkpoints are nearly on every street in the West Bank. If you are a Palestinian living there, then you will have to wait many long hours to get to the hospital, your work, school etc… Again, it’s as if you are leaving your house from Camden town in London towards Westminster; alas, you will find at least 10 checkpoints; you will have to leave your house 5 hours or more to cross – *if* you are even successful – many people are denied access to cross over to the other side of the checkpoints.
This not all of it – you will be intimidated, humiliated and investigated. Does this sound like a fair life? Does this really help to bring peace and love between people?
Not far from the West Bank, there is Gaza; a small coastal strip. Unluckily, the next-door neighbor of the apartheid state of Israel! This small area accommodates over 1.5 million civilians. Israel is starving them, banning medications, food, clothing, stationary and thousands of other needs by preventing these essential supplies to enter and be delivered to Gaza.
Sometimes, the Israeli government allows entry of a small part of these essential needs to fool the International community. However, its been over 4 years now and Gaza remains in a famine while the victims of this siege are up to 500 plus, mostly children and women with diseases. They died as Israel denied them any access and neither allowed medications for them.
There is nothing to compare this with except the black novels of Charles Dickens. The details of misery, hunger and bleakness written in his novels are all there. It’s more than the medieval ages of Britain and Europe! Does this racist, inhuman policy really help to bring peace and love between nations?
Paradoxically, Israel still says it seeks full peace with Arab countries, meanwhile, we see Israel in flagrant violation against the sovereignty of Dubai as well as some European countries like Britain, Australia, Ireland, Germany and France. By which law does Israel have the right to do this?
We see Israel violations and refusal to implement hundreds of UN resolutions regarding Palestine. We see Israel violate Humanitarian laws and the Geneva convention’s rules of conduct on a daily basis.
If Israel really wants peace with Palestinians, then it has to do this by actions, not mere rhetoric and propaganda.
Peace will never be achieved based on the idea of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians or the idea of transferring them to Arab countries. Peace and love will only be achieved when Israel gives Palestinians their freedom, full rights and dignity.
Sameh A. Habeeb