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Editorial Comment on current issues

Anti-War Coordinating Committee Meeting

Date: Wednesday, 13 September 2006,
Time: 6:30 pm — 8:30pm
Place: AHIMSA House, 26 Horan Street,
West End (near State School)

A resolution was passed by the Anti-War Coordinating Committee to organise a rally on 23 September 2006. An organising meeting was held at the above time and place.
Invitations were issued to others interested in coordinating activities in the peace movement or wish to receive more information about the anti-war coordinating committee.

Contact: Ray 0402 236 903 or Ian 3398 5215

middle-east-map.jpg

Map of the Middle East (click to magnify)

The need for respect, comradely behaviour and democracy in decision-making was the strong message that came out of the first anti-war coordinating committee meeting that was attended by 13 people from 11 different organisations on 16 Aug 2006.

There were some people at that meeting who had been active in the Stop the War Collective (including Mark Gillespie and Joan Shears).

For there to be joint meetings of an Anti-War Coordinating Committee and the Stop the War Collective requires a democratic vote. This has not been possible because the only meeting planned is of the anti-war coordinating committee for 13 September 2006 and may not be possible then until voting rights and procedures are worked out (see below).

So far an anti-war coordinating committee has formed with a list of people who are committed only to the extent of placing their name, contact addresses, and organisation on a list and agreeing by a unanimous vote to form a committee by that name at the first meeting on 16 August 2006.

There was a decision put by a different set of people not in attendance at the first meeting (who also placed their names on the coordinating committee list) on 30 August to organise a rally at 12 noon on the 23rd September at Queens park).

In the circumstances outlined above (particularly since the coordinating committee does not have a fixed membership) the chairperson of the coordinating committee (Ian Curr) suggested to the meeting that organising a rally was premature and was not the role for an anti-war coordinating committee which had just been formed and had not settled on a name.

Nevertheless the convenors of the anti-war coordinating committee (Ray Bergmann and Ian Curr) agreed to perform tasks relating to that proposal once it was passed by a show of 6 hands for with none against (the chairperson does not vote in these circumstances).

Tom Bramble (Socialist Alternative) agreed to contact possible speakers at the rally. Ahmed Kadhem and Ray Bergmann would seek out speakers from occupied countries in the Middle East with the proviso that refugees would not be placed at risk.

Steve Martin (International Socialist Organisation) agreed to draft a leaflet for the rally. A record of donations to the anti-war coordinating committee is kept by one of the convenors (Ray Bergmann).

The anti-war coordinating committee received a generous donation from a Quaker who left with his colleague prior to any decisions being reached about the rally.

The proposers of interstate speaker would need to raise at least $500 at the rally to make the proposal to fly a speaker from Melbourne (say) viable. That is unlikely given recent experience where $300 is about the maximum collected at rallies. Can the proposers of interstate speakers (Socialist Alternative) guarantee to make up any shortfall on the day?

Tom Bramble (SA) said “he does not agree with artists playing at the demos” but “(Michael) Franti is an exception”.(Franti being an international artist who is playing in Sydney on 22 and 23 September 2006).

Whatever happened to the notion of local artists playing at rallies? On the same day local artists are playing at the Brisbane Labour History Association’s Rekindling the Flames of Discontent that same afternoon at East Brisbane Bowls Club).

Since that meeting Mark Gillespie (STWC) has said that he had discussed with Stop the War Collective members to join with the anti-war coordinating committee meeting on Wednesday 13 Sep 06 to help organise the rally. There has also been a number of emails from Tom Bramble (Socialist Alternative) that read like minutes of that meeting (no one was delegated to take minutes).

As per normal meeting procedures (see below) items for an agenda can be submitted prior to the meeting. The anti-war committee meeting cannot function with agreed rules of democracy. One part of this is to have democratic meeting procedures. Such procedures are listed below:

MEETING PROCEDURES

1. Elect a Chairperson.
One task from the outset is that there is a quorum present, being a majority of the active members of the coordinating committee.

2. Apologies for Non Attendance
Advance apologies for non-attendance at the next meeting.

3. Minutes of Previous Meeting
a. Motion – “That the minutes be confirmed.”
b. Seconder
c. Amendments or alterations to minutes as read
d. Vote by members
Business arising from minutes. It is important that the Chairman is familiar with any matter, which
may arise.

4. Correspondence
No motion is normally required, although if it is desired to approve the sending of letters/emails then the
appropriate motion is “That the correspondence be endorsed”.

6. Reports
Unless just making an announcement about a future happening, each person should conclude their
report with a motion “That the report be received (or adopted)” as appropriate.
a. Motion – as above
b. Seconder
c. Discussion on content of report
d. Vote by members

7. General Business
While it is preferable for motions and amendments to be submitted in writing to the Chairman, this is
not essential. Motions may be accepted directly from a speaker.
Note. The following is the method of obtaining a decision on a motion:

CHAIRMAN: I will now put the motion “That…………
“All those in favour ….” Those against ….”
“I believe those for/against have it (Pause in case someone disagrees and requests a show of hands) and I declare the motion/amendment carried/lost.”

If a motion is carried people may be delegated to perform any tasks required in the spirit of the motion.

8. Collection of membership dues.
Rather than the current practice of taking a collection to pay for hire of the meeting room, the membership should consider having dues (say $25/$15 that can be collected on say a 6 monthly basis.

Aside

Meeting was held on Thursday 19 October 2006, at 12 NOON AT THE JAGARA HALL MUSGRAVE PARK to organise the ongoing campaign for Justice for Aboriginees in Brisbane and Queensland Discussion of the next RALLY AND MARCH (18th November 2006 … Continue reading

Benefit Dinner and Concert raises over $12,000 for relief to Lebanon and Palestine

fair-go-for-palestine-benefit-26-aug-2006.jpg

Last night (26 Aug 2006) in Brisbane there was a benefit dinner and concert held to raise money for relief efforts for the Lebanese and Palestinian people after the July/August 2006 war. The function was organised by Brisbane’s Fair Go for Palestine and the local Al-Nisa Muslim Women’s Youth Group.

Sheikh Ahmad Abu Ghazaleh from the Kuraby Mosque sang Arabic songs and described how he, a Palestinian, has recently been prevented three times from visiting his homeland by Israeli military.benefit-gig.jpg

Brisbane artist Phil Monsour (pictured) sang accompanied by film depicting the Israeli military bombardment of Lebanon and Palestine and the war in Iraq.

The benefit was strongly supported by the local Muslim community. About 240 people attended in a small hall in South Brisbane.

At my table was a Lebanese man who had driven down from Toowoomba and a group of young men from South Africa who now live in Brisbane. The young men had heard about the dinner through the Kuraby Mosque. We all had an political discussion over excellent lebanese food about the recent events in the middle east.
One young man said that he thought Iran must have given a lot of money to Hizballah for rebuilding villages. Someone else later suggested that countries in the region like Iran want others to resist Israel and US agression in the region (e.g. to do the fighting for them). It has been left to a coalition of lebanese political groups (of which Hizballah is an important part) to rebuild villages, towns and Beirut.

Many others wished to attend the dinner but could not because of the size of the hall.

The function raised over $10,000 to be given to Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA) for relief in Palestine and Lebanon. An auction was also held during the night to raise funds.

Speakers at the function were Halim Rane (Fair Go for Palestine), Qld Senators Andrew Bartlett (Australian Democrats) and Claire Moore (ALP). The two senators opened the benefit. At the outset, Claire Moore, eager to get started, called Andrew Bartlett to the stage. Senator Bartlett obediently took up his position on stage. His first comment into the microphone was “I do not always do what the ALP asks me

For more information or to give donations contact Nora on 0422 349 786 or namath14@yahoo.com or contact@fairgoforpalestine.org


Rally and March for Justice for Aboriginal people

dreaming-fest-13-june-2005.jpg

Sam Watson is the Senate candidate for the Socialist Alliance in the 2007 Senate election.

He is the chairperson of regular community meetings and rallies in support of aboriginal democratic rights.

During 2006/2007 these are some of the activities conducted by the community for Justice and Democratic Rights.

****

During the 2006 Queensland State Election campaign there was a rally in Queens Park [between George Street and North Quay behind the old Treasury Building] on Friday, 1st September 2006 starting at 1 pm.

The rally was followed by a march at about 3 pm that went across Victoria Street Bridge down Melbourne Street to Manning Street and up to Jagara Hall in Musgrave Park. Jagara Hall is behind Brisbane State High School.

An organising community meeting to prepare for the rally and march (to make posters banners etc) was held at Jagara Hall on Wednesday, 30 September at 12 noon

RALLY FOR JUSTICE
No to racism and police violence
Stop black deaths in custody

Rally at Queens Park
(between George Street and North Quay)
1pm Friday, 1st September 2006
March at 3pm to Musgrave Park

Vote ŒŒŒ1 for Sam Watson
[Socialist Alliance]
for Brisbane Central
Contact Sam on 0401 227 443

 

Boycott the war machine!

mazen-spot-the-difference.jpgEconomic Sanctions against Israel

Israel has imposed military blockades on both Palestine and Lebanon. These blockades prevent aid, food, water, medicines, and electricity getting to the people most affected by Israeli attacks.

In response, various people and groups have proposed economic sanctions on Israel.

I support any proposal that will stop Israeli war crimes and get the Israeli military out of Palestine and Lebanon.

I wish to address this proposal for people’s economic sanctions against Israel. Although I do not think that sanctions ended apartheid in South Africa they did help raise consciousness in the West about what the apartheid regime was doing to black South Africans and their supporters. Yet economic apartheid still exists for the working class in South Africa.

Many Israeli goods are produced by Palestinian workers and workers from other parts of the world. At the same time as Israel steps up its war economy, many in Israel will profit from this economy as Palestinian and Lebanese people grow poorer. The poor people will require aid to rebuild their lives. How can an economic sanctions campaign against Israel be made more effective and to cripple its war economy? Will a refusal to buy Israeli goods on shelves in supermarkets directly attack the Israeli war economy?

Aren’t the British, American and European arms manufacturers helping this war economy along and making huge profits in the process. For example, in July/August 2006 giant airbuses are flying in laser guided bombs from the US through Britain to kill villagers in Lebanon. Some of these arms manufacturers and providers of weapons have subsidiaries here in Australia.

Firms like Raytheon, Boeing and Dupont are but a few. There are also financial services companies and banks that provide funds and services to the US/Israel war machine. There are powerful Israeli lobby groups in Australia which obtain large tax concessions to provide funds to the state of Israel. Mark Leibler, a prominent tax advisor to the rich, has the ear of the Australian Treasurer on these and other matters. Also there are joint US/Australian bases in Australia at places like Pine Gap and Nurrunga which provide communication and military information from satellites directly to the US/Israeli war machine. These US bases should be shut down.

Boycotts against all these firms and agencies involving the withdrawal of labour have to be organised. Workers and their unions must declare these firms and agencies “black”.

Currently Union Aid abroad, APHEDA, provides assistance to Palestinian and Lebanese people. These projects should be supported by workers. Coordination and cooperation with union organisations such as these is necessary to assist the people who are struggling against the Israeli military.

BOYCOTT THE US/ISRAELI WAR MACHINE

Ian Curr
12 Aug 2006

ANTI-WAR COORDINATING MEETING

6:30 pm — 8:30pm
Wednesday, 16 August 2006
Ahimsa House
(see map by clicking on AHIMSA House)
26 Horan Street
, West End Qld 4101

The meeting will be held in the library on the second floor.

There have been several meetings and white-balloons-free-palestine-free-lebanon-rally-12-aug-2006-004.jpgdemonstrations organised by various groups since the bombing and invasion of Lebanon on 13 July 2006.

Some people have been discussing the need for better coordination and organisation of these
activities.

Please come to the meeting organised below if you
wish to assist in this aim.

Boycott US/Israeli War Machine!

If you are unable to attend the meeting and wish to leave a comment please do so in the space provided below.

Contact: Ray 0402 236 903 or Ian 07 3398 5215

Rally against War on Lebanon and Palestine

Stop the war on Lebanon and Palestine
Israel out NOW!


12 noon, Saturday 12 August, 2006

Rally Queens Park,
Corner of George and
Elizabeth Sts, Brisbane

March through cityyoung-women-for-freedom-in-lebanon-and-palestine.jpg

Various speakers from Lebanese, Palestinian and community organisations, including:

Phil Monsour, Lebanese-Australian musician
Nora Amath,
Fair Go for Palestine
Greg Jenks, Anglican priest & Friends of Sabeel
Anas Abdalla, Palestinian activist
Sam Watson, Murri leader + Socialist Alliance


Supported by Queensland Palestinian Solidarity Committee, Fair Go for Palestine, Rally for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament, Stop the War Collective, Palestinian and Jewish Unity, Socialist Alliance, Socialist Alternative, Resistance.


Paul 0410 629 088; Ray 0402 236 903; Halim 0422 349 785

Email: palestinian_solidarity@yahoo.com.au

Petition for Palestine

petition-to-member-for-brisbane-arch-bevis-to-stop-israeli-attacks-on-lebanon.jpgTo the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives assembled in Parliament. This Petition of concerned citizens draws to the attention of the House the dire circumstances of the people of Palestine…
See petition in the link below:

petition-for-palestine-13th-jul-06.doc

Please fill out and get signatures from family and friends and send to:

Petitioner: F Waddington PO Box 303 Lutwyche 4030


What to do about Israel’s War Crimes?

Driving through town on Saturday morning my wife tried to express her anger and outrage at the premeditated and serial war crimes being committed by Israel against the Palestinians and Lebanese: crimes against humanity, crimes against environment.

She owned up to feelings of wanting to do violence against the leaders of Israel, and was shocked that her anger was so deep that it could have tumbled over into to violent rage. I suspect that many of us watching the crimes being committed in Lebanon and Palestine – the last three weeks just being the culmination of decades of brutality and wanton destruction and cruelty by Israelis – are also enraged, and surprised by the depth and possibly violent aspects of our impotent rage? I guess this is not too surprising, albeit saddening, when confronted by crimes being committed by a whole nation, whose only response to any resistance to their continuing racist plunder of Palestine is murder, torture, incarceration and collective punishment.

But we have to channel this righteous emotion in other directions away from violence – for, we should not be ashamed to feel anger and outrage when witnessing such crimes, to feel less would be less human and humane. The question is what we do with our anger?

My response, when she asked me what I thought, and I’m also enraged and outraged, was to say that what I looked forward to was:

  • The leaders of Israel being charged with war crimes – using the same Nuremberg statues that were used to prosecute their ancestors’ German oppressors – and when found guilty imprisoned for the remainder of their lives.
  • That Israel should pay full cash compensation to the families of every person killed or wounded by Israel in Palestine during the last decade and more recently in Lebanon.
  • That Israel should be required to pay reparations for and contribute their own labour to the restoration of all the destroyed public and private property in Palestine and Lebanon; including terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
  • The funds for the compensation and reparations should be raised by a special tax on every Israeli family, as these are collective, national crimes.
  • Finally, as with Japan at the end of WWII, the constitution of Israel should be revised so as to prevent it ever again going to war, including the surrender of all its nuclear weapons capabilities.

This was a purely spontaneous response, as I had not previously thought about the details of how we are to bring an end to the ‘state barbarian’ that Israel have become. As, truly, this is a rogue nation steeped in the blood of its neighbour’s children.

I recognise that there are many decent women and men in Israel who have struggled for years against the horrors their country has been committing, and many of them have gone to gaol and many are vilified by their compatriots. It may be that these Israeli peace activists also see the need for the planners and perpetrators of aggression to be bought to justice, because they realise that unless the madmen who rule Israel are stopped, the whole idea of Israel – The Promised Land – will remain a corrupted nightmare.

I guess the chances of Israel’s leaders – past and present – ever being bought to justice is slim. But this does not mean that we should not call for their arraignment before an international tribunal. In the interim, there are some other things we can do.

  • Using and spreading the People’s Economic Sanctions is a way to apply economic pressure on Israel.
  • Calling on the Australian government and all other governments to use the UN General Assembly’s power – where the US, Israel and the UK are only three among 191 voting members – to pass a ‘Uniting for Peace’ resolution to force the UN Security Council to act against Israel; this could include establishing a War Crimes Tribunal.
    • Making contact with your local Member of Parliament and state Senators, and telling them you want the Australian government to take an official stand condemning Israel for war crimes.
      • Writing to the national and local newspapers expressing your outrage and horror at what Israel is doing to the people of Palestine and Lebanon.
        • Write to Israeli peace groups, such as Yesh Gvul (www.yeshgvul.org) to express support and solidarity, as they are coming under increasing pressure to abandon their struggle.
          • Using talk-back shows to express your outrage and call on the Australian government to condemn Israeli crimes.

            In peace.
            Sean Foley

            HIROSHIMA DAY PEACE RALLY & MARCH (Brisbane)

            young-women-for-freedom-in-lebanon-and-palestine.jpgNO to WAR and MILITARISATION, NO to a NUCLEAR AUSTRALIA, YES to HUMAN RIGHTS in PEACE AND WAR

            Date: August 6 (Sun)
            Time: 2pm
            Location: QUEENS PARK, Cnr George and Elizabeth Streets, Brisbane

            petition-to-member-for-brisbane-arch-bevis-to-stop-israeli-attacks-on-lebanon.jpg Speakers: Andrew Dettmer – State Secretary, Aust Manufacturing Workers Union, Salam El-Merebi – Al Nisa – Aust Muslim Womens Youth Group, Dave Copeman – AIA Amnesty International Australia, Liz Shields – FOE Friends of the Earth Anti-nuclear, Daniele Viliunas – Qld Co-Ordinator MAPW Medical Assoc for Prevention of War, Kim Stewart – Peace Convergence.

            Un Agencies report on links between Israel’s war crimes in Gaza and Lebanon

            Statement on Gaza by United Nations Humanitarian Agencies working in the occupied Palestinian territory

            nve00002.png3 August 2006 – The United Nations humanitarian agencies working in the occupied Palestinian territory are deeply alarmed by the impact continuing violence is having on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, which has resulted in a sharp decline in the humanitarian situation facing 1.4 million people, more than half of them children. We are concerned that with international attention focusing on Lebanon, the tragedy in Gaza is being forgotten. We estimate that since 28 June, 175 Palestinians have been killed, including approximately 40 children and eight women, and over 620 injured in the Gaza Strip. One IDF soldier has been killed and 25 Israelis have been injured, including 11 Israelis injured by homemade rockets fired from the Gaza Strip. Palestinians have fired on average between 8-9 homemade rockets per day towards Israel (319 in total) and the Israeli military has fired on average 200-250 artillery shells per day into the Gaza Strip and conducted at least 220 aerial bombings. The latest IDF incursion in the area around the Gaza Airport overnight has left eight Palestinians dead, including a 12 year-old girl and 20 injured. UNRWA estimates that at least 475 people have fled their homes in the area and are now being sheltered in an UNRWA school in nearby Rafah.

            nve00001.pngUnder international humanitarian law, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, all parties to the conflict are obliged to protect civilians during hostilities. Parties must exercise precaution and respect the principle of proportionality in all military operations to prevent unnecessary suffering among the civilian population.

            The shelling of sites with alleged military significance that result invariably in the killing of civilians, among them an increasing number of children, cannot be justified. All parties are urged to bear in mind that international law demands accountability and that individual criminal responsibility may be engaged for violations of international humanitarian law.

            The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) reports an increasing number of displaced Palestinians as a result of the continuous shelling and violence in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA is currently sheltering 1,345 people from 289 families in four schools in the northern district of Jabalia. Almost all are refugees, fleeing the relentless shelling of the eastern edge of the neighboring town of Beit Hanoun and the area around the Al Nada housing estate in Beit Lahia. In addition to shelter UNRWA is providing the families with daily food parcels and medical care.

            According to The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) UN facilities as well as large tracts of agricultural land have been damaged during continuing IDF ground incursions. The United Nations office, including OCHA’s in Gaza was ransacked by Palestinian demonstrators on 30 July 2006. In addition, access and movement in and out of Gaza remain key concerns. While the Karni crossing has opened for humanitarian supplies and some commercial imports, it remains closed for exports. In addition, the Rafah crossing for passengers has remained closed, and the Erez crossing opens intermittently. These closures have significantly affected the ability of Gazans to obtain essential medical care not available in Gaza. OCHA reports that the Israeli security forces have instituted a new policy: telephoning Palestinian families to evacuate their homes before launching air strikes. This phenomenon is causing panic to entire Palestinian neighbourhoods. In addition, Palestinian households have been receiving just 6-8 hours of electric supply per day since the Israeli bombing of Gaza’s only electric power plant.

            nve00004.pngThe World Food Programme (WFP) reports that the shelling and violence is not only harming agriculture, but also contributing to a further reduction in people’s purchasing power, prompting increased dependency on food aid. The main staples for Palestinians – wheat flour and sugar – remain in short supply with prices 15 per cent and 33 per cent respectively higher than in January this year. The harvest is being disrupted by problems at the Ministry of Agriculture, where staff have not been paid since January, combined with considerable losses of land, assets and a lack of fertilizers. To support the nutrition of the most vulnerable non refugee population in Gaza during at this critical time, WFP is increasing the number of people it feeds from 160,000 people to 220,000 people monthly.

            nve00005.pngThe World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the targeting of Gaza’s vital infrastructures, particularly the destruction of the only domestic power plant, has triggered a chain reaction of lack of power, scarcity of fuel for generators and water shortage, thus causing a serious threat to people’s health and harming the functioning of the entire health system. Provisional measures to avert the crisis are being set up by the local institutions and the international community.

            The “Temporary International Mechanism” – among others – shall address emergency needs of the health sector, providing medical supplies, fuel, and allowances for health workers. Of further concern is the lack of access to health care in Egypt and Jordan due to Rafah border total and prolonged closure. WHO continues monitoring the situation to identify early warning signs of crisis in the health system and health status of the Palestinian people.

            The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is concerned about declining incomes in the farming and fishing sectors. With the recent imposition of severe fishing restrictions, boats are not leaving port, thus crippling the industry (as well as the income of some 35,000 people) and resulting in the absence of fish on the local market. Declining cash incomes and dwindling international aid is impairing the ability of producers to acquire seeds, fertilizer, spare parts for greenhouses, irrigation facilities and fishing boat maintenance. There is an acute emergency due to the lack of fuel to operate water wells. Many orchards and fruit trees could be lost for ever, while the shortage of vegetables may exacerbate nutritional imbalances.

            According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) some 838,000 Palestinian children living in Gaza are bearing the brunt of disproportionate shelling and attacks. Shortages and closures make it virtually impossible to deliver quality care, while simultaneously fueling the conditions for outbreaks of communicable disease, which hits children hardest.

            Of the approximately 40 Palestinian children killed in Gaza in since 28 June, almost a quarter were under 10 years old. Since the beginning of 2006, 69 children have died due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including one Israeli child. Given the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, UNICEF is stepping up its support in health, education, water and sanitation, psychosocial counseling, and recreational activities for adolescents and younger children.

            The United Nations Population Fund, (UNFPA) reports that the shelling and violence in Gaza has impaired the access of civilians, especially women, to life-saving services such as emergency obstetric care. UNFPA is deeply concerned about the recent nve00006.pngshelling that damaged health facilities and restricted access to reproductive health services, especially ante-natal and post-natal care. Further, access for health care providers to reach their place of work has been jeopardized, particularly in areas of heavy shelling and military closure. Since the beginning of the violence, UNFPA has continuously supported procurement of essential items for the delivery of health care, including disposables, supplies, drugs and equipment to the Ministry of Health, particularly those related to maternal and women’s health.

            The United Nations Development Fund for Women, (UNIFEM) is extremely alarmed over the situation in Gaza Strip. Ever since the beginning of the Israeli latest incursion over Gaza Strip which started at on 28 June 2006, Palestinians have been a target for the Israeli army’s multiple shelling and bombing which resulted in 175 people being killed of which at least eight are women. Being a vulnerable group, women have lost their own lives, their husbands, brothers, fathers and children’s lives and have been badly injured and traumatized; in addition to the destruction of people’s homes, sources of income and infrastructure. With the continuation of this situation, the devastation of women’s lives and their psychological wellbeing will become permanent and any efforts to redeem these effects will become futile. As a rapid response, UNIFEM has launched an emergency intervention program of outreach psychological counseling for women across Gaza with the help of the Gaza Community mental health program. The Fund will also launch another food security initiative for rural women to lend a helping hand in this hard economic situation

            These facts speak for themselves. Closures must be lifted, bearing in mind Israel’s legitimate security concerns. Gaza must be given back the capacity to export its goods. Both the Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza and the disproportionate shelling by the IDF must stop. The United Nations stands firmly by its commitments to uphold the dignity of the Israelis and the Palestinians- and the right of both sides to live in peace and security.

            Proposal for Economic Sanctions against Israel

            Boycott Israel

            People’s Economic Sanctions

            Reasons

            Israel has just invaded Lebanon, again – the first time was in 1982. It has also killed close to 1,000 people, almost all civilians, during three weeks of bombing and shelling (see map). These attacks have occurred in all parts of Lebanon. Israel is now even more than before brutally oppressing the Palestinian people locked up in Gaza and the West Bank.

            Goals

            To reinstitute a form of people power based on a principle used by powerful states to punish poor nonconformists – so called Rogue States: the People’s Economic Sanction. The means for isolating and refusing Israeli trade, services and selected goods.

            This will be a People’s Sanction, brought about by a refusal to economically engage with Israel. If groups want to enlarge this so as to include other types of sanction or boycotts (sports, cultural, academic whatever) they are free to do so, but the imperative is to act fast and to let all the media know that there is Peoples Economic Sanction being mounted.

            Things You Can Do

            Identify major Israeli made products and services available on your town/city/region and refuse to buy them. Make list of Israeli products and services and circulate them in your community – ask family and friends not to buy them. The number of products is too long to list, so use the Bar Code Country Code prefix below to identify Israeli products.

            The ISRAELI Country Code prefix number is 729. Look for this number and refuse to buy any product with this prefix number.

            See word file below for fulldetails of the proposal including a map of the Israeli bombing of Lebanon:

            peoples-economic-sanctions-israel.doc

            http://maps.samidoun.org/lebanon_map_july12-Aug03.jpg  shows the map of the widespread bombing of towns throughout Lebanon.
               

            A Just and Lasting Peace?

            Look Israel – a state without borders!

            The ALP policy on Palestine calls for a “just and lasting peace” in the Middle East.

            Which “just and lasting peace” policy is former ALP shadow Foreign Minister now leader of the opposition, Kevin Rudd, reciting when he wrote in this letter dated 27 July 2006:

            We need to see a ceasefire which involves Hezbollah ceasing its rocket attacks on Israel, the return of Israeli troops that have been captured by Hezbollah and Israel itself ceasing all hostilities.”

            Note that Rudd does not call for an immediate ceasefire nor does he condemn anywhere the killing of 600 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians from 13 to 31 July 2006 by Israeli military and thousands more either lost or injured.

            Which “just and lasting peace” is Kim Beazley referring to when he stated that:

            “Australian soldiers were sent to fight in Iraq. The Howard Government’s neglect and turning of a blind eye (in the AWB scandal) meant that we funded their enemies.

            What about Beazley showing concern for the Iraqi people who needed wheat to prevent starvation brought on by the ALP Government (1991-1996) sending Australian Naval ships to enforce brutal economic sanctions against Iraq. The sanctions were enforced by the ALP government since the 1991 gulf war to which the Hawke ALP government sent combat troops to support US invasion. Beazley was Defence Minister during part of that time. What future lies ahead of him?
            What of the “just and lasting peace” sought by ALP Prime Minister Bob Hawke who supported Israeli occupation of Arab lands in Palestine, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan before and after the ‘Yom Kippur’ war.

            What ‘just and lasting peace’ did Whitlam, Hawke, and Beazley wish when they allowed US bases in Australia to be used to support US and Israeli aggression in the middle east.

            In government, the ALP has allowed American personnel to feed information to the US (and therfore Israel) from Pine Gap and North-West Cape joint defence bases (See Whitlam Institute @ http://www.whitlam.org/html/2003/hancock_2003.html).

            What of the “just and lasting peace” called for by the ALP opposition whip, Michael Danby, when he tried to prevent Melbourne University Press publishing the book by Antony Lowenstein “My Israel Question” which challenges Israeli occupation of Palestine.

            Ever since the 1940s ALP governments blindly supported the ‘solutions’ of the US and Israel in the Middle East.

            If ALP policy is for a “just and lasting peace” in the Middle East based on Israeli occupation suported by the US, then the ALP has no right to govern — especially given statements made by its foreign policy spokesperson and recently elected leader.

            Ian Curr
            An Angry Australian, writing after the shelling of Southern Lebanon by the Israeli military.


            Protagonists of Spin

            [Editor’s Note: I reproduce this letter sent 8 years ago to Kevin Rudd who was then Shadow Foreign Minister. It was sent by an up-and-coming member of the ALP and energetic supporter of the ‘two-state-solution’. Subsequently Hizbollah did kick Israel out of Lebanon and Hamas did win a democratic election in Gaza despite a coup attempt by US backed Fatah faction leader Mohammed Dahlan. The US never liked the people getting their say. Both Rudd and his ALP critic both claimed to be in favour of the two-state solution [in Palestine, not Iraq (sic)]. Where lies there solution now, in a bomb crater in Gaza City? There is only silence from both the sender and the recipient of the letter. ]

            ***


            Letter to Kevin Rudd from Labor member in 2006

            Dear Kevin,
            I must say I was disappointed in your biased response to the Lebanon/Israeli conflict on ABC radio this morning.

            Yes, you are right to condemn oganisations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, but your failure to also condemn Israel for its collective punishment of the Lebanese people was very telling indeed.

            You mentioned that Hezbollah has instigated this latest conflict – but is the response justified?
            Isn’t there a real possibility that the relentless bombing of Lebanon could also result in the deaths of their two kidnapped soldiers ? Of course I would be a cynic to think that there is another agenda at play here – while this conflict or any other for that matter takes hold in the region, Israel doesn’t have to address its breaches of UN security resolutions in occupied territories, namely the West Bank and the wall it is constructing that will cut the Palestinian people into segments.

            Have you condemned Israel for refusing to install a cease fire so as foreign nationals can leave safely – no ? Of course not (I apologise if I have missed your condemnation). Have you condemned Israel for attacks in Gaza unprovoked?

            I will be the first to defend Israel’s right to security and peace, but Israel has got to withdraw to its defined borders and address the issues surrounding Palestine, this I believe will address many of the problems. This will I believe also help nullify the delusional who want to see the destruction of Israel – not forgetting there are previous Israeli PM’s who have sworn to never see a Palestinian homeland (no doubt for economic and biblical reasons).

            Kevin, I was part of the Irish Army deployment in Southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) for almost 2 years between 1982 – 1990. I was there when Israel invaded in 1982, this resulted in the birth of Hezbollah, many Lebanese people expressed they were the only people to protect them from constant Israeli fire when I returned in 1997, hardly a day went by without Israel and her defacto forces firing (mainly small arms fire) into and at civilian and UN positions / locations – unprovoked.

            Of course when (and very rarely did it happen) there was a response from the Lebanese side, it was met with a far greater response, it gave Israel the belief it was justified in its actions.

            I have watched Israeli soldiers fire indiscriminately into houses that were occupied by only women and children and we were not equipped or mandated to prevent such actions – at times these actions resulted in civilian and UN casualties.

            It is no wonder we (ALP members) are seen as hypocrites – then again far better that, than upsetting the US.

            While all sides of the conflict have to take blame and share responsibility, the largest blame belongs to the rest of us – the international community, especially US foreign policy for allowing this to continue, if the international community wanted to solve this conflict it could, but regrettably we need the US to take a lead, but that is highly unlikely as it would be seen as criticising its own foreign policy as it contributes billions of US $ in military aid to Israel.

            This is about far more than the capture of soldiers belonging to the IDF (Israel Defence Force) – after all, there are “kidnappings” on both sides.

            If the Berlin Wall can come down, so can barriers preventing this conflict, but the longer it is allowed to continue, the higher the barrier will be set – then again, to remove the barrier will result in a Palestinian homeland free of economic persecution.

            Yes, I know there are far more pressing issues for us (the Labor Party) here at home in the quest to remove the Howard government.

            Regards
            Name Redacted
            Wed, 26 Jul 2006
            [editor’s emphasis]

            Open Letter to Kevin Rudd on the crisis in Lebanon and Gaza

            Open letter to Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs

            Thank you for your response to my phone call to Mr Rudd’s office this morning (27 July 2006).

            If you wish to check again with Fleur of Mr Rudd’s electorate office, what I did say was that the shadow minister had spoken about the need for more embassy staff in Beirut but had not focused in those interviews on the terrible human rights abuses happening in Lebanon right now by the Israeli Defence Forces — a repeat of the abuses of the last invasion of Lebanon in 1982, on this occasion on a wider scale.

            In a radio interview dated 24 JULY 2006 (11 days after Israel bombed the Beirut International Airport in Lebanon) that you forwarded to me, Mr Rudd said:

            “We need to see a ceasefire which involves Hezbollah ceasing its rocket attacks on Israel, the return of Israeli troops that have been captured by Hezbollah and Israel itself ceasing all hostilities.”

            Yet Mr Rudd did not seek an immediate ceasefire 11 days into the Israeli bombing causing so may lives to be lost.

            What has Mr Rudd said of the return by Israel of the thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians held without trial in Israeli jails?

            Mark Regev, Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman, stated on ABC Lateline (26 July 2006) that:

            “I can say the following: we do not deliberately target civilian targets, whether they are Lebanese civilians or anyone’s civilians.”

            A transparent lie after the ambulance and UN building attacks 2 days ago and the attacks on Lebanese civilians and Palestinians in Gaza over the past 14 days. Has Mr Rudd asked the Israeli government officials if it is official Israeli Defence Force policy to target Lebanese civilians? If not, why not?

            Mr Rudd put the following spin on 14 days of massacre of Lebanese civilians by Israeli forces:

            “A ceasefire is necessary. A ceasefire which involves Hezbollah ceasing its rocket attacks on Israel. A ceasefire which involves the return of Israeli troops. And on top of that a cessation of hostilities on the part of Israel itself.

            What is Mr Rudd doing himself to get both Ms Rice and Mr Howard to call an immediate ceasefire? Has he threatened ALP withdrawal of bipartisan support for the US alliance? Has he called for the immediate withdrawal of Australian and American troops from Iraq under the treat of withdrawal of support for the US Alliance? Has he called for a withdrawal of ALP support for all US joint defence bases in Australia?

            Why continue to support the US Alliance when so many lives have been lost through human rights abuses by the Americans and their ally, Israel, and so many more lives may be lost?

            Ian Curr
            Camp Hill QLD
            27 July 2006

            US, Australia, and Britain step up war in the Middle East

            slide28.JPGPlease click on slide to the right to sign the petition supporting an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon and Palestine.
            The two articles below show the hypocrisy of the diplomacy of the Australian, British and US governments in the Middle East. While calling for Israeli restraint both governments are directly involved in assisting Israel bombard Lebanon and Gaza by providing training, bombs, and logistical support to the Israeli Defence Forces.
            The articles below testify to the complicity of these governments in Israeli war crimes.

            Times Online July 27, 2006
            US says Israel bomb flights did not break British rules
            The United States has denied it contravened British air transport procedures by allowing two cargo aircraft loaded with bunker-busting bombs bound for Israel to stop over in Scotland.
            The US Defence Department said Washington had double-checked its records of all flights since the reports emerged and found it has not broken any regulations in Britain or anywhere else.
            British defence sources have alleged that the Airbus jets stopped to refuel at Glasgow’s Prestwick airport last weekend during a flight to transport GBU28 laser-guided bombs to Israel.
            The matter is now being investigated by Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority.
            The controversy comes amid a backdrop of mounting criticism in Britain over Tony Blair’s support for President Bush in refusing to call for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon.
            British officials are understood to be angry about the stop-overs and Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, is reported to have approached Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, to speak to her personally about the matter at yesterday’s ministerial conference in Rome.
            Mrs Beckett said yesterday she was “not happy” about Washington failing to comply with procedures for such flights. “We have already let the United States know that this is an issue that appears to be seriously at fault, and we will be making a formal protest if it appears that that is what has happened,” she said. “It appears that insofar as there are procedures for handling that kind of hazardous cargo, irrespective of what they are, it does appear that they were not followed.” The Foreign Office has said it is still investigating the matter.
            A US Defence Department spokesman, Joe Carpenter, said: “It’s our policy that US military flights and those contracted on our behalf comply with existing bilateral agreements. “There have been no recent deviations from those procedures.”

            ABC Online 27 July 2006
            US Air Force begins bombing missions in NT
            The United States Air Force has given the first details of new long range missions that will see it dropping bombs on the Northern Territory in up to six separate exercises a year. The first exercise started on Tuesday, with two stealth aircraft flying non-stop return trips to Guam and releasing two concrete-filled bomb casings at the Delamere range near Katherine. Only one of the B-2 bombers has actually touched down in Australia, the others are being refuelled in the air. US Air Force Colonel Bob Wheeler says the stealth bombers can carry nuclear weapons, but that will not happen during the training exercises. “No. That will never be done. The weapons that we will be using here are the ones that are approved for your ranges,” he said. “And those do not include anything with depl- (sic) uranium or any kind of replicas or regular nuclear weapons. There will be nothing in that area.”

            Israeli Spokesperson lies about UN and Ambulance Strikes

            The Israeli spindoctor on the ABC’s Lateline (July 26 2006) lied unconvincingly about the bombing of the UN building and the ambulances in Southern Lebanon.
            Here is a brief excerpt of what he said. Note that the Hizballah leader’s threats are canvassed at the end of the interview. This is a very worrying development. If Hizballah uses bigger rockets, the Israeli response could be a greater catastrophe than has already happened.

            Tony Jones, Australian Broadcasting Corporation interview with MARK REGEV, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN on the bombing of the UN and ambulances in South Lebanon

            TONY JONES: OK. How can you explain the attack on Sunday night reportedly by an Apache helicopter on that ambulance heading for Tyre in a convoy where an Israeli missile went straight through the centre of the Red Cross on the roof of the ambulance?

            MARK REGEV: I’m sorry, but I haven’t been briefed on that particular event and so I don’t have a good answer for you.

            TONY JONES: It’s on front page of the newspapers here in Australia and it’s received coverage all round the world because I’ve read it on the Internet.

            MARK REGEV: I’m just not familiar with that event and I apologise and I can say the following: we do not deliberately target civilian targets, whether they are Lebanese civilians or anyone’s civilians. They are not our enemy. Ultimately, we hope for a day of peace with Lebanon. We are trying to deal with a very formidable military machine – that is the Hezbollah military structure. A machine, as your reporter from Lebanon says, continues to hurl missiles into Israeli civilian cities. A machine whose outposts, every time we take on one of their fortresses, we are losing some of our service people because they are well fortified, they are very well defended. Ultimately, I would say the following: this whole tragedy, this whole crisis, is a result of the fact that Hezbollah has initiated this conflict and that is why it is just so important that we implement UN Security Council resolution 1559 for calls for the disarming of Hezbollah as a military instrument.

            TONY JONES: Let’s look at Sheik Hassan Nasrallah threatened today that his attacks would now go, as he put it, beyond Haifa. Do you understand what he means by that?

            MARK REGEV: I am afraid so. I mean he is threatening us with missiles to go even deeper into Israel, maybe coming as far south as cities like Natania, getting close to Tel Aviv. We take these threats very seriously. We saw from day one of this crisis they had a formidable military machine, the way they took out our naval vessel with a very sophisticated land-to-sea missile…

            For complete interview go to  http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2006/s1697956.htm
            beirut.jpg

            US military on trial at the Four Courts, Dublin

            military-out-of-shannon.jpg

            The Ploughshares group were acquitted of charges of criminal damage without lawful excuse of US military aircraft used in Iraq. The verdict was received at 12.14am 26 July 2006 EST this morning concerning this significant trial in The Four Courts.

            However it was just another day for U.S. Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice, passing through Dublin. Dr Rice was on her way to shake hands with the Israeli Prime Minister and to give him the OK to continue the bombardment of Lebanon and Gaza.

            Trial Diary.
            Since their action on the 3rd February 2003 the five defendants have waited three years for todays verdict, under onerous bail conditions, with two other trials collapsing (Trial 1,Trial 2). In a statement released immediately after the verdict the Pitstop Ploughshares said:

            The jury is the conscience of the community chosen randomly from Irish society. The conscience of the community has spoken. The government has no popular mandate in providing the civilian Shannon airport to service the

            US war machine in it’s illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.
            In 1996 in Liverpool the Jury acquittal of the four ‘ploughshares’ women contributed to the end of arms exports to the Suharto dictatorship in

            Indonesia and the independence of East Timor.
            The decision of this jury should be a message to London, Washington DC and the Dail that Ireland wants no part in waging war on the people of Iraq. Refuelling of US warplanes at Shannon Airport should cease immediately.

            Pine Gap Trial?
            So what awaits the Pine Gap Four in Alice Springs in October 2006 on their charges of trepass under the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952?

            Stop Israeli bombing of Lebanon and Gaza!

            Eastern Busway — A real alternative

            There are alternatives to putting busways underground and to building flyovers as a means of providing public transport. Rail was investigated in the 1990s and was ‘found’ to be too expensive and not supportable by population density and therefore demand in the eastern suburbs. But no one can produce a detailed analysis, so is this just a fob off by Translink?During a public consultation session at the Stones Corner library in July 2006, Translink representatives refused to talk about a rail alternative saying that their brief was to produce a busway. Translink do not want to talk to anyone who is canvassing options that they have already rejected or not considered fully.

            In early 2006 there was a CATCH (local community group looking at public transport alternatives) meeting when a rail enthusiast got up and talked about the old Belmont Rail that came off the railway line just past Norman Park Station and went along the cutting on Oateson-Skyline Drive?

            He mentioned that the cutting had already been built for rail in the 1920s.
            With one flyover across Bennetts Road, a couple of tunnels and the use of light rail along the old Carina Tramway, a rail connection would be able to miss all the residents houses and provide a direct rail link along the old tramway at Carina to Carindale and Capalaba.

            I have marked the route on the map. The rail enthusiast also talked about rail/bus hybrids. He should be consulted to find any further proposals he may have.

            rail-alternative-to-eastern-busway-bt.jpg

            If The Qld government improves the rail infrastructure (perhaps even adding another rail line) to Norman Park Station and then choose the route to Capalaba that I have shown on the map then you have the Translink problem of getting people to the CBD quicker without interfering with residents or building huge bus and road infrastructure. In my plan buses would be used locally to enable residents of the inner suburbs to get to the train quickly and easily.

            Why not at least consider these suggestions? Because Translink has an agenda that opposed rail from the outset.
            By the way, I think that the data I collected and analysed in the attached spreadsheet indicates that traffic congestion at Camp Hill is not the problem claimed by Translink in the discussion I had with them at the Stones Corner Library.

            Social Cost
            With a few exceptions, the worst traffic congestion occurs closer to the CBD than Camp Hill. This is degrading quality of life of the inner suburbs. Translink have ignored the social cost of the infrastructure they are building. The increased bus pollution near schools and shopping centres is one example of that social cost. That is why a clean, high volume, electric rail system is necessary in the eastern suburbs, to relieve the traffic congestion within 8 kms of the CBD.

            Has Translink ever done a proper detailed study of demand for rail in the inner city?
            My railway station, Cooparoo, is a very busy station and this is true of all the stations closer to CBD. Yet Cooparoo station has had minimal improvement in the past ten years. The parking is inadequate, the crossing at Cavendish Road is third world, and there are not enough pedestrian footways, buses or bikeways servicing this station.

            Plea from Lebanon

            This slide show contains disturbing images of war.
            It was forwarded to me by a friend from an aunt who lives in Lebanon, a nun in the Catholic order of the Sacred Heart.
            Her request is simple – for Australians to demand that the Australian government support a call for a ceasefire in Lebanon.
            aggressionagainstlebanon.pps

            Stop the Attacks on Lebanon!

            To see the flyer about the rally at 12 Noon in Queens Park in Brisbane on Saturday, 22 July 2006 download this pdf file

            palestine-and-lebanon-rally-a5-version2.pdf