Tuesday, June 30, 2009


For more information contact:
Greta Berlin (English) tel: +357 99 081 767 / friends@freegaza.org
Caoimhe Butterly (Arabic/English/Spanish): tel: +357 99 077 820 / sahara78@hotmail.co.uk


[23 miles off the coast of Gaza, 15:30 local time] - Today Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (see below for a complete list of passengers). The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.

“This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip,” said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate. “President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that’s exactly what we tried to do. We're asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey.”

According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are “trapped in despair.” Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel’s December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel’s disruption of medical supplies.

“The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza, hope that the sea route would open for them, and they would be able to transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools, hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of "Cast Lead”. Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by them and that they are not alone" said fellow passenger Mairead Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland.

Just before being kidnapped by Israel, Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage, stated that: “No one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort of threat to Israel. We carry medical and reconstruction supplies, and children’s toys. Our passengers include a Nobel peace prize laureate and a former U.S. congressperson. Our boat was searched and received a security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed, and at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters.”

Arraf continued, “Israel’s deliberate and premeditated attack on our unarmed boat is a clear violation of international law and we demand our immediate and unconditional release.”


CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Justice
tel: +972 2646 6666 or +972 2646 6340
fax: +972 2646 6357

CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
tel: +972 2530 3111
fax: +972 2530 3367

CONTACT Mark Regev in the Prime Minister's office at:
tel: +972 5 0620 3264 or +972 2670 5354

CONTACT the International Committee of the Red Cross to ask for their assistance in establishing the wellbeing of the kidnapped human rights workers and help in securing their immediate release!

Red Cross Israel
tel: +972 3524 5286
fax: +972 3527 0370

Red Cross Switzerland:
tel: +41 22 730 3443
fax: +41 22 734 8280

Red Cross USA:
tel: +1 212 599 6021
fax: +1 212 599 6009

Kidnapped Passengers from the Spirit of Humanity include:

Khalad Abdelkader, Bahrain
Khalad is an engineer representing the Islamic Charitable Association of Bahrain.

Othman Abufalah, Jordan
Othman is a world-renowned journalist with al-Jazeera TV.

Khaled Al-Shenoo, Bahrain
Khaled is a lecturer with the University of Bahrain.

Mansour Al-Abi, Yemen
Mansour is a cameraman with Al-Jazeera TV.

Fatima Al-Attawi, Bahrain
Fatima is a relief worker and community activist from Bahrain.

Juhaina Alqaed, Bahrain
Juhaina is a journalist & human rights activist.

Huwaida Arraf, US
Huwaida is the Chair of the Free Gaza Movement and delegation co-coordinator for this voyage.

Ishmahil Blagrove, UK
Ishmahil is a Jamaican-born journalist, documentary film maker and founder of the Rice & Peas film production company. His documentaries focus on international struggles for social justice.

Kaltham Ghloom, Bahrain
Kaltham is a community activist.

Derek Graham, Ireland
Derek Graham is an electrician, Free Gaza organizer, and first mate aboard the Spirit of Humanity.

Alex Harrison, UK
Alex is a solidarity worker from Britain. She is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

Denis Healey, UK
Denis is Captain of the Spirit of Humanity. This will be his fifth voyage to Gaza.

Fathi Jaouadi, UK
Fathi is a British journalist, Free Gaza organizer, and delegation co-coordinator for this voyage.

Mairead Maguire, Ireland
Mairead is a Nobel laureate and renowned peace activist.

Lubna Masarwa, Palestine/Israel
Lubna is a Palestinian human rights activist and Free Gaza organizer.

Theresa McDermott, Scotland
Theresa is a solidarity worker from Scotland. She is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

Cynthia McKinney, US
Cynthia McKinney is an outspoken advocate for human rights and social justice issues, as well as a former U.S. congressperson and presidential candidate.

Adnan Mormesh, UK
Adnan is a solidarity worker from Britain. He is traveling to Gaza to do long-term human rights monitoring.

Adam Qvist, Denmark
Adam is a solidarity worker from Denmark. He is traveling to Gaza to do human rights monitoring.

Adam Shapiro, US
Adam is an American documentary film maker and human rights activist.

Kathy Sheetz, US
Kathy is a nurse and film maker, traveling to Gaza to do human rights monitoring.

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
A bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Free Gaza ships ready to go despite warnings

25 June 2009, LARNACA) - This is not the statement we in the Free Gaza Movement intended to release today. We had hoped to announce that our two ships, the Free Gaza and the Spirit of Humanity, departed from Larnaca Port on a 30-hour voyage to besieged Gaza, carrying human rights activists who have travelled to Cyprus from all across the world for this journey, and a cargo of 3 tons of medical supplies, and 15 tons of badly needed concrete and reconstruction supplies.

Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire, returning for her second trip to Gaza aboard one of our ships, said “[The people of Gaza] must know that we have not and will not forget them.”

That was our hope, but that is not what happened.

Instead, our ships were not given permission to leave today due to concerns about our welfare and safety. Our friends in Cyprus tell us that the voyage to Gaza is too dangerous, and they are worried we will be harmed at sea. Cyprus has been a wonderful home for the Free Gaza Movement over these last 10 months. Cypriots know first-hand the terrible consequences of occupation. They too know what it is to suffer from violence, injustice, and exile. Since our first voyage to break through the siege of Gaza, the Cypriot authorities have been extremely helpful and understanding of our goals and intentions.

The journey to Gaza is dangerous. The Israeli navy rammed our flagship, the Dignity, when we attempted to deliver medical supplies to Gaza during their vicious assault in December/January. Israel has previously threatened to open fire on our unarmed ships, rather than allow us to deliver humanitarian and reconstruction supplies to the people of Gaza. The risks we take on these trips are tiny compared to the risks imposed every day upon the people of Gaza.

The purpose of nonviolent direct action and civil resistance is to take risks - to put ourselves “in the way” of injustice. We take these risks well aware of what the possible consequences may be. We do so because the consequences of doing nothing are so much worse. Anytime we allow ourselves to be bullied, every time we pass by an evil and ignore it - we lower our standards and allow our world to be made that much harsher and unjust for us all.

In addition to the concerns expressed by our Cypriot friends today, the American consulate in Nicosia warned us not to go to Gaza, stating that: “…[T]he Israeli Foreign Ministry informed U.S. officials at the American Embassy in Tel Aviv that Israel still considers Gaza an area of conflict and that any Free Gaza boats attempting to sail to the Gaza Strip will “not be permitted” to reach its destination.” Former U.S. Congresswoman & presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney responded to this warning by pointing out that, “The White House says that cement and medical supplies should get into Gaza and that's exactly what we are attempting to take to Gaza.”

“Instead of quoting Israel policy to us,” McKinney continued, “…the U.S. should send a message to Israel reiterating the reported White House position that the blockade of Gaza should be eased, that medical supplies and building materials, including cement, should be allowed in. The Free Gaza boats should be allowed to reach their destination, traveling from Cyprus territorial waters, through international waters, and straight into Gaza territorial waters.”

“The State Department has chosen to advise us to take the Israeli notification seriously. Our question is, ‘Can we take President Obama seriously?’ Will he stand by his own words and allow us to provide relief for Gaza or will he back down?”

Tomorrow we will deliver a waiver, signed by all going to Gaza, that we absolve Cyprus of all responsibility for our safety. We would like to tell our friends here in Cyprus that though we understand and appreciate their concerns, we will not back down to Israel’s threats and intimidation.



Greta Berlin
Free Gaza Movement
+357 99 081 767
Doha Press Conference on June 22nd: www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWI-5KOBo3o

Enough. It's time for a boycott

Enough. It's time for a boycott

* Naomi Klein

It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa. In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era". The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions was born.

Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause - even among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors in Israel. It calls for "the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions" and draws a clear parallel with the anti-apartheid struggle. "The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves ... This international backing must stop."

Yet even in the face of these clear calls, many of us still can't go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and understandable. But they simply aren't good enough. Economic sanctions are the most effective tool in the non-violent arsenal: surrendering them verges on active complicity. Here are the top four objections to the BDS strategy, followed by counter-arguments.

Punitive measures will alienate rather than persuade Israelis.

The world has tried what used to be called "constructive engagement". It has failed utterly. Since 2006 Israel has been steadily escalating its criminality: expanding settlements, launching an outrageous war against Lebanon, and imposing collective punishment on Gaza through the brutal blockade. Despite this escalation, Israel has not faced punitive measures - quite the opposite. The weapons and $3bn in annual aid the US sends Israel are only the beginning. Throughout this key period, Israel has enjoyed a dramatic improvement in its diplomatic, cultural and trade relations with a variety of other allies. For instance, in 2007 Israel became the first country outside Latin America to sign a free-trade deal with the Mercosur bloc. In the first nine months of 2008, Israeli exports to Canada went up 45%. A new deal with the EU is set to double Israel's exports of processed food. And in December European ministers "upgraded" the EU-Israel association agreement, a reward long sought by Jerusalem.

It is in this context that Israeli leaders started their latest war: confident they would face no meaningful costs. It is remarkable that over seven days of wartime trading, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange's flagship index actually went up 10.7%. When carrots don't work, sticks are needed.

Israel is not South Africa.

Of course it isn't. The relevance of the South African model is that it proves BDS tactics can be effective when weaker measures (protests, petitions, backroom lobbying) fail. And there are deeply distressing echoes of apartheid in the occupied territories: the colour-coded IDs and travel permits, the bulldozed homes and forced displacement, the settler-only roads. Ronnie Kasrils, a prominent South African politician, said the architecture of segregation he saw in the West Bank and Gaza was "infinitely worse than apartheid". That was in 2007, before Israel began its full-scale war against the open-air prison that is Gaza.

Why single out Israel when the US, Britain and other western countries do the same things in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Boycott is not a dogma; it is a tactic. The reason the strategy should be tried is practical: in a country so small and trade-dependent, it could actually work.

Boycotts sever communication; we need more dialogue, not less.

This one I'll answer with a personal story. For eight years, my books have been published in Israel by a commercial house called Babel. But when I published The Shock Doctrine, I wanted to respect the boycott. On the advice of BDS activists, including the wonderful writer John Berger, I contacted a small publisher called Andalus. Andalus is an activist press, deeply involved in the anti-occupation movement and the only Israeli publisher devoted exclusively to translating Arabic writing into Hebrew. We drafted a contract that guarantees that all proceeds go to Andalus's work, and none to me. I am boycotting the Israeli economy but not Israelis.

Our modest publishing plan required dozens of phone calls, emails and instant messages, stretching between Tel Aviv, Ramallah, Paris, Toronto and Gaza City. My point is this: as soon as you start a boycott strategy, dialogue grows dramatically. The argument that boycotts will cut us off from one another is particularly specious given the array of cheap information technologies at our fingertips. We are drowning in ways to rant at each other across national boundaries. No boycott can stop us.

Just about now, many a proud Zionist is gearing up for major point-scoring: don't I know that many of these very hi-tech toys come from Israeli research parks, world leaders in infotech? True enough, but not all of them. Several days into Israel's Gaza assault, Richard Ramsey, managing director of a British telecom specialising in voice-over-internet services, sent an email to the Israeli tech firm MobileMax: "As a result of the Israeli government action in the last few days we will no longer be in a position to consider doing business with yourself or any other Israeli company."

Ramsey says his decision wasn't political; he just didn't want to lose customers. "We can't afford to lose any of our clients," he explains, "so it was purely commercially defensive."

It was this kind of cold business calculation that led many companies to pull out of South Africa two decades ago. And it's precisely the kind of calculation that is our most realistic hope of bringing justice, so long denied, to Palestine.

A version of this column was published in the Nation (thenation.com)


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Study In Israel Billboards Modified by Guerrilla Advertisers

publish on indybay.org

Study In Israel Billboards Modified by Guerrilla Advertisers


10 bus shelter billboards advertising the University of California’s
“Study in Israel” campaign were remade into “Boycott Israel” ads and
placed around Berkeley and San Francisco in May.

Under the headline, “Boycott Israel? We boycott Israel because…”, one of
the modified posters depicts students saying, “I believe in speaking out
against racism. Israel’s entrenched system of racial discrimination &
segregation against the Palestinian citizens of Israel is frighteningly
similar to the former apartheid system in South Africa!” and “I believe
that governments must be held accountable for their actions! Israel
denies its responsibility for the waves of ethnic cleansing that have made
millions of Palestinians into refugees.”

The original ad campaign was financed by the pro-Israel publicity agency
BlueStar PR as part of an intensive campaign to promote study in Israel at
California universities. The University of California recently reinstated
its study abroad program at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, after
years of lobbying from pro-Israel students and professionals. The program
was suspended seven years ago based on concerns that the area was too

“It’s ironic that the University of California has decided the area is
less dangerous now than seven years ago, when 1,400 Palestinian civilians
were killed by the Israeli government in Gaza just four months ago,” said
one of the creators of the alternative ad campaign, who prefers to remain
anonymous. “2009 has already been the deadliest year for Palestinians
since the Second Intifada began in September 2000.”

The Study in Israel billboards were carefully designed to appeal to the
U.C. system’s multicultural student body. One featured a group including
several Southeast Asians and another a woman in hijab (traditional Muslim
headcovering), which creators of the alternative campaign consider
extremely insulting.

“It’s outrageous to use images of Muslim women to promote the image of
Israel as a tolerant society, when Palestinians are daily under attack for
being Muslim,” said one of the artists. “During my time in the West Bank,
I saw Israeli soldiers consciously degrade Muslim people by ordering women
to remove their headscarves and men to pull up their shirts.”

The redesigned poster draws attention to Israel’s actions to prevent
Palestinian students from getting an education. In this version, the
women are saying, “I find it shocking that hundreds of Palestinian schools
and kindergartens and at least eight universities have been shelled, shot
at and invaded by the Israeli army, and dozens have been closed down and
converted into barracks since September 2000,” and “I’m really angry that
the so-called ‘separation wall’ isolates and divides Palestinian
population centers, cutting students off from their schools and literally
bulldozing through educational institutions in its path.”

The posters ask members of the University of California community to
pressure U.C. to respect the cultural and academic boycott initiated by
Palestinian civil society in April 2004. The Palestinian Campaign for
Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel calls on the international
academic community to pressure Israel to:

1. End its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and
dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian
citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian
refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN
resolution 194.”

The U.S. Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel has been
joined by over 400 academics and cultural workers.

More ethnic cleansing in the Jordan Valley

Israeli authorities this morning carried out a series of demolitions in the Wadi al Malih area in the northern Jordan Valley. The area is primarily inhabited by Bedouin families, which have lived in the area for a number of years. The area is close to several Israeli settlements, including the settlements of Sdemot Mehola, Rotem (Nahal) and Maskiyyot (Nahal).

As a result of today's demolitions 3 families, a total of 20 people, including 9 children and 3 elderly persons over 65, have been displaced. In addition, 12 animal shelters belonging to the 3 families and 2 other families were demolished.

While no material was confiscated in this case, animal fodder and shelter material was badly damaged as a result of being run over by one of the bulldozers.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Anti-Obama posters, road 60, 12.06.2009

(c) Anne Paq/Activestills.org, Road 60, 12.06.2009.

"Anti-Obama"; posters are seen all along Road 60 in the West Bank. Calling Obama "antisemitic"and "jew-hater", the posters are part of a campaign against US-President Obama led by settlers who protest Obama's demand to freeze all settlements.

Des posters contre Obama sont vus tout le long de la route 60 en cisjordanie. Qualifiant Obama d'antisémite et de personne detestant les juifs, les posters font partie d'une campagne contre le President des Etats-Unis mené par les colons qui protestent contre la demande de Obama d'arreter les constructions de toutes les colonies.

Demo against the Wall in Al Masara/ Manif contre le Mur in Al Masara, 12.06.2009

(c) Anne Paq/Activestills.org, Al-Ma'sara, 12.06.2009.

One week after protester's death, crowds march in al-Ma'sara

Dozens of Palestinians, joined by Israeli and international sympathizers, marched at al-Ma'sara today, protesting against the Apartheid Wall being built by Israel and the continued expansion of settlements.

Carrying a large Palestinan flag, the prostesters marched right up to the razor wire which the Israeli Occupying Forces used to block the exit road from the village. About 25 armed soldiers faced the protesters, who stood just a metre across from them.

Many of the speakers mourned the death of Aqel Sroor, who was killed last Friday by the Israeli Occupation forces in the West Bank village of Ni'lin during a demonstration against the Wall.

"He was defending his rights as a human being," said Awad Abu-Swai in a speech to the gathering. "His defence was consistent with the law, unlike the occupation." Abu-Swai hoped that a lawsuit would prove a peaceful way of returning the land to the Palestinians.

"Injustice, power and oppression will come to an end, but love, peace and humanity will last forever", he said to applause.

An Israeli activist addressed the soldiers directly in Hebrew. "Does this village look rich?" he asked. "These people need this land, these trees. Is it moral to take people's land?"

A village woman, Fatema Muhammed's mother, followed him with a message of defiance. "We come in peace, we want to live in peace," she shouted at the soldiers across the wire. "We come empty-handed in front of armed men but we have no fear, because justice is on our side."

Ms. Fatema then led the crowd in a chant of "Yes we can!" invoking the hope that U.S. president Obama can persuade Israel to stop the settlement expansions.

Following the speeches, some protesters tried to open the wires and pass through. One woman, a grandmother of three, almost made it past, cutting her hands on the wire in the process. She pointed up the hill to the ruins of her house, destroyed four years ago by Occupying Forces. "This is my land, my place, my country," she said.

The demonstration dispersed peacefully, but with words of warning. "This wall will not give you safety," one speaker said to the soldiers. "Look at every occupation in history. What did the people do?"

Report by the Al-Ma'sara Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements

Additional information:
The trial of the four Palestinians of the Al-Ma'sara Popular Committee against the Wall and the settlements (all four arrested during a non-violent demonstration on 01.05.2009) has been posponned to July. In the meantime, they cannot participate to the demonstrations. To remain free, they had to pay a very expensive bell (all together more than 50,000 NIS).

sadly these days in jerusalem / des jours bien sombres a jerusalem

An invitation to a self-demolition

"This afternoon, at 5 pm. onwards, Raed Said (who plays percussion at the Jerusalem Hotel musical evenings, so you may know him…) will be enjoying tearing down part of his home in the Old City: a self-demolition – one of the many that doesn’t feature in the statistics (we estimate you can perhaps even double the stats if you factor in self demolitions). The attached stats from Al Maqdese should make us all quake. Natural growth of settlements, matched by natural “cleansing” of Palestinians? Note Tel al Foul, where settlers plan a new settlement. Raed will be delighted to receive guests (coffee not guaranteed, he may be too busy) to watch his destruction. I suppose he may even be glad of help. Raed speaks Hebrew, Arabic and English, and is available at 0522-289 151. The home is in the Bab Hutta quarter, at 1st station of the Cross, on al Omari Street. You get there through the Lion’s Gate. If you call Raed, he will come to the Lion’s Gate to get you."
Again, he will be delighted to receive you. Please bring friends. The more the merrier.Have a good weekend" Angela, ICAHD.

additional information (just taken the last two days)
- some settlers tried to take some lands on the mount of olives, but were prevented by Palestinians.
- the Israeli police delivered again some demolition orders to the people of the Bustan, in Silwan, provoking clashes.

what a nice summer to come to Jerusalem....

A Jerusalem, l'ete s'annonce plutot tres sombre.

Aujourd'hui a 17 heures, un Palestinien va detruire par lui-meme sa propre maison. Comme de nombreuses maisons a Jerusalem, la sienne a recu un avis de demolition. Officiellement il y a toujours une raison invoquee (absence de permis, etc.) mais le but est tres clair: vider Jerusalem le plus possible de des habitants palestiniens.
Certains Palestiniens detruisent d'eux-memes leur maison, car s'ils attendent les bulldozers de la municipalite, ils doivent payer les frais qui peuvent s'elever a des milliers de dollars! Raed a donc decide de detruire lui-meme sa maison, et d'inviter des personnes a assister au spectacle, dans un esprit de derision tout palestinien.

Dans les nouvelles tout aussi rejouissantes des derniers jours, nous pouvons citer:
- des colons ont tente de prendre des terres par la force sur le Mont des oliviers. Heureusement des Palestiniens les ont vus a temps et les ont empeches de prendre position;
- les habitants du Bustan de Silwan ont encore recu des avis de demolitions pour leurs maisons, ce qui a declenche des confrontations.

L'ete s'annonce tres festif a Jerusalem, comme en Palestine.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Boycott works- French company to withdraw from Jerusalem rail project


French company to withdraw from Jerusalem rail project

Date: 08 / 06 / 2009 Time: 18:46

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Under pressure from pro-Palestine campaigners, a French company is poised to withdraw from the controversial Jerusalem Light Rail project that links the city center to illegal West Bank settlements.

The company Veolia, which was supposed to operate the transport system after its construction, is now abandoning the project and also seeking to sell its 5% stake in Citypass light rail consortium, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

The growing movement for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel hailed the move as a victory.

“This great victory came as a result of years of hard, principled, meticulous and persistent work by French solidarity groups,” wrote Omar Barghouti of the BDS National Committee on the BDS movement website, also noting the contributions of groups across Europe.

Campaigners in Europe targeted Veolia and another company, Alstom, over their involvement in the project, ultimately causing Veolia to lose 7 billion US dollars in contracts in Bordeaux, Stockholm, and West Midlands, England. Dutch activists also convinced a Dutch bank to divest from Veolia.

The loss of the contract to operate the Stokholm metro, under pressure from peace groups and organizations linked to the Church of Sweden, cost the company 4.5 billion dollars.

According to Haaretz, Veolia may try to sell its stake in the Citypass consortium to Israel’s Egged or Dan bus companies, a deal which could face scrutiny from the country’s antitrust authorities.

The newspaper also reports that Citypass, the Municipality of Jerusalem, and various Israeli ministries have been locked in a dispute over who is to blame for months of delays in the light rail project.

Of the eight proposed lines in the Light Rail system, only one is actually under construction. The line connects downtown West Jerusalem with the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev, which is built on Palestinian land in East Jerusalem.

Friday, June 05, 2009

demo against the Wall in Al Masara / Manif contre le Mur a Al Masara

(c) Anne Paq/Activestills.org, Al Ma'sara, 05.06.2009.

Al-Ma'sara Demonstration Commemorates the 42nd Year of al-Naksa

Today, the weekly popular protest at al-Ma'sara, a village near Bethlehem, was again met by armed Israeli soldiers. The Israeli Occupying Forces had blocked the exit road of the village with razor wire, denying the people their right to access their fields.

Dozens of people marched to show their support for al-Ma'sara's struggle against the Wall. As every week, Palestinians were joined by Israelis and internationals.

The organizers of the protest, the al-Ma'sara Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, held speeches commemorating the Naksa (En: Setback), which marked the beginning of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on June 6, 1967.

In Arabic, English, and Hebrew, protestors called for an immediate end to the ongoing occupation as entrenched in UN Resolutions 181 and 242. Umm Muhammad, whose son was released yesterday on 25.000 NIS of bail after one month of detention for having joined the May 1st demonstration, called on US President Obama to put more effort into ending the occupation, dismantling all settlements, and fulfilling all legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

An Israeli activist addressed the soldiers directly in Hebrew and asked them to rethink their position and join civilian Israelis, Palestinians, and Internationals in their struggle for peace and justice.

One Palestinian managed to circumvent the razor wire and climbed on an earth-mount to wave the Palestinian flag in an area of the village that the Israeli soldiers tried to make unreachable to the demonstrators.

When the soldiers ordered him to step down, he was backed up by others and thus able to hold his position. At the end of the demonstration, the Popular Committee invited internationals to join in a series of summer activities, including camps, workshops, and agricultural work in the village.

The Popular Committee further called for support and solidarity with four of its members and one Palestinian from Hebron, whose trials are scheduled to start on June 9. All five were arrested during the May 1st demonstration; four have been released on bail while Hassan Brejeya remains in prison.

Report by: al-Ma'sara Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements

Thursday, June 04, 2009

To better understand the boycott / Pour mieux comprendre le Boycott

"Boycotts work": An interview with Omar Barghouti
Ali Mustafa, The Electronic Intifada, 1 June 2009

Omar Barghouti is an independent Palestinian researcher, commentator and human rights activist and a leader of the Palestinian campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to force Israel to uphold international law and universal human rights. Barghouti discussed the growing worldwide campaign with The Electronic Intifada contributor Ali Mustafa.

Ali Mustafa: Why do you characterize Israel as an apartheid state and how is it similar or different than apartheid South Africa?

Omar Barghouti: We don't have to prove that Israel is identical to apartheid South Africa in order to [justify] the label "apartheid." Apartheid is a generalized crime according to United Nations conventions and there are certain criteria that may or may not apply to any specific situation -- so we judge a situation on its own merits and whether or not it fulfills those conditions of being called an apartheid state. According to the basic conventions of the UN defining the crime of apartheid, Israel satisfies almost all the conditions to be granted the label of apartheid. Other than the clear racial separation in the occupied West Bank between Jews and non-Jews (indigenous Palestinians) -- separate roads, separate housing, separate everything -- apartheid is also alive and well inside Israel despite appearances [to the contrary]. Unlike South Africa, Israel is more sophisticated; it's an evolved form of apartheid. South African apartheid was rudimentary, primitive, so to speak -- black, white, clear separation, no rights ... The Palestinian citizens of Israel (the indigenous population) have the right to vote, which is a huge difference from South Africa. However, in every other vital domain, they are discriminated against by law, not only by policy. Therefore, it is legalized and institutionalized racism and that's what makes it apartheid -- there is racism in Canada and other western democracies as well, but the difference is that it's not legalized and institutionalized, at least not any longer ...

In Israel there are basic laws, meaning the equivalent of the constitution, as Israel does not have a constitution, where there is clear-cut discrimination between Jews and non-Jews. The most important rights that are given to Jewish citizens and not given to non-Jewish citizens are the right to automatic citizenship and nationality for any Jewish immigrant who comes from abroad to Israel. There is no "Israeli" nationality, but there is "Jewish" nationality -- Palestinians as citizens can never get nationality in Israel ... because there is no such thing as an Israeli nationality, whereas Palestinian refugees who were ethnically cleansed by Israel in 1948 and since then are not entitled to go back to their homes of origin as stipulated by international law simply because they are not Jewish -- so this is the kind of apartheid we have.

Another very important point is that 93 percent land ownership in Israel by law is off limits to its so-called non-Jewish citizens -- 93 percent is only for the benefit of Jewish citizens of the State of Israel -- if this is not apartheid, I don't know what is. Even in South Africa, the percentage of land that was off-limits to blacks was 86 percent, even lower than in Israel. But of course, many analysts would say that the Israeli occupation and denial of refugee rights is even much worse than anything South Africa had, which is true; South Africa never bombed bantustans with F-16s, they never had this level of outright violence and massacres. Of course, there was Sharpeville, so many massacres in Soweto, and so on, but it all pales in comparison to what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians and this is according to testimonies from Desmond Tutu, Ronnie Kasrils, and many South African leaders who should know.

AM: One of the most contentious aspects of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign is the academic boycott. Can you clarify exactly what this means and why Israeli academic institutions are, as you argue, such a fundamental extension of the Israeli state and state policy?

OB: The academic boycott, which was called for by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel in 2004, is an institutional boycott -- so it's a call to every conscientious academic and academic institution to boycott every Israeli academic institution because of their complicity in perpetuating Israel's occupation and other forms of oppression ... Complicity in the case of Israel is different than academic complicity elsewhere. In Canada, for example, your biggest universities are certainly complicit in Canadian policy, especially since they're all state-funded universities exactly like in Israel ... But what's different is that in Israel, they are in full organic partnership with the security/military establishment -- so that most of the weapons developed by the Israeli army are done through the universities, most of the research justifying the repression of the Palestinians and denial of Palestinian rights is done by academics in the universities in academic programs; many of the colonization projects that are considered by international law to be war crimes have been produced by universities. The wall [in the West Bank] for example was produced in an academic environment; an academic at Haifa University claims that this is his brainchild and there is no reason not to believe him because he has produced other projects that were terribly involved in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians even inside Israel. At every level there is a very deep, entrenched complicity between the Israeli academia and the security/military establishment.

Also, all Israeli academics, like all Israelis within a certain age group, with some exceptions, serve in the occupation reserve army. They serve as occupying soldiers part-time every year, three months every year ... Â You go and leave academia, your research, you leave everything, and you serve at a checkpoint or worse -- so you're either participating in committing human rights violations or war crimes, or at least you watch them with total apathy -- in both cases you're very complicit even at an individual level; the universities not only tolerate that, they promote that -- this is part of the system. Despite this, we are not calling for boycotting individual academics but institutions. The only reason why our boycott is not individual is because otherwise it would be McCarthyist -- it would involve some form of McCarthyism or political test: who is a good academic, who is bad, and who decides? And we don't want to get into that because it's a very troubling prospect to have political tests and in principle, we are against political tests, so that's why we have an institutional boycott.

AM: One common argument against the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign is that dialogue is more constructive than boycotts. How would you respond?

OB: That's wrong factually and wrong logically. Factually, there have been so many attempts at dialogue since 1993 when the so-called peace process was announced at Oslo. There were many dialogue organizations and initiatives established; it became an industry -- we call it the peace industry. You could get rich very fast by getting involved in one of those dialogue groups and you get to travel to Europe and stay in fancy hotels and get a lot of money in return, but otherwise it produces absolutely nothing on the ground. The main reason is because it's morally flawed and based on the false premise that this so-called conflict is mainly due to mutual hatred and, therefore, you need some kind of therapy or dialogue between those two equivalent, symmetric, warring parties. Put them in a room, force them to talk to one another, then they will fall in love, the hatred will go away and you will have your Romeo and Juliet story. Of course, this is deceitful and morally very corrupt because the conflict is a colonial conflict -- it's not a domestic dispute between a husband and wife -- it's a colonial conflict based on ethnic cleansing, racism, colonialism and apartheid. Without taking away the roots of the conflict you cannot have any coexistence, at least not ethical coexistence.

There are many other issues related to this dialogue industry in that you don't have dialogue between asymmetric parties, you have negotiations. To have a dialogue you have to have a certain minimal level of a common denominator based on a common vision for the ultimate solution based on equality and ending injustice. If you don't have that common denominator than it's negotiation between the stronger and weaker party and, as I've written elsewhere, you can't have a bridge between them but only a ladder where you go up or down not across ... I call this the master/slave type of coexistence ... A master and a slave can also reach an agreement where this is reality and you cannot challenge it and you make the best out of it. There is no war, no conflict, nobody is killing anybody, but a master remains a master and the slave remains a slave -- so this is not the kind of peace that we the oppressed are seeking -- the minimum is to have a just peace. Only with justice can we have a sustainable peace. So dialogue does not work -- it has not worked in reality and cannot work in principle. Boycotts have worked in reality and in principle so there is absolutely no reason why they cannot work, because Israel has total impunity given the official support it gets from the west in all fields (economic, cultural, academic and so on). Without raising the price of its oppression, it will never give up; it will never concede on any of our rights.

AM: There is the historical example of South African apartheid, but are there any other types of historical forms of nonviolent resistance -- not necessarily boycotts -- that the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) draws its inspiration from?

OB: Yes, from Palestinian nonviolence. For a hundred years, well before the South African inspiration, we have been mainly inspired by our own history and roots of civil resistance. In a hundred years of conflict with the settler-colonial conquest of Zionism, we have resisted Zionism mostly by civil resistance and not violent or armed resistance, unlike the common myth that Palestinian resistance is only armed. This is not true. For more than a hundred years Palestinians have resisted with cultural and artistic resistance, strikes, demonstrations, women's and trade union organizing, and so on. The majority of people were involved in nonviolent resistance before the inspiration of Gandhi and that of South Africa.

AM: Many academics, even those generally sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, argue that any proposed academic boycott jeopardizes the principle of academic freedom. Is there any truth to that claim?

OB: The claim is very biased in that it privileges Israeli academic freedom over any other, so they completely ignore that by denying Palestinians their basic rights -- all of our freedoms, including academic freedom -- Israel is also infringing deeply on our academic freedom. That doesn't count, it seems. We never heard those liberal voices when Israel shut down Palestinian universities during the first intifada [uprising] -- Birzeit University was shut down for four [consecutive] years, for example. We haven't heard much of an outcry among those liberals who are now shouting academic freedom. Is academic freedom a privilege to whites only? Do we global southerners deserve academic freedom? Are we equally human or not? So those people who are shouting academic freedom are either hypocrites or racists, I'm sorry to say it. They are either hypocritical in that they only care about academic freedom for Israelis and they consider them white, European, Jewish, civilized and not for us Palestinians who are southerners and brown -- this is at a theoretical level. In principle the academic boycott that PACBI is calling for and all our partners are adopting is institutional; therefore, it does not infringe on the rights and privileges of Israeli academics to go out and participate in conferences and so on so long as this is not the product of an institutional link -- we are calling for cutting all institutional links, not to cut off visits by individual academics, or artists, or cultural figures to participate in events and so on -- they can and they do and that will not stop -- so it's really very hypocritical and deceptive to call the academic boycott a form of infringement on academic freedom.

AM: Some have even claimed that such an academic boycott would actually enhance academic freedom of Israeli academics. Could you elaborate on that a little bit?

OB: Professor Oren Ben-Dor, who is an Israeli-British philosopher who supports the boycott, argued this in an article early on a few years ago. He said that in Israel, there's actually no academic freedom when it comes to the taboo issues such as the history of the conflict: the ethnic cleansing, the Nakba [catastrophe], the different sets of laws for Arabs and Jews inside the State of Israel. There are certain taboos that are untouchable in Israeli academia. Oren Ben-Dor's argument was that the academic boycott would force Israeli academics and institutions to discuss those taboo issues -- and finally they are discussing them. So in a way the boycott actually promoted a certain level of academic freedom in Israel that was missing.

AM: Another common argument made by critics of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign is that only once Hamas ceases launching rockets into Israel will peace be possible. How would you respond to this claim?

OB: In the West Bank you have a largely quisling government that is completely supporting Israel in anything it wants to do. They get immediate support from the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah, which is an unelected authority imposed by an American general -- despite that it has not stopped the construction of the wall (which is illegal according to the International Court of Justice at the Hague), or the construction of settlements (which are also illegal; they are considered war crimes under international law), or the checkpoints (there are close to 700 roadblocks and checkpoints preventing the freedom of movement of Palestinians), or the confiscation of land, or the indiscriminate killings (including of children), or the imprisonment of political prisoners, or all the other repressive measures of the occupation that are designed to ethnically cleanse the indigenous Palestinians in a very slow and gradual, but persistent, manner. So we have not seen any difference in the repression between the West Bank and Gaza, prior to the war of course, that can be related to Hamas or not to Hamas. In the West Bank, the PA is ruling, not Hamas, so clearly this is a policy of the State of Israel. It's irrelevant if Hamas accepts Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state or accepts the 1967 borders ... Israel will never accept our rights unless it is forced to. Our 60 years of experience with Zionist colonial oppression and apartheid has shown us that unless we resist by all means -- particularly through civil resistance -- to force Israel into a pariah status in the world, like South Africa was turned in the 1980s, there is no chance of advancing the prospects for a just peace.

AM: Finally, you have argued numerous times in your published works that ultimately you would like to see in historic Palestine a binational, secular, democratic state.

OB: Not a binational state -- I am completely against binationalism. A secular, democratic state, yes, but not binational. There is a big difference.

AM: What exactly is the sentiment on the ground in Palestine on this question?

OB: I must clarify that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement takes no position on the shape of the political solution. It adopts a rights-based, not solutions-based, approach. I am completely and categorically against binationalism because it assumes that there are two nations with equal moral claims to the land and therefore, we have to accommodate both national rights. I am completely opposed to that, but it would take me too long to explain why, so I will stick to the model I support, which is a secular, democratic state: one person, one vote -- regardless of ethnicity, religion, nationality, gender, and so on and so forth ... Full equality under the law with the inclusion of the refugees -- this must be based on the right of return for Palestinian refugees. In other words, a secular, democratic state that accommodates our inalienable rights as Palestinians with the acquired rights of Israeli Jews as settlers. Why do I see this as the main solution? Morally, it's obviously the most moral solution because it treats people as equals, the two-state solution is not only impossible now -- Israel has made it an absolute pipe dream that cannot happen -- it is an immoral solution. At best, it would address some of the rights of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, while ignoring the majority of Palestinians -- those in exile, the refugees, as well as the Palestinian citizens of Israel. There are three segments of the Palestinian people -- unless you address the basic requirements of justice for all three segments than we will not have exercised our right to self-determination. The only way that we can exercise our right to self-determination, without imposing unnecessary injustice on our oppressors, is to have a secular, democratic state where nobody is thrown into the sea, nobody is sent back to Poland, and nobody is left in refugee camps. We can coexist ethically with our rights given back to us.

Now on the ground, back to your question, there is no political party in Palestine now or among Palestinians outside either calling for a secular, democratic one-state solution. Despite this, polls in the West Bank and Gaza have consistently in the last few years shown 25-30 percent support for a secular, democratic state. Two polls in 2007 showed two-thirds majority support for a single state solution in all flavors -- some of them think of a purely Palestinian state without Israelis and so on -- in exile it's even much higher because the main issue is that refugees in particular, and people fighting for refugee rights like I am, know that you cannot reconcile the right of return for refugees with a two state solution. That is the big white elephant in the room and people are ignoring it -- a return for refugees would end Israel's existence as a Jewish state. The right of return is a basic right that cannot be given away; it's inalienable. Â A two-state solution was never moral and it's no longer working -- it's impossible with all the Israeli settlements and so on. We need to move on to the more moral solution that treats everyone as equal under the law, whether they are Jewish-Israeli or Palestinian.

AM: You hear a lot of academics and public intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein saying that the two-state solution represents the international consensus, and that the one-state solution of the kind that you speak of is unrealistic.

OB: The siege against Gaza is also an expression of international consensus -- that doesn't make it right. It's an international conspiracy that is a war crime -- it's a crime against humanity, despite support from the UN and all the powers that be around the world ... It's amazing for activists, and public intellectuals who are counted as activists, to support the international consensus when they like to, and they oppose it on every other account. When Professor Chomsky opposed the Indonesian occupation of East Timor there was an international consensus supporting Indonesia. No one raised, before Chomsky, the issue of freedom for East Timor -- it was Chomsky first and foremost, and he single-handedly pushed this on the agenda until now we have the autonomy of East Timor and semi-independence. So international consensus often means that the main powers agree on an injustice because it fits their interests -- that doesn't mean that we have to accept that; we have to struggle to change that and the way we do that is on the ground. By proposing the more moral solution we are saying that this can mobilize universal support from around the world -- except from those who are keen to maintain Israel as a racist, ethnocentric state.

Ali Mustafa is a freelance journalist, writer and media activist. He is a member of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) and currently resides in Toronto, Canada.

« L’appel palestinien au boycott d’Israël devient de plus en plus populaire »
publié le mercredi 3 juin 2009

Omar Barghouti

Puisque la communauté internationale n’a pas été capable de demander des comptes à Israël sur ses violations de la loi internationale et des droits de l’homme, nous appelons la société civile internationale à prendre ses responsabilités


Les Palestiniens en Cisjordanie et à Gaza sous occupation israélienne sont une minorité du peuple palestinien. La grande majorité du peuple palestinien sont des réfugiés, qui sont en exil, victimes du nettoyage ethnique d’Israël en 1948 et depuis 1948.

Ce que dit l’appel BDS c’est que, puisque la communauté internationale n’a pas été capable de demander des comptes à Israël sur ses violations de la loi internationale et des droits de l’homme, nous appelons la société civile internationale à prendre ses responsabilités pour qu’elle montre sa responsabilité morale, pour qu’elle demande des comptes à Israël en mettant en oeuvre le Boycott, le Désinvestissement et les Sanctions.

A quoi appelons-nous exactement ? Nous appelons à mettre fin à trois injustices fondamentales qu’Israël commet contre le peuple palestinien : l’occupation, la colonisation, le système de discrimination raciale contre les Palestiniens à l’intérieur d’Israël, qui est une forme spécifique israélienne d’Apartheid ainsi que la négation des droits des réfugiés palestiniens. Les réfugiés palestiniens ont droit au retour dans leurs foyers en accord avec les résolutions de l’ONU et Israël leur refuse ce droit. L’appel BDS est basé sur le droit, pas sur la recherche d’une solution. Il se concentre sur les trois droits fondamentaux et légitimes des Palestiniens. Nous appelons le monde à boycotter Israël, et désinvestir d’Israël et des compagnies qui soutiennent Israël jusqu’à ce qu’Israël accepte de se plier au droit international et nous accorde nos droits fondamentaux.


Depuis 1948, Israël a été créé sur la destruction de la société palestinienne. Donc ils ont détruit la société palestinienne et expulsé la plupart des Palestiniens – entre 750.000 et 850.000 Palestiniens ont été expulsés, ont été victimes d’un nettoyage ethnique de fin 1947 à 1949, la majorité des Palestiniens a été expulsée pour faire "de la place" aux immigrants juifs venant d’Europe pour fuir l’Holocauste. C’était un projet colonial dès le début avec l’intention de briser la société palestinienne, pour empêcher les Palestiniens de se réorganiser en tant que société. Les Palestiniens ont été immédiatement segmentés entre les Palestiniens de l’intérieur de ce qui est devenu Israël, les Palestiniens de Cisjordanie et de Gaza ainsi que les Palestiniens réfugiés. Cette segmentation continue.

Donc Israël très lentement, mais de façon très persistante ne se contente pas d’un nettoyage ethnique des Palestiniens, mais détruit la possibilité du développement d’une société palestinienne à l’intérieur de la Palestine historique.


Depuis qu’Israël a occupé la Cisjordanie et Gaza en 1967, depuis 42 ans et jusqu’à maintenant, Israël a systématiquement et très volontairement détruit les entreprises palestiniennes. Israël a détruit la possibilité d’une économie palestinienne indépendante et d’une industrie palestinienne indépendante. Nous avons très peu d’industries et la plupart sont très petites. Israël contrôle toutes les frontières, contrôle l’importation et l’exportation, donc nous sommes un marché captif pour Israël. Ils veulent vendre leurs produits et la meilleure méthode est de détruire notre capacité à produire nos propres produits.

Les colonies sont illégales aux yeux de la loi internationale. Selon la 4ème convention de Genève, déplacer des parties de la population du pays occupant vers le pays occupé constitue un crime de guerre. Mais Israël les construit fondamentalement pour aider au nettoyage ethnique des Palestiniens.


Israël veut les meilleures terres, les meilleures terres agricoles et les points d’eau, les réserves d’eau pour que les Palestiniens ne puissent pas vivre en Palestine. Ca a toujours été la politique israélienne. Tous les gouvernements, de gauche, de droite et de centre, ont tous gardé ce principe : faire tout ce qu’il faut pour rendre la vie invivable à une majorité des Palestiniens pour qu’ils s’en aillent. Ca a marché jusqu’à un certain point. Beaucoup de Palestiniens sont partis parce qu’ils ne peuvent pas gagner leur vie en Palestine. Quand un fermier ou une fermière perd sa terre parce que le mur lui a pris sa terre, ils n’ont plus les moyens de vivre. Ils ne peuvent plus continuer, s’ils ont des enfants, ils ne peuvent plus assurer le bien-être de leurs enfants. Et donc souvent ils pensent à partir, à aller ailleurs, où ils peuvent, pour nourrir leurs familles. Donc Israël a fait cela de façon très consistante. Le mur a été le dernier chapitre dans ce processus de colonisation. Ca va très bien avec la construction des colonies, construire le mur pour confisquer les meilleures terres agricoles et les sources. Beaucoup de gens disent : "C’est un mur de séparation." Eh bien, il sépare les Palestiniens de leurs terres. L’intention n’est pas seulement de séparer les Palestiniens des Israéliens. C’est une fausse façon de voir les choses. Il sépare les Palestiniens de leurs moyens d’existence : de leurs terres, de leurs centre-villes, de leurs hôpitaux, de leurs écoles. C’est ça le but principal du mur. Rendre la vie invivable aux Palestiniens.


Depuis qu’Israël a été créé, c’est connu, les historiens ont des documents là-dessus, il a été créé sur la Nakba, le nettoyage ethnique massif et systématique qui a été prémédité. Il a été très bien planifié par Ben Gourion et les autres dirigeants israéliens des années avant le plan de partition, donc ce n’était pas une réaction à quoi que ce soit, contrairement à ce qu’Israël dit maintenant. C’était un plan prémédité pour se débarrasser de la majorité des Palestiniens. Depuis cette époque, les Israéliens dans l’ensemble ont nié la Nakba, ils nient le nettoyage ethnique des Palestiniens qu’ils ont réalisé. Et ce déni n’est pas très différent du déni de l’Holocauste en fait. Sans parler des différences – et il y a d’énormes différences entre l’Holocauste et la Nakba, dont je ne vais pas parler maintenant, il n’y a pas de comparaison entre les deux injustices – mais les juifs israéliens ont majoritairement nié leur participation, leur rôle dans la Nakba, et c’est très proche de la négation de l’Holocauste.

Jusqu’à maintenant, une grande majorité des partis politiques israéliens, tous les partis sionistes, de gauche, de droite et du centre, ont nié la Nakba. Donc ils le justifient parce que leurs super victimes, les victimes de l’Holocauste, ont des droits supérieurs plus importants que les indigènes palestiniens, musulmans, chrétiens et juifs – les indigènes palestiniens incluent des juifs aussi. Ce discours profondément raciste, qui considère la population indigène comme des sous humains, ce n’est pas quelque chose de nouveau que les Israéliens ont inventé. Les Français en Algérie ont fait la même chose, au Vietnam, et les Britanniques et les Hollandais, les Européens ont l’habitude de ce principe colonial qui consiste à considérer les indigènes comme des sous humains, si tant est que ce soit des humains.


Les institutions israéliennes, et particulièrement les universités, les institutions culturelles, économiques, sportives sont toutes complices. La complicité n’est pas seulement par le silence, ce n’est pas seulement qu’ils ne condamnent pas l’occupation, ce qui est un fait. Aucune université israélienne n’a jamais condamné l’occupation. Aucun syndicat d’enseignants israéliens n’a jamais condamné l’occupation ni appelé à mettre fin à cette occupation. Aucun, jamais. Le nombre total des universitaires israéliens qui a ouvertement appelé à mettre fin à l’occupation est de quelques centaines sur un nombre de 9000. Donc les universitaires israéliens sont comme tout le monde en Israël, très complices dans l’oppression. Malgré cela, le but de notre appel au boycott n’est pas les individus, il s’adresse aux institutions et c’est très important. Un boycott institutionnel appelle à boycotter les institutions à cause de leur complicité.

Les institutions culturelles et universitaires jouent un rôle extrêmement important dans la justification de tout le système de l’oppression. L’oppression n’existe pas seulement par l’intermédiaire des tanks et des avions, elle existe par de nombreux petits ambassadeurs qui sortent du pays et présentent une fausse image et qui justifient tous les crimes que les Israéliens commettent. Tout à fait récemment, les massacres israéliens à Gaza, des crimes de guerre massifs ont été commis par l’armée israélienne à Gaza, ce n’est pas seulement l’armée israélienne qui est coupable de ce massacre et des graves violations de la loi internationale, c’est tout l’establishment israélien, y compris les institutions universitaires, culturelles et autres. Pas seulement parce qu’ils n’ont rien dit contre les massacres – bien sûr ils sont restés silencieux, il n’y a pas eu de condamnation – ils les ont complètement soutenus. Ils sont apparus en soutien complet aux massacres en les justifiant "pour combattre la terreur palestinienne, c’est une riposte" et en donnant toutes les raisons possibles pour que le monde croie que c’était un type d’action qui relevait de l’autodéfense et pas un crime de guerre. Donc ils ont joué un rôle essentiel dans la justification des crimes de guerre. Bien sûr ils doivent être boycottés. Le deuxième argument est l’Afrique du Sud.


Des gens qui disent maintenant que nous ne devrions pas boycotter les universités israéliennes, qu’est-ce qu’ils ont fait dans les années 80 ? Est-ce qu’ils n’ont pas eux-mêmes boycotté les institutions universitaires sud-africaines ? En fait le boycott sud-africain était un boycott total contre toute chose et toute personne d’Afrique du Sud, pas seulement les institutions. Le boycott palestinien est contre les institutions. Les mêmes personnes qui dans les années 80 ont rejoint un boycott total contre tout ce qui était sud-africain et l’Apartheid sud-africain sont les mêmes personnes qui disent hypocritement maintenant que nous ne devrions pas boycotter Israël. C’est de l’hypocrisie, c’est deux poids deux mesures et c’est traiter Israël comme une exception.


C’est la même chose pour les équipes sportives, pour les groupes musicaux, il n’y a pas de différence. Ils sont complices de la justification des crimes de guerre israéliens. Ils vont en Europe et jouent de la musique, jouent des compétitions sportives comme si Israël était un Etat comme les autres et pas un Etat colonisateur, un Etat d’Apartheid. Ils aident à maintenir cette fausse image d’Israël en tant qu’Etat démocratique éclairé entouré d’une mer d’Arabes barbares. Cette image n’a pas été cultivée seulement par le ministère des affaires étrangères israéliens ou par l’armée. Elle a été principalement cultivée par les institutions culturelles, par les institutions universitaires et leurs participations dans des événements dans le monde entier. Donc bien sûr, les équipes sportives doivent être boycottées comme les équipes sportives sud-africaines l’ont été. Donc encore une fois, nous ne sommes pas en train de réinventer la roue.

L’appel palestinien au boycott a commencé en 2004-2005. Quelques années plus tard, nous avons déjà un soutien important de la part de syndicats importants, même en Europe, même au Canada et ça commence aux Etats-Unis aussi. Ce n’est pas un mouvement marginal, ça devient de plus en plus populaire, soutenu par des gens de poids comme John Burger et des artistes importants dans le monde entier soutiennent le boycott, Naomi Klein au Canada etc. C’est un mouvement qui prend de l’ampleur. En comparaison, l’appel au boycott de l’Afrique du Sud a commencé à la fin des années 50 et la société civile internationale a commencé à réagir dans les années 80. Les actions les plus importantes du boycott se sont déroulées dans les années 80. Il y a eu quelques actions pionnières du boycott dans les années 70, mais le boycott le plus important a été dans les années 80, ça a pris entre 25 et 30 ans pour que les Sud-africains voient une réaction. Nous avons vu une réaction beaucoup plus importante dans les principaux syndicats en 4 à 5 ans. Donc ça marche.

Nous espérons que la société civile partout dans le monde rejoindra la campagne BDS comme la campagne la plus efficace politiquement et moralement et par des moyens à notre portée pour qu’Israël rende des comptes, pour en finir avec l’impunité d’Israël, avec l’oppression d’Israël et pour donner une chance quelconque à un espoir de paix dans l’avenir.

As Israel Prepares Laws to Deepen its Discrimination, the World Must hold Israeli Racism to Account

As Israel Prepares Laws to Deepen its Discrimination, the World Must
hold Israeli Racism to Account

4 June 2009, Bethlehem, Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency
and Refugee Rights - For decades Israel has practiced discrimination and
forced displacement against its Palestinian citizenry with impunity. But
now it seeks to impose consent for its crimes upon its Palestinian victims.

Three bills currently making rounds in the Israeli Knesset reveal an
obscene and dangerous targeting of the individual and collective rights
of Palestinian citizens.

One bill seeks to prohibit marking the day Israel declared its
independence as a day of mourning. A second prohibits negating the
existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. The third requires
Israeli citizens to sign oaths of loyalty to the state, its flag and
national anthem, and to perform military or civil service. Though still
at an early stage, if the bills pass, violators could face harsh
sentences including imprisonment and revocation of citizenship.

Palestinian citizens of Israel are part of the indigenous inhabitants of
Palestine who were made a minority in their homeland through the
expulsion of two thirds of their people in 1948 by Zionist militias
during Israel's establishment – events Palestinians commemorate as the
Nakba (Arabic for Catastrophe.)

Their leaders have likened the potential approval of the bills to a
declaration of war. The bills "require the Arab minority to deny its
history and Arab-Palestinian identity on one hand and to identify with
Zionist values that negate its national identity on the other," in the
words of Mohammed Zeidan, head of the Higher Arab Follow-Up Committee,
an informal collective leadership body of Palestinian citizens.

Attempts to force compliance with the Zionist narrative, character and
practice of the state is equivalent to demanding that Palestinians
sanction their own historical dispossession while rubber stamping their
contemporary second-class citizenship as "non-Jews" in the Jewish state.

Moreover these attempts come in the context of an escalating campaign
against this community that seeks to paint it as a "demographic time
bomb" and a "fifth column." Yuval Diskin, Director of the General
Security Service has described Palestinian citizens' demands for
equality as constituting "a strategic danger to the state", that must be
thwarted "even if their activity is conducted through democratic means”;
Israeli politicians and "peace proposals" speak openly of "population
exchanges" between Palestinian citizens and Israeli settlers in the West
Bank; and the Hebrew press has even made recent revelations that the
Israeli army is engaged in training special units to occupy Palestinian
towns and villages inside Israel in the event of a regional war, to
prevent protests and access to highways.

A broader campaign of incitement is at play here. These laws aim to
polarize the situation between Jewish and Palestinian citizens, while
justifying the quashing of legitimate Palestinian demands. Israel also
appears intent to extend elements of its military practices against
Palestinians in the OPT to those who are its citizens.

Given Israel's historical record of repeatedly dispossessing
Palestinians – be it beneath the 'fog of war' or through incremental
bureaucratic means - the initiation of these laws can only be seen as
strengthening Israel's de jure policies of apartheid to compliment its
de facto apartheid practices on both sides of the Green Line.

In this context, instead of trying to engage the new Israeli government,
it is time for the world to boycott, divest and sanction the Israeli
regime until it abandons all racist policies and practices and
implements international law.

UN says Israel didn't remove checkpoints as claimed

UPDATE: UN says Israel didn't remove checkpoints as claimed
Date: 03 / 06 / 2009 Time: 13:40
تكبير الخط تصغير الخط
The Atara checkpoint near
Ramallah [Ma'anImages]
Bethlehem – Ma’an – United Nations officials found that Israel did not dismantle two West Bank military checkpoints as promised on Wednesday.

UN teams found that the Atara checkpoint in the village of Bir Zeit, on the main route between Ramallah and Nablus, was physically intact, including a concrete watchtower. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that they will re-classify the installation as a “partial checkpoint,” since the Israeli military has decided not to impose 24-hour checks.

The other checkpoint the Israeli military said it would remove is At-Tayba (referred to as Rimonim by the army), near the village of the same name. The physical apparatus of this roadblock, already classified as a partial checkpoint, was still place when an OCHA team visited on Wednesday.

The Israeli army also began work on Wednesday enlarging a third checkpoint, Enav, near the West Bank city of Tulkarem. Israeli forces closed the road and were seen adding lanes and physical infrastructure to the checkpoint.

OCHA earlier said it had received confirmation of the plan to remove the checkpoints from both the Israeli army and the Palestinian liaison office.

According to OCHA Israel maintains more than 700 military checkpoints, roadblocks, gates, fences, trenches, earth mounds, and other obstructions to Palestinian movement as a part of the occupation of the West Bank.

Sources in the Palestinian liaison department in Ramallah said that the Israelis informed them two days ago that both checkpoints would be removed as part of a purported attempt to ease Palestinian life.

The sources told Ma’an that Israeli authorities intend to keep a guard post in the area of Atara checkpoint.

These Palestinian sources welcomed any step towards easing Palestinian suffering, however they said what Israeli authorities did was insufficient as there are still dozens of military checkpoints across the West Bank.

Another Palestinian official source, who preferred not to be named, suspected the announcement was a media ploy. The source said it only came as attempt to influence in advance any US demands from Israel to ease pressure on the Palestinians.

The Israeli army said in a statement that the decision to “remove” the two checkpoints was taken following a meeting on Monday between the General Gadi Shamni Brigadier General Noam Tibon, Head of the Civil Administration Yoav Mordechai, and the Palestinian Authority’s civil affairs chief Hussein Ash-Sheikh.

A decision was also made during the meeting, the army said, to open the Asira Ash-Shamaliya checkpoint, north of Nablus, to traffic 24 hours a day.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Palestinian lands burned by settlers / Terres palestiniennes brulees par des colons, pres de Qalqilia-salfit, 01.06.2009.

(c) Anne Paq/Activestills.org, Far'ata and Jit lands, 01.06.2009.

Settlers from Qedumim settlement and Havat gilad outpost burned around 100 dunums of Palestinian lands in the area of Jit, Immatin and Far'ata villages on 01.06.2009. The same day they also attacked a group of Palestinian workers, one is now in critical condition. The attacks followed the announcement by the Israeli government of its intention to remove some outposts, including Havat Gilad. The day of the fire, the Israeli army was present but did nothing to stop the settlers, while the Palestinians had been denied access to the area for hours during which the fire could spread.
The Palestinnian on the pictures is from Far'ata, the outpost had been built on his lands.

Des colons de la colonie de Qedumim et de l'avant-poste de Havat Gilad ont brûlé environ 100 dumums de terres palestiniennes (10 hectares) dans le domaine des villages de Jit, Immatin et Far'ata, le 01.06.2009. Le même jour, ils ont également attaqué un groupe de travailleurs palestiniens, l'un est toujours dans un état critique. Les attaques ont suivi l'annonce par le gouvernement israélien de son intention de supprimer certains avant postes, y compris Havat Gilad. Le jour de l'incendie, l'armée israélienne était présente, mais n'a rien fait pour arrêter les colons, alors que les Palestiniens se sont vus refuser l'accès à la zone pendants des heures pendant lesquelles le feu a pu se propager.

They dont want Israelis to see whats going on

Last update - 10:59 03/06/2009
IDF declares Nablus area a closed military zone to keep out left-wing activists
By Haaretz Service
Tags: Checkpoints, West Bank, IDF

The Israel Defense Forces has declared the area around the West Bank city of Nablus a closed military zone, in order to prevent left-wing activists from entering the area, Army Radio reported on Wednesday.

According to Army Radio, Head of the Central Command General Gadi Shamni
issued the closure after receiving numerous complaints from soldiers who said the activists were interfering with their security duties at area checkpoints.
The IDF said singled-out activists from "Machsom Watch" (checkpoint watch) as being the subject of the most complaints.

The IDF issued a statement Wednesday saying that the closure applies to all Israelis, regardless of ideology.

The Human Rights Organization "Yesh Din" on Wednesday slammed the decision to declare the area a closed military zone, saying only in totalitarian countries are humanitarian organizations banned from areas where there is friction between the military and the civilian population.

"We won't be surprised if the next step is to ban internet sites, like was done in China," Yesh Din said Wednesday, adding that the decision was made in order to "cover-up criminal actions carried out at the checkpoints."

On Tuesday, an IDF soldier was lightly wounded after he was stabbed in the back by a Palestinian next to the Hawara checkpoint near Nablus.

Two weeks ago, IDF troops caught a member of "Machsom Watch" climbing on the security fence to receive a package from a Palestinian. When the woman saw the soldiers she reportedly threw the package back over the fence and fled the scene.

On Wednesday, the IDF spokesperson's office announced that the Atzira A-Shamalia checkpoint near Nablus will begin operating 24 hours a day, to ease Palestinian movement in the area.

The statement also announced the removal of the Rimonim roadblock east of Ramallah and the Bir Zeit roadblock, north of the West Bank city.

According to the statement, the steps were taken in order "to widen the free movement of the Palestinian population and are in addition to the 145 roadblocks which were removed in the past year."

(note about the end of the article: I do not know where they took that figure of "145" roadblocks removed, but according to OCHA there are still more than 700 obstacles to freedom of movement for the Palestinians inside the West Bank. the checkpoints are still omnipresent)

Monday, June 01, 2009

Palestinians farmers violently prevented to harvest their lands in Safa/ Des fermiers Palestiniens ont ete violemment empeches de faire leurs recoltes

(c) Anne Paq/Activestills.org, Safa, 30.05.2009.

Please see below two different reports: the first one is from IMEMC based on what I told them as I was on the spot when the events occurred. The other one is from Ynet, the popular Israeli website. See the difference in the reports, I think it needs not so much comments but it shows how the situation is reported by mainstream Israeli Media. Ynet talks about clashes while there was no actual clashes. The settlers attacked a group of Palestinian women and children who were harvesting on their lands!!! Maan also talked about "clashes" although they changed a bit the report after I called them to complain but they still leave the word "clash" in the title and did not fully give a real account about the whole incident.

Israeli army and settlers violently obstruct Palestinians from harvesting their lands in Safa
author Saturday May 30, 2009 12:28author by Katherine Orwell - IMEMC News report Report this post to the editors

"Villagers from the Southern West Bank village of Safa, north of Hebron, have tried to harvest their lands that are located closely to the settlement of Beit Ayn, on Saturday morning. The Israeli army violently pushed the villagers of their lands, as settlers were gathering on near by hilltops. Later in the morning settlers came down and attacked a group of women and children, a local witness reported to IMEMC.

A group of internationals and Israelis went along with the villagers to help harvest the land. In the past few weeks there have continuously been problems with the army and settlers from the settlement of Beit Ayn, preventing the people of Safa to access and harvest their land.

During this time of year the people in Safa harvest the grape leaves, an important source of income for the village.

After the harvest started, the army arrived and ordered everyone to leave the lands, as they claimed the land, belonging to the Soleiby family, to be a closed military zone. The army gave the harvesters a ten minutes notice, then proceeded to push the group out by kicking and beating them. Two Israelis, that had joined the harvest, were arrested and taken away by the army.
The army told the people that the settlers were gathering and they were afraid that there might be problems. People in the group responded that the army had to take its responsibility and remove the ones creating the problems, not the ones suffering from it.

Instead soldiers turned up with batons, literally pushing the people off the land with their sticks.
During all that time settlers were watching on top of the hill, screaming racist slogans, such as: "Death to all the Arabs". After some time the settlers came down the hill into the fields that belong to the village and started throwing stones. A group of 16 settlers attacked three old women and one child that were harvesting the grape leaves. Other settlers took the camera of an Israeli.

A car of a member of Ta'ayush, a joint Arab-Jewish organization, was damaged when settlers flipped over the car. The car was eventually flipped back by a local farmer, with his tractor.
The army was standing idly by as settlers were moving around Safa. When the settlers got out of sight, the army came down and arrested another three Israelis plus two Palestinian children of the age of 14. The three Israelis were beaten up with batons. The soldiers repeated that everyone had to leave.

Today's events in Safa were not mere incidents, but are part of a series of violent attacks by settlers and the army, that has been going on in the village for years."

The report from Ynet:

Leftists and Palestinians clashed with settlers near the Bat Ayin settlement on Saturday. Police detained two Palestinians suspected of throwing stones and three Palestinians and two leftists for entering a closed military zone.
The leftists claimed that the settlers damaged one of their vehicles. (Efrat Weiss)

Palestinians farmers violently prevented to harvest their lands in Safa/ Des fermiers Palestiniens ont ete violemment empeches de faire leurs recoltes

(c) Anne Paq/Activestills.org, Safa,30.09.2009