Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
Articles Archives - July 2011
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Friday, July 8, 2011
On flotillas and the law: civil society versus Israel lobbies in US and Europe
Lawrence Davidson, Redress 7/9/2011
      ”If we persist there will come a time, as was the case with South Africa, when the power of civil society will be such that politicians and bureaucrats will see the cost of defying popular opinion as greater than defying Zionist lobbies.”
     Civil society movements versus corrupt politics
     When it comes to the struggle against Israel’s policies of oppression there are two conflicting levels: that of government and that of civil society. The most recent example of this duality is the half dozen or so small ships held captive in the ports of Greece. The ships, loaded with humanitarian supplies for the one and half million people of the Gaza Strip, are instruments of a civil society campaign against the inhumanity of the Israeli state. The forces that hold them back are the instruments of governments corrupted by special interest influence and political bribery.
     Most of us are unaware of the potential of organized civil society because we have resigned the public sphere to professional politicians and bureaucrats and retreated into a private sphere of everyday life which we see as separate from politics. This is a serious mistake. Politics shapes our lives whether we pay attention to it or not. By ignoring it we allow the power of the state to respond not so much to the citizenry as to special interests. Our indifference means that the politicians and government bureaucrats live their professional lives within systems largely uninterested in and sometimes incapable of acting in the public good because they are corrupted by lobby power. The ability to render justice is also often a casualty of the way things operate politically. The stymying of the latest humanitarian flotilla to Gaza due to the disproportionate influence of Zionist special interests on US and European Middle East foreign policy is a good example of this situation.
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'Air Flotilla' successful in exposing Israeli blockade of West Bank
Noam Sheizaf, +972 Magazine 7/7/2011
      Israeli authorities deployed hundreds of police officers to arrest and deport pro-Palestinian visitors. The Minister of Tourism announced that “good tourists” will be greeted with flowers.
     Panic. There is no other way to describe the Israeli reaction to a plan organized by a few activists—no more than a thousand, according to the most generous estimates—to try and travel to the West Bank via Ben Gurion International Airport. A handful of those visitors arrived (five of them have already been deported), and it seems that the whole country has gone mad.
     Haaretz has reported a special deployment of hundreds of police officers and special units both inside and outside the terminals, “in case one of the arrivals tries to set himself on fire.” The Petach Tikva court, in charge of the airport area, is to have more arrest judges on alert, and the minister for Hasbara (propaganda) Yuli Edelstein demanded that the government take no chances, “because we should remember what happened on 9/11.”
     All this, lets not forget, in order to welcome between a few dozen to a few hundred Westerners (most of them quite old, according to reports), who would arrive on separate flights and on different hours, who went through extensive security checks before boarding their planes, and who openly declared their intentions to visit the Palestinian territories. This is the national threat that has captured all the headlines for some days now in a country armed with one of the strongest armies in the world as well as an extensive arsenal of nuclear bombs.
     While events at the airport are more absurd than tragic (there is a torrent of jokes on twitter about this, like: “attention all units, attention all units, a Swedish woman is now getting off flight 465?, or “security personnel have been ordered to report all those not singing ‘Heve’nu Shalom’ at landing”)....
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In dealing with flotilla, Israel is anything but smart
Amira Hass, Ha’aretz 7/7/2011
      Outsourcing, aggressive and vocal diplomacy and ridiculous lies thwarted the flotilla, but they have not taken Gaza off the international agenda.
     CRETE - Like an anti-Semitic caricature, Israel has extended its long tentacles around the globe in an effort to stop 10 decades-old ships from sailing to Gaza. Many Israelis interpreted this as a great victory.
     The story could be read as follows: The Greek government wanted to save people whom it surely views as eccentrics and professional trouble-makers, even if naive, from a traumatic and perhaps even fatal experience. The Greek foreign minister rejected claims that Israeli pressure led his government to ban the flotilla's departure. He explained that Greece wanted to prevent a "humanitarian disaster" in the event of a clash between the Israel Defense Forces and the protesters.
     Indeed, a Greek police officer - one of those who tried (in vain ) to discover from passengers on the Tahrir who was piloting their ship - did not beat around the bush. We wanted to save you from the Israeli army, he told one of them. The Jew of the blood libel, of whom one must be wary, has been replaced by an Israeli navy commando.
     In anti-Semitic caricatures, the cunning Jew is doomed to lose and his control over the world is fated to come to an end. But Israel's government is revising the caricature and sketching a glorious victory. A war of attrition, in the form of mysterious breakdowns and unprecedented red tape by the Greek authorities, thwarted the flotilla's original plan to anchor off the Gaza coast. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly thanked the Greek government, he knew full well what he was thanking it for.
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Cash shortage hampers rebuilding of mosques destroyed by Israel
Electronic Intifada: 7 Jul 2011 - Eva Bartlett The Electronic Intifada Gaza City According to Hassan Saifi, a representative of the ministry for religious affairs in Gaza, a quarter of the Gaza Strip’s 800 mosques were damaged or destroyed in the Israeli attack on Gaza in winter 2008-09.more

Take one za’atar tea and call me in the morning
In Gaza: 8 Jul 2011 - one of the varieties of za'atar, wild thyme, popular in Palestinian food and drink. New Internationalist blog by Eva Bartlett Palestinians seem to have this inherent knowledge of what foods and herbs are best according to the situation, time, ailment or celebration. Certainly, the average Palestinian knows a lot more than I do. When I was ill last year with a nasty sinus infection, I wasn’t given any nose-drops or other medication. I was made to eat lemons, peel and all, or when not eating them, stuff them up my nose and inhale. Fairly painful, but also amazingly successful. Lemons are a natural healer for a variety of ailments and are a general boon to the immune system. Not surprisingly, lemon is found in most Palestinian dishes: hummous, roasted eggplant, salad, and is added liberally to chicken and fish meals, served as a juice, or just eaten peeled like an orange....more

Greece, Gaza and the Grand Drama
Palestine Chronicle: 8 Jul 2011 - By Kathy Kelly – Athens It looked like a scene from an opera. Massed in the doorway and second floor balconies of a quaint building in Athens, facing a magnificent view of the Parthenon, Spanish activists hung banners and flashed peace signs and proclaimed that they wouldn't leave the building, the Embassy of Spain, until their government assured them that their boat, "The Guernica," could at last leave for the suffering and besieged territory of Gaza. Like other boats in the "Freedom Flotilla 2," an international flotilla aiming to end the naval blockade of Gaza, the Spaniards' boat has been blocked from sailing by bureaucratic measures imposed by the Greek government. This was unacceptable to the activists. On July 4, 2011, the Spanish Ambassador to Greece had agreed to meet with only four of the Spanish activists, but at a pre-arranged time, one of the four had gone downstairs, opened...more

Children of Qalandiya: Mahmoud
Palestine Chronicle: 8 Jul 2011 - By Tamar Fleishman This child has a face and a name. He has a father and a mother who worry, who don't know where Mahmud had been taken to and on what grounds. They probably wonder where he spends his days, and worse- his nights, whether he had been bitten so badly that he had become disabled (as had happened to many unlucky others), maybe he is bleeding, maybe he hurts, he might be crying, he might be asking for his mother, calling for his father, maybe he is silent, maybe it is a smothered and restrained cry as there is no one to hear and comfort him. Indeed, It happens every day, every year, all around the West Bank, but when I went over to give thirteen year old Mahmud the photo of him that I took the last time we met, and he was not among the children...more

Instilled Memory, and Ten Little Boats
Palestine Chronicle: 8 Jul 2011 - By Uri Avnery For Several weeks now, our army and navy have been in a state of high alert, bravely facing a deadly threat to our very existence: ten little boats trying to reach Gaza. These vessels are carrying a dangerous gang of vicious terrorists, in the form of elderly veterans of peace campaigns. Binyamin Netanyahu has affirmed our unshakable determination to defend our country: We shall not let anyone break the blockade to smuggle rockets to the terrorists in Gaza, who will then launch them to kill our innocent children. This is a kind of record even for Netanyahu: not a single word is true. The flotilla is not carrying any weapons – the representatives of respected international media in the boats provide assurance of this. Also, I think we can rely on the Mossad to plant at least one agent in every boat. (After all, what am I...more

We Will Return to Gaza until Palestine is Free
Palestine Chronicle: 7 Jul 2011 - By Richard Levy As you will probably know from press reports, our efforts to sail the US boat to Gaza – the Audacity of Hope – has fallen short of its mission. We had expected to be confronted by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) in Gazan or international waters. Instead, we were confronted with Greek commandos in the waters near Pireaus. As one passenger put it, "Israel has outsourced the blockade to Greece, Turkey and other countries." It gained their cooperation through heavy diplomatic pressure from its allies (most significantly the US) and economic threats. Presently, eight boats headed for Gaza carrying passengers from 22 countries are locked down in Greek and Turkish ports. Although the intended mission was not accomplished, the stories of the boats' attempts to sail gained considerable international press coverage and shined a light, once again, on Israel's morally and legally indefensible imprisonment of the Palestinian...more

Caution: Negotiation Hazard Ahead!
Palestine Chronicle: 7 Jul 2011 - By Midhat Ayyad Even during the long years of armed struggle, Palestinians aspired to a different and more effective method of dealing with Israel. At their 1988 Algiers conference, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) decided—perhaps belatedly—that the time for diplomatic negotiations had arrived. Relying on armed resistance alone was akin deploying an aircraft carrier without jet assisted take-off. In prolonged exile, and a financial pariah following the PLO’s support of Suddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the PLO—created by the Arab League—began negotiations with Israel. While this was truly a hazard for the dreams and interests of millions of Palestinian refugees, the PLO consensus was that negotiations were crucial to obtaining Palestinian statehood along the pre-1967 borders, or the “Green Line.” Achieving political parity with Israel and the “peace process” affiliates, notably the United States, was no cause for celebration, however. Palestinians had feared that direct negotiations (oftentimes proximity talks)...more

Starving Gaza is Not Cricket
Palestine Chronicle: 7 Jul 2011 - By Stuart Littlewood Setting sail with the Gaza Flotilla is no Sunday afternoon game of cricket. You're suddenly in the blockade busting business and if you succeed in getting through you'll put a lot of noses out of joint and symbolically squidge the evil ambitions of racist-supremacists like Netanyahu, Barak, Lieberman and Peres. You’re interfering in their economic terror war to crush Hamas. And the Israelis don’t take kindly to anyone spoiling their sick fun. They know nothing of the Laws of Cricket, have never played the game and are skilled only in lying, cheating, sabotage, grand theft and crimes against humanity. So expect maximum nastiness. Expect even bribery and arm-twisting by Israel to push the frontiers of their illegal blockade beyond Gaza's shores and out to susceptible countries like Greece whom they can easily bully into doing the Zionists’ dirty work. Expect extreme "sledging", bodyline, beamers, bouncers, daisy-cutters, constant...more

Israeli Civilization?
Dissident Voice: 8 Jul 2011 - In an audio interview , Harvard University Yiddish Professor Ruth Wisse has condemned ongoing attempts by international activists to set sail for Gaza, on what she calls a “kill-the-Jews flotilla.” “The purpose of the flotilla is to discredit the Israeli attempt to protect itself and to give Hamas a free hand amassing weapons to use against Israeli civilians.” Wisse also forms a new type of ‘Jewish solipsism,’ saying “It should be called for what it is: a ‘kill-the-Jews flotilla. If it is called by its proper name, then it will be recognized for what it is.” Here is the Yiddish logic: label first, then grasp accordingly. However, I would like to remind Wisse that as things stand in the Middle East, it is not the Flotilla peace activists or the democratically elected Hamas who kill. It is actually the Jewish State that is doing the killing, en masse, and in the...more

Articles Archives - July 2011

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