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Articles Archives - August 2010
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Friday, August 13, 2010
Going organic: The siege on Gaza
Jon Elmer, AlJazeera, Axis of Logic 8/11/2010
      "Hamas’ agriculture minister, Muhammad al-Agha, has issued a ten-year plan designed to side-step the blockade by increasing local food production and agricultural self-sufficiency in Gaza."
     In February 2006, following Hamas’ electoral victory, a top advisor to Ehud Olmert, the then Israeli prime minister, Dov Weisglass, described the essence of Israel’s Gaza policy.
     "It’s like a meeting with a dietitian," Weisglass said. "We need to make the Palestinians lose weight, but not to starve to death."
     Although any Gazan will quickly point out that the blockade on the movement of goods - and people - into and out of Gaza long predates the election of Hamas, as the years have passed the exact date of the siege has often been, for reasons of political expedience, recast to coincide with the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007.
     Israel characterises the blockade as "economic warfare" targeting Hamas and its constituents.
     ’No humanitarian crisis’
     According to government documents that have surfaced in response to a lawsuit before Israel’s high court, "the limitation on the transfer of goods is a central pillar in the means at the disposal of the state of Israel in the armed conflict between it and Hamas".
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An Open Letter To Chick Corea: Don’t Turn Your Back On Gaza
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel, Desert Peace 8/10/2010
      Mr. Corea, we call upon your free soul that has been adding magnificent art for decades into this disenchanted world of ours, to join those courageous people of conscience like Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, the Pixies, Carlos Santana and Devendra Banhart in boycotting Israel until it complies with international law, and until justice and accountability are reached just as the global BDS movement made way for the collapse of apartheid in South Africa.
     Dear Mr. Corea,
     We are a group of students from Gaza, and our only fault is being Palestinians. For that, Mr. Corea, we are imprisoned with our families and loved ones in what major Human Rights Organizations call the largest open air prison in modern history. The state you are planning to entertain, committed a process of ethnic cleansing against the indigenous people in 1948. And now it is engaged in, what the Israeli academic Ilan Pappe calls, “slow motion genocide” against the 1.5 million population of Gaza.
     We are writing to you from under the hermetic siege imposed on us. We are punished just because we belong to this land and hold its identity. Israel committed, what Prof. Richard Goldstone called “war crimes and crimes against humanity,” knowing very well that it would be immune from accountability. You must be aware that all aspects of our life are affected by the siege, which in itself is a gross violation of international humanitarian law.
     We love music. But, we are deprived from it. The sound of Israeli-US made F16s, F15s, F35s, Surveillance planes, White Phosphorous bombs, naval gunboats and Merkava tanks do not allow us to listen to music any more. In Gaza, we are forbidden from experiencing the meaning of humanity, from being in love and expressing it in art, dance, music, and all its magnificent other forms that we long to live and experience.
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Searching in a refugee camp
Ramzy Baroud, Ma’an News Agency 8/13/2010
      Two young girls stood, as if frozen, staring below them at an ever vibrant Beirut. Their balcony, like the rest of their house and most of their refugee camp was of an indistinct color. It was dirty, as were their clothes.
     They, on the other hand, looked beautiful and bright, although their future didn’t.
     In Bourj Al-Barajneh, one of a dozen Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, time seems to have stood still for years. Generation after generation, children grow up in the same desperate reality, punished for crimes they did not commit, injured by a history not of their making. They stand on dirty balconies, cracked beyond repair, watching Beirut and the world go by.
     The city is abuzz with life, politics, rumors, anticipation and intrigue. It remains perpetually divided between many worlds and contradictions, in a way that seems almost impossible to reconcile or bridge.
     Bourj Al-Barajneh has grown into a ‘municipality’ since its original inception as a ‘temporary’ accommodation for the Palestinian refugees who were expelled from their homes and land in Palestine between 1947 and 1948. The Palestinian physical share of the camp has largely remained the same, although the numbers have significantly grown.
     Influxes into the area of Shia Muslims, Sunni Muslims, and more recently Iraqis, have seen low-income or persecuted groups move in and around the vicinity of the camp. Little was put in place to accommodate the natural growth, or to regulate the latter population influxes.
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Occupied Prayer
Palestine Monitor: 13 Aug 2010 - On the first Friday of Ramadan, mass prayer to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem from the West Bank went smoothly - at least for men over the age of 50, and women over the age of 45. Whilst a large number of young Palestinians were prevented from entering the Old City. ST McNeil reporting from Qalandiya checkpoint. Israel had eased restrictions for the religious holiday, according to Haaretz. As the Quartet push the Palestinian Authority and Israel's government towards peace talks, the move could be seen as an attempt at ground-floor diplomacy. At the Qalandiya checkpoint, the crowd was split into male and female lines entering at separate entrances. Red Crescent Ambulances provided scant shade for squatting adults and children - all in various states of hunger and thirst, some experiencing caffeine and nicotine withdrawal. Today is the third day of Ramadan, the global Muslim religious holiday, where all of...more

Explaining Murder: Israeli Hasbara in Full Swing
Palestine Chronicle: 13 Aug 2010 - By Richard Lightbown The hasbara industry is in full swing at the moment as Benjamin Netanyahu’s government pulls out all the stops to create a smokescreen to cover its crimes. Leading from the front Mr Netanyahu sat in front of the Turkel Commission for four hours on Monday, although anyone hoping to hear anything of interest would have been disappointed. Mr Netanyahu only spoke in front of the public for ninety minutes of that time during which he regaled the committee with complaints about Hamas, Sderot and Gilad Shalit. He told the committee that Israel had a right to search for weapons on board the flotilla. (Israel has since announced that it found no weapons for Hamas. Did nine people really have to die so that Israel could confirm the certification the flotilla already had?) He further told them that there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza as a result...more

From Goldstone to Uribe
Palestine Chronicle: 13 Aug 2010 - By Stephen Lendman Despite a credible start, the fix is in. Expect justice again to be denied. After the Gaza War (Operation Cast Lead), the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) appointed Justice Richard Goldstone to lead an independent four-person fact-finding Commission to investigate human rights and humanitarian law violations committed on both sides, Israel doing everything possible to obstruct him in vain. The Commission conducted 188 interviews, got over 300 reports, submissions and other documents, comprising more than 10,000 pages, 30 videos, and 1,200 photographs, much of it gathered first-hand. Secondary sources added corroboration, in total providing clear evidence of Israel crimes. On September 15, 2009, the Commission concluded that: "There is evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity." "While the Israeli Government has...more

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