It is impossible to sum up briefly the achievements of Professor Noam Chomsky, one of the best-known public intellectuals of our age. Here we post his Edward Said memorial lecture, given from his long history of critiques of modern imperialism. Its theme is the contempt shown by the powerful – as in the ignoring of Palestinian rights in the Oslo Accords – the deliberate policies of humiliation and how the insistence on dignity is the hall mark of those who resist.
A 90-strong delegation of French and Egyptian people has arrived in Gaza via the Rafah crossing. They have brought drugs, surgical supplies and French textbooks. It is claimed as the first Welcome to Palestine group to have successfully got through the blockade although restrictions have been eased by Israel (as well as Egypt).
A national protest rally calling for an end to the siege of Gaza and remembering the launch of the lethal Operation Cast Lead four years ago. The rally is supported by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, British Muslim Initiative, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Friends of Al Aqsa, Stop the War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Palestinian Forum in Britain.
As a festive Chanukah offering we bring you Stephen Shalom’s Gaza Quiz. No marks for getting the right answers but congratulations if you read this website so thoroughly you know at least half the facts about Israeli policy towards Gaza which the quiz provides. Sorry – it’s not a fun read.
Guns, flags and cheering crowds met Khaled Meshaal, formal head of Hamas, when he arrived in Palestinian territory for the first time in 45 years, and for the first time ever in Gaza. He has lived in exile since his family left the West Bank when he was 11 years old. He vowed to push for unity with Fatah.
On behalf of JfJfP Diana Neslen and Arthur Goodman write to Foreign Secretary William Hague objecting to his assertion that Hamas bears the main responsibility for the current crisis and citing the many Israeli assaults on Palestinian life and the truce potential preceding the barrage on Gaza.
In a bleak assessment, George Friedman sees little chance of a negotiated truce; the issues of difference between Hamas and the Israeli government are too large to be contained by any such agreement, and the new power of Hamas’ Fajr-5 rockets too great to be left in hiding. 2nd, Iran denies supplying the rockets.
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, head of the conservative Justice and Development party, has said he will shortly visit Gaza. This will be the first visit by a head of government of a NATO member. Despite reports of an angry reaction from Fatah, Erdogan says he will invite Pres. Abbas to go with him to Gaza. 3 reports
Stung by jibes about his Tel Aviv cafe lifestyle, Yuval Ben-Ami goes to a spot overlooking Gaza during the recent exchange of fire. There’s not a lot to see but fellow Israelis living nearby spot him instantly for a leftie, one who wrongly believes the IDF fires into Gaza and blindly fails to recognise the effects of living under Gazan rocket fire,
The usual excuse given by the Israeli government for creating the severe deprivation of people in Gaza is ‘security’. This article by Juan Cole and report from MAP and Save the Children Fund show it is the lives and health of children in Gaza which are sacrificed for Israel’s security. The children themselves suffer from deep insecurity of food, housing and well-being.
Two Israeli naval vessels intercepted the Estelle on Saturday as it was nearing Gaza, and towed it to the port of Ashdod. There was no violence. There were demonstrations by Israeli peace activists and Palestinians in support of the ship and of breaking the siege. News reports from AFP and BBC, and photos of ship and protests.
Jared Malsin, former English editor at Ma’an, guides readers through the Salafist groups in Gaza. The blockade, he says, created the extremists. (Though small in number, they issue such violence, antisemitism and hostility to democracy they have given all Palestinians a bad name internationally.) But Salafist intransigence attracts some young men. Hamas has been cracking down on them since 2009.
Criticisms of the Hamas government for its lack of respect for human rights have dogged its five-year rule in Gaza. While, like its neighbour governments in the West Bank and Israel, it is accused of acts of torture and arbitrary arrest, it is the lack of due process, of a criminal justice system, which draws the most opprobrium. The Hamas defence — it is acting under siege — does not convince Human Rights Watch.
Following 2010′s comprehensive vote on Palestine, the Trade Union Congress, meeting in Brighton this week, focussed on Gaza. Delegates from the 53 unions voted to note the appalling conditions in Gaza and to send a delegation to Gaza, with the PSC, ‘to determine how the TUC may most effectively contribute to the end of the blockade’. There was no opposition.
Israel’s strategy of isolating Gaza in order to undermine Hamas has not worked. Rival terrorist groups have sprung up threatening the security of Egypt as well as Israel. While the leaders of Hamas and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood have recognised the need for anti-terrorist co-operation, Israel’s leaders have yet to recognise the new situation. In Ha’aretz, Zvi Bar’el lays out the need to free Gaza from the siege.
Regions where there is no effective state power have spread since the challenges to the old dictators of the Middle East and North Africa. While Israel blames alternately a weak Egypt and a powerful Hamas, Gazans themselves suspect a Mossad plot to damage their relations with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Tony Karon, 1, reviews the break-up of nation-states and Adie Mormech, 2, reports from Gaza.
On Sunday evening a jihadist group in the Sinai killed 16 Egyptian officers at the Israel/Egypt border. According to Israeli sources the gunmen then took 2 military vehicles and tried to cross the border, one blew up in a suicide explosion, the 2nd was destroyed by the Israeli airforce which had prior knowledge of the planned attack. Because of the various interpretations of the events, five news reports.
The Guardian, Long War Journal, JPost, Ma’an news and Naharnet provide different takes on the current exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza which began on Monday when Mujahedeen Shura Council of Jerusalem/Holy Land (like MRC Iraq, linked to al Qaeda) fired at the Israel/Egypt border from Sinai. Israel responded by airstrikes on Gaza. Hamas broke its long cease-fire and sent rockets into Israel..UPDATED Saturday June 23rd…
There has been some easing of the restrictions on people and trade in and out of Gaza reports Gisha, the Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement, but Gaza remains bound by Israel’s unwritten policies of isolating Hamas and enforcing a separation barrier between Gaza and the West Bank. Thus Palestinians are locked into separate enclaves.
Although the peg of this story is Nakba day, it is in fact about the co-operation on the ground between Hamas and Israeli government officials. As a tax-gathering government, Hamas’ interest lies in stability and forcing the jihadists into Sinai in the judgment of Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz.