UN experts say Palmer report is blind to how ‘Israel’s siege of Gaza is extracting a human price that disproportionately harms Palestinian civilians.’ Concerned to mediate between the states of Turkey and Israel, it ignored the violation of human rights enforced by Israel’s blockade of Gaza. 2nd, 19 NGOs ask foreign ministers to make clear that Palmer does NOT say closure of Gaza is legal
Disappointment with the Palmer report on the flotilla invasion has been intense – but, writes Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the OPT, one look at how the panel was constituted explains why it lacked the expertise to have found the IDF action and blockade of Gaza unlawful
Shock and anger at the actions of the Greek and Israeli governments in forcing the flotilla into port have brought together Arab and Jewish peace groups in Israel in protest. JfJfP fully supports their statement, published here, and the efforts of the Stay Human flotilla to reach Gaza with its cargo of aid.
Amira Hass argues against those who oppose the occupation but believe that “public criticism of the tactics used in the struggle of an occupied and dispossessed people is taboo”. It is time to say clearly that Qassam rockets do not ensure Palestinians a life of dignity; they “merely feed Israel’s madness”.
The heading says it all. The siege of Gaza continues…
Early reports suggested that Israel had come out well from the Wikileaks. It’s not proved to be so simple. As Shir Hever argues, more recent cables have provided unflattering revelations about Israel’s policies in the Gaza Strip and its desire to keep people there on the brink of humanitarian catastrophe…
JNews assesses the medium-term implications of a realignment of Middle-East politics; but in the short term the pressure on Gaza seems to be mounting…
“A new book, “The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict” [to which this essay is an introduction], will allow many more people to read the text of the report, along with contextualizing analysis. And they will be free to make their own judgments about whether Israel has been unfairly “singled out”—or whether, on the contrary, it is finally being held to account.”
Adam Horowitz discusses the recently released documentary shot by Israeli filmmaker Nurit Kedar. These testimonies, like those collected by Breaking the Silence, confirm many of the findings of the Goldstone Report, including the intentional targeting of wide swaths of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure…
Further reactions to the publication of the Turkel Commission’s interim report on the Mavi Marmara/Gaza flotilla fiasco. We’ll add to these as they come in, but for now here are: a BBC annoncement of the publication; a stinging criticism by Richard Silverstein of Tikun Olam; and a press release by Adalah stating what is for most of us the blindingly obvious, viz. “the conclusions reached by the Turkel Committee completely contradict international law and the findings released in September 2010 by the International Fact-Finding Mission to Investigate the Israeli attacks on the Flotilla, which was established by the UN Human Rights Council…”
In an immediate response to the Turkel Commission ‘s interim conclusions about Israel’s attack on the flotilla last may, Gisha notes that “No commission of inquiry can authorize the collective punishment of a civilian population by restricting its movement and access, as Israel did in its closure of Gaza, of which the maritime closure was an integral part.”
A week ago we carried the Gaza youth Breaks out manifesto in a posting “Gaza: a cry from the heart”. In a London Review blog posting long-time activist and respected academic Karma Nabulsi takes them to task for reframing “the issue of justice for Palestine in vacuous and unthreatening terms, casts the method by which change may occur into virtual space, and empties the Palestinian body politic of the thoughtfully articulated demands of its millions of citizens…” Many commentators on her blog disagree.
Jonathan Pollak was sentenced to three months in gaol for protesting about the siege on Gaza: “Your Honor, once found guilty, it is then customary for the accused to ask the court for leniency, and express remorse for having committed the offense. However, I find myself unable to do so. From its very beginning, this trial contained practically no disagreements over the facts. As the indictment states, I indeed rode my bicycle, alongside others, through the streets of Tel Aviv, to protest the siege on Gaza… The subject of my alleged offense, as well as the motivation behind it were political. This is something that cannot be sidestepped. The State of Israel maintains an illegitimate, inhuman and illegal siege on the Gaza Strip, which still is occupied territory according to international law. This siege, carried out in my name and in yours as well, sir, in fact in all of our names, is a cruel collective punishment inflicted on ordinary citizens, residents of the Gaza strip, subjects-without-rights under Israeli occupation…”
A fragile ceasefire holds in Gaza, but it can’t last. Amira Hass – an Israeli journalist who lived there for three years – reports on the unbearable tension of life inside the strip…
“Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community! We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference… We want three things. We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace. Is that too much to ask? We are a peace movement consistent of young people in Gaza and supporters elsewhere that will not rest until the truth about Gaza is known by everybody in this whole world and in such a degree that no more silent consent or loud indifference will be accepted.”
Follow Gaza Youth Breaks Out (GYBO) on Facebook…
In an article commissioned by the Jewish Socialists’ Group and just published in Jewish Socialist no 60, Diana Neslen describes why, in the wake of the Israeli military’s lethal attach on the Mavi Marmara, a group of Jewish activists took to the high seas on the 10-metre catamaran Irene. She writes of the activity of JfJfP and like-minded others: “We are symbolically acting for all the Jewish community in the hope that it will spur some to capture this moment and begin to turn towards humanity, towards justice and human rights, and against bigotry and human abuse. Only then will emancipation truly be accomplished.”
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has released a new report on the situation in Gaza. It provides a searing account of the ongoing situation in Gaza and a damning indictment of the international community for allowing it to continue.
In June the blockade of Gaza was ‘eased’ Ocha reports that, the Israeli authorities have REDUCED the amounts of wheat allowed into the Gaza Strip during the past few months. At the same time, the blockade is supposedly about “security”. How come Israel has just announced it will allow limited EXPORTS – of agricultural products, furniture, textiles and ceramics – from Gaza. Indeed, if security is the issue why have any exports ever been banned?
A new report, “Dashed Hopes: Continuation of the Gaza Blockade” has just been published by an impressive international coalition of development, human-rights and peace-building organisations. It consists of Amnesty International UK, Broederlijk Delen, Cafod, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, Christian Aid, Church of Sweden, Cordaid, Diakonia, Europe-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EUHRN), Handicap International, ICCO, IKV Pax Christi, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), Medico International, Merlin, MS Action Aid Denmark, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Quaker Council for European Affairs, Oxfam International, Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT ), Redd Barna, Save the Children UK, Trocaire and UCP. We reproduce its conclusions here.
On 20th June Israel announced it was easing the blockade of Gaza, after three years of severely restricting access for food, fuel, construction materials and medical supplies. In October a delegation from the Britain Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group visited Gaza to assess the situation in what Prime Minister David Cameron terms “a prison camp”. Its report has now been published.