gaza blockade

Gaza Blockade Hangs Fire in Cairo: Where Is the Anti-War Left?

The greatest struggle facing the anti-war movement in the United States is the struggle to get people who come to anti-war demonstrations after a war starts to engage politically to prevent the same wars in the future. In the case of U.S. policy towards Iran, we created a political movement to support diplomacy with Iran to prevent war in the future. But in the case of Gaza, there is no political movement in the United States to support diplomacy to prevent war in the future.

Consider:

1. While Israel was bombing and invading Gaza, there were demonstrations across the United States against the war and against U.S. support for the war.

#StandWithKeith: Barbara Lee calls for ending Gaza blockade in ceasefire agreement

From the statement she sent on August 6th to KPFA:

“I have called and will continue to call for a sustained cease fire to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis, end the blockade of Gaza, and stop the loss of civilian lives.”

http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/105382 (at 10:27 mark.)

Here's what she said, with Ellison, in 2010:

Black Caucus members want Gaza blockade lifted in light of flotilla incident

 

Gaza's Ark Attacked: Show Your Support

In the last few days, we asked you to participate in efforts to support Gaza's Ark, a project to politically challenge the blockade of Gaza by bringing a boat out of the port of Gaza carrying Palestinian exports. Thanks to the many of you who signed the Gaza's Ark petition or participated in the Twitter storm!

Today, we have grim news. Gaza's Ark was attacked last night. [1]

At 3:45 AM Gaza time, the night guard on board Gaza's Ark received a call to leave the boat because it was going to be attacked. The guard left, but when nothing happened after about 5 minutes, he returned. A few minutes later, a large explosion rocked the boat, causing extensive damage. [2]

The boat sank part way and is now sitting on the shallow sea floor. The guard was not injured but was taken to the hospital for tests.

Investigations are underway, both to determine what happened and to determine whether the boat can be repaired.

Here's how you can help now:

1. Help us get the word out about what has happened to the boat. If you're on Twitter, share tweets from @GazaArk and @justfp about what happened. If you're on Facebook, share the Al Jazeera article.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/04/blast-damages-gaza-anti...

2. Sign and share the petition. If you haven't signed the petition to the UN against the blockade yet, please sign and share. If you have signed it, please share it again. The petition currently has 6,500 signatures. We'd like to get that to 10,000 in the next few days.
http://www.gazaark.org/2014/04/26/petition-to-the-un/

Thank you for all you do to challenge the siege of Gaza,

Robert Naiman, Chelsea Mozen and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy

Please help us reach our April fundraising goal—make a $10 tax-deductible contribution today!

Swedish Foreign Affairs Ministry Backs Ship to Gaza's Opposition to Gaza Blockade

This is a translation of part of a Swedish press report. I am responsible for the translation, in consultation with the Swedish media team of the Estelle.

The Swedish Government and the EU insist that there is a severe humanitarian situation in Gaza and that the border crossings must be opened; this is a position that happens to coincide with the "Ship to Gaza" position. Given that we believe that the blockade should be broken, it would have been reasonable that the boat should have been allowed to proceed, says MFA's press officer Anders Jörle to DN.se.

The Swedish original is here:

http://www.dn.se/nyheter/sverige/estelle-har-anlant-till-israelisk-hamn

Israel attacks Gaza-bound boat in International Waters, Defying International Law (updated)

Israel attacks Gaza-bound boat in International Waters, Defying International Law

Kidnaps Parliamentarians and activists


For immediate release

contact: US Boat to Gaza, Robert Naiman, 217-979-2857; naiman@justforeignpolicy.org
Jane Hirschmann, 845 246 6494; kaneri46@gmail.com

New York, October 20, 10AM EDT - 

Shortly after 4:00AM EDT, when the Gaza-bound Estelle was in international waters about 30 nautical miles from Gaza, Israeli warships surrounded the Estelle and forcibly boarded and took command of the ship and took its 30 passengers into custody.

PRESS RELEASE FROM BOAT TO GAZA: Imminent Israeli Threat to Seize Gaza-Bound Boat in International Waters

For immediate release

Contact:
US Boat to Gaza:
Robert Naiman: 217-979-2857; naiman@justforeignpolicy.org
Jane Hirschmann: 845-246-6494; kaneri46@gmail.com

Canadian Boat to Gaza:
Ehab Lotayef: 514-941-9792
David Heap (in Gaza, with Noam Chomsky) +972 59 289 3106

Imminent Israeli Threat to Seize Gaza-Bound Boat in International Waters;
Estelle 120 Nautical Miles Outside of Gaza

Combat Veteran Yonatan Shapira on Board, former Crew Member on U.S. Boat to Gaza,
Reachable by Phone on Boat

Will the Media Let Ron Paul Question U.S. Foreign Policy?

Will the news media let Ron Paul raise serious questions about U.S. foreign policy? It's a crucial test case not only of the prospects that the media will serve the interests of the 99% rather than the 1%, but of the prospects for a foreign military and economic policy that reflects the values and interests of the 99%, rather than those of the 1%.

Economist and media critic Dean Baker recently posed this question in a forum at Politico. Politico's David Mark convened the forum under the headline, "Can Ron Paul Take a Punch?"

 

Now that Rep. Ron Paul is a top-tier candidate in Iowa rivals are likely to gang up. They may target the Texan's associations with unsavory characters, or a sometimes less-than-pure libertarian stance on congressional earmarks. Middle East politics could also complicate Paul's presidential bid - he once likened Israel's defensive blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza to "a concentration camp."

Can Ron Paul take a punch?

Dean Baker responded:

 

The better question is whether the media will allow Paul to raise serious questions about the nature of this country's foreign policy. I recall watching one of the Republican presidential debates in 2008 where the moderator asked whether the president could unilaterally take military action against Iran.

 

Mayor Giuliani answered first and gave a characteristic Giuliani answer to the effect of the president can do whatever he wants. Gov. Romney then gave a conditional this and that answer, and then said that if the question was one of constitutional authority, you would have to call in the lawyers.

Shalit is Free. Lift the Siege of Gaza Now.

In the world of principle and international law, the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza - which until now blocks Gazans from traveling to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and blocks Gazans from exporting, farming, fishing, and otherwise earning their living - is a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which bars the use of "collective punishment" against a civilian population living under occupation.

The International Committee of the Red Cross - a key guardian of the Fourth Geneva Convention - has stated this clearly. As Voice of America reported:

"The International Committee of the Red Cross says Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip breaks international law. The humanitarian agency said Monday that the blockade violates the Geneva Convention, which bans 'collective punishment' of a civilian population. "

Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 - on the Red Cross website - says: "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited...Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited."

"Protected persons" are defined in Article 4: "Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals."

U.S. Boat to Gaza is a Quarter Jewish - "Not Too Shabby!"


According to the New York Times, a quarter of the passengers on the U.S. Boat to Gaza are Jewish.

What does it mean that the U.S. Boat to Gaza is a quarter Jewish? According to the noted American Jewish commentator Adam Sandler, a quarter Jewish is "not too shabby!" Maybe the U.S. Boat to Gaza will be mentioned in Adam's next Hanukkah song.

What does it mean that the U.S. Boat to Gaza is a quarter Jewish? Maybe it means that the Israeli authorities will have some compunction about shooting up our boat. After all, isn't the official story of Zionism all about making a "safe harbor" for Jews in Palestine? We're not trying to make aliyah. We just want to visit. Should we be shot for trying to do so? Wouldn't it be a mitzvah to let us pass unharmed?

What does it mean that the U.S. Boat to Gaza is a quarter Jewish? Maybe it means that we can openly contest a construction of Jewish identity based on supporting the obstruction of Palestinian freedom, with a Jewish counter-narrative of universal human liberation.

U.S. Boat to Gaza passenger Hedy Epstein, an 86-year-old whose parents died in the Holocaust, told the New York Times,

 

Egypt Opens Rafah Crossing: This Is What Democracy Looks Like

There was a slogan on the streets of Seattle: "This is what democracy looks like." You can't love democracy and denigrate protest, because protest is part of democracy. It's a package deal.

Likewise, you can't claim solidarity with Egyptian protesters when they take down a dictator, but act horrified that the resulting government in Egypt, more accountable to Egyptian public opinion, is more engaged in supporting Palestinian rights. It's a package deal.

On Saturday, at long last, the Egyptian government "permanently opened" the Egypt-Gaza passenger crossing at Rafah. A big part of the credit for this long-awaited development belongs to Tahrir. It was the Tahrir uprising that brought about an Egyptian government more accountable to public opinion, and it was inevitable that an Egyptian government more accountable to public opinion would open Rafah, because public opinion in Egypt bitterly opposed Egyptian participation in the blockade on Gaza.

In addition, opening Rafah was a provision of the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation accord brokered by the Egyptian government - an achievement facilitated by the fact that the post-Tahrir Egyptian government was more flexible in the negotiations with Hamas that led to the accord.

Mubarak had a deal with the U.S. government: I obey all your commands on the Israel-Palestine issue, and in exchange, you shut your mouth about human rights and democracy. Tahrir destroyed this bargain, because it forced the U.S. to open its mouth about human rights and democracy in Egypt, regardless of Egypt's stance on Israel-Palestine. When it became clear to Egypt's rulers that subservience to the U.S. on Israel-Palestine would no longer purchase carte blanche on human rights and democracy, there was no reason to slavishly toe the U.S. line on Israel-Palestine anymore.