Israel Maraqa of ISM on WORT

Gil Halstead with Israel Maraqa on Access

Shahir Hunaina, YouTube, November 16, 2016

My Blood is Palestinian (Dammi Falastini), translation by Sara Ba

Keeping my oath, following my religion
You will find me on my land
I belong to my people, I sacrifice my soul for them
My blood is Palestinian, Palestinian, Palestinian
My blood is Palestinian

We stood for you, our homeland
With our pride and Arabisim
Al-Quds land called us
(As) The sound of my mother calling me
Palestinian, Palestinian
My blood is Palestinian

Keeping my oath, following my religion
You will find me on my land
I belong to my people, I sacrifice my soul for them
My blood is Palestinian, Palestinian, Palestinian
My blood is Palestinian

O mother don’t worry
Your homeland is a fortified castle
Which I sacrifice my soul for
And my blood, and my veins

Keeping my oath, following my religion
You will find me on my land
I belong to my people, I sacrifice my soul for them
My blood is Palestinian, Palestinian, Palestinian
My blood is Palestinian

I’m Palestinian, a son of a free family
I’m brave and my head is always up
I’m keeping my oath to you my homeland
And I have never bowed to anyone
Palestinian, Palestinian
My blood is Palestinian

Keeping my oath, following my religion
You will find me on my land
I belong to my people, I sacrifice my soul for them
My blood is Palestinian, Palestinian, Palestinian
My blood is Palestinian
 

The Palestinian women at the forefront of Gaza’s protests

In socially conservative Gaza, women have been leading the Great Return March movement, uniting all Palestinians.

Mersiha Gadzo & Anas Jnena, 20 Apr 2018

‘I loved the sense of unity we all felt when both young men and women helped each other during the march protest,’ said Taghreed al-Barawi, seen in the photo [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]

Gaza Strip – On one side of the fence, dozens of Israeli soldiers lay positioned behind sand dunes, tracking the Palestinian demonstrators through the crosshairs of their snipers.

On the other side, young women, with keffiyeh scarves covering half their faces to avoid tear gas suffocation, stand in front of the young protesting men, providing cover.

“Women are less likely to be shot at,” said 26-year-old Taghreed al-Barawi on April 13, while attending the third consecutive Friday protests in Gaza near the Israeli border with her younger sister and a group of friends.

“We live in a male-dominated society and women’s participation in protests can be a strange scene for some people in Gaza. However, this time men somehow were more accepting and encouraging. It seems like they finally realised that we’re all part of this and women should be present,” Barawi said.

But being female is no guarantee for protection.

Some 1,600 protesters, including 160 women, have been wounded and more than 30 have been killed by Israeli snipers since the Great Return March movement began on March 30, marked as Land Day for Palestinians.

Even though Barawi inadvertently choked on tear gas numerous times and felt like she was about to faint, the thought of quitting the protest didn’t cross her mind.

“I had this feeling of strange courage, or I don’t know what to call it – it’s as if the nearer I got to the border, the stronger my desire was to move forward. Maybe it was the urge to come closer to our home and visit it [territories that Israel took over in 1948].

“Personally, I’m also inspired and intrigued by Ahed Tamimi and her bravery standing up to the Israeli army,” Barawi said.

The Great Return March is a non-violent, grassroots movement that calls for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homes, as per the UN Resolution 194, from which they were expelled in 1948 when the state of Israel was created.

Thousands have been participating in the mass sit-in, with dozens of tents erected along the border with Israel. Each tent is labelled with the name of the town that the family was expelled from in 1948. It’s the largest mass protest Gaza has seen since the first Intifada.

The Palestinian territory with nearly two million population can only be accessed via Egypt and Israel but an Israeli-Egyptian blockade has been suffocating the Strip for 11 years. Living conditions have deteriorated over the years and unemployment wavers around 43 percent. Residents say they have reached a breaking point.

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Israel is now arming seven rebel groups in Syria

Syria is now a proxy war for Israel, Iran, Russia, Turkey, and the U.S.

Asa Winstanley, Middle East Monitor, February 28, 2018

Israeli forces at the Golan Heights border [Escla/Wikipedia]

The illegal Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights has now been in place for more than 50 years. This substantial territory, part of southern Syria, was conquered by Israeli occupation forces in the 1967war.

The majority of the Syrian population in the territory was then either expelled, or fled towards safety. Israel demolished their homes, buildings and entire villages in the Golan in order to build Jewish settlements where they once stood.

In 1981, in defiance of the United Nations and international law, Israel annexed the Golan Heights. This move – unrecognised even by Israel’s allies – was intended to solidify Israel’s de facto control of the occupied Syrian territory, giving it a gloss of legalistic self-recognition. What’s more, over the past few years Israel has used the cover of the long-running and bloody war in Syria to expand its control of the Golan, far into the rest of the south of its neighbour’s sovereign territory; it wants as much control as possible.

As I wrote here last summer, Israel is now establishing a buffer zone in the south of Syria, extending from the Golan. Working with local proxies in the south, Israel is establishing what its front organisations claim is a “safe zone”.

Read: Israel suffers major setback in Syria

That summer we learned that Israel was supporting a “border force” rebel group between the Golan and the rest of Syria to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. In the years prior to that, Israel had worked to support Al-Qaeda-linked groups in the south of Syria. This support took the form of treating wounded fighters in Israeli hospitals across the border, before sending them back to Syria to fight the regime.

The latest news is that Israel’s arming of proxy forces in Syria seems to be escalating. A report in Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz last week stated that Israel is now arming “at least” seven rebel groups in the Golan, which are “getting arms and ammunition from Israel, along with money to buy additional armaments.”

The groups in question all report a recent increase in Israeli aid. This comes in the wake of various states, including Jordan and the US, scaling down their armament operations in Syria. As Haaretz reported, “In January, the Trump administration closed the operations centre the CIA ran in Amman, the Jordanian capital, which coordinated aid to rebel organisations in southern Syria. As a result, tens of thousands of rebels who received regular economic support from the US have been bereft of this support.”

The Israeli aim here seems to be twofold. First of all, it is to keep the armed forces of Iran and Hezbollah – the Syrian regime’s allies – away from the boundary line of the Golan. The quickest way to do this is to make sure that there is a feasible armed opposition in that area.

Read: Israel will never go to war with Syria or Iran

Secondly, Israel’s arms proliferation programme is intended to promote its official strategic objective in the region; to “let both sides bleed” in order to prolong the war for as long as possible. Weakening Syria and its allies, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iran, is an important goal for Israel and its superpower backer, the United States. Even more important is the goal of making sure that the war carries on.

All of this is in addition to the general Israeli goal of controlling the maximum amount of land that it can grab and keep. The buffer zone that Israel is stealthily attempting to extend as much as 40 kilometres further into Syria is being achieved through front groups posing as supposedly “non-governmental” aid organisations, as well as covering the salaries of rebel fighters and sending funding to buy arms.

These bogus “civil society aid” groups backed by Israel in the south of Syria – extending its Golan occupation – are a front. In reality, they are a way to extend Israeli proxy control throughout the region.

All of this is very much out of the Israeli play book in Lebanon. Between 1982 and 2000, Israel illegally occupied the south of Lebanon. After the 1982 invasion — which reached as far as Beirut — Israel withdrew to a “buffer” zone in southern Lebanon. Instead of occupying the zone with Israeli soldiers, much of the work was handled by Lebanese proxy forces. These puppet armed groups oppressed the population on behalf of Israel. This soon led to armed resistance to the Israeli occupation, and it was in this environment that Hezbollah was born.

Israel illegally occupied the south of Lebanon until 2000, when the resistance led by Hezbollah drove out the main Israeli proxy, the so-called South Lebanon Army. Today, Israel is attempting to establish what is, in all but name, a “South Syria Army”. Whether it succeeds is questionable but, as the history of Lebanon shows, even if it does, Israel is unlikely to maintain control in the long run.

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Palestinian Child Prisoners
Day of Social Media Action
April 17, 2018

Palestine Solidarity Campaign, April 16, 2018

Join us in campaigning to protect child prisoners on the 17th April, marking the International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners.

We need you to help raise awareness of the mistreatment of Palestinian children by sharing our ready made infographics on your social media throughout tomorrow. Please post 2 or 3 of the images at the end of this email, also to be found on our website, with the hashtag #freechildprisoners .

Please also take the opportunity to write to Congress to ensure that pressure remains for action in holding Israel accountable for violating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Under Israeli Military Detention, Palestinian children as young as 12 are routinely:

    • Taken from their homes in night time raids at gunpoint
    • Blindfolded, bound and shackled
    • Interrogated without a lawyer or relative and with no audio-visual recording
    • Put into solitary confinement
    • Forced to sign confessions – often in Hebrew, a language they do not understand

Children shouldn’t have to fight against the injustices of occupation, which is why they need our support. Please lend your voice on twitter and facebook, and also write to Congress.

The statistics are truly shocking. Over 78% of detained children are strip searched each year, 74.5% report physical violence committed against them, and 97% are interrogated without a parent or lawyer present.

A 2013 UNICEF report called Israeli ill-treatment of children “widespread, systematic, and institutionalised”. Every year 500 – 700 children are subjected to this traumatic experience.

Change will only come from sustained international pressure. We at PSC are making sure that the cry for justice for Palestinian children is so loud that it can’t be ignored any longer. Thank you for supporting this cause.

“Apartheid, Rogue, Terrorist State”: Glenn Greenwald on Israel


Democracy Now! April 9, 2018

On Saturday, hundreds of mourners gathered in Gaza for the funeral of Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja, who was fatally shot by the Israeli army while covering a fresh round of deadly protests along the Israel-Gaza border. Photos show the 30-year-old journalist was wearing a flak jacket clearly marked ”PRESS” at the time of the shooting. He’s one of at least nine Palestinians who were killed by the Israeli army during its brutal crackdown against Friday’s protests. The Palestinian Health Ministry says Israeli forces have killed 31 people in total since Palestinians kicked off a 6-week-long nonviolent protest late last month, dubbed “The Great March of Return.” Both the International Criminal Court and the United Nations have rebuked Israel in recent days and warned its actions on the border could violate international human rights conventions. For more, we continue our conversation with Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of the founding editors of The Intercept.

Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: On Saturday, hundreds of mourners gathered in Gaza for the funeral of Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja, who was fatally shot by the Israeli army while covering a fresh round of daily protests along the Israeli-Gaza border. Photos show the 30-year-old journalist was wearing a flak jacket clearly marked ”PRESS” at the time of the shooting. He’s one of at least nine Palestinians who were killed by the Israeli army during its brutal crackdown against Friday’s protests. The Palestinian Health Ministry says Israeli forces have killed 31 people in total since Palestinians kicked off a 6-week-long nonviolent protest late last month, dubbed “The Great March of Return.”

AMY GOODMAN: Both the International Criminal Court and the United Nations have rebuked Israel in recent days and warned its actions on the border could violate international human rights conventions.

We are continuing our conversation with Glenn Greenwald, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Glenn, can you talk about what’s happened in Gaza over the last two weeks, with Avigdor Lieberman, the high-level Israeli official, saying that no Gazan is innocent?

GLENN GREENWALD: I think it’s just time to acknowledge and accept the reality of what Israel is. Whatever you thought of Israel in the past, believing that it was some kind of bastion of liberal democracy in the Middle East, that it was surrounded by primitive brutal enemies, all the propaganda, what’s clear now is that Israel is something quite different than all of that. And even people who once believed that are now starting to come and see that Israel is an apartheid, rogue, terrorist state. The conduct that it engages in, continually and without apology, proudly, and the comments that it makes, including the one you just referenced from the defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who said there are no innocent people in Gaza, which is basically the mentality of a genocidal maniac, is reflective of what Israel is.

And I think the context here is so critical, which is that a lot of people have come to realize that Benjamin Netanyahu is this far-right, bloodthirsty, militaristic figure. And what’s amazing about it is that in the context of Israeli politics, Benjamin Netanyahu resides in the center of Israeli politics, if not almost now on the left. There’s very little political force to his left. All the political force is to his right. The younger generation of Israeli leaders think that Netanyahu is too moderate, that he’s too centrist, that he’s too soft on the Palestinians. They don’t believe in a Palestinian state. They don’t pretend to support the two-state solution. They want to dominate that land forever. They believe they’re religiously entitled to it. They want to—basically, they believe in apartheid, a policy of apartheid, forever suppressing what is soon to be the majority, the Palestinians, ruled by a minority of Israelis, using whatever war crimes and slaughter and murder they need to in order to suppress and intimidate that population.

And if seeing the Israeli military gun down children on a Gazan beach in 2014 while they played soccer, or end the life of a journalist on purpose, who is wearing a press jacket, by putting a bullet in him, through a sniper, doesn’t show you what the Israeli government really is, what will? And I think the question now is, you know, all these people in the West who love to go around urging humanitarian intervention, and the West needs to stop Assad, the West needs to stop Gaddafi, the West needs to stop Saddam Hussein—doesn’t the West need to stop the Israeli government? At the very least, stop arming it and sending it money and sending it intelligence and providing diplomatic cover? Because the Western governments that do that, led by the U.K. and the United States, are very much complicit in everything that’s being done to the Palestinians, which are war crimes and, increasingly, apartheid and genocide.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Glenn, quickly, the impact of the Palestinian nonviolent protests now that are occurring, the constant protests that—of the people pouring out of Gaza to the barrier with Israel?

GLENN GREENWALD: Look at how—what Western discourse says, Juan, about what Palestinians are permitted to do. So, if Palestinians kill troops, Israeli troops, occupying their land, which every country in the world would claim the right to do—if there were Russian troops occupying the U.S., it would be cheered if people killed them. But when Palestinians kill military soldiers occupying their land, they’re called terrorists. When Palestinians advocate a nonviolent boycott of Israel in order to pressure them to end the occupation, the way people did in the ’80s successfully against the South African apartheid regime, that’s called anti-Semitism. When Palestinians nonviolently protest at the border, they’re accused of being agents of Hamas who deserve to be slaughtered.

The discourse of the West is that Palestinians have no right to resist or protest this decades-long occupation. They don’t have a right to do so violently, and they have no right to do so nonviolently. The only thing Western discourse tells Palestinians they’re permitted to do is to meekly acquiesce and submit to and obey the dictates of the Israeli government. And I think the world is finally starting to wake up to the fact that this discourse is incredibly immoral and that—

AMY GOODMAN: Five seconds.

GLENN GREENWALD: —Palestinians have just the same rights as everybody else to protest and resist.

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