First, the latest updates from Democracy Now!
“Israel Launches Spy Satellite
The Israeli government has launched a spy satellite apparently capable of monitoring Iran. The Horizon-9 satellite was launched this week from a southern Israeli military base. The launch comes shortly after the former head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency said Israel should launch a military attack on Iran. Speaking to an Israeli conference, Shabtai Shavit said, “Since there is an ongoing war, since the threat is permanent, since the intention of the enemy…is to annihilate you, the right doctrine is one of preemption and not of retaliation.”
Poll: Most Palestinians Support Peace Deal with Israel
A new poll shows a majority of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories support reaching a peace agreement with the Israeli government. According to the Norwegian-based group FAFO, 73 percent of Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza say they support negotiations with Israel but that the talks should be preconditioned on a settlement freeze. The poll also shows growing support for nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation, with the number of Palestinians who oppose rocket attacks from Gaza increasing to 61 percent from 53 percent. Israel has refused a settlement freeze while also rejecting any peace agreement that would involve giving up its large settlement blocs in the occupied West Bank.
Israel Accused of Unlawfully Treating Jailed Nuclear Whistleblower
The Israeli government is being accused of unlawfully treating the jailed Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu by holding him in solitary confinement. Vanunu was initially released from prison in 2004 after serving an eighteen-year sentence for revealing details of Israel’s nuclear weapons program. Israel has barred him from leaving the country and sent him back to jail last month for violating the terms of his parole by having contact with a foreigner. In a statement, Amnesty International said, ‘Vanunu suffered immensely when he was held in solitary confinement for eleven years after his imprisonment in 1986, and to return him to such conditions now is nothing less than cruel, inhuman or degrading.’
Swedish Dockworkers Launch Week-Long Boycott of Israeli Ships
In Sweden, dockworkers have launched a week-long boycott of all ships and goods originating from or destined to Israel. The Swedish Dockworkers’ Union had announced the action shortly after the Israeli killing of nine activists in its assault on the Free Gaza Movement’s aid flotilla last month. The dockworkers’ protest will take place at all unionized Swedish ports until Tuesday. It comes days after hundreds of Bay Area peace activists temporarily prevented an Israeli ship from unloading its goods at an Oakland port after the local longshoremen’s union refused to cross their picket line…”
–Democracy Now!, 24 June, 2010
“Israel Advances East Jerusalem Demolitions, Orders Expulsion of 4 Palestinian Politicians
In Israel and the Occupied Territories, the Israeli government is proceeding with plans to demolish over twenty Palestinian homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. Israel wants to build an archeological park in their place. The move comes just two weeks before Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with President Obama at the White House. Israel meanwhile has also ordered the expulsion of four Palestinian politicians affiliated with Hamas. The politicians’ residency status has been revoked after they were deemed ‘disloyal’ to the Israeli state. Palestinian Authority spokesperson Ghassan Khatib criticized the Israeli measures.
Ghassan Khatib: ‘The Palestinian government criticized and condemned the most recent Israeli violation of Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem, particularly the deportation of four Palestinian Legislative Council members who are alleged of not being loyal to the state of Israel.’
Road Shipments Begin Entering Gaza
Meanwhile, in Gaza, road shipments of aid supplies have begun entering the coastal enclave following Israel’s decision to alter the blockade. A resident of Gaza criticized Israel for continuing to bar vital building materials.
Gaza resident: ‘It is only a media propaganda that they lifted the siege, but in reality we do not see any change. The people want to build their destroyed houses, and there is no construction material, also no electronics or mechanic materials. If they do not let these materials into Gaza, then there is no meaning for lifting the siege’…”
–Democracy Now!, 23 June, 2010
Also From Democracy Now!
The Images Israel Didn’t Want Seen: Video and Photographs from the Gaza-Bound Aid Flotilla
–Democracy Now, 10 June, 2010
And from The Electronic Intifada:
Integrating Palestine into the US progressive left
“Hardly an Arab or Palestinian living in the United States does not desire their fellow Americans to carry the banner of Palestinian justice and shift US policy toward the conflict. Even the revered Columbia Professor Edward Said who commanded respect and attention in a broad spectrum of fields echoed this sentiment. At a 2002 al-Awda rally in New York he called upon the impassioned throng to talk about Palestine everywhere, to everyone: at the supermarket, near the office water cooler, at the playground, with members of the Parent Teacher Association, on the bus, and at the bus stop — everywhere.
Yet despite this yearning to nurture American solidarity, there is a vast divide between the aspiration and the understanding required for its realization — that Palestinians, other nations, and millions of marginalized Americans contend with the same structural impediments standing between them and the full realization of their human dignity. The understanding of a common enemy and the affirmation of a common humanity is the linchpin of genuine solidarity.
Who then might constitute effective allies of Palestinians in the US? Who contends with institutionalized discrimination similar to that which renders Palestinians second-class citizens on their own land? Which communities in the US are racially profiled, systematically incarcerated, and rendered poor by a confluence of institutional factors, lack access to health care and employment and secure housing?
For progressive Arab and Palestinian Americans, these US counterparts are immigrant communities, the working poor, migrant workers, indigenous peoples, racial minorities, and other US communities considered expendable by a neoliberal economic framework that touts itself as colorblind, reveres individualism, disdains social and economic rights, and places corporate profits above people’s welfare. These economic policies have driven poor families out of their homes in the US, have led to the systematic incarceration of African-Americans in prisons for profit, have devastated labor’s ability to negotiate workers’ rights, have accelerated gentrification in urban centers, and have fueled the insidious attack against immigrants.
Like their counterparts, Palestinians and other nations endure the brunt of neoliberal prerogatives — foremost of which is the expansion of labor and consumer markets as well as resource extraction — by way of colonization and/or military domination.
Thousands of Americans opposed to neoliberalism’s manifestation in the US and beyond — what I term the ‘progressive left’ — are organizing the second US Social Forum to take place in Detroit, Michigan from 22-26 June 2010. The Forum is the US-based counterpart to the World Social Forum and according to its architects it ‘will provide space to build relationships, learn from each other’s experiences, share our analysis of the problems our communities face, and bring renewed insight and inspiration. It will help develop leadership and develop consciousness, vision, and strategy needed to realize another world.’
The US Social Forum reflects the political principles drafted at the World Social Forum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2001. At the heart of those principles is a commitment to a global collaborative process aimed at creating a world wherein nation-states will ‘rest on democratic international systems and institutions at the service of social justice, equality, and the sovereignty of peoples’…
–The Electronic Intifada, 23 June, 2010