USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

Archive for June, 2010

Palestine at the US Social Forum

Posted by uscsjp on June 24, 2010

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


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Flotilla Demonstration, TODAY (Fri 4 June) @ 4PM on Wilshire & La Jolla

Posted by uscsjp on June 4, 2010

Rally in Solidarity with the Freedom Flotilla organized by Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition.  The message of the demonstration is calling for an end of the seige on Gaza and demanding justice for the peace activists killed on the Freedom Flotilla this past May 31st.

When: Friday, June 3 at 4PM
Where: the Israeli Consulate at 6830 Wilshire Blvd. on Wilshire and La Jolla

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“Israeli Military Retracts Claim Passengers ‘Al Qaeda Mercenaries'”

Posted by uscsjp on June 4, 2010

“MV Rachel Corrie Continues Aid Mission to Gaza

The Free Gaza Movement’s remaining humanitarian aid ship is expected to reach the Gaza coastline in the next day. The MV Rachel Corrie is continuing its mission in the face of Israeli vows to thwart its passage following the attack on the other six ships in the Freedom Flotilla earlier this week. Named after the slain US peace activist, passengers aboard the Rachel Corrie include Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire and former United Nations deputy secretary-general Denis Halliday.

Thousands Mourn Turkish Victims of Flotilla Attack

Up to 20,000 people gathered in Istanbul on Thursday to pay tribute to the nine activists killed in the attack. The coffins were carried through central Istanbul draped in Turkish and Palestinian flags. The youngest of the nine victims was nineteen-year-old US citizen Furkan Dogan. Dogan was born in Troy, New York and moved to Turkey when he was two years old. An autopsy showed he was shot at close range, once in the chest and four times in the head.

Passenger: Israeli Troops Fired at Unarmed Passengers, Ignored SOS Calls

As the dead are laid to rest, survivors of the flotilla attack continue to speak out about the assault on the Mavi Marmara. After returning to London, British peace activist and flotilla passenger Sarah Colborne said Israeli troops ignored SOS calls from the passengers aboard the ship.

Sarah Colborne: ‘We wrote a sign in Hebrew saying, “SOS! Need medical assistance. People are dying. Urgent.” Hanin Zoabi, who’s a Knesset member, an Israeli Knesset member, took that sign to the front—to the back of the boat, where the soldiers were pointing at her. They ordered her to go back.’

Colborne says she also witnessed Israeli troops shooting unarmed passengers and handcuffing medics accompanying the aid mission.

Israeli Military Retracts Claim Passengers ‘Al Qaeda Mercenaries’

The Israeli military, meanwhile, has been forced to retract its claim that passengers aboard the flotilla were agents of al-Qaeda. An Israel Defense Forces press release sent out two days after the assault says approximately forty flotilla passengers ‘are mercenaries belonging to the Al Qaeda terror organization.’ The independent journalist Max Blumenthal says both he and an Israeli colleague asked the Israeli military press office to substantiate its claim. No evidence was provided, and one day later the press released was modified. The original headline was changed from ‘Attackers of the IDF Soldiers Found to be Al Qaeda Mercenaries’ to ‘Attackers of the IDF Soldiers Found Without Identification Papers.’ Commenting on the retraction, Blumenthal writes, ‘The more Israel’s claims about the flotilla’s terrorist links are challenged, the more they fall apart’…”

–Democracy Now!, 4 June, 2010

See Democracy Now’s “Israel-Palestine” Page for Background and Latest Updates

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