Gaza’s Contaminated Water

(Photo credit: Lara Aburamadan)

“Water is our soul, it is life,” says Meryam Abu Ryalah, speaking to MAP at her house overlooking the sea in Beach Refugee Camp, northern Gaza. “Now it is summer and we need to wash our clothes, clean our house and wash our windows and doors to prepare for Eid al Fitr.”

There is a severe daily water shortage,” says Meryam. “When there is electricity, there is no water, and when there is no electricity, there is water.”

Much of Gaza’s water supply infrastructure was damaged during the 2014 attacks on Gaza. Two years on, 40 percent of the equipment needed for operating water and waste-water facilities has still not been able to get into Gaza. Twenty percent of the water and sewage networks have not been fully restored, leaving entire neighbourhoods cut off.

When there is electricity, there is no water, and when there is no electricity, there is water.

“We pay ten shekels to fill a big tank for drinking water and two other small containers, which is enough for five days,”she continues. “The water here is very salty. The other day, when the water was disconnected for four days, we had to bring water direct from the sea to wash our bathrooms.”

“We sometimes have to wash our clothes using drinking water because there’s no water during the day. We shower with salty water and we can’t provide fresh water to the 20 people who live in the house.”

Water-borne disease

Sami Lubbad, Director of Public Health Department and Laboratories in the Gaza Ministry of Health, says that there are currently two major challenges to water quality in Gaza: “The first problem is the high concentration of chemical impurities, including salt. This has a variety of causes, including over-consumption, the high population, and the disorganised and illegal digging of water wells across Gaza. Seawater also contaminates fresh water sources, meaning that in less than 10 years all the water in Gaza will be salinated.”

Just last year, the UN estimated that contamination and over-extraction from Gaza’s only aquifer could make it unusable by this year and the effects irreversible in five years. This was one of the factors contributing to their warning that Gaza may be ‘unliveable’ by 2020 if current trends continue.

“Another problem is the high concentration of nitrates in the water due to the over-use of fertilisers in agriculture,”says Sami. “With the area of land available for agriculture decreasing in Gaza, farmers plant crops more than once per year and have to use more fertilisers and pesticides to ensure their crops grow. These in turn enter the soil and leak into aquifers. We also see contamination from sewage pipes.”

The result of this is predictable: People get sick. “Symptoms of water-borne illnesses, like diarrhea, stomach ache and vomiting, are quite common” says Sami. “Unfortunately, when patients go to hospitals or clinics, doctors often can’t help due to the challenges they face in diagnosing water-borne diseases.”

Water testing

Gaza’s public health department runs laboratories which check the safety of public water sources such as wells, imported water bottles, desalination plants and water tankers. Employees collect samples, which are tested for microbiological and chemical contamination.

With a great deal of sewage being pumped into the sea in Gaza, they also test sea water to make sure it’s clear of diseases like cholera and salmonella. “Before every summer season we tell the people which areas they can and cannot swim in,” says Sami. “There are improvements happening, like the building of a new desalination plant for the sea water, but these are partial solutions, which won’t resolve the problems caused by the destruction in Gaza.”

A durable solution to Gaza’s water woes will only come with an end to the blockade and closure of Gaza, which has now entered its tenth year. Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) has joined with other aid agencies working in the region to call for reconstruction to be accelerated and for Gaza to be opened.

(Source / 09.07.2016)

Standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Gaza

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Ten years of siege, two years since the 2014 Israeli massacre – it’s high time for accountability and for a two-way military embargo on Israel!

A message from the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the broadest coalition of Palestinian civil society organisations that leads the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

Two years ago today, Israel began a brutal military attack on Palestinians in Gaza in which more than 2,300 Palestinians were killed and 100,000 people were displaced.

Israel deliberately attacked entire civilian areas in Gaza and inflicted as much human suffering as it could. The UN and human rights organisations have documented Israel’s war crimes during the massacre.

Gaza has just entered its tenth year of siege, a policy described by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe as “incremental genocide.” The siege has almost entirely prevented meaningful reconstruction since the 2014 attack.

As Abdulrahman Abunahel, our coordinator in Gaza, puts it “One of my worries is that the longer Israel maintains its siege of the world’s largest open-air prison, the more the official international community adapts and accepts Israel’s gradual and deliberate reduction of Gaza into an uninhabitable prison camp where close to 2 million Palestinians face slow death.”

“But as a refugee living in Gaza, it is not enough to just call for the end to Israel’s siege. We need to keep growing our BDS campaigns until the Palestinian people can exercise our right to self-determination, including the right of refugees to return home.”

Help us get spread the word: click here to share our graphic about Gaza and the campaign for a military embargo on Facebook

Israel is able to carry out its brutal military attacks and repress Palestinian popular resistance with impunity. As our Links that Kill fact sheet sets out, Israel is only able to do this because of the massive weapons trade and military cooperation, including research, it maintains with countries across the world.

Over the period 2009-2018, the US is providing military aid to Israel worth $30bn. EU arms exports to Israel during 2014 alone were worth over $1bn (mostly from Germany) and its armsimports from Israel reached a whopping $1.6 bn in 2015.

While India, Colombia and Brazil remain among the top importers of Israeli weapons, it has been recently revealed that Israel has supplied weapons that were used in committing crimes against humanity in Rwanda and South Sudan, among others.

Israel uses its criminal attacks on Palestinians to test its military technology and then exports its weapons as “field tested”. Up to 85% of Israel’s military industry production is exported and 60% of the world’s drones are manufactured by Israel.

Israel is not just oppressing Palestinians – it is exporting its ruthless model of securitization and militarized repression to the world. From the streets of Ferguson to the favelas of Rio to theborders of Fortress Europe, Israeli weapons and ruthless techniques are used to maintain oppression.

Our campaign for a two-way military embargo on Israel is growing. More than a dozen banks have divested from Elbit Systems over its role in Israel’s military violence, for example. Pleaseshare our military embargo graphic on Facebook and check out our fact sheet for more ideas on how to get involved.

We just published a round-up of the impact and growth of the BDS movement so far in 2016.We’re inspired by the way our movement continues to grow and challenge international support for Israel’s crimes, despite Israel doing everything it can to attack and undermine our movement. Please take a look at the round-up and consider sharing it with your family, friends and colleagues.

Thank you for your continued support for our nonviolent struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)

(Source / 09.07.2016)

Over 100,000 People Gather at Free Iran Rally in Paris

Maryam Rajavi, head of the National Council of Resistance of Iran

Maryam Rajavi, head of the National Council of Resistance of Iran

Over 100,000 Iranian dissidents have rallied on Saturday in a giant gathering in Paris calling for the downfall of Iran’s theocratic government. Since morning thousands of Iranians have been pouring in to France’s famous Bourget hall. Coaches are lining up the venue’s main entrance bringing in crowds from across the continent.

A number of current and former high-level American European and Middle East officials placed their collective weight in support of rally organizer, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) an umbrella organization representing a wide variety of Iranian opposition entities seeking to establish freedom and democracy in Iran, reported, www.mojahedin.org website.

The Washington Times interviewed Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Mrs. Rajavi said, in an email interview, that this year’s rally participants “represent the voice of millions of Iranians who are being oppressed in their country and who seek regime change and the establishment of a democratic, pluralist and non-nuclear government based on the separation of religion and state.”

“Their expectation of the next U.S. president, as with other Western leaders, is to abandon the policy of appeasement, which emboldens the Tehran regime to intensify the suppression of the Iranian people while continuing the policy of exporting terrorism to the region,” she said.

Former White House Director of Public Liaison Linda Chavez opening the Grand Iranian Gathering said, “Let’s honor and commend the bravery and dedication of Camp Liberty residents. We all know that Camp Liberty came under heavy missile attacks on July 4th, which left vast destruction and dozens of injuries.

“The Mullahs perpetrating this attack showed that what threatens them the most and what are they afraid of the most. Therefore let’s make it clear to the mullahs that nothing can and would prevent the Iranian Resistance from forging ahead for democracy and freedom in Iran.”

U.S. Sen. John Boozman, addressing his ‘friends’ at the mass Free Iran rally here, said he was ‘disturbed’ by the mounting number of human rights violations in Iran and by the dilemma of the Iranian Resistance members in Camp Liberty.

The camp was subjected to a missile bombardment on July 4, which injured more than 50 of the unarmed residents of the PMOI or MeK.

Sen. Boozman, a member of the Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus which aims to shed light on the efforts of Iranian people to bring democracy to Iran, said in a letter to the gathering that he is ‘committed to preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapons program,’ and to the ‘noble cause’ of the Resistance.

U.S. Congressman, Brad Sherman, veteran of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, emphasized the significance of the Free Iran rally and congratulated the PMOI for “the critical role it played in exposing the Iranian regime’s nuclear weapons program.”

This year high-profile American figures — such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former ambassadors to the United Nations John Bolton, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, to name a few — confirmed their attendance at the Free Iran rally. The number of officials endorsing and attending the NCRI’s rally appears to increase every year.

Every year, the NCRI gathers the opposition and supporters of freedom and democracy in Iran. More than 100,000 Iranian expatriates attended the rally last year. The annual event attracts hundreds of prominent international personalities, many high-level politicians, political leaders, military officials, religious leaders, and former diplomats from around the world.

(Source / 09.07.2016)

Palestinian prisoner and former hunger striker Thaer Halahleh’s administrative detention renewed

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Palestinian prisoner and former long-term hunger striker Thaer Halahleh’s administrative detention without charge or trial was renewed for the fifth time, reported the Palestinian Center for Prisoners’ Studies on Saturday, 9 July. Halahleh, who is ill with Hepatitis C, contracted during a dental operation in Israeli prisons where improper sterilization was used, has been imprisoned without charge or trial since 19 August 2014.

Halahleh, 27, from the village of Kharas near al-Khalil, is held in the Negev desert prison. He has been denied family visits with his wife and children for seven months, and receives only painkillers as treatment for his illness.

Halahleh engaged in a 77-day hunger strike in 2012, winning his freedom from administrative detention without charge or trial in June 2012 alongside fellow administrative detainee Bilal Diab. He was arrested again in April 2013 and released in May 2014, before being once again arrested and imprisoned without charge or trial. He has spent 11 years in Israeli prisons, most frequently under administrative detention orders.

Halahleh is one of nearly 750 Palestinian prisoners held without charge or trial under administrative detention on the basis of secret evidence. Administrative detention as a policy as practiced by Israel is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and other relevant international humanitarian and human rights law. Palestinian administrative detainee Bilal Kayed is currently on his 25th day of hunger strike demanding his release from detention, imposed upon him following the completion of his 14.5-year sentence in Israeli prisons.

(Source / 09.07.2016)

The No-State Solution to the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Palestinians waiting at the Qalanidya military checkpoint. (Photo: Tamar Fleishman, Palestine Chronicle)

Palestinians waiting at the Qalanidya military checkpoint

“It is time for the citizens of the world to effect the paradigm shift required to bring about a peaceful resolution to the world’s most infamous conflict.”

Twelve years ago today, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an advisory opinion at the request of the United Nations General Assembly on the legality of the wall Israel has constructed in the West Bank. The ICJ affirmed that all of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are “occupied Palestinian territory”, and that Israel’s wall, as well as its settlements, violate the Fourth Geneva Convention.July 9, 2016

The ICJ’s ruling helps to underscore the prejudicial nature of the discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Western mainstream media—and particularly in the US. The media never fail to elevate Israel’s policy aims to the same level of legitimacy as international law. For example, we can frequently read in the New York Times, the Washington Post, et al, that East Jerusalem or areas where Israeli settlements are located are “disputed” territory—thus placing equal weight to Israel’s position as the entire rest of the planet, which recognizes Israel’s settlements as illegal and East Jerusalem as occupied Palestinian territory.

Needless to say, this is not balanced journalism, but extremely prejudicial to the rights of the Palestinians living under foreign military occupation. When the illegality of the settlements is alluded to by the mainstream media (all too infrequently), they typically obscure it by saying something like: “Most countries do not recognize the legitimacy of Israel’s settlements.” This leaves readers with the impression that the matter is controversial, that there is debate about it within the international community, that there are two legitimate points of view. It affords validity to Israel’s position when it has none. Translated from newspeak, what that means is thatevery single government on planet Earth other than Israel itself recognizes the settlements as a violation of international law.

The media bend over backwards to accommodate and attempt to legitimize Israel’s criminal policies. How can the media get away with such outrageously biased reporting? Furthermore, why is the US mainstream media so prejudiced against the rights of the Palestinians?

The answer is simple: the policy of the US government is one of unconditionally supporting Israel’s violations of international law and the human rights of the Palestinian people.

The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

While the US has long sought to characterize itself as an “honest broker” between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the truth is scarcely concealed beneath the thin veil of rhetoric. The US supports Israel’s violations of international law financially, militarily, and diplomatically.

Military aid to Israel tops $3 billion annually, which aid serves in part as a US taxpayer subsidy for the arms industry as Israel invests in US military technology and hardware. US-supplied arms are routinely used by Israel to commit war crimes, such as its deliberate targeting of schools and hospitals in Gaza under the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) “Dahiya Doctrine”—a reference to the leveling of the Dahiya district of Beirut during Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon and a policy designed to use intentionally disproportionate force in order to punish the civilian population. This policy was implemented during Israel’s military assaults on Gaza in 2008-09 (“Operation Cast Lead”), 2012 (“Operation Pillar of Defense”), and 2014 (“Operation Protective Edge”).

The world superpower also uses its weight to protect Israel from censure for its perpetual violations of international law, acting to prevent Israeli officials from being held accountable for their crimes. For example, in the aftermath of “Operation Cast Lead”, the US sought to bury the report of a UN fact-finding mission (the so-called “Goldstone Report”) that found both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes. The US’s goal was to ensure that the report’s recommendations were not implemented—particularly the recommendation to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) absent credible investigations by the Israeli government and Hamas governing authority into allegations of war crimes, which never occurred (the IDF’s self-investigations, needless to say, were rightfully recognized by the international community as a whitewash).

For another example, in February 2011, the Obama administration—its own rhetorical opposition to Israel’s settlements notwithstanding—went so far as to veto an uncontroversial UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel for its continued expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The Mainstream Media’s Complicity

The mainstream media in the US serve the role of manufacturing consent for government policy, with the intelligentsia acting as high priests of the state religion, as dissident American intellectual Noam Chomsky has described it. As before the US’s illegal war on Iraq (among countless other examples), the media mindlessly parrot government propaganda. It is axiomatic among academics and journalists who have a voice in the mainstream that, while the US government might sometimes make “mistakes”, it only ever acts out of benevolent intent. Voices that don’t subscribe to this belief system are excluded from the discussion. “There is indeed something truly religious,” as Chomsky has observed, “in the fervor with which responsible American intellectuals have sought to deny plain fact and to secure their dogmas concerning American benevolence, the contemporary version of the ‘civilizing mission.’”

Far from serving the role of properly informing the public in order for Americans to be able to make objective judgments about world affairs, the media serve to indoctrinate Americans in narratives about the Palestine conflict that fundamentally obscure its true nature.

This extends to the media’s reporting on the conflict’s origins. There are a great many things that “everyone knows” about the conflict that in fact have no basis in reality. For example, it is a widely believed myth that the UN created Israel or otherwise conferred legal authority to the Zionist leadership for the unilateral declaration of the existence of their “Jewish state” on May 14, 1948. This claim is absolutely false. Moreover, the UN plan to partition Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states called for expropriating land belonging to Arabs in order to redistribute it to Jews. The representatives of member countries who drafted this plan recognized that this prejudiced the rights of the majority inhabitants, but the Arabs’ rights were simply of no consideration to policymakers still operating within a framework of racist colonialism, and so they premised their plan upon the explicitrejection of the right of the Arab majority to self-determination (notwithstanding how this violated the very UN Charter under whose authority they were ostensibly operating).

Needless to say, such minor details as this are never reported when the media fill the public in on the conflict’s origins.

Another thing that “everyone knows” about the conflict is that the combined Arab armies invaded “Israel” after the May 14, 1948 declaration of its existence, in an effort to wipe the nascent state off the map. As the New York Times and other major media report it, today’s refugee problem is an unfortunate legacy of Palestinians having to flee or being expelled by Israeli forces as a consequence of this Arab aggression in 1948. Another minor detail willfully omitted in reports by journalists like the Times’ Ethan Bronner is that by the time the neighboring Arab states managed to muster a military response, 300,000 Arabs had already been ethnically cleansed from their homes in Palestine.

By the time the armistice agreements were signed in 1949, over 700,000 Palestinians had been ethnically cleansed, never permitted to return to their homes despite the recognition under international law that refugees of war have a right to do. Although the Jewish community in 1948 owned less than 7 percent of the land in Palestine, by the time the war was ended, Israel had conquered territory beyond even that allotted to it under the never-implemented UN partition plan (never implemented because the UN Security Council recognized that the only way to do so would be by force, and that it had no authority to partition Palestine against the will of the majority of its inhabitants).

Then again in 1967, as the mainstream media tell it, Israel faced a genocidal threat from its neighboring Arab states, and so launched a preemptive attack against Egypt to defend itself and its citizens from extermination. Never mind that, as no less authoritative a source as former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael B. Oren has documented, Israel’s own intelligence assessed that Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser had no intention of attacking Israel—because he wasn’t insane. Israel had already invaded Egypt once before, in 1956, in collusion with Britain and France, and the CIA observed that Egyptian forces in 1967 had taken up defensivepositions in the Sinai Peninsula and informed President Lyndon B. Johnson that a war was brewing and that it would be started by Israel. Former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, too, has acknowledged that this was a war of choice, and that the Egyptian troop presence in the Sinai didn’t prove that Nasser intended to attack Israel.

During that war, of course, Israel invaded and began its occupation of Gaza and the West Bank—an occupation that persists still today nearly five decades on. The ethnic cleansing also continues incrementally as Palestinians’ homes are demolished or life is otherwise made so miserable for them that they are forced to relocate in order for Jewish settlements to be built, “facts on the ground” designed to prejudice the outcome of negotiations under the US-led so-called “peace process”.

And while the media report on the “peace process” as though the US was truly an objective mediator, the truth, also scarcely concealed beneath the thin veil of rhetoric, is that it is the process by which the US and Israel block implementation of the two-state solution, in favor of which there is otherwise a consensus among the international community.

This consensus is based upon the requirement, emphasized in UN Security Council Resolution 242 (passed in the wake of the 1967 war), that Israel must withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines (also known as the 1967 lines or the “Green Line” for the color with which it was drawn on the map) in accordance with the principle of international law that the acquisition of territory by war is inadmissible. It is also based on the internationally recognized right, reflected in UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (passed during the 1948 war), of  Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.

While the US professes to support a two-state solution, it is emphatically not the same as the two-state solution. The latter is premised upon international law and respect for the equal rights of the Palestinians, while the former is premised upon the use of violence to coerce the Palestinians into accepting Israel’s demands to surrender their rights, including by ceding even more of their land and renouncing their right of return.

What Hope for Peace?

There is a popular view that the Israel-Palestine conflict is inevitable, too complicated for a practical solution to ever be found, which leads to resignation that it will just persist forever. This view is mistaken. There is a solution, which is for international law to be applied. This is the outcome that Israel and the US have fought so aggressively to prevent under the “peace process”, which is premised upon the rejection of the applicability of such treaties as the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions and, instead, elevates Israel’s wants over Palestinians’ rights.

Hence the accommodative reporting in the mainstream media describing East Jerusalem as “disputed” territory, etc., ad nauseum.

So what can be done about this situation? How can the Palestinians ever hope to see justice done, and how can peace ever be realized?

The answer is simple. The citizens of the world simply need to stop waiting for the governments of the world to solve the problem. There needs to be wider recognition that the world’s governments, far from being part of the solution, are part of the problem. This includes the UN organization, which played no small role in helping to create the conflict in the first place, and which continues to play a duplicitous role—most specifically, the UN Secretariat under Ban Ki-moon’s leadership has been complicit in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians (e.g., calling for negotiations “without preconditions” in his role as Quartet partner, which is a euphemism that simply means the Palestinians must cease demanding that Israel cease its illegal settlement construction before rejoining talks under the guise of the US-led “peace process”—among numerous other gross abuses of the authority of his office).

Israel is able to act with such impunity because it has the backing of the world’s most powerful government. The US government, in turn, is able to persist in its complicity in the oppression of the Palestinian people because the media manufacture consent for its criminal policies. Most Americans simply have a perception of the conflict that has no bearing on reality. The mainstream discussion about the subject is fundamentally misrepresentative of the conflict’s true nature.

That needs to change. What is required is a paradigm shift. The public needs to stop buying into the perpetually told lies and propaganda. Americans, along with other citizens of the world, need to become properly informed. There are of course those who will cling to their worldview regardless of the facts, and those whose own prejudices will blind them to the truth. But those of us who are honest and actually care about the victims of the violence—on both sides, both Jew and Arab—have a responsibility to educate ourselves and take an active role in sharing knowledge with others.

We need to reach a critical mass of knowledgeable citizenry, a tipping point at which enough people are properly informed about the conflict’s true nature that it no longer remains feasible for the US government to continue its policy of trying to sustain the status quo of occupation and oppression. This applies to citizens of other countries, too, whose own governments—even those ostensibly supportive of Palestinians’ rights—are blinded to the reality that the “peace process” is designed to prevent a peaceful solution and which thus act complicity by advocating the continuance of this farce. This framework for negotiations needs to be replaced with a real peace process, one which doesn’t reject the applicability of international law and isn’t fundamentally prejudiced against the rights of those who are living under an oppressive occupation regime—in which the oppressed aren’t forced to “negotiate” with their occupiers over the extent to which they can retain their own land.

The world is moving in this direction, albeit not nearly quickly enough to be of any comfort for the victims. The European Union, for example, has revised its guidelines for trading with Israel to include the requirement that goods produced in illegally constructed Israeli settlements be labeled as such. The growing boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement can claim some success in this regard, but there is another important factor frequently overlooked that led to this development: the UN’s recognition in 2012 of Palestine as a non-member observer state.

With the UN’s recognition of Palestinian statehood comes access to international legal institutions such as the ICJ and ICC, to which the Palestinian Authority (PA) may now turn in order to seek legal remedy for Israel’s violations of international law.

So why hasn’t the PA already done so?

The Role of the Palestinian Authority

The answer to that question, too, is simple. The PA was established under the “peace process” to serve the aims of the US and Israeli governments. It is, simply stated, Israel’s collaborator regime in the occupied territories that serves to keep the Palestinians in line by repressing popular uprisings against the occupation regime.

This is not to say that the PA leadership under “President” Mahmoud Abbas—who remains in office illegitimately, his term having long ago expired—is entirely dedicated to serving Israel’s interests. But the US and Israel have their ways of forcing his compliance, such as Israel’s withholding of Palestinian tax dollars it collects on the PA’s behalf in the occupied territories, or the US’s threats to cut off aid to the PA if it steps out of line.

Of course, these are bluffs on the part of Israel and the US since they need the PA in order to sustain the status quo of occupation. Neither wants to risk causing the collapse of the PA—least of all the Israeli military establishment, which prefers to have a collaborator regime in place to do its dirty work for it. While Abbas has taken an important step by successfully submitting Palestine’s application for a status upgrade in the UN General Assembly, he has to date remained too cowardly to take the next step by pursuing legal claims against Israel in the international institutions now available to his government.

It is the risk that Palestine might eventually do so, no doubt, apart from the influence of the BDS movement, that has prompted the EU to revise its trade guidelines with Israel so as to take a modest step away from its complicity in the wholesale criminal violation of Palestinians’ rights.

A Global Intifada

This raises a conundrum for the Palestinians. The weight of the world’s governments, meaningless rhetoric to the contrary nothwithstanding, is against them. Absent recognition as a “state”, they had no recourse to legal mechanisms to compel Israel’s compliance with international law. Yet even with such recognition, they remain powerless given complicity of their own government in their oppression. So it comes to this: if the PA—which has been all too willing to lay Palestinians’ rights on the negotiating table in order to preserve the privileged status of its crony elites—will not act to support the rights of its own people, then the Palestinian people must act to rid themselves of its rule over them.

It is time for another popular uprising, an intifada grounded in the principle of non-violent resistance to occupation and oppression. Hamas and other armed groups must realize that, apart from being illegal and immoral, committing acts of terrorism or engaging in war crimes such as indiscriminate rocket fire into Israeli residential communities are a strategic mistake since such actions serve to hand Israel the very pretext it requires in order to preserve its occupation regime.

This is not to say that the Palestinians must renounce their right to legitimate armed resistance against foreign military occupation, which, too, is codified under international law; it is simply to recognize the futility of trying to gain freedom in this particular case through the barrel of a gun and to see that disallowing Israel even the slightest pretext for its own incomparably greater violence is the surest path to creating the conditions necessary for Israel’s policies to no longer remain politically feasible.

It is up to the rest of us to support the Palestinians in that struggle. We must all rise up in solidarity with the oppressed and become active participants in this Third Intifada. The governments of the world aren’t going to get the job done. It is up to the informed citizens of the world to effect the paradigm shift required to compel state leaderships to cease being part of the problem and to do what is right for the victims on both sides.

That will require a change in the nature of the media’s reporting on the conflict, which, although a daunting task, in this age of the internet and social media is foreseeable. It is up to each of us who cares about human rights to take an active role in the discussion, to educate ourselves and others about the true nature of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and to share that knowledge with others by whatever means available. Enough people need to be knowledgeable enough about the conflict—and the US government’s role in it—that it no longer remains permissible for the mainstream media to serve as the government’s very own Ministry of Propaganda.

That is to say, it is time for the world’s citizens to free themselves from the indoctrination of the state religion and recognize that the state itself—as an institution fundamentally grounded in the use or threat of violence to compel desired behaviors—is the enemy of Liberty and of Peace. Yet so long as these political institutions remain on this planet, they ought to hold themselves to their own obligations under the treaties that comprise the body of international law—and they ought to hold each other’s leaderships accountable when those laws are violated and especially when war crimes are committed. It is toward this end that our collective efforts ought to be focused.

Peace can be achieved. There is a path to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But we shouldn’t make the mistake of focusing so much on establishing respected borders between conflicting parties that we fail to realize what a peaceful, civilized world would look like: one without borders.

(Source / 09.07.2016)

Arrests, injuries in IOF assault on Qalqilya march

QALQILYA, (PIC)–  A number of Palestinian protestors were arrested and others were injured Friday noon following violent clashes with  the Israeli occupation forces (IOF)  in Qalqilya’s town of Kfar Kadum. The IOF cracked down on Palestinian marchers during a demonstration staged in Kfar Kadum to protest Israeli illegal settlement. An Algerian activist was hit with live bullet injuries while other protestors choked on teargas in the process. The IOF arrested the journalists Kamel Barham and Mahmoud Fawzi, along with ambulance nurse Sami Jum’a.

(Source / 09.07.2016)

Mishaal: Gaza to break its siege soon

GAZA, (PIC)– Gaza is soon to break the Israeli blockade, Khaled Mishaal, Chairman of the Political Bureau of Hamas Movement, said on Saturday. Mishaal, addressing a festival on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr organized by Hamas at Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza over the phone, said that Gaza has suffered for long from aggression and oppression. However, Gaza proved its great resoluteness and steadfastness and defeated the enemy in wars imposed on it by this enemy, he added. The Hamas leader lauded the Turkish and Qatari efforts in ending the siege on Gaza, adding that they have covered strides in this direction and still are exerting efforts towards that very end. Mishaal said that Hamas would not be dragged into other wars, adding that its program is one of liberation and not wars. He finally said that Gaza was displaying a big model of patience and insistence on national unity.

(Source / 09.07.2016)

Report from The Iranian Grand gathering (2)

George Sabra, deputy chief of the Syrian negotiation delegation: Once again I reiterate our solidarity with you against dictatorship. The mullahs hijacked the Iranian revolution and ruined the region’s peace. The mullahs sewed the seeds of discord in the region. The Iranian Resistance and the Syrian Revolution are on the same side. When Iranians win, Syrians also win; When Syrians win, Iranians also win. Syrian combatants sent Qassem Soleimani’s forces back to Iran in their coffins. Hail to freedom and free human beings

Maria Candida Almeida, deputy General Attorney of Portugal: On behalf of my people I declare our deep solidarity with you. Never give up. Madam Rajavi, your democratic aspirations will also become realized. Hope, justice and peace is the model for life, thank you for your struggle.

Sekai  Masikana Holland, former minister and senator, leader of the democratic movement, women and children’s rights activist from Zimbabwe: I had heard from our friends about the NCRI, PMOI/MEK and Madam Rajavi. By participating in the rally, I want to draw attention to the struggle and movement in Iran. We want to declare our solidarity with your movement against Islamic fundamentalism . Iran’s freedom is not distant

Bandana Rana, UN woman of the year 2016, from Nepal: I work with women victims of violence. I declare my solidarity with your movement. I have seen great energy and leadership in women in your movement. Iran has not signed CEDAW, so we cannot use this tool for protecting women’s rights.Let us make sure that the women of Iran are not left behind in our quest for equality by 2030, We can and we must.

Ranjana Kumari, women’s rights activist and organizer of Beijing +20 meetings from India : Your struggle for freedom is very important for the world.Your message is spreading everywhere, that when you remain steadfast, you will win. I salute you and salute Maryam Rajavi for her courgeous and for her leadership of this struggle. The day is not far when you will be victorious.

Rebiya Kadeer, leader of the Chinese opposition, President of the World Uyghur Congress and Noble Peace Prize candidate: Free Iran. We struggle for freedom and democracy. Like the people of Iran we have suffered for 66 years. Many of us who are here today, we have paid a heavy price for freedom. We have a common struggle with you ,Maryam Rajavi.I honor the memory of those Camp Liberty residents who were killed by the Iranian regime. Maryam Rajavi, a Muslim woman with Islamic values, is part of the solution.Maryam Rajavi represents the genuine principle of Islam

Delegation of Women’s rights activists comes on the stage.

Rama Yade, former advisor to Foreign Minister for human rights and deputy leader of the Radical Party: This is a bad time for human rights. Banks and investors are turning a blind eye to gross violations of human rights to pursue their interests. When human rights is not respected in a country, it is not possible to have healthy investment. The Iranian economy is in the hands of the IRGC. As long as Iranians do not enjoy human rights, Iranian regime cannot claim to have relations with the world. Human rights is not a western value, it is a universal right. Iranian people years for freedom. The July 2015 agreement was a bad mistake. We will be by your side, Madam Rajavi, in end to the death penalty and equality for women. As a woman I am proud to be your friend and I support your struggle.

Günter Verhuegen, Vice President of the European Commission (2005-2010) : All of us from Germany have come to declare support for the Iranian Resistance. The situation in Camp Liberty and in Iran has made us move and endeavor to support you. We must stop criminal actions against Iranians by their regime. We must not remain silent. We have to speak out and push the world into action. We thank Albania very much for undertaking such a great responsibility. Why is it that we have not been able to guarantee protection of Camp Liberty residents? The Iranian regime is a threat to peace in the Middle East. After the nuclear agreement, some countries are racing to strike deals with the regime in Iran. We do not endorse such trade with the criminal regime in Tehran. Executions are continued in Iran at high rate. We cannot expect the regime to change itself. We must support the democratic opposition to the Iranian regime to bring about regime change.

Otto Bernhardt, former member of the German Bundestag, member of the Board of Directors of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation: Our delegation has decided to have only one speaker, Mr. Verhuegen. Our objective is to realize rapid resettlement of Camp Liberty residents.

Kerry Kennedy, human rights activist and daughter of US President Robert F. Kennedy: We are here today, because we want freedom in Iran. Iran gave us the first human civilization and it must be free. Iran who created the mother tongue of all languages must be free. The most important achievement of Iran was the human rights charter written by King Dariyush. Cyrus the Great of Persia release the Jewish captives in Babylon. The mullahs target freedom fighters in Camp Liberty and Syria, human rights defenders in Tehran. It is time to free Iran. Women are not allowed to sing solos in Iran, It is time to free Iran. 66% of Iranian women have been reported to have been subjected to violence at home. Child marriages in Iran are prevalent and the legal age for girls in 13.The time has come for Iran to stop such widespread abuses. It is time to free Iran

Rabi’eh Mofidi, senior member of the PMOI Central Council: All the PMOI/MEK members’ message is that we will remain steadfast to the end.We are valiant and courageous men and women and we will fight you to the end. One year after the nuclear agreement, it has been proven that firmness is the only right policy on Iran. We have paid a heavy price for our struggle. As Massoud Rajavi said in 1980, with every heart that the enemy pierced with bullets, 1000s of hearts were added to the movement.

Nargess Azdanloo,senior member of the PMOI/MEK Central Council: On behalf of the People’s Mojahedin Organization: I hail and salute all Iranians in this gathering. Welcome to the distinguished personalities who have come to support us. Hail to prisoners all across Iran and hail to your for your courageous messages to our annual gathering. Hail to my sisters and brothers in Camp Liberty. God protected you against the fire of 50 missiles. Khamenei wanted to eliminate you, but showed how much he fears you. Your message of resistance to the end spread all over the world. My generation opened her/his eyes to the world simultaneous with the birth of this resistance. We opened our eyes to a world of values, where sacrificing everything to achieve everyone’s rights is an endless road. We can and must shatter the chains and bring about freedom to our land. This is our cause to give up everything, as Maryam Rajavi says, to gain everything.We sacrifice 1000 times more and become 1000 time more courageous.

Linda Chavez: Thank you very much to the people of Albania, to the musicians and to the delegation

The whole gathering cheers, gives a standing ovation to the Albanian delegation, w/ chants of “Thank you Albanian

Maryam Rajavi thanks the Albanian delegation on the stage with roses for everyone

A children’s orchestra from Albania performs a violin piece to the gathering

Lars Rise, a great human rights activist and former Member of Parliament from Norway goes on stage.Lars Rise is applauded for his efforts for resettlement of Camp Liberty residents.

Fatmir Mediu, former Defense Minister of Albania, leader of the Republican Party, Member of the Parliament, former Minister of Environment, representing the Albanian delegation: I am very proud to be here. We welcome your sisters and brothers from Camp Liberty. May be we are not a rich country. But we have rich values and big hearts. We have to accelerate transfer of Camp Liberty residents . We have to keep the flame of liberty alive in our hearts. We have to stand together. Let’s hope for freedom of Camp Liberty residents

Pandeli Majko, former Prime Minister and former Defense Minister of Albania, head of Albania’s delegation to NATO, and chairman of the legal committee of the Parliament: I have come with friends from Parliament of Albania. We have one heart that is open for friends like you. All parties of Albania have decided together to accept all residents of Camp Liberty. Soon you will back in Iran, victorious.

Gen. David Phillips, commander of Camp Ashraf Protection (2004), hailed residents of Camp Liberty :Camp Liberty residents are freedom fighters and will be remembered in history

Gen. Charles Wald, former Deputy Commander of US European Command: The freedom of people of Iran is important to the Americans who came here today despite busy schedule.The time has come for the Iranian regime to account for its behavior. It should stop export of fundamentalism to the world. It is time to ensure protection of Camp Liberty residents until they are out

Gen. James Conway, the 34th Commandant of the US Marine Corps: The Iranian regime has stepped up its export of fundamentalism since 2010: Thousands of Iranian troops are fighting in Syria, this indicates major change in this region. The Iranian regime spends 16 million dollars on its terrorist activities in the region.The answer to this regime lies here. The answer is regime change.

Gen. Conway rejects military option or public relations option to put pressure on Iran regime

Gen. Conway: You, people, who are here represent the revolution in Iran. As opposed to 2009, we must support this Resistance to make change happen in Iran

Gen. George Casey, former US Army Chief of Staff and Commander of the Multi-National Force-Iraq (2004-2007): I have seen with my own eyes the support of the Iranian regime for terrorists.The Iranian regime did not want to have a united government neighboring their borders.The Iranian regime fomented sectarian differences in Iraq. Tehran armed radical groups to fuel the war among various groups in Iraq which has continued to date. Six Iranian agents were later arrested who had come to Iraq from Iran to target specific places for their operations. The Iranian regime continues to be the cause of instability in the region.Any government that deploys terrorism to advance its goals is a danger both to its own people and to the world. There must be regime change in Iran

Col. Wesley Martin, US Army military Police: You are the true protectors of Camp Liberty: The goals of Al-Qaeda, Daesh and the Iranian regime are the same. All of us stand firm with the residents of Camp Liberty. They are inspiring to me. We are firm in our commitment to Camp Liberty.

The Orchestra of Albanian Television perform a piece by Iranian Resistance composer Mohammad Shams

Pastor Saeed Abedini, who was imprisoned for three years in Iran: Hello to you and your positive energy. Your presence shows me that every resistance is victorious. I am sure that a future of freedom will happen and we can celebrate it here today.(Pastor Abedini recites verses from the Bible calling for people’s action to overthrow the regime) Bible gives you the message of emancipation.Let us be the voice of all the people, religious minorities, women and children’s rights activists in prisons. He who resists to the end, will prevail. The Intelligence Ministry told me that I would not ever get out of jail, but I am here today.The regime falsely accused the PMOI/MEK of killing Christian pastors, my presence shows they lied. I will quote Madam Rajavi’s words today. We will pluck freedom even from the mouth of the dragon. The message of Bible is God’s love for all human beings who believe. Today is the day for Iranians to rise up and revolt

Robert Joseph, US Special Envoy for Nuclear Nonproliferation and the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security until 2007: The Iranian regime spends millions of dollars to support the butcher in Damascus. It also spends its funds on suppression of its own people.The Iranian regime must be overthrown by the people of Iran. We must stop any form of engagement with IRGC. We must highlight its practices in violation of human rights. We must support those who struggle against this regime to establish a democratic government.You are the future of Iran, God bless you

Marc Ginsberg, US ambassador to Morocco (1994–1998) and former Deputy Senior Adviser to the US President for Middle East Policy : You are agents of change for people of Camp Liberty, and Iran.The youths are agents of change. Your voice is the message of Maryam Rajavi, convey her message. Next year in Tehran!! I believe you can do that when you have the leadership.The nuclear agreement is a license to you to destroy the regime in Iran.

Frances Townsend, former Homeland Security Advisor to United States President and TV personality,Frances Townsend asked the gathering to applaud Senator Torricelli for his efforts for resettlement of Camp Liberty residents.

Frances Townsend: We will not stop our efforts until all Camp Liberty residents are resettled.I am proud to be beside the women of Iranian Resistance. You who are here today, you are the future of Iran, you are the voice of Iran, you will succeed.

Ambassador Philip Crowley, Assistant Secretary of State from (2009-2011): This is an amazing room. We have emotions in this room and we have power. One of the smallest countries of the world made change possible, Thanks Albania.When we want the energy to change the Middle East, we turn to Paris, we turn to you.The dictators in Tehran and Syria, their days are numbered. The ideas that you support, and your inspiration will make Iran a country that would be admired again, not feared. Iran would unite the region, not disintegrate it. You are inspiring for us.

Tom Ridge, former Governor of Pennsylvanian and First US Secretary of Homeland Security: You may burn me or stone me, but match or stone will lose power to harm me (poem from Simin Behbahani)  The mullahs have taken over Iran since 1979 and it has not changed its behavior since.Now is the time, for the world to recognize that the leaders in Tehran. We need separation of religion and state and respect for law.The NCRI has established the most democratic movement with its 10-pt plan.I am honored to join you for this objective. This is an extraordinary organization with an inspiring leadership, Maryam Rajavi.We know that the regime has failed in silencing your movement, both matches and stones. Gandhi once said that death is only the beginning, so the blood of 125000 in Iran will keep this movement going. This is an opportunity to create democracy in Islamic countries. Over the years, I have talked to families of martyrs and to residents of Camp Liberty in Albania. We renew our vows in support of this democratic struggle and Madam Maryam Rajavi. Maryam Rajavi showed the world and the Islamic world that Iran can be replaced with a democratic Iran.It is time for all of us to support a democratic Iran and help the Iranian people in this struggle

Robert Torricelli, member of the US Senate (1997-2003), legal representative of the residents of Camp Liberty: 100s of residents of Camp Liberty are at the forefront of the struggle for freedom and we will not forget them. Your names will be remembered for 1000s of years as people who freed Iran. The people of Iran are now listening to the assembly of the free Iranians in the world. Being born Iranian does not mean to be poor, and to suffer. Being born Iranian can mean to be free like the people in this room. It is hard to see history up close. But one day you will remember this day in this room.You will remember that day that Saudi Arabia joined you on this stage and this will never be forgotten.You will live to see a free Iran. History will never forget that in the darkest hours, some people took a principled stand. It will never forget Albania

Anthea McIntyre, MEP from UK, signed the EP declaration by 270 MEPs : As an MEP, I would like to see any future relations with Iran conditioned on respect for human rights. As a woman I am especially concerned about the situation of women in Iran. The EU must condition its relations with Iran on end to executions in Iran. I denounce female EU officials going to Iran who give in to the compulsory dress code imposed by the regime. We support Maryam Rajavi who has stood up for democracy.Maryam Rajavi has stood up against the fundamentalist mullahs, you are an inspiration to us, all. Maryam Rajavi is a great woman, a great women. Long live a Free Iran.

(Source / 09.07.2016)

Israeli forces set up roadblocks in Hebron-area town, fire tear gas at pedestrians

Bani Naim

The entrance to the village of Bani Naim in Hebron, sealed with dirt mounds by Israeli forces. July 9, 2016

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Saturday blockaded the town of Yatta in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron and fired tear gas at pedestrians trying to leave, amid ongoing restrictions on movement across Hebron, the West Bank’s largest and most populous district.

According to the coordinator of a local committee against Israel’s settlements and the separation wall Ratib al-Jubour, al-Fawwar refugee camp in the north western outskirts of Yatta was completely sealed and Israeli military checkpoints were erected on side roads connecting Yatta to Route 60, the main highway that links to the rest of the occupied West Bank used by both Palestinians and Israelis residing in illegal settlements.
He added that Israeli soldiers fired tear gas at Palestinian pedestrians attempting to cross a dirt mound placed by Israeli forces blocking a road connecting the village of al-Karmil on the south western edge of Yatta to the village of al-Tuwani. Several people were treated on site for severe tear gas inhalation.The measures came as Israeli forces continued to seal the town of Bani Naim east of Hebron City for the ninth day, which was imposed after a series of attacks and alleged attacks were carried out by residents of the village targeting Israelis residing in the nearby illegal settlement Kiryat Arba, as well as on Israeli military targets.

Locals reported that Israeli soldiers were prohibiting Palestinians from leaving Bani Naim on foot.

Al-Jubour highlighted that Israeli forces ransacked the home of Muhammad Thahir al-Khudour in Bani Naim overnight Friday. Israeli soldiers, he said, rounded up all of the family members in one room as they inspected the house.
Israeli forces detained another Palestinian in Dura west of Hebron City in predawn raids Friday and injured another with live fire during clashes there.
Israeli security measures in Hebron come amid an ongoing general closure of the entirety of Hebronand its surrounding villages, with Israeli forces restricting passage through several entrances to the district to humanitarian and military cases only. Partial lifting of certain roadblocks and checkpoints and the re-sealing of others have been reported in recent days, which the Israeli army said is carried out in accordance with “ongoing military assessments.”
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(Source / 09.07.2016)

Army Injures A Solidarity Activist, Detains 2 Photojournalists And One Medic, In Kufur Qaddoum

09 JUL
1:58 AM

Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly protest against the Annexation Wall and colonies in Kufur Qaddoum town, near the northern West Bank city of Qalandia, shot and injured an international solidarity activist, while many protesters suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation. The soldiers also detained two photojournalists and a medic.

Morad Eshteiwy, the coordinator of the Popular Committee in Kufur Qaddoum, said the soldiers invaded the town during morning hours, and fired dozens of gas bombs and concussion grenades, in an attempt to prevent the residents from holding their weekly protest.

KQdounThe Palestinians and international solidarity activists managed to march from the center of the village, before a soldier, who was hiding in one of the homes, fired live rounds, wounding a solidarity activist with a bullet in his right thigh.

The activist, who requested to remain anonymous, was moved to the Rafidia governmental hospital, in Nablus.

The soldiers also detained two Palestinian photojournalists, identified as Mahmoud Fawzi and Kamel al-Qaddoumi, and a Red Crescent medic, identified as Sami Jom’a. The three were held for three hours before the soldiers released them.

Clashes also took place in the town after the soldiers invaded it and fired on the protesters, causing many to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation. Local youths hurled stones at the military vehicles, while the soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs, live rounds, and rubber-coated steel bullets.

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(Source / 09.07.2016)