Shareholders to Caterpillar: ‘our product has become Israel’s weapon of choice for ethnic cleansing and potentially even war crimes’

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IDF Caterpillar D9R armored bulldozer with cage armor and FN MAG 7.62mm machinegun.

This speech was given to the Caterpillar Corporation’s CEO, their board of directors, and top management at the annual Caterpillar shareholder’s meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas on June 8, 2011.

The speech was given on behalf of Jewish Voice for Peace, which had purchased shares of Caterpillar stock so we could offer a shareholder proposal and make a speech in support of it.

Our shareholder proposal urged Caterpillar to review its policies related to human rights and to conform more fully with international human rights standards. Our proposal was endorsed many shareholders, including the Catholic Sisters of Loretto, and a coalition of other religious organizations. The proposal can be read at this link (PDF, look for Proposal 11): 

Although our proposal did not pass, it received 21% of the votes, which is considered a high number for a proposal that was opposed by the company management.

Caterpillar shareholder speech in favor of Proposal 11

By Russ Greenleaf, on behalf of Jewish Voice for Peace

June 8, 2011

Little Rock, Arkansas

Hi. I’m Russ Greenleaf, a shareholder with Jewish Voice for Peace and a coalition of religious organizations, speaking in favor of Proposal 11.

I am Jewish. I am not anti-Israel. I have friends in Israel, and I want what’s best for them.

Caterpillar’s sale of D9 bulldozers to Israel is not good for Israel or for Caterpillar’s reputation. Israel’s routine use of those D9’s to destroy the homes of innocent Palestinian’s is making Israel a pariah in the world and destroying any chance for peace.

Amnesty International says, and I quote:

House demolitions usually are carried out without warning, often at night, and the occupants are given little or no time to leave their homes. Often the only warning they get is the rumbling of the Israeli army’s Caterpillar bulldozers. They barely have time to flee as the bulldozers tear down the walls of their homes.

Sometimes they are buried alive under the rubble.

An Israeli newspaper reported that an Israeli army D9 dozer operator said, and I quote:

I had no mercy for anybody. I would erase anyone with the D9. They were warned by loudspeaker to get out of the house before I came, but I gave no one a chance. I didn’t wait. I didn’t give one blow and wait for them to come out. I would just ram the house with full power, to bring it down as fast as possible.

Ladies and gentlemen these are very serious human rights violations, and they happen again and again — with our knowledge.

The Israeli army says, quote: “The D9 is a strategic weapon here.”

Fellow shareholders, our product has become Israel’s weapon of choice for ethnic cleansing and potentially even war crimes. Israel knows it, and the world knows it. Yet our management buries its head in the sand when dealing with human rights.  They say, quote:

“It is not clear what is meant by the Company’s ‘policies related to human rights.’ “

That is exactly why we need proposal 11 – a call to review Caterpillar’s policies related to human rights and to conform more fully with human rights standards.

In the video we just saw, a Caterpillar representative said, “Our brand – our name – has high expectations. I think we should exceed high expectations.”

Caterpillar makes very little money from selling these military D9’s to Israel, but the cost to Caterpillar’s reputation is enormous, and escalating. It’s time to call a halt. Passing proposal 11 is a very modest first step in that direction. It’s long overdue.

I move proposal 11. Please vote for it. Thank you.

(mondoweiss.net / 18.06.2011)
 

1 MUHAMMAD

570-632

From the 100, a Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History

by Michael H. Hart

My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels.

Of humble origins, Muhammad founded and promulgated one of the world’s great religions, and became an immensely effective political leader. Today, thirteen centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive.

The majority of the persons in this book had the advantage of being born and raised in centers of civilization, highly cultured or politically pivotal nations. Muhammad, however, was born in the year 570, in the city of Mecca, in southern Arabia, at that time a backward area of the world, far from the centers of trade, art, and learning. Orphaned at age six, he was reared in modest surroundings. Islamic tradition tells us that he was illiterate. His economic position improved when, at age twenty-five, he married a wealthy widow. Nevertheless, as he approached forty, there was little outward indication that he was a remarkable person.

Most Arabs at that time were pagans, who believed in many gods. There were, however, in Mecca, a small number of Jews and Christians; it was from them no doubt that Muhammad first learned of a single, omnipotent God who ruled the entire universe. When he was forty years old, Muhammad became convinced that this one true God (Allah) was speaking to him, and had chosen him to spread the true faith.

For three years, Muhammad preached only to close friends and associates. Then, about 613, he began preaching in public. As he slowly gained converts, the Meccan authorities came to consider him a dangerous nuisance. In 622, fearing for his safety, Muhammad fled to Medina (a city some 200 miles north of Mecca), where he had been offered a position of considerable political power.

This flight, called the Hegira, was the turning point of the Prophet’s life. In Mecca, he had had few followers. In Medina, he had many more, and he soon acquired an influence that made him a virtual dictator. During the next few years, while Muhammad s following grew rapidly, a series of battles were fought between Medina and Mecca. This was ended in 630 with Muhammad’s triumphant return to Mecca as conqueror. The remaining two and one-half years of his life witnessed the rapid conversion of the Arab tribes to the new religion. When Muhammad died, in 632, he was the effective ruler of all of southern Arabia.

The Bedouin tribesmen of Arabia had a reputation as fierce warriors. But their number was small; and plagued by disunity and internecine warfare, they had been no match for the larger armies of the kingdoms in the settled agricultural areas to the north. However, unified by Muhammad for the first time in history, and inspired by their fervent belief in the one true God, these small Arab armies now embarked upon one of the most astonishing series of conquests in human history. To the northeast of Arabia lay the large Neo-Persian Empire of the Sassanids; to the northwest lay the Byzantine, or Eastern Roman Empire, centered in Constantinople. Numerically, the Arabs were no match for their opponents. On the field of battle, though, the inspired Arabs rapidly conquered all of Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine. By 642, Egypt had been wrested from the Byzantine Empire, while the Persian armies had been crushed at the key battles of Qadisiya in 637, and Nehavend in 642.

But even these enormous conquests-which were made under the leadership of Muhammad’s close friends and immediate successors, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab -did not mark the end of the Arab advance. By 711, the Arab armies had swept completely across North Africa to the Atlantic Ocean There they turned north and, crossing the Strait of Gibraltar, overwhelmed the Visigothic kingdom in Spain.

For a while, it must have seemed that the Moslems would overwhelm all of Christian Europe. However, in 732, at the famous Battle of Tours, a Moslem army, which had advanced into the center of France, was at last defeated by the Franks. Nevertheless, in a scant century of fighting, these Bedouin tribesmen, inspired by the word of the Prophet, had carved out an empire stretching from the borders of India to the Atlantic Ocean-the largest empire that the world had yet seen. And everywhere that the armies conquered, large-scale conversion to the new faith eventually followed.

Now, not all of these conquests proved permanent. The Persians, though they have remained faithful to the religion of the Prophet, have since regained their independence from the Arabs. And in Spain, more than seven centuries of warfare 5 finally resulted in the Christians reconquering the entire peninsula. However, Mesopotamia and Egypt, the two cradles of ancient civilization, have remained Arab, as has the entire coast of North Africa. The new religion, of course, continued to spread, in the intervening centuries, far beyond the borders of the original Moslem conquests. Currently it has tens of millions of adherents in Africa and Central Asia and even more in Pakistan and northern India, and in Indonesia. In Indonesia, the new faith has been a unifying factor. In the Indian subcontinent, however, the conflict between Moslems and Hindus is still a major obstacle to unity.

How, then, is one to assess the overall impact of Muhammad on human history? Like all religions, Islam exerts an enormous influence upon the lives of its followers. It is for this reason that the founders of the world’s great religions all figure prominently in this book . Since there are roughly twice as many Christians as Moslems in the world, it may initially seem strange that Muhammad has been ranked higher than Jesus. There are two principal reasons for that decision. First, Muhammad played a far more important role in the development of Islam than Jesus did in the development of Christianity. Although Jesus was responsible for the main ethical and moral precepts of Christianity (insofar as these differed from Judaism), St. Paul was the main developer of Christian theology, its principal proselytizer, and the author of a large portion of the New Testament.

Muhammad, however, was responsible for both the theology of Islam and its main ethical and moral principles. In addition, he played the key role in proselytizing the new faith, and in establishing the religious practices of Islam. Moreover, he is the author of the Moslem holy scriptures, the Koran, a collection of certain of Muhammad’s insights that he believed had been directly revealed to him by Allah. Most of these utterances were copied more or less faithfully during Muhammad’s lifetime and were collected together in authoritative form not long after his death. The Koran therefore, closely represents Muhammad’s ideas and teachings and to a considerable extent his exact words. No such detailed compilation of the teachings of Christ has survived. Since the Koran is at least as important to Moslems as the Bible is to Christians, the influence of Muhammed through the medium of the Koran has been enormous It is probable that the relative influence of Muhammad on Islam has been larger than the combined influence of Jesus Christ and St. Paul on Christianity. On the purely religious level, then, it seems likely that Muhammad has been as influential in human history as Jesus.

Furthermore, Muhammad (unlike Jesus) was a secular as well as a religious leader. In fact, as the driving force behind the Arab conquests, he may well rank as the most influential political leader of all time.

Of many important historical events, one might say that they were inevitable and would have occurred even without the particular political leader who guided them. For example, the South American colonies would probably have won their independence from Spain even if Simon Bolivar had never lived. But this cannot be said of the Arab conquests. Nothing similar had occurred before Muhammad, and there is no reason to believe that the conquests would have been achieved without him. The only comparable conquests in human history are those of the Mongols in the thirteenth century, which were primarily due to the influence of Genghis Khan. These conquests, however, though more extensive than those of the Arabs, did not prove permanent, and today the only areas occupied by the Mongols are those that they held prior to the time of Genghis Khan.

It is far different with the conquests of the Arabs. From Iraq to Morocco, there extends a whole chain of Arab nations united not merely by their faith in Islam, but also by their Arabic language, history, and culture. The centrality of the Koran in the Moslem religion and the fact that it is written in Arabic have probably prevented the Arab language from breaking up into mutually unintelligible dialects, which might otherwise have occurred in the intervening thirteen centuries. Differences and divisions between these Arab states exist, of course, and they are considerable, but the partial disunity should not blind us to the important elements of unity that have continued to exist. For instance, neither Iran nor Indonesia, both oil-producing states and both Islamic in religion, joined in the oil embargo of the winter of 1973-74. It is no coincidence that all of the Arab states, and only the Arab states, participated in the embargo.

We see, then, that the Arab conquests of the seventh century have continued to play an important role in human history, down to the present day. It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history.

Every day is “practise” for the Israeli navy

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*an Israeli gunboat douses a Palestinian fishing trawler in Palestinian waters with a heavy-powered water cannon

In Gaza, June 18, 2011

A June 16 Reuters articleon Israel’s vow to stop and preparations for the Freedom Flotilla 2 quotes an Israeli unnamed source as saying the blockade and siege on the Gaza Strip is legal:The source, who declined to be named, said Israel’s maritime blockade would only be deemed legal if it imposed a total exclusion zone around the small Palestinian enclave and urged the flotilla organizers not to challenge the navy.

But, under international law, including the much-touted United Nations (isn’t the UN the scapegoat reason for bombarding Libya?) the blockade is illegal [sourceunder the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the San Remo Manual (SRM) on armed conflicts at sea –which Israel cites–and according to which, a blockade must satisfy a number of legal requirements, including proportionality. If “it has the sole purpose of starving the civilian population or denying it other objects essential for its survival; or the damage to the civilian population is, or may be expected to be, excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the blockade, it is illegal.]. Further, a UN fact-finding mission to investigate Israel’s attacks on flotilla boats has concluded the blockade is illegal and the attacks on the high seas are violations of international law.

The Israeli source later adds: “But a maritime security blockade can only be legal if it is effective and complete. You cannot keep a selective maritime blockade under international law. You can’t say who gets in and who doesn’t.

Aside from it’s illegality, the blockade and the Israeli navy did not use the disproportionate assault force on the first 5 Free Gaza voyages (from August to December 2008) as it did on later Free Gaza attempts (including ramming one boat and abducting passengers on June 30 2009) and on last year’s Freedom Flotilla in international waters which saw nine Turkish activists killed (some shot point-blank in assassination style, said Keven Neish, a passenger and witness on board the Mavi Marmara;  a UN report cites “six of those on board – one American and five Turkish citizens – were murdered execution-style“.) and dozens injured by heavily-armed Israeli commandos who rappelled onto the Mavi shooting with live ammunition.

(www.uruknet.info / 18.06.2011)

Australian surgeons operate in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Two Australian surgeons are performing specialist operations in hospitals in the Gaza Strip, the union of health care committees said.

Professor David Croaker, who specializes in urological surgeries, pediatric orthopedic surgeon Professor Angus Gray and nurse Paul Chicchio will work in the Al-Awda Hospital in Jabalia in northern Gaza and the Al-Awda health care center in Gaza City until the end of June.

The surgeons’ work will include complicated operations that are not usually available in the besieged coastal enclave on children who don’t have Israel’s permission to leave the territory, the union said in a statement.

The union said visiting medics helped to break Israel’s illegal siege and built the capacity of local staff.

The delegation is funded by the Australian foundation Kind Cuts for Kids.

(www.maannews.net /18.06.2011)

Senator wants U.S. Navy to help block flotillas to Gaza

Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois sure is earning the hundreds of thousands of dollars the Israel lobby dumps into his coffers.  In a report based on a recent “fact-finding” trip to the Middle East, Kirk calls for U.S. naval and special operations forces to support Israel in combating the upcoming flotilla to Gaza.

Kirk’s report reads:

The IHH plans to send a second flotilla to breach Israel’s coastal security later this month. To prevent further violence, the United States should:

1) immediately designate the IHH as a terrorist entity under Executive Order 13224, which targets “terrorists, terrorist organizations, and those providing financial, technological, or material support to terrorists, terrorist organizations, or acts of terrorism”;

2) make available all necessary special operations and naval support to the Israeli Navy to effectively disable flotilla vessels before they can pose a threat to Israeli coastal security or put Israeli lives at risk; and

3) make it clear to Turkish President Erdogan that Turkey will be held accountable for any actions that support or enable the IHH to launch its flotilla.

The flotilla, set to sail to Gaza at the end of this month, aims to nonviolently challenge the Israeli blockade that has suffocated the Gaza Strip.  Kirk’s call for the U.S. Navy to provide “special operations and naval support to the Israeli Navy” to stop the flotilla is particularly alarming because a contingent of American citizens will be a part of the flotilla.  Kirk would have no problem, it seems, with the U.S. Navy being deployed against U.S. citizens aiming to break the blockade, which has been termed “collective punishment” by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

(alexbkane.wordpress.com  / 18.06.2011)

Jamal El-Khudari, frontrunner for Palestinian premiership due in Cairo Sunday

Ahead of Tuesday, when the new Palestinian premier will be named, Jamal El-Khudari will arrive to Cairo Sunday, with sources saying the issue of who will follow Fayyad is almost resolved

Palestine

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) stands between Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (L) and senior Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan during the letter of appointment ceremony in Gaza in this February 15, 2007

Jamal El-Khudari, who has emerged as the most likely candidate for the Palestinian premiership, is expected to arrive to Cairo Sunday.

Al-Khudari has been avoiding comment on the prospects of his being the future prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, instead speaking of the necessity of reaching consensus over the premiership.

Al-Khudari, an independent political figure and head of the committee for breaking the siege on Gaza, is one among five names that were discussed in Fatah-Hamas talks held in Cairo last week.

According to Al-Khudari, the mission of any future prime minister should be to implement what has been agreed upon in the national reconciliation agreement struck between Fatah and Hamas, and to deal with the vast sufferings of the Palestinians.

According to informed sources that spoke to Ahram Online, the dispute over the naming of the new prime minister has almost ended, with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas withdrawing the name of his preferred candidate, Salam Fayyad, to avoid accusations of obstructing implementation of the reconciliation agreement.

Al-Khudari’s arrival will come two days before a ceremony expected to take place in Cairo Tuesday to announce the new prime minister. The event is to be chaired by Abbas and Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal.

(english.ahram.org.eg / 18.06.2011)

“Hasbunallahu wa ni’mal wakil” 500 Times A Day

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Allah is sufficient for us against all kinds of troubles and misfortunes that we suffer. He is such a nice friend and disposer of affairs. a person who says , “Hasbunallahu wa ni’mal wakil” (For us Allah sufficeth, and He is the best disposer of affairs) takes refuge in Allah and remembers the verse, “…and it was due from us to aid those who believed”(ar-Rum, 47) and goes on without being hampered by obstacles even if the events have huge waves like mountains. He interprets the events favorably, sees the life from an optimistic point of view and relaxes by thinking, “A person who sees the good in things has good thoughts. And he who has good thoughts receives pleasure from life. ” Said Nursi.

WE WILL RECITE 500 TIMES A DAY “Hasbunallahu wa ni’mal wakil” (For us Allah sufficeth, and He is the best disposer of affairs

Syria forces storm border town near Turkey

Town under attack by forces loyal to President Assad provided food to refugees fleeing conflict.

Syrian troops and gunmen loyal to President Bashar Assad stormed a town near the Turkish border on Saturday, burning houses and arresting dozens, witnesses said, in a persistent military campaign to crush popular revolt.

The latest assault followed another Friday of protests, which have grown in size and scope over the last three months, despite Assad’s violent clampdown on public dissent. Activists said security forces shot dead 19 protesters on Friday.

“They came at 7 a.m. to Bdama. I counted 9 tanks, 10 armoured carriers, 20 jeeps and 10 buses. I saw shabbiha (pro-Assad gunmen) setting fire to two houses,” said Saria Hammouda, a lawyer living in the border town, in the Jisr al-Shughour region, where thousands of Syrians had fled to nearby Turkey after the army clamped down on the area earlier in the month.

Bdama is one of the nerve centers providing food and supplies to several thousand other Syrians who have escaped the violence from frontier villages but chose to take shelter temporarily in fields on the Syrian side of the boundary.

“Bdama’s residents don’t dare take bread to the refugees and the refugees are fearful of arrests if they go into Bdama for food,” Rami Abdulrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters.

Another witness said government troops were also burning crops near hillsides in an apparent scorched earth policy.

European powers initiated a detente with Assad prior to the street unrest to try to draw the authoritarian Syrian leader, whose family has dominated Syria for 41 years, away from Iran and also stabilize Lebanon.

But they now say Damascus should face tougher sanctions over the violence against demonstrators seeking more political freedoms and an end to corruption, the impunity of political leaders and their allies, and poverty.

Syrian rights groups say at least 1,300 civilians have been killed and 10,000 people detained since March.

“Security grip is weakening”

Tens of thousands rallied across Syria on Friday, defying Assad’s repression and ignoring a pledge that his tycoon cousin Rami Makhlouf, a symbol of corruption among the elite, would renounce his business empire and channel his wealth to charity.

Witnesses and activists said people rallied in the southern province of Deraa where the revolt began, as well as in the Kurdish northeast, the province of Deir al-Zor, which borders Iraq’s Sunni heartland, the city of Hama north of Damascus, the Mediterranean coast and suburbs of the capital itself.

“The security grip is weakening because the protests are growing in numbers and spreading. More people are risking their lives to demonstrate. The Syrian people realize that this is an opportunity for liberty that comes once in hundreds of years,” opposition figure Walid al-Bunni told Reuters from Damascus.

The worst bloodshed on Friday was in Homs, a merchant city of 1 million people in central Syria, where the Local Coordination Committees, a main activist group linked to protesters, said 10 demonstrators were killed.

State television said a policeman was killed by gunmen.

One protester was also reported killed in the northern commercial hub of Aleppo, the first to die there in the unrest.

The state news agency SANA said nine people, including civilians and police, were killed in attacks by gunmen.

The Syrian government has barred most international journalists from the country, making it difficult to verify accounts from activists and officials.

Syrian authorities blame the violence on “armed terrorist groups” and Islamists, backed by foreign powers.

Two towns on the main Damascus-Aleppo highway north of Homs were also encircled by troops and tanks, residents said, five days after the army retook Jisr al-Shughour, sending thousands fleeing across the border into Turkey.

Refugees from the northwestern region said troops and gunmen loyal to Assad known as “shabbiha” were pressing on with a scorched earthed campaign in the hill farm area by burning crops, ransacking houses and shooting randomly.

The International Federation for Human Rights and the U.S. based Damascus Centre for Human Rights Studies said in a statement that, according to local sources, Syrian forces had killed more than 130 people and arrested over 2,000 in Jisr al-Shughour and surrounding villages over the last few days.

The number of refugees who have crossed over from Syria has reached 10,114, and another 10,000 were sheltering by the border just inside Syria, according to Turkish officials.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 300 soldiers and police have also been killed.

Security Council deadlock

Assad has responded to the unrest with a mix of military repression and political gestures aimed at placating protesters.

He has faced international condemnation over the bloodshed, and has seen the first signs of cracks in his security forces after a clash in Jisr al-Shughour earlier this month in which the government said 120 security personnel were killed.

There have been no mass desertions from the military, but the loyalty of Sunni Muslim conscripts might waver if the crackdown on mainly Sunni protesters continues.

Assad’s family and many military commanders are members of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam. In a spillover of the unrest into Lebanon, Sunni and Alawite gunmen clashed in the northern city of Tripoli and four people were killed.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, trying to break a deadlock over a proposed UN Security Council resolution to condemn Assad’s crackdown on protesters.

Russia and China dislike the idea of any Council judgment on Syria and have played little role in discussions on a draft resolution.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said France and Germany had agreed to lobby for stronger sanctions against Syria for “unacceptable actions and repression” of demonstrators.

(www.haaretz.com / 18.06.2011)

Medical Care in Gaza Under Siege

 

Gaza

Under siege, Israel continues to strangle Gaza. Poverty and unemployment are extremely high. Over 70% of the population requires humanitarian aid. Virtually everything is in short supply. Except for minimal amounts of some fruits, vegetables and flowers, exports are prohibited. Israel prevents access by sea and air. It’s blockade is illegal but persists because Western powers and regional neighbors allow it.

Egypt’s recent Rafah Crossing opening falls short of meeting Gaza’s needs. On June 16, Gaza Gateway listed 10 reason why:

Crossings to Egypt remain limited, several hundred daily while 10,000 wish to travel. Moreover, it’s for designated people only, not goods. Those allowed enter through Kerem Shalom Crossing.

The situation on both sides of the border is uncertain and unstable, including whether or not the opening will continue and under what conditions.

Rafah doesn’t enable travel or movement of goods to the West Bank. Moreover, Gaza ID holders can’t enter through Jordan.

As explained above, most exports are prohibited.

Except for approved international organization projects, importing construction materials is prohibited.

Gazans needing unavailable medical care, are restricted in getting it in Egypt, the West Bank or East Jerusalem. Moreover, many can’t make a long trip.

It’s deeply troubling because Gaza’s hospitals and other medical facilities are running out of medications and vital supplies, requiring cancellations or postponement of dozens of needed surgeries and other treatment. In fact, medications and other medical necessities haven’t been supplied since February.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 178 medications and 123 categories of medical supplies are exhausted. Moreover, 69 other medications and 70 types of supplies will run out in three months.

As a result, emergency measures have been taken, including canceling or suspending pediatric, ophthalmological, cardiac catheterization, endoscopic, urological, orthopedic, and other surgeries, as well as dental care, outpatient services, primary care, lab tests, medical imaging, children’s and women’s services, occupational health, and more.

In fact, a growing crisis threatens all Gazans needing care. Hospitals and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) report growing shortages and unavailability of many medications and supplies for ICUs, premature infant nurseries, operating rooms, anesthesia and recovery, emergency facilities, cardiac catheterization, hematology, oncology, nephritic diseases, and pediatrics.

Gaza City’s Ophthalmology Hospital director said eight surgeries in the past two days were postponed and others suspended for months. On June 12, Ramallah’s Ministry of Health Public Relations and Information Department Director-General, Dr. Omar al-Nasser, said the Egyptian Medical Association would supply 19 vital medications soon.

He also said arrangements would be coordinated with Israel to provide other medications and supplies from its own Ramallah and Nablus warehouses shortly, including 81 medications, surgical tools, and 130 other items.

Under siege, conditions are very uncertain with no assurance Israel or Egypt will accommodate vital needs, including life or death ones.

A Final Comment

On June 14, Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), committed to Palestinian liberation, emailed followers an update on Freedom Flotilla II, a 15 ship convoy with over 1,500 activists sailing in late June to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.

“Unfortunately and incredibly,” she said, “Israel is threatening to” interdict it with “even greater violence” than against Freedom Flotilla I in May 2010, slaughtering nine or more activists and injuring dozens more.

This time “Israel’s threats include the use of snipers and canine units. Even more deplorable, world leaders, rather than demanding that Israel halt its provocative behavior towards us and refrain from again attacking unarmed civilians, have called the Flotilla initiative a provocation and have asked countries….to prevent us from sailing.”

Nonetheless, “(w)e are determined to sail to Gaza. Our cause is just and our means are transparent. (We present no) imminent threat to Israel nor do we aim to contribute to (an anti-Israeli) war….thus eliminating any claim by Israel to self-defense….We will – and must – continue to sail until the illegal blockade….is ended and Palestinians have the same human and national rights those of us sailing enjoy.”

Four supportive women Nobel Peace laureates, including Mairead Maguire, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, and Rigoberta Menchu Tum, sent UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon an open letter asking him to:

“support the people of Gaza with two key actions. First, by appointing a representative to inspect and seal the cargo of the (flotilla’s) boats,” providing proof it contains humanitarian supplies, and to “call on all governments to support the (flotilla’s) safe passage….”

Sadly, Ban is an imperial tool, serving Western/Israeli interests. As a result, he’ll do more to discourage the initiative than support it.

(www.veracitynow.com / 18.06.2011)