Saturday, November 29, 2008

Boycott of Israel is demanded at the United Nations:


Photo: Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, the recently-elected President of the United Nations General Assembly.

_____________________________________________________


"UN General Assembly president calls for boycott of Israel:


"After his controversial embrace with Iran's Ahmadinejad, UN General Assembly president sparks Jerusalem's ire once more after calling for international boycott on Israel"


by Yitzhak Benhorin


Published on YNet News, at:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3628618,00.html


Published: 11.25.08, 20:21 / Israel News




WASHINGTON - Israel filed a formal complaint with the United Nations on Tuesday over statements made by UN General Assembly President, Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, who called for an international boycott of Israel after accusing it of being an apartheid regime. D'Escoto went on to decry the

'Our Greatest Failure'

UN: Support Palestinians' rights to self-determination, statehood / Deutsche Presse-Agentur

'It has been 60 years since some 800,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homes becoming refugees and an uprooted and marginalized people,' General Assembly president says, adding that the fact that Palestinians still have no state represents UN's 'single greatest failure'
Full Story

plight of the Palestinians, describing the failure to create a Palestinian state as "the single greatest failure in the history of the United Nations."


The United Nations is currently marking its annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which is set on the anniversary of the 1947 date it adopted Resolution 181, calling for the partition of the land under British control into two states – Jewish and Arab.


Over the course of two days the General Assembly will host a series of anti-Israel venues, including exhibits on Palestinian suffering and films comparing Israel to the Nazi regime.


The pinnacle of the event will come in the form of a marathon of discussions, to culminate with the passing of six resolutions against Israel. These include ones calling for the return of the Golan Heights to Syria and the division of Jerusalem.


In his address on Monday d'Escoto said: "Although different, what is being done against the Palestinian people seems to me to be a version of the highest policy of apartheid." D'Escoto said the fact that Palestinians still had no statehood represents the "single greatest failure" of the UN.


The General Assembly president called on international institutions to boycott Israel and sever its financial ties to the world, and for the imposing of sanctions against Jerusalem...



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Demonstration against the Nazi Israeli siege on Gaza.



November 28, 2008:

Protesters have just displayed large signs against the Israeli siege on Gaza, at all four corners of the Liberty-and-Main-Street intersection, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Some other signs included:

"Boycott Israel: Keep your Hands off Iran"

"Zionists are Nazis"

"Stop Funding Israel"


Many hundreds of motorists and shoppers saw the signs as they passed by, for two solid hours.

_____________________________________________________


The latest news account has just been published in "Zionists out of the Peace Movement", on the Web at:

http://zionistsout.blogspot.com/2008/11/siege-of-gaza-protested-in-ann-arbor.html


Siege of Gaza Protested in Ann Arbor



November 28, 2008


"Today, in Ann Arbor, ten people challenged indifference and defeatism to protest against the US-backed siege of 1.5 million people in the Gaza Strip by Egypt and Israel. Signs protesting the policy of starvation and US aid to Israel were held for two hours at a busy downtown intersection while shoppers streamed past on a clear, if brisk, day.

"175 people accepted leaflets. Some to the following rap:

"US tax dollars are paying to starve children in Gaza.
Please help them.
End the siege of Gaza.

"The leaflets explained the situation in Gaza and had suggestions on how to help end it. There were honks, waves, and shouts of support. Others thanked us for what we were doing.

"A small handful of people apparently thought the holiday yesterday was Halloween because they said monstrous things such as "I hope more children starve in Gaza." Some indicated the illegal, murderous siege of Gaza was justified because five Jews had been killed in Mumbai, India (and, oh, some other people died, too--about 150 but we know who really matters). Pretty scary stuff. Pretending to be demons or televangelists, a couple just told us to go to hell.

"Mark your calendars for Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends upcoming annual protest outside the Ypsilanti Marriott at Eagle Crest on December 11. The local propaganda and fund-raising arm of the Zionist terrorism network, the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County, is bringing in NPR and Fox media personality Mara Liasson for their Main Event 2008. Remember, it's never too late to challenge indifference and defeatism."

_____________________________________________________


Israeli settlers are Nazis

They "descend on our neighbourhood to smash our cars, windows and property and shout 'Death to the Arabs!' "


Click on photo to enlarge:
"Israeli settlers teach their children to kill Palestinians."



Al-Ahram Weekly Online


"Kristallnacht in Hebron"

When will Israel wake up to its gruesome legacy, asks Khaled Amayreh



In al-Ahram, at:

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/924/re81.htm


27 November - 3 December, 2008


Unconcerned about arrest by the police or prosecution by the Israeli justice system, fanatical Jewish settlers in the Palestinian town of Hebron (Al-Khalil) have been attacking Palestinians, damaging and ransacking their property, exactly like Nazi thugs did to Jewish-owned property in Germany 80 years ago.


The settlers, who claim to be acting in the name of true Judaism, espouse a messianic doctrine advocating violence and terror against non- Jews in Israel-Palestine for the purpose of creating a pure Jewish kingdom that would be ruled by Halacha, or Jewish religious law.


The settlers, who represent the core of religious Zionism, believe that the ethnic cleansing of non-Jews in the Holy Land will eventually usher the messianic age and accelerate the appearance of the Jewish Messiah, or Redeemer, who would bring about redemption for Jews and rule the entire world from Jerusalem.


In recent weeks, these thugs have been attacking Palestinian homes, smashing cars, vandalising property and fostering a general atmosphere of fear and terror throughout this town of nearly 200,000 people.


Al-Ahram Weekly has inspected the damage inflicted by settlers and spoken with thoroughly terrorised victims who complained that the Israeli authorities and army were effectively giving the paramilitary terrorists a carte blanche to terrorise Palestinians. "They [the settlers] are Nazi, and if there was a stronger epithet, I would not hesitate to use. You can't imagine the ugliness and brutality of their behaviour," said Ahmed Al-Jamal, a frequent target of settler terror and vandalism.


"Every Friday night and Saturday, dozens of settlers, including kids, descend on our neighbourhood to smash our cars, windows and property and shout 'Death to the Arabs!' This is their way of sanctifying the Sabbath and pleasing God."


Al-Jamal said dozens of settlers, some of them masked, last week attacked his and his brother's and neighbour's homes around 2.30am, smashing windows and windshields of parked cars. "We informed the police, and the police told us they would look into the matter. This is pretty much what they have been telling us since 1970 when these 'Nazis' came to live here."


Mohamed Daana, who lives in Wadi Al-Nasara, located just south of the Jewish colony of Kiryat Araba, said he submitted at least 500 complaints to the Israeli police in a desperate effort to put an end to settler violence and terror against him and his family.


"The last time I went to submit a police complaint in Kiryat Araba one policeman took me to the next room and told me 'I want to advise you, there is no point in submitting all these complaints. We simply can't do anything to help you. The settlers control the state and the army can do little to protect you from them.'" Asked what he would do next to protect his family, Daana said, "I have no choice but to remain steadfast. A harmful neighbour will either die or move away," said Daana quoting an old Arabic proverb.


Last week, dozens of young settlers, many of them wearing masks and armed with submachine guns, rampaged through the Khaled Ibn Al-Walid neighbourhood, not far from the colony of Kiryat Araba. There the settlers, who reportedly were dressed in religious attire, vandalised a Muslim cemetery and scrawled the Star of David on Muslim graves.


On the walls of the Khaled Ibn Al-Walid Mosque, the rampaging thugs scrawled the following phrase: "Mohamed is a pig." This is the new slogan the settlers are mouthing to offend and provoke the Palestinians. The other slogan is Mavet le Arabim or "Death to the Arabs!"


These obscenities are infuriating the Palestinians who warned that settlers were trying to instigate a religious war in the Middle East. "What does the Prophet Mohamed have to do with the conflict? Why are they deliberately provoking us? We have never, and never will speak ill of their prophets and religious figures," said Hassan Jaber, a neighbour of the mosque.


"When someone touches a Jewish cemetery anywhere in the world, the Jews make a big outcry about anti-Semitism. But when Jews commit blasphemous acts against Islam and Christianity, it is freedom of speech."


This is not the first time self-righteous settlers, who claim to be following the Torah, seek to offend Muslim religious sensibilities. According to local Palestinians, settlers have markedly escalated their anti-Islam discourse, mainly by way of scrawling sacrilegious epithets that are deeply offensive to the Islamic faith, such as cursing the Arabic name of God (Allah) and the Prophet Mohamed. Several years ago, a Jewish immigrant from the former Soviet Union pasted on the doors of Arab stalls and shops in downtown Hebron drawings depicting the prophet of Islam as a pig writing the Quran.


Such sacrilegious acts generally go unpunished by the Israeli government, allowing the settlers and their supporters to feel powerful and immune from government action.


The bulk of Jewish settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories follow the teachings of Abraham Kook, the first rabbi of Israel, who taught that Jews should seek to expedite the appearance of the "redeemer" or Jewish Messiah by way of carrying out acts of violence and bloodshed. In 1994, a Jewish settler terrorist, an American immigrant by the name of Baruch Goldstein, murdered at least 29 Arab worshipers who as they were praying at the Ibrahimi Mosque.


Goldstein, who was eventually killed by survivors, became a national hero among religious Zionists and Jewish extremists in general, and his tomb in Kiryat Araba became a pilgrimage site for religious Zionists from around the world. The settlers adopt a manifestly genocidal ideology with regard to how non-Jews living in Israel ought to be treated...


"...There are three main reasons contributing to the soft-glove policy towards the settlers. First, many of the soldiers serving in the occupied territories, particularly in the Hebron region, are themselves settlers and reluctant to arrest their colleagues. After all, the soldiers and settlers often have the same rabbi and attend the same Yeshiva, and worship at the same synagogue. Moreover, soldiers who are also settlers are effectively answerable first and foremost to their local rabbis, and only secondarily to their army superior. Second, the Israeli state itself views the settlers as a strategic asset that will prevent the creation of a viable Palestinian state, guaranteeing the continuity of Israeli control over the West Bank. This is despite all official propaganda that Jewish settler violence is carried out in spite of the government. Third, the proximity of the upcoming Israeli elections, slated to take place on 10 February, makes the government, especially Defence Minister Ehud Barak (head of the Labour Party) think twice before alienating the settlers, even by carrying out High Court rulings.


Last week, the Israeli High Court ordered the state to vacate Jewish settlers from an Arab building they had seized after forging ownership documents. However, the settlers and their supporters, including 48 Knesset members (out of 120) and former ministers, vowed to confront the army and police "be it as it may". Moreover, the settlers were planing to hold a large rally in Hebron to protest against the court decision and to underscore their determination to have their way.


Israeli President Shimon Peres, the godfather of Jewish settlements in the West Bank who is falsely portrayed as a man of peace, was quoted as saying during a visit to London last week that "Israel will find it difficult to evacuate the settlements without civil war." Yossi Sarid, a former minister, spoke of "a state within a state that has arisen in the territories."


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Gaza: "we breathe toxic waste for days..."


Reader Commentaries:

"Israel’s Policies in Gaza Inhumane and Self-Defeating"


An Israeli infantry unit entered the Gaza Strip early this month, violating a five-month-old truce between Israel and Hamas, the party now ruling Gaza. The Israelis set up camp in a family’s home, and as clashes with Palestinian militants followed, they called for air support. So it was that, on Nov. 4 and 5, while the world’s attention was focused on the U.S. election, Israeli aircraft fired missiles that killed six Palestinian militants.

The Israeli Defense Ministry claimed this was a “preemptive” operation aimed at destroying a tunnel built by Palestinians to abduct Israeli soldiers, a claim impossible to counter, since, on Nov. 5, Israeli authorities closed the Gaza Strip to all foreign press—an unprecedented measure.

Inevitably, Palestinian militants responded to the Israeli killings by firing rockets into Israel (which caused no casualties). Israel closed the crossings between Israel and Gaza. No food, medicine, or fuel, were allowed in. The humanitarian aid that feeds 80 percent of the population was stopped, and without fuel, Gaza’s power plant had to be shut down.

These measures against Gaza’s civilian population, which includes 700,000 children age 14 or less, is collective punishment, and therefore a war crime under international law.

Israel contends that sanctions are “working” because Hamas’ popularity with Gaza’s people has declined. This can hardly make a war crime acceptable, but in any case, as John Ging, a senior UN official, stated “[N]ot only are these sanctions not working, but because of their profound inhumanity, they are counterproductive to their stated purpose, and while Gaza is not yet an entity populated by people hostile to their neighbor, it inevitably will be if the current approach of collective punitive sanctions continues.”

On Nov. 13, a convoy of senior European diplomats was refused entry into Gaza. Hearing of this, Philip Luther, an Amnesty International deputy to the Middle East, commented: “Gaza is cut off from the outside world. Israel is seemingly not keen for the world to see the suffering that its blockade is causing to the one and a half million Palestinians who are virtually trapped there.”

This letter from the father of a Palestinian friend, a UN doctor working in a Gaza refugee camp, gives a view of life in the Strip:

"Anyone who monitors the quality of life in the Gaza Strip, which has been living under a tight state of siege for eighteen months, will be shocked by the situation. Unemployment has risen to 80 percent and more than half the people live on one or two dollars a day, far below the poverty line.

"As a medical professional, I am particularly concerned with certain harsh aspects of life for civilians in Gaza:

"First: There are tremendous health problems, which threaten people with death or life-long disability. There is a severe shortage in medicine and medical equipment. Hospital maintenance is poor, and X-Ray rooms, labs, pharmacies and operating rooms are desperately in need of attention. People with chronic and serious illnesses such as cancer or diabetes, unable to receive the appropriate treatment, have no chance of recovery. Since the siege began in June of 2007, a total of 257 people have died because they did not have access to adequate equipment. Many seniors and children with chronic illnesses—such as two-year old Said Al-Ayidy, three-month old Hala Zannoun, 15-year old Rawan Nassar, and numerous others—had to be left to die because they were denied travel permits for treatment.

"Hospitals in Gaza are anything but what hospitals should be. Daily power cuts, which last long hours, have caused immense suffering, especially to patients whose lives depend on medical machinery. Hospitals used gas-powered generators, but lack of gas and diesel have now made this impossible. Sadly, the only chance for patients with serious diseases is to be transferred either to Egypt or Israel. Often, this is an extremely complicated process and it is nearly impossible to obtain permission to transfer a patient to either country. None but for a few urgent cases can even consider leaving Gaza for treatment. Many patients have died while waiting for the official documents to be issued; others have died on their way to Israel or Egypt.

"In effect, hospitals have become places where patients sleep for several days without any healing or proper treatment because Israel has closed the commercial border points and drugs and medical equipment are not allowed to cross into Gaza.

"A second serious problem we face is sewage and pollution. This is a densely populated area. The people of Gaza live in shantytowns, refugee camps, and crowded neighborhoods, which share fragile and inadequate infrastructure. Lack of fuel supply stops the pumps needed to treat sewage water. The only solution open to the city is to drain the sewer water into the Mediterranean. As a result, the beaches have been polluted and the fishing season has been significantly curtailed.

"On rainy winter days, the streets and homes are flooded with water and the already bumpy and unpaved roads become even worse. Sewer pipes often burst and get damaged due to poor materials and lack of maintenance. Dirty and toxic water floods out from broken pipes into streets and homes. In some refugee camps, flooding was so severe that people had to assemble primitive boats and float over the water. In Jabalia refugee camp where I work, increasing numbers of people have reported illnesses and sickness due to exposure to toxic air and chemical wastes.

"Water has been flooding our backyard for days. The city public works department cannot fix the problem because it has no construction materials to replace the damaged utilities. Heavy machinery cannot operate because there is no fuel. We cannot open any windows and we breathe toxic waste for days until sunny days come to dry out everything. Streets are covered with mud, pebbles and hazardous sharp stones. City departments simply do not have any resources.

"I have not mentioned many other problems that face our impoverished, war-torn and isolated society: shortages in food, goods and services, cash and other basic needs—because I wanted to point out the health issues, which I am most familiar with... There is a need for urgent help from the international community. Former United States President Jimmy Carter described the siege that Gaza is enduring as a “crime against human rights.”

"Can you imagine living like this?”...

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Friday, November 28, 2008

"The slow death that is being visited on the Palestinians in Gaza..."



November 28-30, 2008

"Is Anyone Listening?
"Gaza's Death Throes"


By SONJA KARKAR


On CounterPunch, at:

http://www.counterpunch.org/karkar11282008.html



What kind of government in the 21st century can deny another people basic human rights - that is, the right to food, water, shelter, security and dignity?


What kind of government imposes draconian sanctions on another people for democratically electing a government not to its liking?


What kind of government seals a heavily populated territory of 1.5 million people so that no person can enter or leave without permission, fishermen cannot fish in their own waters, and world food aid cannot be delivered to the starving population?


What kind of government shuts off fuel, water and electricity and then rains down on the people, bombs and artillery fire?


The answer is - no government of integrity.


And yet, government after government in Israel continues to demand recognition and accolades as a first world democracy superior to all others, despite Israel’s flouting of international law, its human rights abuses and the criminality and corruption of Israeli leaders. Worse still, the world has acquiesced and has welcomed every Israeli administration into its fold as a favoured guest.


This should give everyone pause to revisit our noble declarations of independence and human rights, ethics, morality, religious beliefs, civil liberties and the rule of law. Are they just for show or do they really mean something? Are they intended only for some people or for all people?


Israel’s President Shimon Peres is just one of the many leaders who have furthered Israel’s aggressive policies and programs and yet he has been honoured with a knighthood from the Queen and is likely to be honoured with a lecture series named after him at Oxford University’s Balliol College. Dubious honours indeed, for a man who helped to forcibly expel 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland in the 1948 war.


Today, we are witnessing in Gaza the kind of ghetto the world thought it would never see again and the comparison was conjured up early this year by Israel’s deputy defence minister Matan Vilnai when he threatened “a bigger holocaust (shoah)” against the Palestinians in Gaza. Later, he explained away his use of the word as meaning “disaster”, when in fact it has emotional connotations well known to everyone. Either way, the threat was ominous enough.


The slow death that is being visited on the Palestinians in Gaza is finding its first victims in more than 400 critically ill patients who are being prevented from leaving Gaza for urgent medical attention in Israeli or Arab hospitals. Thousands of other patients are being turned away from hospitals suffering from a severe shortage of 300 different kinds of medicines.


The hospitals have been deprived of medicines and equipment for so long now, that the trickle of supplies finally being allowed through, can no longer meet the minimum daily needs of the Palestinian civilian population. Similarly, the energy fuel being shipped in, is barely enough to operate the Gaza power plant for one day.


This drip-feeding of aid was suggested by Israeli Prime Ministerial adviser Dov Weisglas who said in February 2006: “The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not make them die of hunger.”


Such a malevolent policy has led to a steady increase in malnutrition as people are being starved of their staples of life. Not only have the flourmills been forced to shut down because fuel and power have run out, but now all wheat supplies have been exhausted. Out of the 72 bakeries operating in the Gaza Strip, 29 have completely stopped baking bread and others are expected to follow. This means that even the most staple of all foods – bread - will soon not be available for a hungry population.


A Red Cross report describes the effects of the siege as “devastating”. Seventy per cent of the population is suffering from food insecurity while the suspension of food aid distribution to some 750,000 refugees in the pitiful camps in Gaza since 4 November, has further devastated Palestinians with no recourse to other alternatives.


The United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have all called Israel’s blockade ”cruel”. Former president Jimmy Carter makes no apology for describing the situation as “a heinous atrocity” amounting to a war crime.


In Britain, Oxfam’s CEO Barbara Stocking has strongly criticised the Foreign Secretary David Miliband for not mentioning the “human desperation” in Gaza on his recent trip to Israel and Palestine.


Israel’s tactics though may be unravelling.


So draconian has been Israel’s closure of Gaza, the world’s biggest media organisations including the New York Times are outraged that their journalists have been banned from entering the Gaza Strip and have protested in writing to Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.


Christian leaders have also been excluded from Gaza. Last week, Israel prevented Archbishop Franco, the Papal Nuncio in Israel, from celebrating mass to mark the beginning of Advent in the holy weeks leading up to Christmas.


And in the occupied West Bank, Israeli Minister Ehud Barak has approved the building of hundreds more illegal settlement units with a flagrant disregard of the peace process agreements, further frustrating the current US administration eager to produce a solution before the end of its term.


What is truly astonishing is the world’s silence in the face of all this. The shameful rush to grant Israel every honour and recognition so that it will be saved from the historical ignominy of having orchestrated the destruction of Palestinian society, is nothing short of unconscionable.



--Sonja Karkar is the founder and president of Women for Palestine and one of the founders and co-convener of Australians for Palestine in Melbourne, Australia. She is also the editor of www.australiansforpalestine.com and contributes articles on Palestine regularly to various publications.


She can be contacted at sonjakarkar@womenforpalestine.org


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U.N. relief agency: "Gaza faces a humanitarian 'catastrophe' if Israel continues to blockade aid from reaching the territory."

http://www.trumba.com/connect/images/logo_seattlepi.png

"Israel must end Gaza blockade"


by AMY GOODMAN
SYNDICATED COLUMNIST


November 27, 2008; 8:23 a.m. PT


Published in the "Seattle Post-Intelligencer", at:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/389583_amyonline28.html



As President-elect Barack Obama focuses on the meltdown of the U.S. economy, another fire is burning: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


You may not have heard much lately about the disaster in the Gaza Strip. That silence is intentional: The Israeli government has barred international journalists from entering the occupied territory.


Last week, executives from The Associated Press, New York Times, Reuters, CNN, BBC and other news organizations sent a letter of protest to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert criticizing his government's decision to bar journalists from entering Gaza. Israel has virtually sealed off the Gaza Strip and cut off aid and fuel shipments. A spokesman for Israel's Defense Ministry said Israel was displeased with international media coverage, which he said inflated Palestinian suffering and did not make clear that Israel's measures were in response to Palestinian violence.


A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, the group that won Palestinian elections nearly three years ago and controls Gaza, broke down after an Israeli raid killed six Hamas militants two weeks ago. More Israeli raids have followed, killing approximately 17 Hamas members, and Palestinian militants have fired dozens of rockets into southern Israel, injuring several people.


U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has criticized Israel over its blockade of the overcrowded Gaza, home to close to 1.5 million Palestinians. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency is warning that Gaza faces a humanitarian "catastrophe" if Israel continues to blockade aid from reaching the territory.


The sharply divided landscape of Israel and the occupied territories is familiar ground for South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to apartheid in South Africa. Tutu was in New York last week to receive the Global Citizens Circle award. I sat down with him at the residence of the South African vice consul.


Tutu reflected on the Israeli occupation: "Coming from South Africa ... and looking at the checkpoints ... when you humiliate a people to the extent that they are being -- and, yes, one remembers the kind of experience we had when we were being humiliated -- when you do that, you're not contributing to your own security."


Tutu said the embargo must be lifted. "The suffering is unacceptable. It doesn't promote the security of Israel or any other part of that very volatile region," he said. "There are very, very many in Israel who are opposed to what is happening."


Tutu points to the outgoing Israeli prime minister. In September, Olmert made a stunning declaration to Yedioth Ahronoth, the largest Israeli newspaper. He said that Israel should withdraw from nearly all territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war in return for peace with the Palestinians and Syria: "I am saying what no previous Israeli leader has ever said: We should withdraw from almost all of the territories, including in East Jerusalem and in the Golan Heights."


Olmert said that traditional Israeli defense strategists had learned nothing from past experiences and that they seemed stuck in the considerations of the 1948 War of Independence. He said: "With them, it is all about tanks and land and controlling territories and controlled territories and this hilltop and that hilltop. All these things are worthless."


Olmert appears to have come closer to his daughter's point of view. In 2006, Dana Olmert was among 200 people who gathered outside the home of the Israeli army chief of staff and chanted "murderer" as they protested Israeli killings of Palestinians (Archbishop Tutu was blocked from entering Gaza in his U.N.-backed attempts to investigate those killings). Ehud Olmert recently resigned over corruption allegations, but remains prime minister until a new government is approved by parliament.


Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki criticized Olmert for waiting until now to call for an end to the settlements: "We wish we heard this personal opinion when Olmert was prime minister, not after he resigned. I think it is a very important commitment, but it came too late. We hope this commitment will be fulfilled by the new Israeli government."


Israel is a top recipient of U.S. military aid. Archbishop Tutu says of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "When that is resolved, what we will find [is] that the tensions between the West and ... a large part of the Muslim world ... evaporates." He said of Obama, "I pray that this new president will have the capacity to see we've got to do something here ... for the sake of our children."



--Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour. Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

____________________________________________


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Israeli troops fire at Palestinian children, again:

Boycott the Nazi State of Israel.



November 26, 2008

Full article on the Web at:

http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7x6ypvk9J7XytoCVlP%2f1BdDVeMsRK5gP70ExBR5vFy82cfKyO0gRuaOf3jx%2fZlRfcwXDaaSgnuYSs%2fJbIvxNowW4YPUiXr2jkfs5NUXN%2fu8c%3d


BEIT HANUN, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation troops on Wednesday fired intermittently at a group of children near the northern Gaza Strip crossing of Beit Hanun (Erez).


The Mizan center for human rights said in a statement that the children were looking for old metals at the industrial zone area near the borders....


__________________________________________________


"Protest the Siege of Gaza this Friday"



Protest the Siege of Gaza this Friday


Published in "Zionists out of the Peace Movement", at:

http://zionistsout.blogspot.com/2008/11/protest-siege-of-gaza-this-friday.html


Recieved via e-mail:

***PLEASE FORWARD***

In the US, Thanksgiving Day is a traditionally a day of feasting and giving thanks to God. In the Gaza Strip in Palestine, bread is a staple food that people usually get fresh from a local bakery. This supply lasts only a day or two. This is not much different from the days when Jesus taught his followers the words: "Give us this day our daily bread."

Egypt and Israel have virtually cut off the flow of people, food, medicine, fuel, and other goods into and out of the Gaza Strip. With the financial, diplomatic, and military backing of the United States government, 1.5 million people are being subjected to collective punishment in violation of international law. On Saturday, November 22, 2008, the United Nations announced that half of Gaza's bakeries were closed due to lack of electricity, fuel, or grain. Remaining bakeries have begun grinding second-rate wheat, usually fed to farm animals and birds, due to grain shortages. Human wheat supplies ran out last weekend as Israeli and Egyptian border guards turned away truckloads of donated food and medication, according to Abd An-Nasser Al-Ajrami, the head of the Gaza Strip Society of Mill Owners.

The Friday after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year, many people will have the day off from work.

On that day, you are invited to join members of the Middle East Task Force of Ann Arbor at the corner of Liberty and Main street in Ann Arbor from 3 PM until 5 PM as we nonviolently protest. We will draw attention to the siege of Gaza by holding signs in support of human rights in Palestine and by passing out leaflets (see attached and below).


When: Friday, November 28, 2008
Time: 3 PM to 5 PM
Where: Corner of Liberty and Main, Ann Arbor


Our children are in danger. ... it’s a real hell here. People are starving, in very bad condition, starving in darkness. And in silence. There is a kind of international silence towards what’s happening here. We need a real reaction from the international community to what is happening here, real action, not just words and statements.–Amjad Al Shawa, Director of the Palestine Network of NGOs in Gaza qtd. in "Gaza Strip: starving in darkness" by Kristen Ess. Palestine News Network. 11/19/08.


Last week we were unable to feed 60,000 of Gaza's neediest refugees due to our warehouses running out of food. UNRWA supplies half of Gaza's population of 1.5 million people with emergency rations, and 20,000 people are fed per day when there are adequate supplies.–John Ging, Director of UN Relief and Welfare Agency qtd. in "On Top of Humanitarian Disaster, A News Blackout" by Cherrie Heywood. Inter Press Service. 11/18/08.


END THE SIEGE OF GAZA NOW!


The US-backed regimes of Israel and Egypt have sealed the Gaza Strip's borders. Most of the Gaza Strip is without power due to lack of fuel, and the United Nations has been forced to stop food distribution to those in need. The humanitarian situation is dire for the people in the Gaza Strip, most importantly the children. Gaza is home to 1.5 million Palestinians, 80% of whom are refugees denied by Israel the right to return to the homes from which they were expelled by the Zionist occupation in 1948.


Speak Out!

Demand an End to the Siege of the Gaza Strip
and the Occupation of All of Palestine!

Organize Street Actions and Protests

Call/Write the Media and Your Congressional Representatives

Organize Community Meetings and Delegations
to Religious Leaders and Educators

Donate to Help the People in Gaza!


To contact your congressional representatives, go to http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home

To contact the media, go to http://newslink.org

To donate and help the people in the Gaza Strip, go to http://www.al-awda.org/donate.html and simply follow the instructions. Indicate that your donation is for the GAZA EMERGENCY FUND.

BREAK THE SIEGE OF GAZA NOW!
DON'T DELAY! TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

This leaflet sponsored by the Middle East Task Force of Ann Arbor.
Contact: metfinexile-owner@yahoogroups.com


--END OF LEAFLET--

_______________________________________________

Gaza forced to eat animal feed, as Israeli siege causes widespread anemia and malnutrition.


Click on image to enlarge it.

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"Hungry Gazans Resort to Animal Feed as U.N. Blasts Israel"


By CHERRIE HEYWOOD (Middle East Times)

Published: November 24, 2008

On the Web at:


http://www.metimes.com/International/2008/11/24/hungry_gazans_resort_to_animal_feed_as_un_blasts_israel/9217/


GAZA CITY, Gaza


Half of Gaza's bakeries have closed down and the other half have resorted to animal feed to produce bread as Israel's complete blockade of the coastal territory enters its 19th day.


U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon alarmed at the escalating humanitarian crisis called incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last week and demanded that he lift the blockade.


Following the continued closure, the secretary-general reiterated his appeal on Friday but to no avail.


Karen AbuZayd, commissioner-general for the U.N.'s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which supports Palestinian refugees, warned that a humanitarian "catastrophe" loomed if Israel continued to prevent aid from reaching Gaza.


"It's been closed for so much longer than ever before. We have nothing in our warehouses. It will be a catastrophe if this persists; a disaster," said AbuZayd.


AbuZayd added that the human toll of this month's closure of the territories was "the gravest since the early days of the second intifada or Palestinian uprising.


This began in October 2000 after former Israeli premier Ariel Sharon paid a controversial visit to al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Islam's third holiest shrine. Sharon was warned by Israeli security that this could provoke political unrest but went ahead nevertheless.


Israel closed Gaza's borders after a barrage of rockets were fired from Gaza at Israeli towns bordering the territory. These were in response to a cross-border military incursion by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) into Gaza on Nov. 4 which broke the fragile five-month ceasefire between Hamas and Israel and killed a number of Palestinian fighters.


In the vicious and bloody cycle of attack and counter-attack more than 20 Palestinians have been killed while two Israelis have been lightly injured.


Less humanitarian aid has reached Gaza during this ceasefire than during the first part of 2006 when Israel was subject to far heavier attacks.


During that time the Palestinian Authority (PA) ruled Gaza in a unity government with the Islamic resistance organization Hamas. Today Hamas controls the territory.


In return for Hamas respecting the current truce, which it has largely observed although there have been periodic breaches by both sides, Israel was obliged to significantly ease the closure. To date this has not occurred.


Half of Gaza's population of 1.5 million people depends on aid from UNRWA for survival. John Ging, UNRWA's Gaza director, said that 20,000 Gazans needed rations on a daily basis.


"Normally we have stock in our warehouses to tide over emergency periods and days of closure but we have now run out completely. Last week alone 60,000 people went without food," Ging told the Middle East Times.


Israel briefly opened the borders for a few hours and allowed 30 trucks of aid in last Monday following intense international and diplomatic pressure. However, only 11 of those trucks were for UNRWA.


"Furthermore, a minimum of 10 trucks a day are required just to maintain normal supplies of aid and those 30 trucks' supplies only lasted several days against a shortfall of 19 days," added Ging.


To try and meet the shortfall, over the weekend Gaza's bakeries began grounding second-rate wheat, usually fed to farm animals and birds, to replace the depleted reserves.


Furthermore, Gaza's main power plant was forced to shut down last week thereby causing 70 percent of Gaza's residents to go without electricity. Hospitals were forced to suspend emergency operations due to fuel shortages and a lack of spare parts for hospital machinery.


The coastal territory also ran out of cooking gas and so Gazans resorted to the dwindling supplies of electricity for cooking, further increasing the load on the collapsing electricity plant.


Meanwhile, Gaza's Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) has pumped hundreds of tons of untreated sewage into the ocean during the course of the last few weeks as there is insufficient fuel to operate the water treatment plant.


This had heightened the risk of disease spreading due to contaminated water leaking back into Gaza's underground water supply. Additionally Gaza's health ministry has run out of over 300 essential medicines as Israel bans the imports of these.


AbuZayd expressed concern about the rising rates of malnutrition, especially anemia amongst children. Due to the closure, chronic poverty, unemployment and lack of nutritious food and clean drinking water, Gazans are not getting a balanced diet.


"There is a chronic anemia problem. There are signs that it's increasing. What we are beginning to notice is what we call stunting of children, which means they are not eating well enough to be bigger than their parents," AbuZayd stated.


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Monday, November 24, 2008

Demonstration against Israeli Apartheid and Murder, Nov. 22, 2008:

Tempe, Arizona


Demonstration against the siege of the Gaza Strip, led by the Coalition of Arabs and Muslims in America:


About 200 protesters showed up at the corner of Mill Ave. and University Dr. in Downtown Tempe, Arizona around 6 pm on Saturday, November 22, 2008, to demand an immediate end to the siege of Gaza Strip.


The protesters chanted slogans, for two hours, including "Palestine will be free from the river to the sea"‌, "Free Free Palestine", and "Long live Palestine"‌.




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Big demonstration against the Ambassador of Apartheid Israel:

"The drift towards a mass boycott of Israel is clear for all to see..."


"Israel's Ambassador fails to impress"


Published on the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign Web site, at:

http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2734:israels-ambassador-fails-to-impress&catid=246&Itemid=100445



November 12, 2008



...In fact just under 100 people attended Prosor’s meeting, outnumbered by the 150+ protestors outside. The majority of those inside the hall were clearly hostile to Israel’s policies, including a significant number who left from and returned to the protest otutside. Every single question addressed to Prosor was critical of Israeli ethnic cleansing and violations of international law.

The miniscule number of pro-Israel supporters turning out at a huge prestige venue (capacity over 1,000) to hear the Israeli Ambassador reflects the collapse of Zionist morale in Edinburgh, across Scotland and around the world.

...So terrible have Israel’s crimes become, so many agree with Archbishop Tutu’s description of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as an ‘abomination’, that it is simply no longer possible to defend Israel on any public forum. This despite the unflinching support for Israeli crimes by western governments.


The drift towards a mass boycott of Israel is clear for all to see including Zionist spokespersons. Scottish PSC will continue to work with others committed to universal human rights to extend this boycott campaign in order to show solidarity with the Palestinians in their bitter suffering and their steadfastness in struggle and to that small but significant group of Israelis who wish to see an end to the ethnic cleansing carried out by their state and genocidal settlers.



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Here is how the mainstream media reported the event in Edinburgh:




"Israeli ambassador draws vocal protest:

"Ron Prosor defends Israeli policy in the occupied territories as Palestinian supporters shout abuse at audience members"




On the Web at:

http://www.journal-online.co.uk/article/5097-israeli-ambassador-draws-vocal-protest



Over 100 people rallied outside Edinburgh University in protest about a lecture given by the Israeli ambassador earlier this month.


The protest, organised by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), demonstrated against the controversial appearance of Israel’s envoy Ron Proser, amid attacks by Israel claiming seven Palestinian lives.


Mick Napier, chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: "The Israeli Ambassador should not have been allowed a platform to justify Israel’s crimes – not in a week when Israel attacked and killed seven Palestinians while claiming it is maintaining a ‘ceasefire’. Not while Israeli bulldozers continue to destroy Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem.


"Until such times as Israel ceases to boycott the rights of the Palestinian people, people of conscience have a duty to boycott this shameful Israeli PR exercise.”


Earlier this year, a similar lecture to be given by Prosor was cancelled by the university, after the group threatened to protest against the ambassador, who they described as "the ambassador of the apartheid state of Israel."


The SPSC was established in 2000 in reaction to the second uprising against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and has since campaigned against human rights issues in the region.


SPSC spokesperson Asif Dean told The Journal: “Basically this week alone they’ve killed seven Palestinians while they claim to be maintaining a ceasefire.


“They’ve evicted a family that was in a house for 52 years. This house was given to them by the UN and it was taken over by armed settlers backed up by the army and the police… now they’ve blocked medicines, they’ve blocked food and they’re blocking power going into Gaza.”


But Prosor, who was appointed Israel’s ambassador in 2007, has rejected claims of human rights abuses in the region and has slammed Britain for racial prejudice against Israel.


In an article published by The Telegraph in June, Prosor said: “Israel faces an intensified campaign of de-legitimisation, demonisation and double standards.


“Britain has become a hotbed for radical anti-Israeli views and a haven for disingenuous calls for a 'one-state solution,' a euphemistic name for a movement advocating Israel's destruction.”


Although Israel claims to be "disengaged" from Gaza, an incident last week involving the arrest of Scottish citizen Andrew Muncie, as well as 15 Palestinian fishermen and two other international human rights observers, took place in Palestinian waters.


The prisoners were seen being transferred by the Israeli Navy from three boats to an Israeli warship, which then headed north....


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Friday, November 21, 2008

On November 4, 2008, two Massachusetts cities turned decisively against Israeli racism.

Boycott Apartheid Israel.


Click to enlarge this photo:

The right of return, for Palestinian refugees, received a 45% "yes" vote in Somerville, Massachusetts. See below for details.

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73% of voters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the absence of any focused educational campaign, just voted "yes" on the Somerville Divestment Project's ballot question, on November 4, 2008, calling for the U.S. to support the "right of non-Jewish Palestinian citizens of Israel to be free from laws that give more rights to people of one religion than another."

62% of Voters in Somerville, Massachusetts also voted "yes."


Two years earlier, a similarly worded ballot question, in Somerville, supporting the right of return of Palestinian refugees received a 45% "yes" vote in the face of virulent and unanimous opposition from every politician and newspaper with influence in the city.

74% of Americans, according to a University of Maryland poll reported on July 1, 2008, would say that they think their government should not take Israel's side in the Israel/Palestine conflict.

___________________________________________


"Americans Vote Yes for Equality Between Jews and Non-Jews Inside Israel"

by the Somerville Divestment Project
www.divestmentproject.org


Full article on the Web at:

http://www.divestmentproject.org/downloads/SDP_Nov-9-08-report-vote-quest-4-5.pdf


November 5, 2008


Election day in the United States, 2008, will be remembered in most history books as the day
Americans elected the first African-American as president. But it also deserves to go down in
history for another reason. It was the first day when Americans rejected the instructions of their pro-Israel politicians and newspapers and instead voted for the principle that non-Jews should be equal with Jews under the law inside Israel, and not discriminated against as they are today in apartheid Israel.

The Somerville Divestment Project (SDP) placed Question 4 on the ballot in two state
representative districts, one in Somerville and the other in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The
question asked, "Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote in
favor of a non-binding resolution calling on the federal government to support the right of
all people, including non-Jewish Palestinian citizens of Israel, to live free from laws that
give more rights to people of one religion than another?"

The "Yes" votes outnumbered the "No" votes 9,100 to 5,542 in Somerville, and 9,637 to 3,650 in Cambridge. If Obama had won by this kind of a margin it would have been declared a Super-Landslide!

Not a single politician or newspaper supported Question 4. On the contrary, the Somerville
Journal reported in its election week edition that, "The City of Somerville, including all city
aldermen, does not support questions 4 and 5, said spokesman Tom Champion. The mayor of
Somerville also opposed Question 4 and the so-called “Progressive” Democrats of Somerville
were silent (apparently supporting equal rights is not part of the “progressive” agenda.) The only other Somerville newspaper, the Somerville News, editorialized, "The Somerville Divestment Project has divided Somerville residents by bringing up far-away, world conflicts in a municipal context. Reject the tactics of the Somerville Divestment project and vote no on Question 4."

Apparently the voters saw things differently.

In 2006 the SDP placed two questions (5 and 6) similar to Question 4 on the ballot in Somerville.
One called for Somerville to divest from Israel and the other called for supporting the right of all
refugees, including Palestinian refugees, to return to their homeland.

In spite of intense “Vote No” campaigning by the Boston Globe, both Somerville newspapers and the Israeli Consul for New England, as well as Mayor Curtatone, Congressman Capuano, and both candidates for governor—Deval Patrick (now the Democratic Party governor) and Kerry Healy the Republican--featuring glossy mass mailings and signboards with photographs of all four politicians saying “We Stand With Israel, Vote No on Questions 5 and 6,” and despite the unanimity of all these “respectable” leaders making many voters wonder if perhaps the SDP’s ballot questions that seemed so reasonable on the surface might actually reflect some kind of bad hidden agenda, despite all this the “Yes” vote was 31% for divestment and 45% for supporting the right of return of Palestinians.

Tuesday’s vote was therefore not the first time voters rejected the mainstream politicians to
support human rights for Palestinians.....


The Significance of This Vote is Enormous

The significance of this vote is enormous. It demonstrates that Americans support the principle of equality, and believe that Israel is wrong in discriminating against non-Jews under the law. It
shows that Americans do not want their government to support this discrimination inside Israel,
regardless of whether Israel is "our ally" or a "Jewish state."

It shows, in other words, that when given a chance to choose between the principle of equality versus the Zionist principle of inequality (that Israel must be a "Jewish" state in which the sovereign authority is "the Jewish people" and not all citizens equally) then Americans chose equality, even when their politicians and newspapers tell them not to....


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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Campus speakers against Apartheid in Palestine.


Margaret Thatcher's party admits that it was wrong to support Apartheid South Africa.

___________________________________________________________


"Peace Train: End apartheid in Palestine:
"Speaker will address parallels to South Africa"


Thursday, November 13, 2008


On the Web at:

http://www.coloradodaily.com/news/2008/nov/13/end-apartheid-in-palestine/



Just over 20 years ago, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher confidently voiced the opinion that "Nelson Mandela would never be the president of a free South Africa."


Seven years later, she had to eat her words. Apartheid, which had seemed firmly entrenched, was cast to the trash bin of history.


Apartheid is the unspoken policy within Israel/Palestine, and there, too, it must be ended.


It has been two years since the publication of Jimmy Carter's book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," which was met with a well-orchestrated and sustained campaign of vitriol.


For specifying Israeli policies that were consistent with apartheid, the former president and 2002 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize was labeled an anti-Semite.


South African anti-apartheid activists Bishop Desmond Tutu, Blade Nzimande and John Dugard also identified features of apartheid in Israeli practices toward Palestinians in the occupied territories: the privilege of one group over another, detention without trial, control of movement through checkpoints and the wall, and deportation.


In some ways, they noted, Israel has imposed practices and policies much worse than the apartheid regime in South Africa.


Examples include the use of F-16s in residential areas, home demolitions, arrests of families of suspected "militants" and separate roads for Jewish settlers and the indigenous population.


Within Israel itself, state policies explicitly privilege Jewish citizens over Muslim and Christian citizens and as such are reminiscent of the Jim Crow south. In a December 2006 poll, 50 percent of Israeli Jews expressed the wish that the state encourage Palestinian citizens to leave -- in other words, they supported ethnic cleansing policies.


Israel's apartheid and exclusivist policies must be replaced by equal citizen rights irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity and gender.


Join us at 7 p.m. Monday in Humanities Room 1B50 on the University of Colorado campus for the lecture "Separate Is Never Equal: Stories of Apartheid from South Africa and Palestine," part of a national speaking tour sponsored by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.


The speakers are internationally recognized human rights advocates Rev. Eddie Makue, General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches, and Diana Buttu, former legal advisor to the PLO.



--Ida Audeh is a Palestinian who grew up in the West Bank and now works as an editor in Boulder.


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150 Protesters Accuse the President of Apartheid Israel of being a "War Criminal", and of starving Gaza


"Peres. Unmoved by protest"
Photo: AP

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"UK protestors call Peres 'war criminal' "


"President's address in front of 1,000 Oxford University students interrupted by small group of demonstrators claiming Israel ethnically cleansed Palestinians, calling for end to Gaza siege.


"Peres: We don't need your permission to stay alive"


by Hagit Klaiman


Published: 11.19.08, 07:28 / Israel News


See the full article in YNet News at:

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3625214,00.html



LONDON –
Pro-Palestinian protestors interrupted President Shimon Peres' speech Tuesday evening at Britain's Oxford University. The angry students called Peres a "war criminal" and called for an end to the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories.

Peres was expected to address the two houses of the British parliament on Wednesday.

The Israeli president spoke before some 1,000 British students at Oxford, while dozens of other students protested outside the lecture hall. They carried signs reading, "A person cannot be called 'a man of peace' if he develops nuclear weapons", and chanted "free Palestine" and "occupation is a crime".

A propaganda leaflet, titled "Peres is a war criminal", was handed out outside the hall.


The leaflet read, "In the past 60 years he contributed to and was responsible for Israeli terror and the ongoing occupation. He recruited and armed the Hagana terrorists who led the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948.

"This man is responsible for the only nuclear weapons cache in the entire Middle East. As the president of Israel, he is responsible for starving a million and a half Palestinians subject to a siege in Gaza."

Protestors inside the hall interrupted Peres' speech several times. One of them shouted at him, "I am here on behalf of a million and a half residents of Gaza who are being bombed by Israel every day. I am here in the name of 11,000 Palestinian prisoners. I am here in the name of the 800,000 refugees expelled. War criminal, you should be ashamed of yourself."



'Hitler would also remain silent'


The audience did not keep quiet in light of the ongoing attacks. When one of the demonstrators called Peres a "war criminal", most of those present booed her. She did not hesitate and replied, 'If Hitler were here now, he would remain silent as you are silent and listen to Peres' speech."

The president, who remained composed and kept his restraint, responded to one of the protestors by saying, "We have the right to stay alive. We don't need your permission."

One of the students, who claimed to be demonstrating on behalf of all of Gaza's residents, was told by Peres, "Sometimes it's not so terrible to open your eyes and ears and keep your mouth closed for a different opportunity."

At the end of the event, Peres said he was unmoved by the demonstration and would continue his PR efforts for Israel....



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"Unflappable Peres delivers consistent message"

by Anshel Pfeffer
November 19, 2008

In the "Jewish Chronicle" (London, U.K.).

See the full article at:

http://www.thejc.com/node/8339


President Shimon Peres showed grace under fire on Tuesday night when he was systematically heckled and barracked by Oxford students at the city's Sheldonian Theatre.


The trip to Oxford on Tuesday evening was always going to be the most unpredictable part of the presidential visit. On the one hand there was Mr Peres' insistence on plunging head-first into the academic boycott issue, and on the other, the preparations of various pro-Palestinian groups to protest against the visit of the man they described as a "war criminal" caused a lot of worry to the security detail.


In the event, the detail of mounted police with riot gear outside the Sheldonian Theatre, where Mr Peres was to give his lecture on "The Globalisation of Peace" was unnecessary. About 150 demonstrators gathered outside but they seemed content to chant "Free, free Palestine" and hand out leaflets detailing Mr Peres' "crimes against humanity" and blaming the Americans for 9/11. But the main concern was what was going to happen inside the splendid hall. The university had ruled that any student with a valid university card would be allowed in on a first come, first served basis- and trouble was expected. A team of bodyguards and a group of proctors were ranged around the theatre in readiness.


On arrival, Mr Peres was received with thunderous applause and no sign of any dissent. But three minutes into his lecture, when he was explaining how Barack Obama's election was the realisation of the Zionist dream of eradicating antisemitism and racism, a young man stood up and shouted: "I am here as the representative of 800,000 Palestinians ethnically cleansed by Israel."


A few people shushed him; Mr Peres continued speaking as if nothing had happened and the protestor sat down. But for the next hour, every five minutes or so, another student got up to represent a different sector of the downtrodden Palestinian people. Only once, when one actually started walking towards the president, shouting: "How dare you, leader of an apartheid state," was he bundled out of the hall by the proctors.


Throughout these disturbances, Mr Peres carried on unflappably, though towards the end he seemed to be chafing a bit. To one heckler who claimed to be representing "thousands of farmers who had their land taken away by Israeli settlers" he said: "It's not bad to open the eyes and ears and keep the mouth for a later occasion...."


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