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by CTuttle

‘Welcome to Palestine’ is Not Welcome

3:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

There’s a lot of new I/P developments that needs to be aired. First, in updating the status of the Freedom Flotilla 2, the US Captain has finally been released from custody. But, on the same note, yesterday, two Canadians and an Australian were taken into custody, soon after the Canadian ship, the ‘Tahrir’, had attempted to set sail. Then, today, the French ship was turned back, a few hours after setting sail from a port near Athens. However, the Spaniards, still intend on setting sail, on the Spanish boat Guernica, so stay tuned…!

Btw, the Flotilla organizers reject Greek offer, say: Abbas stabbed us in the back…

Now, there are more ways than one to skin a cat…

Welcome to Palestine – if you can get in…

Israel’s threat to deny visitors entry to Palestine is as disturbing as it is shocking. Our protest will be a civil society tsunami.

…more than 300 international activists plan to arrive in Tel Aviv during the week of 8 July at the invitation of 30 Palestinian civil society organisations, to participate in an initiative named “Welcome to Palestine”. Delegations from France, Great Britain, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, the USA, Japan and several African countries are expected.

Upon arrival at Ben Gurion airport, the invited guests, all from countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel, will make no secret of their intent to go to the occupied Palestinian territory. This nonviolent act, a civil society tsunami of sorts, only comes after Israel’s restriction of movement and access to and from Palestine for Palestinians and foreigners has exhausted all established channels that carry the responsibility to uphold international law first and their domestic laws second…

Naturally, Bibi went berserk, thundering, “this planned event is a continuation of the attempts to undermine Israel’s right to exist and to attempt to breach its borders and sovereignty by sea, land and by air.”

Israel readies for pro-Palestinian airport protest

Israel was making intense preparations on Monday to foil plans by hundreds of activists to flood Israel’s Ben Gurion international airport on Friday in a show of solidarity with the Palestinians.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to coordinate all law enforcement and aviation authorities, said a statement from Netanyahu’s office.

Israeli media reported that flights landing on Friday from Europe would be taken to a separate terminal and all passengers carefully screened.

“This planned provocation will be dealt with in accordance with Israeli law and international law and conventions,” the statement from the premier’s office said, without giving further details.

Pro-Palestinian activists have said they plan to arrive in their hundreds at Ben Gurion airport outside Tel Aviv on July 8 to protest against Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

“We have responded to a call from Palestinian associations and about 500 hundred of us, women, men and children, will leave on July 8 to show them the world hasn’t forgotten them,” organisers said on the website www.bienvenuepalestine.com…

Sadly, 972+’s intrepid Noam Sheizaf, paints an even bleaker picture, in that the deterrence efforts might even occur at the various Flights’ points of origin…

Awaiting activists, police to deploy extra forces at TLV airport

…Citing security officials, Israeli papers have reported on special deployment of police forces at Ben-Gurion international airport to take place from Thursday.

A police source told the daily Maariv that an effort will be made to locate the activists before they board their flights to Israel. “Those who will try to disturb public order will be dealt with,” a spokesperson for the Foreign Office told the site Walla.co.il… [...]

“We will block those Hooligans from entering the state,”
Aharonowitz told the press today.

The local media has labeled the event as “the air flotilla.”

So, will it only be zealous El Al employees, or will there also be some State collusion, à la Greece…?

Incidentally, I wonder if O’bomber will be welcomed for his planned arrival in Tel Aviv too…?

All the while, the illegal Settlement building goes on and on…

God Bless the Palestinians…!

by CTuttle

Audacity of Hope’s Captain Held in ‘Shocking Conditions’, And, Debunking Bronner…

5:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

It’s always reassuring to me when The Real News reports on the very same developments that I’ve already written about…!

Now, I hadn’t planned to do a Diary today, but, this Ma’an article had me absolutely livid…

US captain of Gaza ship held in ‘shocking conditions’

The captain of a US vessel intercepted after it tried to defy a ban and sail for Gaza from Greece was being held in “shocking conditions” Sunday and has not received consular assistance, a lawyer said.

Captain John Klusmer was arrested when the US boat Audacity of Hope — the flagship in a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists — attempted to leave Greek waters on Friday after Athens banned all Gaza-bound ships from setting sail.

Klusmer was charged with two felonies and ordered to appear in court Tuesday. The US Boat to Gaza organization said he was being held in jail in “shocking conditions” and as far as it was aware, had not yet received consular assistance.

New York lawyer Richard Levy — a passenger on the boat who has visited Klusmer in jail in a port town near Athens — told enraged US activists that “he had no bed or toilet in his cell, and is receiving no food or water”.

“We’ve offered to pay his bail,” said passenger Robert Naiman, from the Washington-based Just Foreign Policy organization. “But we have had no indication at all that he will be allowed out of jail before Tuesday.”

The US embassy in Athens was not available for comment…

Then, the Grey Lady’s Chief Israeli Apologist, Ethan Bronner crapped out this boatload of Bovine manure…

Setting Sail on Gaza’s Sea of Spin

…Israel is therefore quick to say that Gaza is well provided for and does not need any flotilla. If it still wants to bring in aid, it should take it to either Israel or Egypt and it will be delivered by truck. Sea access must remain blocked to prevent weapons smuggling.

The Israeli position defies a brutal truth: last year’s flotilla made a big difference for the people of Gaza — at a terrible cost in lives — by refocusing international attention on their plight and forcing a change in Israeli policy. Today, twice as many goods enter from Israel as before. Nonetheless, Gaza remains a deeply sad and deprived place.

“The focus on humanitarian aid by both flotilla organizers and the Israeli government is infuriating and misleading,” Gisha, an Israeli human rights group focused on Gaza, said in a statement. “There is no shortage of food in Gaza, but economic recovery is blocked by sweeping restrictions.” [...]

“The flotilla is entirely designed to attack Israel’s image around the world,” said Yuli Edelstein, minister for public diplomacy. “We know that there are representatives of different terror groups on their way to join the flotilla.”

That utter BS needs some serious unpacking…

First, Gisha does indeed state that food is readily available in Gaza(I’d beg to differ), but, Bronner completely ignored the rest of the report, in asserting that everything is hunky-dory in Gaza and the West Bank…

As the flotilla approaches, Gisha warns: Gaza residents don’t need more aid, they need to export and travel

· 83% of Gaza’s factories are closed or working at 50% or less capacity

· Israel forbids export from Gaza: not a single truck allowed since May

…Sari Bashi, Executive Director of Gisha, says it is infuriating that residents of Gaza are being deliberately reduced to recipients of humanitarian aid. “The problem in Gaza is not a shortage of food but rather a violation of the right to productive, dignified work. There is just one solution that will respect the rights of Gaza residents to freedom of movement and livelihood while protecting Israel’s legitimate security interests: Israel must lift the ban on construction materials, exit of goods and travel between Gaza and the West Bank”.

As UNRWA reported just last month…

As the Gaza blockade moves into its fifth year, a new UN report finds unemployment there among the highest in the world while the Hamas-dominated public sector grows…
As the Gaza blockade moves into its fifth year, a new report by the UN’s agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, says broad unemployment in the second half of 2010 reached 45.2 per cent, one of the highest in the world. The report released today, finds that real wages continued to decline under the weight of persistently high unemployment, falling 34.5 per cent since the first half of 2006.

“These are disturbing trends,” said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness, “and the refugees, which make up two-thirds of Gaza’s 1.5 million population were the worst hit in the period covered in this report. It is hard to understand the logic of a man-made policy which deliberately impoverishes so many and condemns hundreds of thousands of potentially productive people to a life of destitution.”

Even more on the Israeli economic Siege imposed on Gaza, from Wikileaks, no less…

Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis…

While the [Israeli government] believes that maintaining the shekel as the currency of the Palestinian Territories is in Israel’s interests, it treats decisions regarding the amount of shekels in circulation in Gaza as a security matter. Requests by Palestinian banks to transfer shekels into Gaza are ultimately approved, partially approved, or denied by the National Security Council (NSC), an organ of the Israeli security establishment, not by the Bank of Israel (BOI). As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to econoffs on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge…

Interestingly, Ma’an also reported today that Abbas has to cut the PA’s salaries due to a drop off in that ‘Humanitarian Aid’ that Bronner and Gisha were touting…

Palestinian civil servants put on half pay

Palestinian Authority staff will only receive half their salaries this month as donors continue to deliver less money than pledged, prime minister in Ramallah says…

And Israel wonders why some homemade rockets are ‘launched’ into Israel…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

The Fork Is Stuck In The Peace Farce’s Dead Carcass

6:27 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

It was fascinating to see Sen. Lieberman (I-srael) say with a straight face that the Settlements aren’t the problem in that above clip. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that they’re not the only problem, but, his wild claim that it’s ‘not so clear’ on international law, and, it’s only international ‘politics’ is a bald faced lie…

The last UN General Assembly meeting concluded:

…Convinced that a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement to the question of Palestine — the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict — was imperative for lasting Middle East peace, the General Assembly today stressed the urgent need for sustained international involvement, including by the Middle East diplomatic Quartet, to support both parties in resuming stalled peace negotiations.

That position was echoed in a broad-based resolution on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, adopted by a recorded vote of 165 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and United States), with 4 abstentions (Cameroon, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Tonga). (See Annex VI) The text was one of six adopted by recorded vote in a flurry of action that capped the Assembly’s two-day discussion of that issue along with the broader quest for peace in the Middle East.

By the terms of the text, the Assembly reaffirmed the illegality of Israeli actions intended to change the status of Jerusalem, and expressed deep concern at closures and severe restrictions on the movement of persons and goods, the establishment of checkpoints and the imposition of a permit regime throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, which had created a humanitarian crisis. Reaffirming its commitment to the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, the Assembly also stressed the need for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.

I should also add that UN Sec.Gen. Ban Ki Moon holds Israel responsible for the political impasse…

The Secretary-General of the United Nations has blamed Israel for the “current impasse” in the Middle East peace process. Ban Ki-moon expressed his regret in a statement “for the failure of the Government of Israel to comply with the call of the international community to extend the period of a partial freeze on the settlement activities in the West Bank”. He renewed his call for the Zionist state to fulfil its obligations under the so-called “road map” and freeze all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem.

Expressing his hope that progress can still be made towards a two-state solution, Mr. Ban stressed the importance of strengthening the negotiation process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. According to Hebrew radio sources, the Secretary-General was due to meet Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak in New York on 9th December to discuss the latest developments.

Interestingly, what Ehud Barak had told Ban Ki Moon and Madame Hillary was quickly dispelled by Bibi…

Barak views on Jerusalem not official, says Netanyahu

…Netanyahu has made clear that comments by defence minister Ehud Barak in favour of dividing Jerusalem were not the policy of the Israeli government.

Addressing the Saban Center for Middle East policy in Washington at the weekend, Mr Barak had said Jerusalem’s Jewish neighbourhoods should remain part of Israel, but Arab sectors should come under the sovereignty of an independent Palestinian state.

The comments were in line with the “Clinton parameters” – proposals for the city’s future outlined by former US president Bill Clinton in 2000, after the failure of the Camp David peace summit.

After a number of ministers had publicly criticised Mr Barak’s comments, Mr Netanyahu clarified that they were issued by Mr Barak in his capacity as the head of the Labor party, and not as a representative of the government.

Now, even Tzipi Livni made a plea for saner minds to prevail…

…Livni said she believes that “a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians is in (the) Israeli interest, it’s not a favor to President Obama.”

“I believe that the relations between Israel and the United States are existential to the future of the state of Israel,” the Kadima party leader and former foreign minister told ABC.

Livni noted that during her meeting with Hillary Clinton on Friday, the secretary of state said the Americans would continue discussing the core issues with Israel and the Palestinians.

The opposition leader said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu erred when he rejected a set of American guarantees in exchange for imposing another construction moratorium in the West Bank. “In choosing between building more buildings or making peace, I prefer to make peace,” she said.

To Hillary’s credit, hope does spring eternal…

Clinton: Palestinian state achieved through negotiations is inevitable

…Clinton said that the United States is serious about pushing forward a peace agreement and laying the foundations for a future Palestinian state.

“We will deepen our support of the Palestinians’ state-building efforts,
because we recognize that a Palestinian state, achieved through negotiations, is inevitable,” Clinton said, adding that “the long-term population trends that result from the occupation are endangering the Zionist vision of a Jewish and democratic state in the historic homeland of the Jewish people.” [...]

“The position of the United States on settlements has not changed and will not change,” said Clinton. “We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity. We believe their continued expansion is corrosive not only to peace efforts and the two-state solution, but to Israel’s future itself.”

The Palestinians aren’t so hopeful…

…But Palestinian negotiators and analysts said Washington’s failure to win a new settlement freeze was a sign of Israeli intransigence and US weakness, and that they held out little hope for the future of negotiations.

“The United States has once again proposed indirect talks with Israel, which means they don’t have anything to present,” Palestinian negotiator Mohammad Estayeh told AFP.

“It is unreasonable for the United States to not have a position and leave the parties to negotiate without an endpoint, we need a clear role from Washington, and we want to know if you are a mediator or a judge or facilitator of the negotiations.”

Speaking to Al-Hayat newspaper, Yasser Abed Rabbo, an aide to the Palestinian president, said it made no sense to resume so-called proximity talks, and suggested that the Palestinians were considering abandoning negotiations altogether in favor of a unilateral declaration of statehood.

“The old way did not achieve any results and we will not accept a return to it,” he said.

“We want to know, will the US side return to the old approach [of proximity talks or direct negotiations], or will they recognize a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital?” [...]
“It is clear from Clinton’s speech that the US administration will aim to reach a framework agreement covering a temporary solution that will lead to a temporary state, which the Palestinian leadership has rejected,” he told AFP.

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell was expected to hold talks with Abbas on Tuesday, but Masri said the talks were unlikely to yield much.

“Mitchell is not coming with anything up his sleeve except for trying to reach a framework agreement, which means a deal without any details which will take years to resolve because of the political gulf between the sides.”

I did find it amusing that Bibi refrained from criticizing Hillary’s speech, but, was quick to jump on Barak…

…Officials at the Minister’s Office refused to comment on the speech, but a source close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “the important thing is not what the Americans say, but what they do. We must watch their next moves in the near future.”

Although the secretary of state did not use harsh words, she was critical of Israel. She slammed the settlement construction, addressed each of the negotiations’ core issues – including Jerusalem and the refugees – and demanded a clear stand from both Israel and the Palestinians on these matters shortly.

Jerusalem is now waiting for US special envoy George Mitchell’s return to the region for another round of shuttle diplomacy between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Mitchell is trying to form an outline for the talks and receive the sides’ stance on the core issues, including Jerusalem and the borders.

Take a gander at the Bantustans that are the current West Bank… Note that the white areas on that UN map are under complete Israeli control…!

‘Apartheid’ is what the Palestinians are looking at inside of Israel or in the Occupied Territories…