Michael Riordon

the view from where I live


Leave a comment

STOP IT!

In my opinion, the resistance is just a temporary phenomenon to achieve particular goals: to end the blockade and allow Palestinians to live in freedom and dignity in a state of their own.” – Nour Omar Shaban, 16 years old, Gaza, August 2, 2014.

When the current attacks are called off, Israel hopes to be free to pursue its criminal policies in the occupied territories without interference, and with the U.S. support it has enjoyed in the past.”  – Noam Chomsky, 86 years old, Lexington, Massachusetts, August 3, 2014.

Under the Israeli bombsUnder Israel bombs, Gaza City, July 2014.

Day 25 of Israel’s assault on Gaza.  So far:

  • 1,888 Palestinians killed, 1586 of them civilians, including 447 children and 235 women
  • 7815 wounded, mostly civilians, including 2079 children and 1398 women

Through the toxic fog of propaganda, compelling voices speak out for truth and sanity.  Here are two:

From a young Gazan: http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/25118-war-and-peace-the-youth-of-gaza.

From the venerable Noam Chomsky: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/25343-noam-chomsky-|-nightmare-in-gaza.

What is to be done?

Israel’s war crimes will only end when its illegal occupation of Palestine is stopped.

The occupation will only stop when it becomes impossible for Israel to sustain it.

The ruling authorities in Europe and North America offer no solution; they continue to support what Israeli historian Ilan Pappe calls “Israel’s incremental genocide on Gaza.”

For now, the only effective lever we have to end the occupation is the ever-growing international movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions.


Leave a comment

A pledge…

“…to the family of the one thousandth victim of Israel’s genocidal slaughter in Gaza…”

Ilan Pappe, Israeli author, professor of history, director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter, England.

On Day 20 of the Israeli assault on Gaza, the toll:

  • 1,014 Palestinians killed, 832 of them civilians, including 221 children and 121 women
  • 4,706 others wounded, mostly civilians, including 1,263 children and 939 women

Gaza, ShujaiyyaShujaiya neighbourhood, Gaza

In the face of such overwhelming crimes, words seem painfully inadequate, even pointless. But Israel’s colonial war on Palestinians is partly sustained by words, in torrents of propaganda from governments and the corporate media. In resisting it, words can also have immense power to convey facts, reason, and compassion.

Ilan Pappe has just written such a message “to the family of the one thousandth victim of Israel’s genocidal slaughter in Gaza.” A fragment:

“…I feel the urge today to make a pledge to you, which none of the Germans my father knew during the time of the Nazi regime was willing to make to him when the thugs committed genocide against his family. This is not much of a pledge at your moment of grief, but it is the best I can offer, and saying nothing is not an option. And doing nothing is even less than an option…”

Pappe’s pledge is here.

 

 

 

 


1 Comment

War crimes

Day 19 of the Israeli attack on Gaza. The toll until now:

  • 928 Palestinians killed, 764 of them civilians, including 215 children and 118 women
  • 4,663 Palestinians wounded, mostly civilians, including 1,358 children and 932 women
  • 561 houses destroyed and hundreds of others extensively
  • thousands of Palestinian civilians forcibly displaced
  • Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), a non-governmental organization based in Gaza City.

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT-GAZAThe Israeli military assault also continues in the West Bank: Six Palestinians killed (on July 26) in West Bank protests against Gaza slaughter.

These war crimes could not continue without enablers, accomplices.

On July 23 the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) met in special session to consider the matter of war crimes, and decided “… to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014, whether before, during or after….”

The 47-member council voted 29-1 in favor of the resolution. 17 members (11 of them European) abstained. Only one country voted to oppose the commission of inquiry: the United States. (Neither Israel nor the Palestinians are members of the council.) Despite the US, the commission of inquiry will proceed.

For people of conscience who feel helpless to stop these war crimes, the international boycott, investment & sanctions (BDS) movement offers these suggestions for action.

 


Leave a comment

Stop arming Israel

TAKE ACTION NOW.

israeli attack jetIsraeli attack jet.

Israel has once again unleashed the full force of its military against the captive Palestinian population, particularly in the besieged Gaza Strip, in an inhumane and illegal act of military aggression.

Israel’s ability to launch such devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and arms trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world.

Nobel laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Rigoberta Menchú and Betty Williams have published an open letter calling on the UN and governments around the world to impose a military embargo on Israel.

Add your voice to the call here.

Other signatories include Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters from Pink Floyd, playwright Caryl Churchill, US rapper Boots Riley, João Antonio Felicio, the president of the International Trade Union Confederation, and Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions [and many others].

By importing and exporting arms to Israel and facilitating the development of Israeli military technology, governments are effectively sending a clear message of approval for Israel’s military aggression, including its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Call for a military embargo here.

The international call will be presented to the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights when they take up their post in September 2014.

Please give this message wings, pass it on widely.

Fact sheet: The case for a military embargo on Israel.

Our Way to Fight: voices of resistance in Palestine and Israel.

 


2 Comments

“Please, do what you can.”

A letter from Mads Gilbert, Norwegian emergency room doctor, at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza, July 19, 2014. Via Mondoweiss.

Gaza ruinsGaza City neighborhood of Shuja’iyeh, after July 19 Israeli air and ground assault.

Dearest friends,

The last night was extreme. The “ground invasion” of Gaza resulted in scores and carloads with maimed, torn apart, bleeding, shivering, dying – all sorts of injured Palestinians, all ages, all civilians, all innocent.

The heroes in the ambulances and in all of Gaza’s hospitals are working 12-24 hour shifts, grey from fatigue and inhuman workloads (without payment, all in Shifa for the last 4 months), they care, triage, try to understand the incomprehensible chaos of bodies, sizes, limbs, walking, not walking, breathing, not breathing, bleeding, not bleeding humans. HUMANS!

Now, once more treated like animals by “the most moral army in the world” (sic!).

My respect for the wounded is endless, in their contained determination in the midst of pain, agony and shock; my admiration for the staff and volunteers is endless, my closeness to the Palestinian “sumud” [endurance, steadfastness] gives me strength, although in glimpses I just want to scream, hold someone tight, cry, smell the skin and hair of the warm child, covered in blood, protect ourselves in an endless embrace – but we cannot afford that, nor can they.

Ashy grey faces – Oh NO! not one more load of tens of maimed and bleeding, we still have lakes of blood on the floor in the ER, piles of dripping, blood-soaked bandages to clear out – the cleaners, everywhere, swiftly shovelling the blood and discarded tissues, hair, clothes, cannulas – the leftovers from death – all taken away…to be prepared again, to be repeated all over.

More then 100 cases came to Shifa last 24 hours. Enough for a large well trained hospital with everything, but here – almost nothing: electricity, water, disposables, drugs, OR-tables, instruments, monitors – all rusted and as if taken from museums of yesterday’s hospitals. But they do not complain, these heroes. They get on with it, like warriors, head on, enormously resolute.

And as I write these words to you, alone, on a bed, my tears flows, the warm but useless tears of pain and grief, of anger and fear. This is not happening!

And then, just now, the orchestra of the Israeli war-machine starts its gruesome symphony again, just now: salvos of artillery from the navy boats just down on the shores, the roaring F16s, the sickening drones (Arabic ‘Zennanis’, the hummers), and the clattering Apaches [assault helicopters]. So much made and paid in and by the US.

Mr. Obama – do you have a heart?

I invite you – spend one night – just one night – with us in Shifa. Disguised as a cleaner, maybe.  I am convinced, 100%, it would change history.

Nobody with a heart AND power could ever walk away from a night in Shifa without being determined to end the slaughter of the Palestinian people.

But the heartless and merciless have done their calculations and planned another “dahyia” assault on Gaza. [Dahyia: an Israeli military doctrine in which the army deliberately targets civilian infrastructure, as a means of inducing suffering for the civilian population].

The rivers of blood will keep running the coming night. I can hear they have tuned their instruments of death.

Please. Do what you can. This, THIS cannot continue.

Mads Gilbert
Gaza, Occupied Palestine

Mads Gilbert volunteers in Gaza. He is Professor and Clinical Head, the Clinic of Emergency Medicine, at the University Hospital of North Norway, in Tromsø, Norway.

 


Leave a comment

UPDATE – From inside Gaza

In case you joined this blog in the past few days, and have not received notice of the previous post (From inside Gaza…), here’s an update:

July 17, Day 10 of the Israeli military assault continues against Gaza, the world’s largest prison.

  • Palestinians killed: 211, including 179 civilians, 32 of them women, 45 of them children.
  • Palestinians wounded: 1458, mostly civilians, including 253 women, 432 children.
  • Source: Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Gaza, which has a good reputation for accuracy.

Stop funding Israeli terrorPhoto: Ted Majdosz

Many of us feel enraged but helpless in the face of Israel’s war crimes, and the active complicity of elected governments across Europe and North America. The rage is justified,  but we are not helpless. There is something we can do.

Here is an urgent call to action from inside Gaza, via the international BDS Movement:

“We Palestinians trapped inside the bloodied and besieged Gaza Strip call on conscientious people all over the world to act, protest and intensify boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel until it ends this murder…”

Read the full call from inside Gaza here.

Here are 9 ways to support Gaza.


2 Comments

From inside Gaza: “How much of our blood is sufficient?”

Palestinian relatives mourn over the body of Mahmud al-Sewati during his funeralPalestinians mourn victims of Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, 12 July.

Many of us feel enraged but helpless in the face of Israel’s war crimes, with the active complicity of elites and mainstream media in Europe and North America.  Israeli historian Ilan Pappe calls the long siege of Gaza “an incremental genocide.”

The rage is understandable, but we are not helpless. There is something we can do.

From inside Gaza comes this compelling call to action, via the international BDS Movement.

“We Palestinians trapped inside the bloodied and besieged Gaza Strip call on conscientious people all over the world to act, protest and intensify boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel until it ends this murderous attack on our people and is held to account.

With the world turning their backs on us once again, we in Gaza have been left to face massacre after massacre. As you read these words, over 120 Palestinians are dead now [157 by July 14, with no end in sight], including 25 children. Over 1,000 have been injured including countless horrifying injuries that will limit lives forever –- more than two thirds of the injured are women and children.

We know for a fact that many more will not make it through the next day. Which of us will be next, as we lie awake from the sound of the carnage in our beds tonight? Will we be the next photo left in an unrecognizable state from Israel’s state-of-the-art flesh-tearing, limb-stripping machinery of destruction?

We call for a final end to the crimes and oppression against us. We call for:

  • Arms embargos on Israel, sanctions that would cut off the supply of weapons and military aid from Europe and the United States on which Israel depends to commit such war crimes;
  • Suspension of all free trade and bilateral agreements with Israel such as the EU-Israel Association agreement;
  • Boycott, divestment and sanctions, as called for by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society in 2005

Without pressure and isolation, the Israeli regime has proven time and time again that it will continue such massacres as we see around us now, and continue the decades of systematic ethnic cleansing, military occupation and apartheid policies.

We are writing this on Saturday night, again paralyzed in our homes as the bombs fall on us in Gaza. Who knows when the current attacks will end? For anyone over seven years old, permanently etched on our minds are the rivers of blood that ran through the Gaza streets when for over three weeks in 2009 over 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including over 330 children.

White phosphorous and other chemical weapons were used in civilian areas and contaminating our land with a rise in cancers as a result. More recently 180 more were killed in the week-long attacks in late November 2012.

This time what? 200, 500, 5,000? We ask: how many of our lives are dispensable enough until the world takes action? How much of our blood is sufficient? Before the Israeli bombings, a member of the Israeli Knesset Ayelet Shaked of the far-right Jewish Home party called for genocide of the Palestinian people.

“They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes,” she said. “Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.” Right now nothing is beyond the murderous nature of the Israeli State, for we, a population that is mostly children, are all mere snakes to them.

As said Omar Ghraib in Gaza, “It was heart shattering to see the pictures of little boys and girls viciously killed. Also how an elderly woman was killed while she was having her iftar at Maghreb prayer by bombing her house. She died holding the spoon in her hand, an image that will need a lot of time to leave my head.”

Entire houses are being targeted and entire families are being murdered. Early Thursday morning the entire al-Haj family was wiped out — the father Mahmoud, mother Bassema and five children. No warning, a family targeted and removed from life. Thursday night, the same again, no warning, five more dead including four from the Ghannam family, a woman and a seven year old child amongst them.

On Tuesday morning the Kaware family did get a phone call telling them their three-story house would be bombed. The family began to leave when a water tank was struck, but then returned with members of the community, who all came to the house to stand with them, people from all over the neighborhood.

The Israeli jets bombed the building with a roof full of people, knowing full well it was full of civilians. Seven people died immediately, including five children under 13 years old. Twenty-five more were injured, and eight-year-old Seraj Abd al-Aal succumbed to his injuries later that evening.

Perhaps the family was trying to appeal to the Israeli regime’s humanity, surely they wouldn’t bomb the roof full of people. But as we watch families being torn apart around us, it’s clear that Israel’s actions have nothing to do with humanity.

Other places hit include a clearly-marked media vehicle, killing the independent journalist Hamed Shehab, injuring eight others, a hit on a Red Crescent rescue vehicle and attacks on hospitals which caused evacuations and more injuries.

This latest session of Israeli barbarity is placed firmly in the context of Israel’s inhuman seven-year blockade that has cut off the main life-line of goods and people coming in and out of Gaza, resulting in the severe medical and food shortages being reported by all our hospitals and clinics right now.

Cement to rebuild the thousands of homes destroyed by Israeli attacks had been banned and many injured and ill people are still not being allowed to travel abroad to receive urgent medical treatment which has caused the deaths of over 600 sick patients.

As more news comes in, as Israeli leaders give promises of moving onto a next stage in brutality, we know there are more horrors yet to come. For this we call on you to not turn your backs on us. We call on you to stand up for justice and humanity and demonstrate and support the courageous men, women and children rooted in the Gaza Strip facing the darkest of times ahead. We insist on international action:

  • Severance of diplomatic ties with Israel
  • Trials for war crimes
  • Immediate international protection of the civilians of Gaza

We call on you to join the growing international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign to hold this rogue state to account that is proving once again to be so violent and yet so unchallenged.

Join the growing critical mass around the world with a commitment to the day when Palestinians do not have to grow up amidst this relentless murder and destruction by the Israeli regime.  When we can move freely, when the siege is lifted, the occupation is over and the world’s Palestinian refugees are finally granted justice.

ACT NOW, before it is too late!”

Signed by:

Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
University Teachers’ Association in Palestine
Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (Umbrella for 133 orgs)
General Union of Palestinian Women
Medical Democratic Assembly
General Union of Palestine Workers
General Union for Health Services Workers
General Union for Public Services Workers
General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers
General Union for Agricultural Workers
Union of Women’s Work Committees
Pal-Cinema (Palestine Cinema Forum)
Youth Herak Movement
Union of Women’s Struggle Committees
Union of Synergies—Women Unit
Union of Palestinian Women Committees
Women’s Studies Society
Working Woman’s Society
Press House
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
Gaza BDS Working Group
One Democratic State Group