The Children of Gaza share their experiences of “Cast Lead”

Viva Palestina convoy held up in Jordan

Gaza aid convoy members prepare for hunger strike

Members of the Viva Palestina international aid convoy to Gaza will begin a hunger strike at 11.25am local time tomorrow (27th) in protest at the Egyptian government’s refusal to allow the convoy entry onto its soil.
Diplomatic negotiations are also taking place between the Turkish and Egyptian governments over the convoy’s entry to Egypt. IHH, Turkey’s main humanitarian aid agency, has 63 vehicles travelling on the convoy. [continued…]

Lift the siege on Gaza!

A massive mobilization between December 27, 2009 and January 1, 2010 with candlelight vigils, concerts, marches, demonstrations, art installations and movie screenings will assemble all over the world to send a clear message to world leaders: end the siege on Gaza.

To tackle the blockade against Gaza, grassroots activists are moving quickly and acting in unison for an absolutley crucial time. Dec. 27 will mark one year since the Israeli attack and invasion of the Gaza Strip. Although the Israeli tanks have left, the complete closure of the borders continues.

In order to unite the public to influence public leaders behind the Gaza Freedom March goals, solidarity action organizers harnessed the power of the internet to coordinate a global week of actions. There will be actions at many places around the world: France, United Kingdom, Turkey, Ireland, Germany, Spain, United States, Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Jordan, Canada, Israel/Palestine, Poland, Denmark, and Greece. [continued…]

Gaza Freedom Marchers: 38 detained by Egypt

Egyptian security forces detained 38 participants of the Gaza Freedom March from a hotel in Al-Arish on Sunday at noon, according to a statement issued by the event’s organizers.

“Egyptian security forces detained a group of 30 internationals in their hotel in el-Arish and another group of 8 at the bus station. They also broke up a memorial action commemorating the Cast Lead massacre at the Kasr al Nil Bridge,” the statement asserted. [continued…]

Police detain 16 Israeli leftists on Gaza border

Police detained 16 left-wing activists as they were trying to cross into Gaza on Sunday to mark the one year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead.

Chief Superintendent Shimon Nahmani, commander of the Sderot police station, said the leftists held a rally without prior authorization. [continued…]

Hezbollah chief asks Egypt to stop Gaza border wall

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday called on Egypt to stop building a steel wall along the Gaza border that could obstruct tunnels which provide a lifeline for the blockaded enclave.

Nasrallah told a crowd of tens of thousands of Lebanese Shi’ite Muslim marking the Ashura religious ceremony that Egypt should be condemned if it does not halt the wall building. [continued…]

A year later, Gaza and Israel both under siege

A year after the Israeli attack on Gaza, a scorecard of “winners and losers” suggests that nobody won anything, but Israel has probably suffered political losses that it could not have envisioned when it decided to invade Gaza. I count seven main aims that Israel had in mind when it launched its war a year ago and tightened its siege of Gaza; one of them was achievable without a war, and the six others have not been achieved, or have turned things to Hamas’ and the Palestinians’ favor. [continued…]

Cast Lead 2

This week hundreds of thousands gathered in the Gaza Strip for a demonstration in support of Hamas. Judging from the photos, there were between 200 and 400 thousand. Considering that there are about 1.5 million inhabitants in the Strip, most of them children, that was quite an impressive turnout – especially in view of the misery caused by the Israeli blockade that has continued throughout the year and the ruined homes that could not be rebuilt. Those who believed that the pressure on the population would cause an uprising against the Hamas government have been proved wrong.

History buffs were not surprised. When attacked by a foreign foe, every people unites behind its leaders, whoever they are. Pity that our politicians and generals don’t read books.

Our commentators portray the inhabitants of Gaza as “looking with longing at the flourishing shops of Ramallah”. These commentators also derive hope from public opinion polls that purport to show that the popularity of Hamas in the West Bank is declining. If so, why is Fatah afraid of conducting elections, even after all Hamas activists there have been thrown into prison?

It seems that most of the people in the Gaza Strip are more or less satisfied with the functioning of the Hamas government. In spite of the misery of their lives, they may also be proud of its steadfastness There is order in the streets, crime and drugs are decreasing. Hamas is trying cautiously to promote a religious agenda in daily life, and it seems that the public does not mind.

The main aim of the operation has failed completely. [continued…]

Such brutal folly – but now prepare for Cast Lead II

There were no winners in the Gaza war that Israel launched a year ago today, but no shortage of losers. And failure to address its underlying causes – the economic siege through which Israel, Egypt and the US hope to force Hamas from power, and that organisation’s ability to respond by firing rockets into Israel – means that far from anyone learning the lessons of the brutal folly that was Operation Cast Lead, a repeat may be imminent. [continued…]

European Israel-advocacy group files suit against Goldstone report in Belgium

As Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders act to remove Israel from the international criminal justice system, some Israelis and their supporters in Europe are fighting back. The following was published in Yedioth Aharonoth on December 24, 2009.

Yesterday the pro-Israel lobby, the European Initiative, submitted in Belgium a lawsuit of a kind never filed before. The prospective defendants are the entire Hamas leadership; the plaintiffs are people with Belgian citizenship who live in the Gaza periphery communities and who have been targeted by dozens of rockets in the past number of years.

In the aftermath of the wave of lawsuits that were filed by pro-Palestinian organizations in the past number of years in Europe to have top Israeli officials arrested, yesterday a legal counter-assault was staged. Following six months of preparatory work, yesterday the pro-Israel lobby lodged an itemized legal complaint to the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office with the demand that the top Hamas leadership in Gaza and Damascus be prosecuted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The suit, incidentally, is based on the Goldstone Report, as well as on reports by B’Tselem and Amnesty International.

Not only does the suit explicitly accept the principle of international jurisdiction over criminal offenses committed in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is based on reporting by NGOs whose integrity is frequently attacked by the Government of Israel. The most surprising component of this development is, however, the endorsement of the validity of the Goldstone Report. [continued…]

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