Archive for September, 2015

CPDS library launches debate club for Gaza youth


DEbate Club (400 x 266)

Hashim Yeop Sani Library in the Center for Political and Development Studies in collaboration with Palestinian Youth Advocacy Network (PYAN) held the first meeting of its newly launched debating club for Gazan youth on Tuesday afternoon.

Led by trainer Huda Julie Webb-Pullman, the first session was attended by a dozen of students and graduates who are interested in improving their debating skills. The club aims to teach participants how to organize effective arguments and persuade the audience.

Webb-Pullman introduced the benefits and basics of debating, and identified the skills of an effective and positive debater.

The meeting ended with a simple debate between two teams.

Although the topic was seemingly non-contentious – “That Ghassan Kanafani is the best Palestinian writer” – the exercise illustrated how quickly passions can arise, generating heated and humorous discussion.

Despite being their first session, participants quickly discovered and exercised the skills necessary to deal with fiery responses while progressing their argument.

The club will be run weekly, and is one of several clubs the library launched recently, including French and English clubs.

‘Operation Protective Edge’ – An Israeli Soldier’s Perspective?

Aotearoa BDS Network


Two Israeli soldiers who participated in Israel’s 2014 attacks on Gaza have been given a platform to speak at Victoria University on 29/9/2015. Student groups and academics have been concerned about this for various reasons, and have raised a number of points.

When the current Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon came to New Zealand in 2006, a warrant was issued for his arrest on allegations of war crimes in Gaza. The New Zealand government intervened and Ya’alon skipped the country.

Our visitors from the Israeli Defence Forces would do well to consider how much culpability they might have for Palestinian blood on their hands before they come here preach about how the IDF is the most moral army in the world.

Just before the invasion, Col. Ofer Winter of the elite Givati Brigade urged Israeli soldiers to ‘wipe out’ the “enemies of God”.

During the previous 2009 Israeli attack on Gaza, Avichai Rontzki stated that troops who showed mercy to the Palestinians would be damned.

The Israeli attack on Gaza last year left primarily civilian casualties. Entire neighbourhoods were wiped out. Some 273,000 Palestinians were displaced. Israeli bombardment over 51 days put basic services, such as hospitals, sewerage treatments plants and electricity facilities were put out of action. Such widespread and indiscriminate destruction constitutes war crimes. Reconstruction has been negligible due to the ongoing and illegal Israeli blockade. Read more »

Academics Protest IDF Meeting at Victoria University


gaza (400 x 267)

As academics, researchers and educators associated with Victoria University, we are dismayed to learn that the Student Union Building will play host next week to soldiers from the Israeli Defense Force, touring Aotearoa/New Zealand as part of a nation-wide campaign to justify Israeli crimes in last year’s war in Gaza.

Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s assault on the Gaza strip in July last year, killed some 2 194 people over 51 days. 1 523 of these casualties were civilians. The United Nations stated that Israel’s use of heavy artillery against Gaza “may amount to a war crime.”

This attack had a devastating effect on educational and academic life in Gaza. Three universities, seven United Nations schools and at least 140 local schools suffered severe damage from Israeli attacks. Over 20 students were killed in an attack on Al Quds Open University. 60 academic staff and their families were displaced, as were over 2000 students and their families. Summer courses in 2014 were largely cancelled. Read more »

Palestinian Justice Advocates Deny Others Justice

Press Release – Friends Of Israel

New Zealand Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) are attempting to gag any discussion and debate about the 2014 Gaza War. They hope to pressure Victoria University into preventing two Israeli students from giving a public address on campus about their … Read more »

Typhoid Outbreak in Yarmouk, more suspected cases

Press Release

A child waits outside the UNRWA health point in Yalda ©UNRWA, 2015

A child waits outside the UNRWA health point in Yalda ©UNRWA, 2015

UNRWA Spokesperson Chris Gunness said on Wednesday that the vulnerability of civilians in Yarmouk remains of the highest severity, as new cases of typhoid are diagnosed.

“Our health teams in Syria are finding increasing evidence of a typhoid outbreak among civilians from Yarmouk, in Damascus. Today we saw 320 patients and among them were three suspected cases of typhoid. This brings the total figure of suspected cases to 90. That is 90 too many,” he said.

UNRWA conducted humanitarian operations in Yalda on 23 September, providing vital healthcare to civilians displaced from Yarmouk and host communities. Their report follows: Read more »

Jerusalem Is Bigger Than Palestine

By Dr. Fayez Abushamala

abuShamala (400 x 326)

The deliberate Israeli escalation in Jerusalem in recent days is not haphazard, but is part of an Israeli strategy to forcibly impose facts on the ground to take over the holy city from the hands of Arab “occupiers.”

The Israeli aggression will not be limited to the division of Al-Aqsa physically and temporally. The Israeli aggression will continue until Israel acquires the city fully, so that Arabs and Muslims look for another place to perform their religious rituals.

Netanyahu held a special meeting last night with some of his ministers who are concerned with the Jerusalem issue, including security chiefs, and the domestic front commander. They discussed what would happen after Al-Aqsa Mosque is divided. Netanyahu said that the Israeli Occupation Forces would not allow any Palestinian to prevent Jews from getting into Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform Talmudic rituals. Read more »

Barakat: Oslo agreement Palestinian bourgeoisie’s declaration of bankruptcy, failure

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

Barakat (400 x 300)

“Those who were involved in signing the Oslo agreement must apologize to the Palestinian people and submit themselves to appear before a Palestinian court under popular Palestinian control, after resigning from their positions in the Palestine Liberation Organization and official Palestinian institutions,” said Khaled Barakat, the coordinator of the Campign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat, in a video-conference with supporters of the Palestinian cause.

“However, they do not have the courage or the conscience – they will not apologize to the Palestinian people. Because they are the political representation of a class, not only one organization or individual,” said Barakat. “Oslo was a crime, a scandal and a disaster. What was signed at the White House 22 years ago as the ‘Declaration of Principles’ was, in essence, the declaration of the Palestinian bourgeoisie of their bankruptcy and failure in the leadership of the revolution of the Palestinian people for liberation, return, self-determination and victory.”

Barakat said, “This Palestinian class reached to this end itself before 1993. It was always loking to secure its interests and capital in the ‘national state’ and then in a ‘national authority on any freed inch’ and then accepted to be a junior partner and subsidiary in a triangle: Israel – Jordan – Palestinian Authority. This was before becoming fully in the pocket of the enemy and its economy. All of the economic agreements signed by the Palestinian Authority with the Zionist entity, with the European Union and the so-called ‘donor countries,’ and the acceptance of the terms of international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as the Paris economic agreement, are all part and parcel of the political crimes committed against the people and the homeland.”

“The Palestinian right wing in the PLO and the PA express the interests of a parasitic bourgeois surrendered totally to the enemy, who have failed at all levels. They have failed to build national institutions or democracy, failed to achieve the so-called Palestinian state through negotiations, failed to establish a national resistant Palestinian economy, and failed to achieve a bare minimum of unity of the Palestinian people and their political forces inside and outside Palestine – alongside an unprecedented fiasco in the fields of culture and education. And above all of this, these forces have sabotaged real national and popular achievements, in particular destroying the achievements of the major popular uprising from 1987-1993,” said Barakat.

“In defense of their petty privileges, in the interests of the Zionist enemy and of United States imperialism, the Palestinian Authority has exercised the worst forms of repression and persecution against the vanguard of our people in the West Bank and Gaza, including complicity in assassinations, arresting and torturing them in prisons, security prosecutions, the confiscation of the livelihoods of thousands of workers, and conspiracy against the forces of the Palestinian resistance,” said Barakat. “These are all crimes – serious crimes, for which there is no statute of limitations. If there is any success that can be recorded for this corrupt approach, it is for the oppressor, in the accomplishment of all of the above. Oslo was a victory for the enemy, its most important and its greatest since 1948.”

In response to a question about the situation of the Palestinian Authority, Barakat said, “The enemies of the Palestinian people want them to have a corrupt leadership and a corrupt Authority, so that they can always be controlled and replaced as necessary, to ensure that they are more dependent, more reactionary and more willing to work in the service of the Zionist project. The occupation deals with the Palestinian security services in the occupied West Bank as if they are employees, especially after the ‘reformation’ of the security forces overseen by the occupying enemy and supervised by US General Keith Dayton personally. The role and methods of the security services have changed – and worsened – since 2005. All of this has taken place at the hands of Zionist general and under the direct control of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. This is known – our people know the truth,” Barakat said.

In response to a question on the role of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the postponement of the Palestinian National Council meeting and the next steps, Barakat said that “the position of the Popular Front is expressed by the central leadership in the homeland and in the diaspora, as well as in the statement of the General Central Committee, which was issued in regard to the last announced session. The Front explained the reasons for its boycott o the meeting and indicated the dangers and risks that would arise from the continuation of the monopolistic PLO leadership on this exclusionary road. The Front says that the solution to the internal Palestinian crisis lies in the application of the Cairo agreement in 2005, not to reproduce the failed experiment itself under the name of ‘dialogue between Fateh and Hamas’ or ‘Palestinian reconciliation between Fateh and Hamas’! Why? Because this agreement came from a dialogue in which all national and Islamic forces participated and signed on in Egypt. This also emerged in a political initiative known as the Prisoners Document, which came from inside the prisons and was signed by all the forces, and blessed by the leaders of the prisoners’ movement. From here, the Front sees that this agreement is a fit beginning to restore national unity despite our reservations on some of its provisions. but in the end, the proof is in the implementation and not in anything else. The step of postponement was comfortable for all.”

In response to a question on Hamas’ position on participation in the PLO and asking why a new unified national front for the Palestinian resistance should not be organizaed as an alternative to the current PLO, Barakat said, “Before the announcement of the postponement of the PNC meeting, the Popular Front advised the leadership of the Hamas movement to not take any extreme political steps or negative actions that would not be beneficial at this stage. The main banner at the press conference held by the Front in Mar Elias refugee camp called for a unified Palestinian National Council, because the Front is aware of the importance of building a unified national front in the national democratic liberation stage of our struggle. This broad national front was embodied by the PLO for a long period of time, as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. But today there are major Palestinian forces that do not participate in it. And the PFLP is aware that in order to broadean and extend the state of open confrontation with the Zionist enemy on the one hand and meet the challenges that beset our region on the other hand, there must be a minimum Palestinian national consensus that is acceptable to our people, locked in a bitter, difficult struggle and confronting a strong Zionist and imperialist enemy. We must protect the internal front, to escape the era of siege and open new horizons for the national struggle for liberation. On this basis, the Popular Front has launched bilateral and collective dialogues with various forces according to this vision: national unity on the basis of comprehensive national rights and adherence to popular and armed resistance as an alternative to negotiations and settlement.”

Palestinian activists: Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing a “trap” of Israeli occupation


Erez Crossing, Beit Hanoun, Gaza

Erez Crossing, Beit Hanoun, Gaza

The Erez/Beit Hanoun crossing to Gaza is becoming a trap by the Israeli occupation to imprison Palestinians from Gaza, said Riyad Al-Ashqar of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies, noting that arrests at the crossing are escalating once again.

In the beginning of 2015, 19 merchants seeking to trade and do business through the crossing were arrested; while the arrests then declined from May to July, said Ashqar, in August, 6 merchants, 2 international organization staff members, 2 patients traveling for treatment and one teacher were arrested at the crossing. With the ongoing siege on Gaza and the closure of Rafah crossing the vast majority of the time, Palestinians in Gaza are forced to seek treatment and trade through this crossing. Read more »

David Cameron rewards Israel super-stooge

Article – Redress Information

As demands increase for Netanyahus arrest and Gaza becomes unliveable, Cameron appoints the director of Conservative Friends of Israel, Stuart Polak, to the House of Lords Read more »

National Security and International Legitimacy

Article – INSS Insight

Israel lives under the constant threat of enemies who seek its destruction and who systematically and grossly violate the laws of warfare. Despite this difficult reality, Israel in general and the IDF in particular must take care to continue to honor moral … Read more »

The ‘European’ refugee crisis

Afro-Middle East Centre
Brief No. 12/2015

REfugees (400 x 216)

The refugee crisis currently affecting Europe has elicited comparisons to the refugee crisis resulting from the Second World War. This comparison, while worthwhile insofar as it has helped mobilise sections of the European community to assist the refugees, misses a key point: the Middle East and African regions are confronting the refugees crisis to a far greater extent than Europe. Europe is seeing merely a fallout of the crisis that is catastrophically affecting Lebanon, Turkey and certain other Middle East nations. Refugees making their way to Europe represent barely 0.068 per cent of the total European population, while over 25 per cent of the residents of Lebanon are refugees.

Refugees seeking rehabilitation in Europe are from many countries, with the largest group being from Syria. As Eurostat illustrates, the number of people seeking asylum in Europe from Syria numbered 130 000 in 2014, far more than the next largest group – from Afghanistan – numbering 40 000. The ‘refugee crisis’ is, then, primarily the result of four years of protracted war in Syria. Read more »

UNRWA: Typhoid and severe malnutrition among Yarmouk civilians

Situation Report – Yarmouk

Two infants at the UNRWA medical point in Yalda, 10 September, 2015 ©UNRWA

Two infants at the UNRWA medical point in Yalda, 10 September, 2015 ©UNRWA

Chris Gunness, UNRWA Spokesperson, today reported that the number of civilians affected by the outbreak of typhoid among civilians from Yarmouk continues to grow, as UNRWA teams continued to conduct humanitarian operations in Yalda providing vital healthcare to civilians displaced from Yarmouk and host communities.

“Today we saw another five suspected cases. In addition, our medical teams in Yalda, adjacent to Yarmouk are seeing cases of malnutrition and severe malnutrition. While encouraged by the limited humanitarian access we are being granted we remain gravely concerned about the civilian population of the camp,” he said. Read more »

Hemaya: US terror designation a folly flying in the face of history and justice

Press Release
Hemaya Center for Human Rights

guys (400 x 222)

The naming by the US State Department of three Hamas leaders as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” (SDGTs) is a folly, and a thinly-disguised attempt to criminalise legitimate resistance to occupation. As such, it must be roundly rejected by all who uphold international law, and civil and political rights. Read more »

Badran calls on resistance to respond to Dawabsheh crime

Press Statement

The Dawabsheh family - the child on the left is now the only survivor

The Dawabsheh family – the child on the left is now the only survivor

Hamas spokesman Husam Badran stated that martyrdom of the 28-year-old Mom Riham Dawabsheh emphasizes the size of the Israeli crime committed against the Dawabsheh family.

In a press statement on Monday, Badran called on the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank to carry out novel attacks that will deter the Israeli occupation and settlers.

Badran noted that this crime is not an exceptional case, but part of a malicious, systematic policy, supervised by the Israeli occupation’s leaders and pursued by Israeli soldiers and settlers against the Palestinian people.

He said that such Israeli policy is based on killing, displacement and terrorism, and aims at and terrorizing the Palestinian people in order to deter them from exercising their legitimate right of resisting the occupation. Read more »

PFLP urges broader popular mobilization to support striking Palestinian prisoners

Press Release
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails

Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails

Comrade Jamil Mizher, member of the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and leader of its branch in Gaza, urged a comprehensive popular campaign to support the brave Palestinian prisoners in Zionist jails, in particular the administrative detainees who have been on hunger strike for over 15 days in rejection of the policy of administrative detention.

Mizher said that the strikers are fighting a critical battle under the slogan, “Battle of Breaking the Chains,” which requires popular and institutional support, as it is a battle of the entire Palestinian people and not just the prisoners.

He praised the striking prisoners: Nidal Abu Aker, Badr al-Ruzza, Ghassan Zawahreh, Shadi Ma’ali, Munir Abu Sharar, Bilal Saifi and the other prisoners who have joined and will join the strike, expressing confidence in their victory in this battle. He noted that over the years of imprisonment they have only strengthened their will, saying that the Front will not abandon them and will organize to support them inside and outside Palestine. Read more »

Dr. Ashrawi: Israel is in the business of creating refugees

Press Release – Palestinian Liberation Organisation

Dr. Ashrawi: Israel is in the business of creating refugees, not providing them with a safe haven Read more »

Alhayya demands Egypt release Palestinian abductees


Hamas once again holds Egypt fully responsible for the abduction of four Palestinians in its territory, demanding their release by Egypt and disclosure of their whereabouts.

Hamas rally demanding Egypt produce the four young men abducted from a bus after passing through the Rafah Crossing into Egypt

Hamas rally demanding Egypt produce the four young men abducted from a bus after passing through the Rafah Crossing into Egypt

Thousands of Palestinians took part in a mass rally in front of the Egyptian Embassy in Gaza on Friday condemning the abduction of the four Palestinian youths in Egypt in August. Addressing the rally, Hamas member of Political Bureau Khalil Alhayya said that Hamas finds it surprising that two weeks have passed since the abduction [of Abd al-Basit Abd al-Dayim, Abdullah Said Abdullah Abu Jibbeen, Yasir Fathi Misbah Zanoun and Hussein Khamis al-Thabda] with no shred of information on their condition.

Alhayya slammed the Egyptian media for its criticism and blaming of Hamas for denouncing the abduction, saying that Egyptian media should instead be standing with the abductees. Read more »

No to temporal division of Al-Aqsa Mosque

By Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk

mazouk (400 x 222)

The Israeli occupation forces closed the gates of Al-Aqsa mosque from 7:30 am to 11:30 am, and prevented prayers and Murabiteen (worshipers staying at the mosque) from entering or staying in Al-Aqsa mosque during that period, while the Arabs remain silent and the Palestinian leadership is busy with projects that divide and separate the Palestinian people.

The Israeli occupation closed the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque and it now attempts through legal pretexts to eliminate Al-Rabat (presence for prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque) and hurt the worshipers and endowment staff. Read more »

PFLP: Jenin camp remains a center of resistance and unity

Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

Jenin attack

Jenin attack

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and its military wing, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, responded to the Zionist attack on Jenin camp and the resistance response to the attack:

Statement from the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades:

Once again, and as usual, the fascist enemy attempted to commit another crime in the Jenin refugee camp last night, seeking to arrest a number of leading national figures in the camp. They were met by the popular masses and the resistance with a high spirit of confrontation and struggle, thwarting and defeating the aggression by the Zionist forces.

What happened in the Jenin refugee camp, and the failure of the Zionist enemy in achieving its goals, for which it stormed the camp, once again confirms the correctness of the resistance approach to deal with the enemy, respond to his crimes and thwart his plans, and also points to the importance of coordinating the resistance effort on the ground. Once again, the resistance proved that united efforts of all forces in fighting the enemy is a critical factor in the equation of the conflict. Read more »

PFLP’s Muhanna calls for PNC members to boycott extraordinary session

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

forum convened by the PFLP and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Gaza City

Forum convened by the PFLP and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Gaza City

Comrade Dr. Rabah Muhanna, member of the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, called on members of the Palestinian National Council to boycott the extraordinary session being called in September, noting that it is “wrong in form and content, and in its consequences.”

Muhanna spoke during a forum convened by the PFLP and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Gaza City to discuss the issue of the PNC meeting. “We support the convening instead of a unifying national Council on a normal cycle, and we call on the members of the National Council on the basis of this position, for the benefit of the Palestinian people and cause.”

Both the PFLP and the DFLP called for the convening of a normal session of the PNC, to be agreed upon and prepared by the provisional leadership framework, on an inclusive basis. In the event that this provisional leadership framework could not be convened, they called for the convening of a preparatory committee with representatives of all of the national and Islamic forces and the executive and presidency of the National Council, to oversee a process toward new and democratic elections for the National Council or national consensus. Read more »

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