Archive for September, 2016

The Enigma that was Shimon Peres

Richard Falk
Global Justice in the 21st Century

Qana massacre, Lebanon, April 18, 1996

Qana massacre, Lebanon, April 18, 1996

Responses to Interview Questions from Rodrigo Craveiro of Correio Braziliense, Brasilia re Shimon Peres

Prefatory Note
The text that follows is derived from an interview yesterday with an important Brazilian newspaper. I have retained the questions posed by the journalist, but expanded and reframed my responses. The death of Shimon Peres is the last surviving member of Israel’s founding figures, and in many ways a fascinating political personality, generating wildly contradictory appraisals. My own experience of the man was direct, although rather superficial, but it did give me greater confidence to trust my reservations about his impact and influence, which collides with the adulation that he has inspired among American liberals, in particular

1) What is the main legacy of president Shimon Peres, in your point of view?

Shimon Peres leaves behind a legacy of a long public life of commitment to making Israel a success story, economically, politically, diplomatically, and even psychologically. He is being celebrated around the world for his intelligence, perseverance, and in recent decades for his public advocacy of a realistic peace with the Palestinians. I believe he lived an impressive and significant life, but one that was also flawed in many ways. He does not deserve, in my opinion, the unconditional admiration he is receiving, especially from the high and mighty in Europe and North America. Underneath his idealistic rhetoric was a tough-minded and mainstream commitment to Zionist goals coupled with an expectation that the Palestinians, if sensible, would submit graciously to this reality, and if not, deservedly suffer the consequences of abuse and harm. He was never, contrary to his image, a supporter of an idealistic peace based on recognizing the equality of the Palestinian people, acknowledging the wrongs of the nakba and the Palestinian ordeal that followed, and in creating a sustainable peace that included realizing Palestinian rights as defined by international law.

2) Do you believe Peres was ever close to obtaining a definitive peace deal with Palestinians? What did it get wrong?

In my view, Peres never even wanted to reach a sustainable peace agreement with the Palestinians, but he fooled many people, including the committee in Oslo that selects the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. He was unyielding in his refusal to grant Palestinians dispossessed in 1948 any right of return. Read more »

No online shopping for Nur

Young women in many countries can just pop down to the nearest shoe store to buy a pair of trainers, or if there isn’t one nearby, just go online, choose what they want, and have them delivered. Not in Gaza – Israel has completely banned postal delivery services to Gaza for anything except letters and postcards – and even those are lucky to arrive. Nur hopes the Women’s Boats to Gaza will have better luck.

Even asthma is under siege in Gaza

Nadal’s mother can’t get her asthma medication – because of the Gaza siege only 30% of essential medications are available in the hospitals, and asthma medication is one of them. She thanks the Women’s Boat to Gaza for drawing attention to the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Women’s flotilla leaves Sicily – heading for Gaza

Kia Ora Gaza
Press Release

wbg1-copy (282 x 400)

New Zealand’s representative, Green MP Marama Davidson proudly displays the Tino Rangatiratanga flag on board the first of the Women’s Boats to Gaza as it leaves the port of Messina, Sicily and heads out across the Mediterranean for the distant shores of Gaza.

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Final farewells from some of the all-women crew of the Zaytouna-Olivia

Women’s Boat to Gaza statement, Messina, Sicily

This morning at 9:50 am, women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here.

When asked why they are going, the women gave a variety of responses. Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate from Ireland, notes that “they say that ‘silence is golden’, but regarding the plight of Palestinians in Gaza the silence of the world, especially concerning their little children, shows a lack of moral and ethical leadership from the international community. Why has it lasted so long?” Read more »

Sundus salutes the Women’s Boat to Gaza

Despite suffering a serious disease afflicting thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, Sundus salutes the bravery of the women in the Women’s Boat to Gaza.

Israel / OPT: UN women’s rights expert calls for peace process with full participation of women

UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights
Press Release

International Women's Day, Gaza 2015 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

International Women’s Day, Gaza 2015 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman

GENEVA (26 September 2016) – Reducing violence against women and promoting gender equality are two underused tools in bridging fragmented and divided communities and achieving peace, said United Nations human rights expert Dubravka Šimonović, at the end of her first official visit* to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory/State of Palestine.

“I would like to call both sides to start a new peace process in which women would fully participate and even take the lead and in which international human rights law and humanitarian law would be applied jointly,” the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women said. Read more »

Hamas welcomes EU court advisor’s recommendation to strike Movement from terror list

Hamas

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh at Hamas anniversary parade in Gaza, December 2014 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh at Hamas anniversary parade in Gaza, December 2014 (Photo: Julie Webb-Pullman)

Hamas has welcomed the recommendation filed by Eleanor Sharpston, the Advocate-General at the European Court of Justice, to strike the Movement from the EU’s so-called list of terrorist organizations.

In a press statement on Saturday, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri urged the European Union to follow the Advice of the Advocate-General, noting that the recommendation represents a historic opportunity for the EU to choose the correct position and atone for decades of siding with the Israeli occupation.

“Hamas has no enemies but the Israeli occupation,” Abu Zuhri asserted, adding that the Movement looks forward to having its name scraped off the European list of designated terrorist organizations.

“We seek positive ties with the everyone including in the West,” he underlined. Read more »

The world is a book

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page,” said St Augustine. But people in Gaza are lucky to read even one chapter, let alone see a library. This young women hopes at least one of the women in the Women’s Boat to Gaza brought a book to read on the way – and will leave it behind when they leave!

London’s calling but Alaa can’t answer

Alaa would love to improve her English studies in an English-speaking country before returning to share her advanced skills to help the students in her own country – but the Israeli siege of Gaza prevents her. Alaa deeply appreciates the efforts of the Women’s Boat to Gaza in trying to change this situation.

Statement by the Quartet’s Principals New York 23 Sept. 2016

Press Release – Middle East Quartet

Representatives of the Quartet United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, United States Secretary of State John Kerry and European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Federica … Read more »

Raghad Salhiya welcomes the Women’s Boat to Gaza

Raghad Salhiya is a third-year pharmacy student in Gaza who was unable to take up a scholarship to study abroad despite having a Grade Point Average of 94%. Her aim was to return after having her education, to build her country’s future. She welcomes the women on the Women’s Boat to Gaza attempting to break the Israeli siege of Gaza.

Dreaming in Gaza

A young woman from Gaza speaks of her dreams, and asks people everywhere to stand with Palestinians in international solidarity.

Messina, Italy welcomes the Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG)

Women’s Boat to Gaza
Press Release

Messina, Italy – This morning the community of Messina, Italy welcomed the participants on board Zaytouna-Oliva as they arrived following their voyage from Ajaccio, France. The sailing boat will soon leave Messina for its final destination, the shores of Gaza.

Lucio Intruglio, the local organizer in Messina noted, “We have been waiting eagerly for our sisters to arrive and have a variety of activities to celebrate their mission.”

During their stay at Messina, the women will participate in a nonviolence training and have a chance to meet with citizens, student groups and the mayor of Messina.

“We will also be sure they get plenty of rest. We know that it is a long difficult journey and we want them to leave Messina refreshed for this important next leg,” Intruglio added.

The Women’s Boat to Gaza is an initiative of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition composed of civil society organizations and campaigns from more than a dozen countries.

For more information, click here

Go here and here to see videos from Gaza women, welcoming the Women’s Boat.

Yasmin AbuShamla: Please open the borders

Yasmin AbuShamla, an unemployed psychology graduate from Gaza’s Middle area, asks for nothing more than open borders, pinning her hopes on the Women’s Boat to Gaza as they are able to travel and influence people, while she cannot.

Hala AlAshi speaks at press conference at Al Mina seaport, Gaza

At a press conference held on Tuesday at Al Mina seaport in Gaza City Hala AlAshi, a spokesperson for the National Committee for Breaking the Siege, called for more international action as she welcomed the initiative of the Women’s Boat to Gaza.

Samar sings against the Gaza siege

Shimaa prays for a safe trip for the Women’s Boat to Gaza

Zeinab wants to travel – in her own country

Ismira welcomes the Women’s Boat to Gaza

Ismira would also welcome the chance to sail on her own sea

Ruba Thabet asks international women to break the siege of Gaza

Women from Gaza are sending messages to the women on the Women’s Boat for Gaza.

Here is the first, from Ruba Thabet, a final year university student in Gaza.

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