Archive for the 'Latest Headlines' Category

PFLP warns against ongoing meetings with representatives of the occupation

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
PRESS RELEASE

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine warned the monopolistic Palestinian leadership in the Palestine Liberation Organization against any attempts to obscure or hide information regarding meetings with Zionist representatives in London in late 2016.

The Front called upon this leadership to respond to media reports issued on 31 March regarding so-called “track two diplomacy” meetings in London with Zionist “current and former” officials and academics in late 2016, revealed by British Zionist lobby organization BICOM and reports in the British media. These meetings were designed in order to develop new pathways for negotiations and the so-called “peace process” in Palestine. Read more »

Addameer: Call to action for Palestinian Prisoners’ Month 2017

Addameer Prisoner Support & Human Rights Association
PRESS RELEASE

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Addameer Prisoner Support & Human Rights Association calls on campaigners, activists, and people of conscience to take actions for Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on April 17 to stand in solidarity with all Palestinian political prisoners. Every year, the month of April is considered Palestinian prisoners’ month. In this month, the Palestinian people and supporters of justice and liberation for Palestine all over the world mark this month by expressing their support to Palestinian political prisoners through organizing events and activities to stand in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners of freedom. Read more »

Israel/Palestine: Rights Workers Denied Gaza Access

Human Rights Watch
PRESS RELEASE

The Erez border crossing between Israel and northern Gaza Strip. (Reuters)

The Erez border crossing between Israel and northern Gaza Strip. (Reuters)

(Jerusalem) – The Israeli military authorities are blocking access to and from the Gaza Strip for human rights workers who document abuses and advocate to end them, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The travel restrictions call into question the Israeli military authorities’ claim to rely on human rights organizations as an important source of information for their criminal investigations into potential serious crimes committed during the 2014 Gaza war.

The 47-page report, “Unwilling or Unable: Israeli Restrictions on Travel to and from Gaza for Human Rights Workers,” documents how Israel systematically bars human rights workers from traveling into and out of Gaza, even where the Israeli security services make no security claims against them as individuals. Egypt is also imposing severe travel restrictions on its border with Gaza. The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor’s office should take note of the restrictions in the context of its ongoing preliminary examination of the Palestine situation.

“If Israel wants the ICC prosecutor to take seriously its argument that its criminal investigations are adequate, a good first step would be to allow human rights researchers to bring relevant information to light,” said Sari Bashi, Israel and Palestine advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Impeding the work of human rights groups raises questions not just about the willingness of Israel’s military authorities to conduct genuine investigations, but also their ability to do so.”

For the last two decades and especially since 2007, Israel has kept the Gaza Strip mostly closed, preventing Palestinians from leaving Gaza to pursue educational and professional opportunities, family visits and reunification, and medical care, save on an exceptional basis. The restrictions imposed by Egypt on its border with Gaza have significantly contributed to this de facto closure. Read more »

Report reveals links between five French banks, insurance companies and Israeli settlements

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

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Paris – Several organisations (Association France Palestine Solidarité, CCFD – Terre Solidaire, Fair Finance France, FIDH, LDH, Solidaires, CGT and Al-Haq) published a report on March 29,2017 on French banks’ dangerous liaisons with the Israeli settlement enterprise. The report highlights the links between certain French banks and insurance companies and Israeli banks and businesses involved in maintaining and developing the Israeli settlements.

The Israeli settlement enterprise has persisted for fifty years. Illegal under international law, the settlement enterprise continues at an accelerated pace; the approval of 6,000 new housing units since January 2017 is merely the latest manifestation. This comes after the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2334 [1] on 23 December 2016, requiring Israel in particular to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem”. Read more »

Statement of the Central Committee of the PFLP: Sharp break with the Oslo approach necessary

PRESS STATEMENT
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

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The General Central Committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine concluded its regular meeting, named in honor of the two martyrs, Omar Nayef Zayed and Ferial Nasrallah. The session evaluated the overall current developments on the Palestinian, Arab, regional and international levels, discussing at length and in depth the various matters on its agenda. The meeting coincided with the heroic confrontation waged by the revolutionary intellectual martyr, Basil al-Araj, against the fores of the Zionist enemy. His struggle stood as a confirmation that the flame of the uprising burns and will remain constant, bringing forth yet more revolutionaries to continue the path of the martyrs and the revolutionaries who have filled the ranks of the Palestinian national liberation struggle since the first confrontation of the Zionist invasion of Palestine. Read more »

Hamas: the Israeli Occupation attempts to escalate the situation in Gaza

Hamas

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The spokesperson of the Islamic Resistance, Hamas, Hussam Badran said that the Israeli Occupation is held responsible for the hateful assassination crime that claimed the life of a Palestinian ex-prisoner, Mazen Fuqha’a.

Badran said in a televised interview that the Palestinian martyr was killed in cold blood by the Israeli Occupation using a cowardly technique that terrifies the Palestinian people, noting that this crime demonstrated the Israeli brutality against a helpless people.

He went on to say that the Israeli Occupation is attempting to create chaos by slaying civilians, adding that the Israeli occupation is pushing the region towards a serious escalation in which more heinous crimes will be carried out against the Palestinian people by their enemy occupiers.

It is noteworthy to say that the martyr had served 9 years of a life sentence inside Israeli prisons before he was freed in 2011 during the prisoner exchange deal. After that, he was expelled to the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli Occupation refused to issue permits for his family members in the West Bank in order to prevent any reunion between Fuqha’a and his family, who has yearned to meet him since he was set free five years ago.

He was severely beaten and tortured during his custody, and the Israeli Authorities issued an order to demolish his home in Tubas, a Palestinian village that lies in the West Bank.

The Israeli Occupation pursued him in Gaza and killed him on the 24 March, 2017 with the hands of their collaborators.

Qassam: Israel fully responsible for assassination of Mazen Fuqha’a

PRESS RELEASE
Al Qassam Brigades

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Al Qassam Brigades confirmed that the Israeli occupation is fully responsible for the criminal assassination of Qassam leader Mazen Fuqha’a.

“The equation that the enemy wants to impose (the quiet assassination) will be broken and the enemy will regret this,” the statement said.

The Brigades added that the occupation will pay a heavy price for this crime.

Qassam leader Mazen Mohammed Fuqha’a, 38 years old and originally from Tubas, was gunned down in a cowardly assassination operation on Friday March 24th, 2017.

Khalil al-Haya, Hamas’s deputy chief in the Gaza Strip, said only Israel would benefit from the death of Fuqha’a, who was released along with over 1,000 other Palestinian inmates in a 2011 prison swap deal with Israel.

“This assassination does not serve anybody but the occupiers; it is of no interest to the other parties,” Haya said.

Before his release, Fuqha’a had served nine years of a life sentence in an Israeli prison for his prominent role in several heroic operations against the Israeli occupation. He was deported to Gaza following the prisoner exchange deal in 2011.

Haniyeh: Hamas will remain loyal to the principles of Ahmed Yassin

Hamas

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Deputy Head of Hamas’ Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, said that the Movement’s leadership will remain faithful to the principles and values established by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin during his lifetime.

On Wednesday, a delegation consisting of Ismail Haniyeh, Deputy Head of the Political Bureau, Yahya Sinwar, Head of the Political Bureau in Gaza and his deputy, Khalil Al-Hayya, visited the home of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin On the 13th anniversary of his murder at the hands of the Israeli Occupation. Read more »

 The Inside Story on Our UN Report Calling Israel an Apartheid State

Richard Falk
Source: The Nation

 A Palestinian woman argues with Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint south of Hebron on August 16, 2016. (Reuters / Mussa Qawasma)

 A Palestinian woman argues with Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint south of Hebron on August 16, 2016. (Reuters / Mussa Qawasma)

 Six months ago, the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) asked Virginia Tilley and me to write a study examining the applicability of the international criminal law concept of apartheid to Israel’s policies and practices toward the Palestinian people. We were glad to accept the assignment, and conceived of our role as engaging in an academic undertaking. ESCWA, one of several UN regional commissions, requested the study as a result of an uncontested motion adopted by its 18 Arab member governments.

Almost within hours of its release on March 15, our report was greeted by what can only be described as hysteria. The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, denounced it and demanded that the UN repudiate it. The newly elected secretary general, António Guterres, quickly and publicly called for ESCWA to withdraw the report from its website, and when Rima Khalaf, the head of the commission, resisted, Guterres insisted. Rather than comply, Khalaf resigned. Soon thereafter, the report was withdrawn from the commission’s website, despite its having been published with a disclaimer noting that it represents the views of its authors and not necessarily that of ESCWA or the UN.

What is striking about this response, which resembles in many respects the US government response to the Goldstone Report (the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict of 2008-9), is the degree to which Israel’s supporters, in response to criticism, have sought to discredit the messenger rather than address the message.

 Tilley, a professor of political science at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and I, as well as ESCWA, would welcome substantive discussion of and critical feedback on our report, and we had hoped that our analysis and conclusions would provide the basis for dialogue and further consideration of the recommendations appended at the end. ESCWA, for its part, took steps to ensure that the report lived up to scholarly standards, submitting the draft text to three prominent international jurists, who anonymously submitted strong positive appraisals along with some suggestions for revision, which we gratefully incorporated before the final text was released. For government officials and others to dismiss our report as a biased polemic is irresponsible, with respect both to the authority of the UN and to international law. Read more »

UN expert warns of deteriorating situation for human rights defenders in Palestine and Israel

PRESS RELEASE
United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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GENEVA (21 March 2017) – Human rights defenders working to draw attention to abuses associated with Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territory are being increasingly targeted as a result of their work, according to a new report from a United Nations human rights expert.

Michael Lynk – the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 – expressed deep concerns about the shrinking space for civil society in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in a statement to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“As human rights defenders – Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals – persist with their intrepid activism to investigate and oppose the regime of human rights violations that is integral to the occupation. All indications are that they will continue to be the prime targets of those who are intolerant of their criticisms, yet alarmed by their effectiveness,” Mr. Lynk said.

The Rapporteur noted with alarm that Palestinian human rights defenders have been subjected to attacks, arrest, detention, and threats to their lives and safety. “They have experienced sophisticated interference with their vital work, and have faced toxic denunciations aimed at silencing them and discouraging their supporters,” he continued. Read more »

Text of Resignation Letter by ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf

The following text is the resignation letter submitted by Rima Khalaf in response to the formal request by UN Secretary General that ESCWA withdraw the publication of a report that asserts Israel is committing Apartheid.

Click here to access the full ESCWA report, which has since been removed from the UN website.

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Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

I have carefully considered your message conveyed through the Chef de Cabinet and assure you that at no point have I questioned your right to order the withdrawal of the report from our website or the fact that all of us working in the Secretariat are subject to the authority of its Secretary-General. Nor do I have any doubts regarding your commitment to human rights in general, or your firm position regarding the rights of the Palestinian people. I also understand the concerns that you have, particularly in these difficult times that leave you little choice.

I am not oblivious to the vicious attacks and threats the UN and you personally were subjected to from powerful Member States as a result of the publication of the ESCWA report “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid”. I do not find it surprising that such Member States, who now have governments with little regard for international norms and values of human rights, will resort to intimidation when they find it hard to defend their unlawful policies and practices. It is only normal for criminals to pressure and attack those who advocate the cause of their victims. I cannot submit to such pressure.

Not by virtue of my being an international official, but simply by virtue of being a decent human being, I believe, like you, in the universal values and principles that have always been the driving force for good in human history, and on which this organization of ours, the United Nations is founded. Like you, I believe that discrimination against anyone due to their religion, skin color, sex or ethnic origin is unacceptable, and that such discrimination cannot be rendered acceptable by the calculations of political expediency or power politics. I also believe people should not only have the freedom to speak truth to power, but they have the duty to do so.

In the space of two months you have instructed me to withdraw two reports produced by ESCWA, not due to any fault found in the reports and probably not because you disagreed with their content, but due to the political pressure by member states who gravely violate the rights of the people of the region.

You have seen first hand that the people of this region are going through a period of suffering unparalleled in their modern history; and that the overwhelming flood of catastrophes today is the result of a stream of injustices that were either ignored, plastered over, or openly endorsed by powerful governments inside and outside the region. Those same governments are the ones pressuring you to silence the voice of truth and the call for justice represented in these reports.

Given the above, I cannot but stand by the findings of ESCWA’s report that Israel has established an apartheid regime that seeks the domination of one racial group over another. The evidence provided by this report drafted by renowned experts is overwhelming. Suffice it to say that none of those who attacked the report had a word to say about its content. I feel it my duty to shed light on the legally inadmissible and morally indefensible fact that an apartheid regime still exists in the 21st century rather than suppressing the evidence. In saying this I claim no moral superiority nor ownership of a more prescient vision. My position might be informed by a lifetime of experiencing the dire consequences of blocking peaceful channels to addressing people’s grievances in our region.

After giving the matter due consideration, I realized that I too have little choice. I cannot withdraw yet another well-researched, well-documented UN work on grave violations of human rights, yet I know that clear instructions by the Secretary-General will have to be implemented promptly. A dilemma that can only be resolved by my stepping down to allow someone else to deliver what I am unable to deliver in good conscience. I know that I have only two more weeks to serve; my resignation is therefore not intended for political pressure. It is simply because I feel it my duty towards the people we serve, towards the UN and towards myself, not to withdraw an honest testimony about an ongoing crime that is at the root of so much human suffering. Therefore, I hereby submit to you my resignation from the United Nations.

Respectfully

Rima Khalaf

PFLP will not participate in municipal elections following attack on demonstrators

PRESS RELEASE
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

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Comrade Khalida Jarrar, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, announced in a live interview on Quds TV on Sunday evening, 12 March, that the Front will not participate in upcoming municipal elections in the West Bank of occupied Palestine, in light of the Palestinian Authority’s continued security coordination with the Israeli occupation and violent attack on demonstrators protesting for the martyr Basil al-Araj.

She announced that the PFLP had decided today to suspend its participation in the elections after the attack on the marchers, including the father of Basil al-Araj. Jarrar demanded that those responsible for the suppression of the march and beating of demonstrators must be held accountable and security coordination brought to an end. She noted that if no action is taken on these key issues, the Front will announce further positions and take additional actions.

PFLP denounces attack on demonstrators in Ramallah by PA forces, demands accountability

PRESS STATEMENT
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine declared that the Palestinian Authority and the leaders of its security services are responsible for the blatant and brutal assault on demonstrators as they protested against the continuing trial of the martyr, Basil al-Araj and his comrades, and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all detainees.

The Front noted that the PA security apparatus attacked peaceful protesters in Ramallah with tear gas, sound bombs, pepper spray and batons, injuring and arresting many including the father of the martyr Basil al-Araj, who was transferred to the hospital for treatment. This is an unforgivable crime and those who gave the orders and carried them out must be held accountable. Read more »

Al- Zahar: We will never abandon our prisoners

Hamas

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Member of the political bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, Mahmoud Al-Zahar said that Hamas will never abandon the Palestinian prisoners, including the members of the Palestinian Parliament who are detained inside Israeli prisons.

Al-Zahar said during a protest that was held in front of the Palestinian Parliament that they have given a pledge not to forget their imprisoned colleagues in the Israeli prisons, noting that they will continue to express their anger over the frequent incarceration of their West Bankers colleagues.

He condemned the worldwide silence over the persistent Israeli policy of detaining members of the Palestinian Parliament.

Al-Zahar pointed out that arresting the members of the Palestinian Parliament is a blatant violation of universal rights, and urged the world legislative blocs to intervene in order to free Samira Halaiqa, the female member of the Palestinian Parliament who was detained on International Women’s Day.

Al-Zahar said that the Palestinian resistance should be mobilised on every inch of Palestinian land to expel the Israeli Occupation.

PFLP denounces PA trial of martyr Basil al-Araj and comrades, supports youth protests against security coordination

PRESS RELEASE
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

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The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine denounced the hearing at the Ramallah Magistrate’s Court on Sunday, March 12 in the trial of the martyr Basil al-Araj and his friends on charges of possessing unlicensed weapons. This hearing is yet another stain on the Palestinian Authority and its security coordination with the occupation.

The Palestinian Authority’s security forces arrested the martyr and his comrades and subjected them to physical and psychological torture in an attempt to force them to confess in the interests of security coordination with the occupation. In a new scandal and with utter disregard to the Palestinian people and the families and comrades of the martyr, the Authority held the hearing in the trial on these ridiculous and unacceptable charges of unlicensed possession of a weapon.

The Front demanded the PA leadership immediately end the practice of security coordination and apologize to the Palestinian people. The martyr Basil al-Araj and his comrades are heroes and national examples of pride for the Palestinian people. The insistence on holding this kangaroo court despite the martyrdom of Basil and the arrest of his comrades by the occupation represents a continued targeting of the resistance represented by the martyr in word, thought and deed. Instead, it is those responsible for their arrest and torture who should be held accountable for the continuation of security coordination in service to the occupation. Read more »

How Israel Uses Gas to Enforce Palestinian Dependency and Promote Normalization

Tareq Baconi
Al-Shabaka Policy Brief

Overview

Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory does not only exist above ground. Since 1967, Israel has systematically colonized Palestinian natural resources and, in the field of hydrocarbons, has prevented Palestinians from accessing their own oil and gas reserves. Such restrictions have ensured the continued dependence of Palestinians on Israel for their energy needs. The Palestinians’ own efforts to develop their energy sector fail to challenge Israel’s overarching hegemony over Palestinian resources. Rather, they pursue growth and state building within the reality of the occupation, further reinforcing – even if inadvertently – the asymmetric balance between occupied and occupier.

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Read more »

Mohammed al-Qiq achieves victory, suspends hunger strike after 33 days

PRESS RELEASE
SAMIDOUN

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On his 33rd day of hunger strike, Friday, 10 March, imprisoned Palestinian journalist Mohammed al-Qiq announced the suspension of his strike with an agreement for his release in mid-April, three months after his arrest on 15 January by Israeli occupation forces.

Fayha Shalash, al-Qiq’s wife, said that he will begin a series of medically-supervised processes to lift his strike; he was transferred to Assaf Harofeh, a civilian hospital, on 8 March after severe deterioration in his health, especially considering his medical weakness following his 2016 strike.

Shalash specifically emphasized that al-Qiq is dedicating this victory to the spirit of Basil al-Araj, the Palestinian youth activist shot down by Israeli forces on 6 March.

Lawyer Khaled Zabarqa reported that al-Qiq’s three-month administrative detention order for his imprisonment without charge or trial will not be renewed. He launched his hunger strike on 6 February when he was ordered to administrative detention after 22 days of interrogation. This was his second major hunger strike against administrative detention; in 2016, he refused food for 94 days to demand his freedom, winning his release in May 2016. Read more »

ADDAMEER AND CODEPINK: 55 PALESTINIAN WOMEN AND GIRLS IN ISRAELI PRISONS ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

PRESS RELEASE
Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association

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This International Women’s Day, there are 55 Palestinian females held in Israeli prisons and detention centers, including 12 female children and 2 administrative detainees held without charge or trial. Among these female prisoners and detainees, 16 are mothers of 58 children. In total, 42 are held in HaSharon Prison and 13 are held in Damon Prison. Both of these prisons are located inside Israel in contravention with the Forth Geneva Convention which prohibits the transfer of the population from the occupied territory.

ARREST AND DETENTION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN AND GIRLS

Since the beginning of the occupation 50 years ago in 1967, over 10,000 Palestinian women have been arrested and detained by Israeli occupation forces. In 2017, Palestinian women and girls are routinely arrested from the streets, Israeli military checkpoints, and during violent night raids on their homes during military incursions accompanied with the presence of Israeli soldiers, intelligence officers, and police dogs, during which destruction of household items and property damage takes place. They are blindfolded and their hands are tied, and are forcibly taken to a military jeep. Read more »

UNRWA deplores escalating violence in southern Syria

UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness
PRESS STATEMENT

UNRWA is alarmed by the escalation of violence in Dera’a Governorate, south of the Syrian capital, Damascus. Fighting among parties to the conflict in the area is causing the displacement of Palestine refugees, impeding humanitarian access to critical aid and has resulted in the deaths of Palestine refugees in recent weeks.

Over the last three days, UNRWA has been providing assistance to over 200 families who have escaped violence in the village of Jilin located 25 km west of Dera’a City. UNRWA estimates that over 90 percent of the Palestine refugee families from Jilin have fled as a result of the escalation of armed violence reported to have started on February 20. The two UNRWA schools in the village are now closed. Read more »

Basil of Al-Walaja: RIP

Mazin Qumsiyeh

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My encounter with the Al-Araj family began in 2009, the year I met Basil and Shireen and started joining them in demonstrations in Al-Walaja village. On 6 March 2017, Basil was murdered by the Israeli army. He was 31 years old. Others will speak of his martyrdom, I will speak of his life and what he told me. Basil would have wanted it told this way. I learned intimate details about Basil and his family life the third time we were detained together. He was 24 years old, I was twice his age. This was in what Basil accurately described as “a holding pen not fit for animals” which I and many Palestinian males shared with one Palestinian female, my friend and Basil’s aunt Shireen Al-Araj. I had been “taken” twice before with Basil and once with Shireen before this particular incident (and more after). It was these arrests that deepened my high regard for the family. Beyond their decency and honest dealings were acts of self-sacrifice that earned the family the respect of their entire village of Al-Walaja and I dare to say all of Palestine. This is similar to Al-Tamimi family of Nebi Saleh and it was no coincidence that Basem Tamimi was there with us in Al-Walaja the day after Basil’s murder. Here I am not telling you the story of Basil but I am recounting what Basil told me and I had written down in 2014 (was planning to publish inspirational Palestinian stories in a book). I merely now edited it to a) add this introduction) b) change to past tense instead of present tense (‘Basil says or relays’ now becomes ‘Basil said or relayed’), and c) I added a brief ending with his last words. Read more »

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