Monday, 11 October 2010
So, having arrived at Ben Gurion airport, she was detained in the airport's detention centre where she was held in solitary confinement for seven days. Earlier, Israeli security guards had attempted to put her on a KLM plane to deport her but, after she reused to comply and sat quietly beside the plane, the pilot refused to allow the guards to force her on to it.
Her lawyer appealed in the District court and in the Supreme court but the appeal was lost.
Not before Mairead made it clear to the court that she loved both Israelis and Palestinians,and she appealed to the Israeli Government "to end Apartheid and Ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people'.
As the "peace talks" stall and stall and stall, Israel continue to defy US President Obama and all of his "peacemakers", continues to violate human rights of Palestinians, continues its illegal occupation of Palestine, continues to besiege Gaza with absolute impunity.
But last week, one woman's voice was raised within Israel, the voice of Mairead Maguire, making a call for justice that world leaders have been afraid to make
Sunday, 25 July 2010
"Two months have passed since Israel’s attack on a humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza, with very tragic results—including nine deaths and 40 injuries. Yet, as this week’s events quietly reveal, it seems Israel will get away with its blatant disrespect for international law and not be held accountable for this disaster.
It was reported on Monday that an Israeli military commission found “no failure” on the part of the commandos who took part in the attack. And while the UN Security Council and human rights groups called for an independent and “credible” inquiry into the matter, there are no such plans in the works. Israel has deemed such independent efforts as “anti-Israel” and a threat to the existence of the state. The result? The US and indeed the rest of the international community stand on the sidelines, doing nothing.
On June 5, I was aboard the MV Rachel Corrie—a ship named for a young American activist who was bulldozed to death by the Israeli army in 2003—heading to Gaza. Just days earlier, we had heard via satellite phone that Israeli commandos had boarded six ships, including the Turkish MV Mavi Marmara, in international water, and had killed and injured many aboard.
As the seventh ship of the Freedom Flotilla, we now found ourselves in a frighteningly similar scenario.
The 19 crew and activists aboard the MV Rachel Corrie heard that 35 heavily armed Israeli commandos were now preparing to board our ship. We sat down on the deck to await their arrival. Some of us wondered whether we would face the same fate as our colleagues aboard the Mavi Marmara.
The killing of unarmed civilians was devastating news to us all. They were not terrorists—they were human beings. Like me, they believed that Gaza should no longer be a place of suffering and isolation for its inhabitants.
And like me, and all of the other activists aboard the Freedom Flotilla, they believed in peace.
In the 1970s people told me that peace would not come to Northern Ireland, just as they now tell me that peace is not possible in Israel and Palestine. I lost my niece and two nephews and my sister to the violence in Ireland, and it breaks my heart to see the same fate fall upon so many Israeli and Palestinian families. I have hope and believe that peace will come to Palestine and Israel because I have met so many people there on the ground working to make it happen.
And, just as it brought peace to Northern Ireland, nonviolent resistance will bring peace to this war torn region. That is why I keep coming back to Gaza, much to the Israeli government’s dismay. The last time I attempted to deliver humanitarian aid, in June 2009, I was detained for one week.
On this trip, the world was watching. Many, myself included, believed the tragic events of May 31 would finally open the world’s eyes to the even greater tragedy—Israel’s collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians. The violations of international law committed by Israel are well documented by the United Nations and many independent human rights bodies.
Even so, the violations continue under the guise of “national security”, and a policy of isolating Gaza to weaken Hamas.
It is a policy that clearly is not working. Instead, it has turned Gaza into what has rightly been described as the largest open-air prison in the world. The blockade that Israel has imposed on Gaza for the past three years has only punished innocent Palestinians. Lack of access to medical supplies and hospital treatments leads to a loss of life. Bright and eager students are unable to accept spots offered at international universities. Families are unable to rebuild homes destroyed during Israel’s crushing assault on Gaza that killed over 1,400 people in the winter of 2008 and 2009.
And Hamas, Israel’s intended target and the elected representative of the Palestinian people, grows stronger.
Meanwhile, the recent report released by the Israeli military shows that Israel will continue to choose ineffectual policies and violence over peace. In fact, the report went so far as to praise the Israeli commandos who killed nine civilians and injured dozens more, saying they operated “properly, with professionalism, bravery and resourcefulness” and that the use of live fire was justified.
A separate inquiry in Israel is under way, led by a retired Israeli Supreme Court Justice. Given the outcome of this first report, there is no reason to be optimistic that this panel will do anything more than reinforce Israel’s culture of impunity. Nothing less than an independent investigation is acceptable to the families of the victims of the raid and, most importantly, the Palestinian people living in Gaza.
It is about time that we open our eyes. The international community must finally stop allowing Israel to act with blatant disregard for international law and human rights. The partial lifting of the siege shows what international pressure can achieve, but it is not enough.
It is time for Israel to choose peace. It is time for world leaders and the international community to join together and call on Israel to lift the siege of Gaza completely, ending the occupation of Palestine and allowing the Palestinian people their right to self-determination."
(the above is the work of Mairead Maguire, Nobel peace Laureate)
Recently I helped Mairead who lives in Belfast to post an opinion piece on Indymedia Ireland in the Opinion and Analysis section. Her thoughts were a reflection of her trip on the MV Rachel Corrie to break the siege of Gaza and bring humanitarian aid to the people the stricken area. Shortly after its publication the article was taken down by an editor of Indymedia Ireland. The reason given was that it contained nothing new and had been posted on other places on the Internet. Usually, if this happens an editor will move the piece to the section of Indymedia Ireland called "Other Press". But when I .searched "Other Press", alas I could find no trace.
Disappointed, I decided to ask the editors of Indymedia Ireland to re-publish the article in their "Other Press" section. Meanwhile, I am publishing it on this blog, "three little dogs" (not as widely read of course)
Hopefully, it will follow this blog as Mairead's article in its own right, under her own heading "CHOOSE PEACE_ End the Siege of Gaza"
Sunday, 6 June 2010
The demonstration, held in Rabin Square, to protest against the occupation and government policy also protested against the take-over by the IDF of the Gaza Aid boats. Right wingers threw a grenade at protesters.
An e-mail from Israel states:
"The demo last night was attacked by right-wing thugs who even assaulted people sitting in coffee shops for being "complacent" and unpatriotic. The police saved Uri Avneri, who is over 80 years old, from being lynched, by bundling him into a taxi, but no arrests were reported."
Saturday, 5 June 2010
Of course no-one on board resisted violently.
All on board had already announced this to the whole world.
But the boarding was nevertheless a brazen arrogant and unlawful break and entry into a lawful dwelling.
It was like breaking into someone's home, taking it over, using it as they wished (like robbers do in the night), kidnapping the inhabitants, unlawfully imprisoning them, forcing them to go into a hostile place and preventing them from carrying out their lawful tasks.
Israel is no stranger to this kind of action. The State of Israel does this on a regular basis to the Palestinians whose country they continue to occupy illegally.
The Flotilla to Gaza and Israel's bloody reaction to it over the past days has highlighted the ongoing siege of Gaza and the atrocities of Israel in a way that was hardly expected by that rogue State.
There were 4 calls to the ship, according to the Israeli Defence Forces, ordering them not to proceed to Gaza.
But nearly everyone in Israel knows the calibre of those brave people on board.
They started their journey in order to deliver aid to Gaza and to break the illegal siege
No-one was going to persaude them to divert from those 2 aims. They sped onwards to Gaza, even after the murders on Mavi Marmara, the numerous woundings, the assaults and violent arrests on all of the ships, the assaults on their prisoners after arrest and in detention. They said these horrible events only strengthened their resolve.
Everyone said the siege was wrong but no-one could break it. Not the UN,nor the EU,nor the USA, the "international community".
Concerning the siege, these entities DID nothing. Just as they did nothing, concerning Israel's overweening and incomprehensible arrogance in flaunting the international community re their occupation of Palestine. Only words were spoken. Never was the term "weasel words" more appropriate to the mutterings of those parties. The UN achieved nil and has become a laughing stock. The USA continued to pour billions of dollars into Israel, no strings attached, and now looks like a lapdog of Israel. The EU even made pacts with Israel on trade matters giving Israel special privileges.
Israel laughs at weasel words. They are a violently Machiavellian State. They devastated Gaza eighteen months ago, murdering 1400 including hundreds of children, then prevented its rebuilding. They treat Palestinians as if they were dirt. They scoffed at Obama when he went to Egypt. They scoffed at George Mitchell and at Hillary Clinton when they went to Israel. They scoffed at the International Atomic Energy Agency when they went to inspect Dimona Nuclear Plant - and Dimona has never been inspected. Mitchell and Clinton have not been allowed to visit Gaza. The State of Israel has driven Palestinians from their lands and homes and settled extremist American Zionists on the robbed land, even while pretending to talk about "wanting peace". Decent Israelis and Jewish people from many countries are just as angry and even angrier about these crimes than I am.
But now Israel cannot afford to laugh at the Rachel Corrie and her non-violent passengers. The Rachel Corrie went straight into the face of danger saying: "What you are doing is wrong and we oppose it with our bodies and souls and lives." Just like the American girl Rachel Corrie did when she stood in front of an Israeli bulldozer that was demolishing one of the aforementioned Palestinian homes - and they mowed her down.
Now, as the brave prisoners are beng escorted to an Israeli port, Ashdod, as they face imprisonment and hate in the country that imprisons them, as they face deportation from the country that has forced them to enter it, I salute each and every one of them.
The Irish participant on this brave expedition are: Nobel Peace laureate Maireád Corrigan-Maguire, former UN assistant secretary general Denis Halliday, film maker Fiona Thompson, and husband and wife Derek and Jenny Graham.
I salute all the other members equally though not by name. The reason is that I don't yet know them
Monday, 31 May 2010
Uri Avnery: This night a crime was perpetrated in the middle of the sea, by order of the government of Israel and the IDF Command
A warlike attack against aid ships and deadly shooting at peace and humanitarian aid activists
It is a crazy thing that only a government that crossed all red lines can do
"Only a crazy government that has lost all restraint and all connection to reality could something like that - consider ships carrying humanitarian aid and peace activists from around the world as an enemy and send massive military force to international waters to attack them, shoot and kill.
"Noone in the world will believe the lies and excuses which the government and army spokesmen come up with," said former Knesset member Uri Avnery of the Gush Shalom movement. Gush Shalom activists together with activists of other organizations are to depart at 11:00 from Tel Aviv to protest in front of the prepared detention facility where the international peace activists will be brought.
Greta Berlin, the spokeswoman for the flotilla organizers located in Cyprus, told Gush Shalom activists that the Israeli commandos landed by helicopter on the boats and immediately opened fire.
This is a day of disgrace to the State of Israel, a day of anxiety in which we discover that our future was entrusted to a bunch of trigger-happy people without any responsibility. This day is a day of disgrace and madness and stupidity without limit, the day the Israeli government took care to blacken the name of the country in the world, adding convincing evidence of aggressiveness and brutality to Israel's already bad international image, discouraging and distancing the few remaining friends.
Indeed, today a provocation took place off the coast of Gaza - but the provocateurs were not the peace activists invited by the Palestinians and seeking to reach Gaza. The provocation was carried out by Navy ships commandos at the bidding of the Israeli government, blocking the way of the aid boats and using deadly force.
It is time to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip, which causes severe suffering to its residents. Today the Israeli government ripped the mask of its face with its own hands and exposed the fact that Israel did not "disengage" from Gaza. Real disengagement from the area does not go together with blocking the access to it or sending soldiers to shoot and kill and wound those who try to get there.
The State of Israel promised in the Oslo Accords 17 years ago to enable and encourage the establishment of a deep water port in Gaza, through which Palestinians could import and export freely to develop their economy. It's time to realize this commitment and open the Port of Gaza. Only after the Gaza port will be open to free and undisturbed movement, just like the Ashdod and Haifa ports, will Israel really have disengaged from the Gaza Strip. Until then, the world will continue - and rightly so - to consider the Gaza Strip under Israeli occupation and the State of Israel as responsible for the fate of the people living there.
It appears that shortly after 3 a.m. a ship was boarded by the IDF. Irish national radio reported 16 dead and dozens injured. In fact no person on board any of the vessels has made open contact since around 3 a.m. when a spokesperson said that all passengers of one ship were being called to the inside after 2 people had been killed.
In the absence of any contact with the ships since then I presume the following scenario:
All mobile phones, radio and video equipment on board the ship of the massacre have been confiscated by the IDF to stop first hand accounts of the killings, so allowing Israeli army defence people and fellow travellers to give their own propaganda version of events to the world.
And indeed, the Israeli propaganda and lies have sprung into action with an Israeli Army man calling the Peace Flotilla "an armada" organised by terrorists, and trying desparately to justify the atrocity.
Zion Evrony, the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, after churning out barefaced lies on the Pat Kenny Show, has been called in by Mícheál Martin, our Minister for Foreign Affairs, this afternoon. Not that that will make any differnece. No matter what new atrocity Israel commits, Mr Evrony will speak from a well-rehearsed script and our boys and girls are just not up to the job of dealing with him. The lying script has been used so often that they can recite it by heart.
Just now, I had to speak to a machine in Zion Evrony's office (2309400) to protest the atrocity and his litany of lies. I don't think they care whether or not we know they are lying, whether or not we know they are murderers, whether or not we know they are using the USA, Russia, the EU and the UN to pull the wool over our eyes. They are armed. They get money from the USA for arms. They show the same contempt for Obama as they do for peace activists.
They refuse to leave the Occupied Territories. They use the Bible when it suits them. They say their mandate to own Israel comes from the Bible, maybe 3000 years ago, but with regard to the Palestinians they ask plaintively: What people would use land rights going back to 1946 to claim those lands in 2010?
The State of Israel appears to specialise in this type of chutzpah (in the Hebrew sense), arrogance, effrontery, boorishness, droch-mheas (in the Irish sense), contempt, as they wipe aside others' opinions and scorn all and every criticism no matter what atrocity they carry out, no matter what massacre, no matter what holocaust.
Sunday, 30 May 2010
THIS IS THE DISGRACEFUL LIE:
"A group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators sailing toward Gaza with humanitarian supplies on Thursday have refused a request by the father of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit to deliver a package and letter to his son.
Activists rejected Noam Shalit's offer to mediate on their behalf with the government, which has vowed to block the flotilla's entry to Gaza, if they agreed to his request."
-Published as news in Haaretz and other Israeli newspapersTHIS IS THE IMMEDIATE RESPONSE:
According to Arafat Madi, spokesperson of ECESG, no one rejected the offer of Noam Shalit to send a letter to solider Gilad Shalit.
Madi told the the Palestine Telegraph that ECESG is ready to carry the letter to captive Gilad Shalit. He also added that no one from the organizers were contacted to explore the possibilities of taking that letter.
“We are shocked by the claims published on Haaretz. The newspaper said that Gaza aid convoy refuses to deliver a letter to Gilad Shalit. This is mere Israeli propaganda. We are ready to send this message or package. In return, we ask Israelis to allow Palestinian families to visit their 8.000 prisoners. We seek a commitment from the Israeli government to allow Palestinians to send letters too” said Madi
THE REASONS FOR THE LIE
It appears that the idea of lying about their own soldier who is captive in Gaza came from a meeting of some of the Israeli top brass. Aparently they were brainstorming ways and means of countering the bad publicity expected by their using force against the non-violent Flotilla. Ehud Barak came up with the idea. Another idea was to gather and display all the used rockets used by Hamas over the years and display them for the passengers on landing.
To lie about their own prisoner and his family, raising hopes that would be unfounded, was low and disgraceful. Israel had already made up its mind that they would not allow such a letter or message to be delivered by the boats but the lie would be published before the Flotilla knew of the request. The lie would arouse anger in Israel.
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Below is the third letter I have e-mailed to you concerning human rights in Iran and so far you have not responded.
I am now re-sending the letter below to assure you that I will continue to cry out against such outrages with every fibre of my being and I call on you again to stop all executions and all torture in your country.
Again I write to you in dismay and unbelief, also in strongest protest, at the executions, hangings, shootings and torturing of my brothers and sisters in Iran. News of the latest examples of these horrors have come to me through a Nobel Peace Laureate who is also horrified beyond belief at these callous outrages against members of our human family.
Ali Heydariyan, Farhad Vakili, Farzad Kamangar, Mehdi Eslami and Shirin Alam Hooli, all of whose sacred lives you have violated and destroyed for so-called "enmity against God", - all denied the "crimes" with which you have charged them. I believe their word rather than yours. It is reported that they were tortured in an effort to gain "confessions" and I believe this to be true since the practice of torture is so common in Iran according to credible Human Rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Yours is a regime that has executed young gays for being homosexual. You declare the expression of the most noble and tender emotion of human love to be a "crime" punishable by death if the two people expressing it are of the same sex. You charge and murder them for loving one another as if love were a crime.
Yet you see nothing wrong with your hangmen violating the body of a woman, thrusting a rope around her neck and choking her until she is dead. You see nothing wrong either with men violating the bodies of other men by similarly dressing them up for choking and then hanging them until they too are murdered by your regime. How can anyone call himself a man and be responsible for such vile acts against human beings?
The evil involved in these acts must be exterminated in Iran. The darkness that envelopes your country is sending out messages to all reasonable people that your regime is to be opposed for its actions just as a similar message emanates from the State of Israel for its crimes against our Palestinian sisters and brothers. You and Israel are sowing seeds of hate against yourselves.
Stop this culture of torture, executions and extreme cruelty in your country. Put an end to this horrible nightmare. Let the light shine again on Iran. "The moon will not always be hidden behind the clouds".
With best personal wishes
Human Rights activist and Pacifist
Now the Israeli soldiers don't need the pretext of a protest. They come to the village with their guns by day or by night to intimidate, to shoot into homes, to intimidate, to arrest journalists who might witness their vilest actions, - and now to burn down olive trees that are the livelihood of the people whom they persecute.
Below is an account of just the latest crime with an accompanying video taken by a courageous Irish HumanRights defender, Tommy Donnelan of Galway.
"This morning, as is their wont, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) intruded into the village of Bilin. This time there were only three to the forefront with backup behind them when challenged they beat a retreat.
This afternoon, villagers rushed to quench a fire in an olive tree sited close to the Apartheid-Annexation Wall which was deliberately set on fire by the retreating IOF, but which was unable to be saved due to the fire being set in a crevice in the trunk which smouldered throughout the day and it was only in the latter stages that the tell-tale smoke was detected.
This pernicious act of economic warfare has deeply angered the villagers as many are dependent on the sale of the olive oil - 700 to 800 shekels per tree annually - for their livelihoods. To rub salt into their wounds and worse, after the fire was extinguished, the IOF ventured forth from behind the Wall and after detaining three activist-journalists - so as not to record their crimes, subjected the villagers to live fire, tear gas and sound bombs.
Today's destruction of the tree has alarmed the farmers in that phosphorus may have been used to unobtrusively burn the tree and olive groves may follow. So it goes in Bilin, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, ad infinitum, in a vicious world which doesn't care."
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Rachel's family are suing Israel for her unlawful killing.
Twenty three year old Rachel stood unarmed, except for her exceptional humanity and bravery in front of the Palestinians' home. The bulldozer that callously and criminally crushed her young body to death was an Israeli Army Caterpillar D9R.
Video recording of the killing had large portions deleted or omitted when it was sent to the Corrie family.
Today Rachel's parents, Cindy and Craig and her sister Sarah are asking friends and supporters around the world to support their campaign to receive justice for Rachel. They are asking us to ring the White House
1 urge that George Mitchell visit Gaza, and
2 demand that the US break the blockade of Gaza by providing immediate humanitarian aid and building materials.
The number to ring is 001 202 456 1111
It's not much for them to ask. If you make the call, today or any day during this week, they would be delighted if you also let them (the family) know on the form provided at http://tinyurl.com/Corrie4Gaza