From Eva Bartlett, a freelancer and ISM volunteer in Gaza, on the testimonies she hears from the Israeli assault on Gaza:
the general theme is one of being held captive in one’s house or a neighbour’s for 3-5 days in general –in miserable conditions, without food, water, medicine, toilets…–and either having family members shot or being terrorized as captives who when finally released tried to run away only to be sniped or accosted by further Israeli snipers and soldiers positioned in occupied houses and on the streets.And further on the farmers who are trying to harvest their parsley, from the blog - Tales to Tell:
Of those who survived the ordeal, or had evacuated before the land invasion, many came back to partially or completely destroyed homes. With no where else to live, some have erected tattered tents in the place of their houses, some are moving into refugee tents reminiscent of the 1948 expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland (the “Nakba”), when over 750,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes, left to miserable conditions in refugee tents which have evolved into the densely inhabited refugee camps throughout Gaza and the West Bank (as well as those in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria).
While many buildings were evidently hit by missiles from F-16s, Apache helicopters, and the massive tanks occupying the area, others were leveled by bulldozers and by explosives, the remnants of which were littered in and around houses in the region. Read more
Returning to farm-land of Al Faraheen village, in the Abassan Jedida area, east of Khan Younis, where soldiers had opened fire on Tuesday 3rd February, farmers and HRWs were able to harvest the parsley crop for only half an hour, before soldiers again began to shoot. A number of shots were fired into the air, before the soldiers started to aim in the direction of the farmer and international accompaniment. Bullets were heard to whiz past, close to people’s heads.Australia doesn't get much maritime trade with Israel, but this step from the Maritime Union of Australia, in my home state of Western Australia, in light of the above and a multitude of similar stories, is a step in the right direction, as far as I am concerned. As of January 27, 2009, they have decided to do the following:
The soldiers continued to shoot on the group, despite the fact that many members of the group had their arms in the air and were wearing fluorescent vests to make them highly visible, and identify them as Human Rights Workers; had erected a banner indicating that the farmers and accompaniment were civilians; contact had been made with the Israeli army to advise them that Palestinian civilians and internationals would be working in the area; the various international embassies had been advised of the planned accompaniment; and the internationals were announcing their presence via a megaphone - demanding that the soldiers stop shooting on unarmed civilians.
“We are unarmed civilians! We are farmers and international Human Rights Workers! Stop Shooting!”
With internationals acting as human shields, the farmers - after initially lying down to avoid being shot - attempted to continue harvesting. After a few moments, however, the shooting intensified and farmers decided to leave the area, rather than be killed. Internationals announced on the megaphone that the group was leaving the area - asking that the soldiers halt their fire. Instead, as the group started to leave, the shooting further intensified in rapidity and proximity. Even after the group had taken refuge in a house, approximately 1km from the Green Line, the soldiers continued to shoot at nearby houses that were demolished during the recent Israeli Operation Cast Lead.Read more
1. This delegates’ meeting of the WA branch of the MUA [hereafter this meeting] calls on the Rudd government to denounce the latest Israeli aggression against Gaza, and to cut all economic, diplomatic, cultural and political ties with the Israeli state until this aggression and the Israeli siege of Gaza ends.I lifted that information from the blog The Bureau of Counterpropaganda. It can also be found here.
4. We will participate fully in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign when it is initiated and support actions related thereof when they are called by either Friends of Palestine WA or other interested parties (including other trade unions). We call on the ACTU and Unions WA to join us in supporting the BDS campaign and specific actions related thereof
5. In furtherance of resolution 4, this meeting recommends State Conference adopt a position of boycotting all Israeli-registered vessels, and all vessels known to be carrying either goods destined for Israel or goods sourced from Israel.
The posts on the Bureau of counterpropaganda are very informative, and I found this one from January 26, 2009, Change we can believe in particularly incisive. The whole article does not talk about stories which are written and then which disappear, as happened to Australia's Michael Blackman in the Age recently, apparently due to anti-Semitic content; the apparent being whether the content is anti-Semitic or not. Anti-Israel, and especially anti-Israeli military and government, yes. But anti-Semitic? Well, I guess it's for the people with the best lawyers and public relations to decide. But it is touched upon, and I might expand upon this in a later post. As I say, that is only part of the post.
It delves into ideas related to this gem from Joseph Massad, an Associate Professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University in New York:
…while Israel has the right to defend itself, its victims have no similar right to defend themselves. In fact, the logic is even more sinister than this and can be elucidated as follows: Israel has the right to oppress the Palestinians and does so to defend itself, but were the Palestinians to defend themselves against Israel's oppression, which they do not have a right to do, Israel will then have the right to defend itself against their illegitimate defense of themselves against its legitimate oppression of them, which it carries out anyway in order to defend itself legitimately.That is the kind of headspin logic that is used in repressive societies the world over, I guess. I think Dwight Eisenhower hit it on the head with this quote:
- Dwight Eisenhower
I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it
And the media, Dwight, or it should step into the fray and show responsibility.
Dwight, as with most leaders, was not really one to pursue peace while in leadership, but maybe he mellowed in his old age, and because a bit more astute, in the tradition of Carter and Fraser.