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Resisting one of the great Israeli crimes - article from Murdoch's The Australian

Von: Johnny Asia (baying46584@mypacks.net) [Profil]
Datum: 08.06.2010 17:20
Message-ID: <7pns06d4meg29nkki853enes5kcj1i5rfk@4ax.com>
Newsgroup: alt.rush-limbaugh alt.politics.usa alt.politics alt.fan.rush-limbaugh alt.politics.liberalismtalk.politics.misc


Seven years after a girl in a red jacket was crushed to death by an
Israeli bulldozer, her memory is being carried forward by a Nobel
peace laureate and former UN assistant secretary-general aboard a
cargo vessel bearing her name.

Last weekend the Pixies joined Gil Scott-Heron, Carlos Santana and
Elvis Costello in cancelling performances in Israel, recalling the
cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa.

While none of these events will free Palestine, they certainly
represent the coming of age of a global movement that challenges both
Israel and an international community whose business-as-usual
diplomacy has served to normalise one of the great crimes of the 21st
century.



http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/resisting-one-of-the-great-crimes/story-e6frg
6zo-1225876635736


Resisting one of the great crimes



"MICHAEL, she's dead."

It was March 16, 2003. The huge anti-war protests of the month before
had failed to deflect the Coalition of the Willing from its imminent
invasion of Iraq.

In Palestine, Israel was busily breaking the back of the second
intifada, as the pitifully armed resistance retaliated with suicide
bombings.

In a desperate bid to resurrect the popular non-violent movement that
had been smashed in the first weeks of the intifada, Palestinian
leaders had requested the assistance of internationals whose presence,
it was believed, would limit the amount of force Israel could use
against protesters.

While the US university student Rachel Corrie worked to obstruct
Israel's demolition of 1200 houses along Gaza's border with Egypt, I
was working as the media co-ordinator for the International Solidarity
Movement in the West Bank village of Beit Sahour.



Rachel had phoned me to report that one of her colleagues had been
picked up in a bulldozer blade and thrown into some barbed wire. Then
another activist had phoned to tell me that she had been run over.
Then that she was in an ambulance and that her skin was turning blue.
Then that she was dead.

Beit Sahour is in a valley where the archangel is believed to have
announced Christ's birth to the shepherds.

In 1997, the people of the village had camped in the forest of Abu
Ghaneim overlooking the site of the miracle to prevent its seizure by
Israel. Today, the settlement of Har Homa towers over Beit Sahour like
a monument to the futility of non-violent resistance.

In 2006, I joined a group of peace activists who had been deported
from Palestine to discuss ways in which we could help from the
outside. At the beginning of the year, the Israeli government had
announced that it would "put the Palestinians on a diet" to punish
them for voting for Hamas in parliamentary elections and it was
quickly decided that our best course was to try to "break the siege of
Gaza" by bringing in supplies by sea.

In August 2008, we had our first success when two wooden fishing boats
breached the blockade carrying a cargo of hearing aids for children
whose eardrums had been damaged by the sonic booms caused by Israeli
jets.

Gradually, our successes accumulated, drawing more people into the
movement. Yet the turning point came during last year's assault on
Gaza when Israel systematically destroyed its factories, sewerage
infrastructure, residential buildings, farmland and tens of thousands
of farm animals. According to Amnesty International, the effect of the
assault and blockade has been to "push the crisis to catastrophic
levels".

This year, UN Gaza chief John Ging called upon the international
community "to shoulder its responsibility on this issue" by "sending
ships to break the siege".

Despite the mission's failure, outrage over Israel's attack on an aid
convoy in international waters has forced its apologists to work
overtime to explain how a blockade that bars tinned meat, cement,
shoes and schoolbooks from entering Gaza, that has reduced 61 per cent
of Gaza's households to "food insecurity" and that has caused
widespread stunting among its children, is vital to Israel's security.

This represents a significant embarrassment for Israel, but for people
living in refugee camps, non-violence is a means, not an end in
itself.

On Saturday, Federal Labor MP Michael Danby announced that he and the
leaders of Australia's Israel lobby had met Kevin Rudd and Foreign
Minister Stephen Smith at The Lodge and gained assurances that the
government would not be calling for an end to the blockade nor a UN
inquiry but would only support an "independent" Israeli inquiry into
its attack on the ships.

Yet while Danby and his associates congratulate themselves on their
power to shape Australian foreign policy, there may still be grounds
for optimism.

With the possible exception of the invasion of Iraq, the West's
acquiescence to the siege of Gaza represents its greatest moral and
political blunder of the modern era.

It pauperises Gaza's population and strengthens Hamas (which taxes
goods smuggled through tunnels from Egypt) while forcing Gaza into
Iran's embrace and providing a priceless example of Western duplicity
for jihadi propagandists.

Like Guernica in the 1930s, Gaza has captured the world's imagination
as something larger than itself: a grotesque laboratory for
experiments in human suffering and a symbol of the international
community's failure to live up to its professed ideals.

Amid the tragedy and media war of the past week, it is easy to
overlook the historic significance of what has been achieved.

Seven years after a girl in a red jacket was crushed to death by an
Israeli bulldozer, her memory is being carried forward by a Nobel
peace laureate and former UN assistant secretary-general aboard a
cargo vessel bearing her name.

Last weekend the Pixies joined Gil Scott-Heron, Carlos Santana and
Elvis Costello in cancelling performances in Israel, recalling the
cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa.

While none of these events will free Palestine, they certainly
represent the coming of age of a global movement that challenges both
Israel and an international community whose business-as-usual
diplomacy has served to normalise one of the great crimes of the 21st
century.

Michael Shaik was a founder of the Free Gaza Movement

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