World Bank on Palestine
To read article on World Bank`s outrageous proposals for the Palestinian people follow this link: http://stopthewall.org/analysisandfeatures/1309.shtml
Background on Palestine
To view graphic footage and hear Noam Chomsky and peace activists describe the background and current situation in Palestine and Lebanon follow this link to the Media Education Foundation film entitled Peace Propaganda and The Promised Land: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCL6WdnuNp4&NR
New: brief history of the Middle East by Dr. Nicola Pratt, Lecturer in Comparative Politics and International Relations, Associate Editor of the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies To read Nicola Pratt`s brief history of the background to the current conflict in Lebanon and Israel, including the Occupied Territories of Palestine click here: Historical_background_Lebanon.pdf
Arrest of Hamas government
With the arrest of 64 of the democratically elected Hamas government, including senior civil servants and cabinet ministers, the taking out of a power station which has robbed a million people of power, border closures, withholding money from the Palestinian Authority and almost daily bombing of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, Israel continues its actions without condemnation by the `International Community`.
Britain colludes in this crime against the Palestinian people by seeking to align the EU behind punitive actions against Palestine: http://www.palestinecampaign.org/
Escalation of situation in the Middle East
The situation in the Middle East is escalating into a very dangerous international crisis. Israel, in response to the capture of one of its soldiers, has inflicted collective punishment on all the people of Gaza, by:
- Killing dozens of civilians, including many children;
- Depriving the Gaza population of electricity and water;
- Traumatising people with low flying jets that deliberately shatter the sound barrier;
- Kidnapping democratically elected politicians
Now Israel has spread its war crimes and acts of terror to Lebanon, destroying infrastructure, blockading the country, bombing the airport and causing the death of innocent civilians, 50 of whom were killed on the first day of the Israeli attacks.The response of the British government to the devastation in Gaza and what Lebanon's ambassador to the UN calls barbarism against his country, is silence. And it is silent over Israel's war threats against Syria, the Israel airforce having this week strafed one of Syrian President Assad's palaces, a violation of international law.The British government must exert every possible pressure on Israel to end immediately its invasions of Gaza and Lebanon and its threats against Syria.If peace is ever to come to the Middle East, Israel must negotiate with the Palestinian leadership the complete withdrawal of its occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, as specified in 1967 by UN Resolution 242. Nearly 40 years later it is time to implement this resolution and bring the suffering of the Palestinian people to an end.
Roadblock on the road map to peace
G W Bush, 43rd President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief: `Security is the essential roadblock to achieving the road map to peace`. Washington D.C. July 23, 2003
In elections in January, Palestinians turned out in large numbers to cast their votes in what was, in effect, a general election. They voted overwhelmingly for the Islamist party Hamas, which offered a radical alternative to the existing status quo in which El Fatah - Yasser Arafat's old party - dominated the government of the Palestine National Authority.It was a dramatic show of democracy and the results were equally dramatic. Hamas gained a substantial majority - far more than even their supporters had anticipated. But the international reaction, far from welcoming this expression of the people's will - in what was generally agreed to have been a largely fair and free election process - was to cry 'wolf' and 'terrorists' and to withdraw the aid and assistance that all agree is necessary if the Palestinian people are to survive now and the Palestinian economy to thrive in the future. The result has been, not just the undermining of the democratic process itself, but a crisis of significant proportions - an economic crisis and a humanitarian crisis.Russia alone has promised emergency aid to save the Palestinian National Authority from bankruptcy, after Israel decided to withhold taxes collected on behalf of the PNA and the EU, Canada and the US have all decided to stop funding it, in a blatant bid to undermine the legitimacy of any new government controlled by Hamas.The lack of funds has had an immediate impact on the PNA and on ordinary Palestinians. Many formerly received charity coupons from the party, which is now unable to pay out wages. This has led to complaints directed at Hamas from Palestinian voters, many of whom are now in dire need.Even before the wages crisis the economy of Gaza in particular was in a critical condition, resulting largely from the Israeli closure of Gaza's Karni crossing which handles 1,300 containers of food and merchandise per day in order to sustain the 1.3 million people living there. There are 962,000 registered refugees in Gaza of which 735,000 are registered for food aid. Over 3,000 containers and goods have been stuck at the crossing and at the port of Ashdod in Israel for months depriving the Palestinian people of essential supplies. Recent reports from the BBC indicate that many Palestinians are now suffering from malnutrition and some are actually starving.Although complaining about Hamas, Adid, an unemployed odd job man, also blames the West, They ask for democracy and then they do not like the result, he exclaimed. Gaza's problems today might be said to result from Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel and Israel's determination to force the Palestinian people into rejecting their democratically elected government in favour of the more moderate El Fatah. But the explanation lies deeper than this, in Israel's illegal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank - an occupation which many seem to forget stands condemned many times over by the international community and the UN in resolution after resolution - and its deep-seated lack of concern for the rights of the Palestinians.Israel's position on the deepening humanitarian crisis was summed up by Dov Weisglass, adviser to Ehud Olmert the Israeli Prime Minister, when he said, The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger. But the fact of the matter is that Palestinians are dying - not only of hunger, but from the systematic repression meted out to them over years by the Israeli defence forces. What is always portrayed in the Israeli media - and all too often in the world's media as well - as justifiable retaliation for suicide bombings and other 'atrocities', is in fact a systematic harassment, persecution and repression of a people they fear and despise, that has been taking place now for nearly 60 years,since the state of Israel came into being.The Palestinian people are suffering further terror and misery by Israel bombing the north of Gaza with thousands of artillery shells following a Hamas attack using homemade Gassam rockets. As a result of the reaction of the major players in the so-called 'international community' Palestinian families are now existing on handouts and dwindling UN aid. The problem is not so much what is happening now, but that there is no hope on the horizon, said 44 year old Adid. There certainly will not be much hope until there is a greater understanding that now is precisely when real support is needed both for the democratic political process that has given rise to a new government to represent - probably genuinely for the first time in a long while - the Palestinian people and also for the economic and social programme for development in the areas under the PNA.All of those who support not only the Palestinian struggle for self determination and development in their own state but a fair and lasting peaceful settlement in the Middle East should be bringing pressure to bear on the international community in general and on their own government in particular to restore aid and technical assistance to the PNA, under its newly elected government, and to resume dialogue with it - to find a way forward in this dark hour.
With thanks to David Seddon for revising this article
UN International Court of Justice on the Israel/Palestine wall
In July 2004 the UN International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled:
- The construction of the wall being built by Israel, the Occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated regime, are contrary to international law;
- Israel is under an obligation to terminate its breaches of international law; it is under an obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
- The wall has no chance of halting terrorism, even though $1bn is being squandered on it at a time when unemployment is at record heights.This barrier is causing `unjustified hardship` to some 35,000 Palestinians penned in isolated enclaves and cut off from agricultural land, medical care, schools and universities. If the wall is completed, hundreds of thousands more Palestinians will suffer, with a city such as Bethlehem facing destruction of its tourism and agriculture.
Economic sanctions and an arms ban against Israel are the only way of breaking the impasse. Such a policy brought down apartheid in South Africa, which was similarly condemned by the world court in 1971 for its illegal occupation of South West Africa (now free and democratic Namibia).
`The case for sanctions against Israel` by Gerald Kaufman The Guardian July 14, 2004^M
Bring Down the Apartheid Wall
Since 1999 over three thousand Palestinian homes have been destroyed and many thousands of people have been made homeless. People are often given only fifteen minutes to leave a house, which may have been in the family for generations before the bulldozers move in. The company supplying the equipment employed for this is Caterpillar. These machines are also being used to construct the apartheid wall and destroy productive farmland and the livelihoods of the Palestinian people. On March 16th 2003, American Peace Activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by a Caterpilllar D-9 bulldozer as she tried to prevent the destruction of civilian homes in the Gaza strip: http://www.rachelcorrie.org.