Archive for the ‘Palestine’ Category

Below is a statement by Dr Swee Ang, who was the medical doctor on the al-Awda, the freedom flotilla ship delivering medical supplies to the besieged people of Gaza; among those assaulted and tasered was Mike Treen, the national director of Unite trade union in NZ and a veteran activist in progressive causes from opposition to the Vietnam War to anti-apartheid activities and support for the Palestinian cause.

The statement, made on August 4, has appeared in a number of places; we took it from the blog of veteran British anti-imperialist and socialist activist Tony Greenstein.  We’ve added subheads to break up the text a bit more.

by Dr Swee Ang

The last leg of the journey of al-Awda (the boat of return) was scheduled to reach Gaza on 29 July 2018. We were on target to reach Gaza that evening. There are 22 on board including crew with USD15,000 of antibiotics and bandages for Gaza. At 12.31 pm we received a missed call from a number beginning with +81… Mikkel was steering the boat at that time. The phone rang again with the message that we were trespassing into Israeli waters. Mikkel replied that we were in International waters and had right of innocent passage according to maritime laws. The accusation of trespassing was repeated again and again with Mikkel repeating the message that we were sailing in international waters. This carried on for about half an hour, while Awda was 42 nautical miles from the coast of Gaza.

Prior to the beginning of this last leg, we had spent 2 days learning non-violent actions and had prepared ourselves in anticipation of Israeli invasion of our boat. Vulnerable individuals especially those with medical conditions were to sit at the rear of the top deck with their hands on the deck table. The leader of this group was Gerd, a 75 year old elite Norwegian athlete and she had the help of Lucia a Spanish nurse in her group.

The people who were to provide non-violent barrier to the Israelis coming on deck and taking over the boat formed 3 rows – two rows of threes and the third row of 2 persons blocking the wheel house door to protect the wheel house for as long as possible. There were runners between the wheel house and the rear of the deck. The leader of the boat Zohar and I were at the two ends of the toilets corridor where we looked out at the horizon and inform all of any sightings of armed boats. I laughed at Zohar and said we are the Toilet Brigade, but I think Zohar did not find it very funny. It was probably bad taste under the circumstances. I also would be able to help as a runner and will have accessibility to all parts of the deck in view of being the doctor on board.

The attack begins

Soon we saw at least three large Israeli warships on the horizon with 5 or more speed boats (zodiacs) zooming towards us. As the Zodiacs approached I saw that they carried soldiers with machine guns and there was on board the boats large machine guns mounted on a stand pointing at our boat. From my lookout point the first Israeli soldier climbed on board to the cabin level and climbed up the boat ladder to the top deck. His face was masked with a white cloth and following him were many others, all masked. They were all armed with machine guns and small cameras on their chests.

Tasered

They immediately made to the wheel house overcoming the first row by twisting the arms of the participants, lifting Sarah up and throwing her away.  Joergen the chef was large to be manhandled so he was tasered before being (more…)

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Mike Treen, a long time activist and leader of Unite union, was taking part in a flotilla loaded with medicines for the people of Gaza under a ten year blockade. Yesterday he was  was tasered, kidnapped and injured by Israeli Occupation forces who stormed the boat. He is being held in Israel in a prison.

Mike Treen

Unite trade union national director and veteran socialist activist Mike Treen

Kia Ora Gaza, the solidarity group which arranged Mike’s participation in the flotilla, is calling on the government to condemn the Israeli government for its actions. Winston Peters has been acting PM and is a supporter of Israel. From midnight today Jacinda Ardern resumes her role as PM. Will she prove to be less mute and disgraceful than Peters? We think not.

Below are reports from Kia Ora Gaza on Mike’s situation and the fate of the flotilla to Gaza:

Mike Treen repeatedly tasered by Israeli Occupation Forces, other injured and hospitalised

UPDATE (11:48am 31st July NZ time)   

We have now received a direct report from Mike in Givon Prison.

He was tasered repeatedly by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) while in the wheelhouse of the Al Awda and subsequently tightly handcuffed. He received injuries to his face and head and was bleeding but is now recovering.

Of Mike’s fellow flotilla members one was tasered in the head, a 69-year-old female surgeon received a head injury and a senior Canadian passenger received a foot injury and had to be treated in hospital.

The IOF takeover of the boat conducted by armed and masked soldiers was clearly violent with many passengers and crew assaulted, roughly handled and hit. 

Local civil rights lawyers met with all those detained a few hours ago. All their belongings, including their passports have been seized and not returned, despite promises they would if they co-operated.

Despite KiaOra Gaza contacting the New Zealand Hon. Consul in Tel Aviv requesting assistance we are unaware of any contact, visit or action from the New Zealand Government or its representatives to assist.

(update at 4pm Monday 31st July – The Honorary Consul has now been to see Mike. Winston Peters has responded to the letters sent to him but the Government has taken no specific action apart from alerting the Cairo embassy to Mike’s situation).

The next flotilla boat, the “Freedom” continues to approach Gaza.

Previous report (6.15am 31st July NZ time)

Eyewitnesses report that Unite Union leader Mike Treen’s boat was hijacked in a violent raid and that he and the rest of the crew are being held in Givon prison, near Tel Aviv.

Last month Palestinian journalist, editor and author Ramzy Baroud spoke at meetings around New Zealand, talking about the current situation in Palestine and promoting his new book  (see here).  Below is an article he wrote last month, highlighting that the problem is not the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza but the entire apparatus of the Zionist state, in ‘Israel’ as well.  Here we reprint a recent article of his.

by Ramzy Baroud

June 5, 2018, marked the 51st anniversary of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

But, unlike the massive popular mobilization that preceded the anniversary of the Nakba – the catastrophic destruction of Palestine in 1948 – on 15 May, the anniversary of the occupation is hardly generating equal mobilization.

The unsurprising death of the ‘peace process’ and the inevitable demise of the ‘two-state solution’ has shifted the focus from ending the occupation per se to the larger, and more encompassing, problem of Israel’s colonialism throughout Palestine.

Grassroots mobilization in Gaza and the West Bank, and among Palestinian Bedouin communities in the Naqab Desert, are, once more, widening the Palestinian people’s sense of national aspirations. Thanks to the limited vision of the Palestinian leadership those aspirations have, for decades, been confined to Gaza and the West Bank.

In some sense, the ‘Israeli occupation’ is no longer an occupation as per international standards and definitions. It is merely a phase of the Zionist (more…)

by Daphna Whitmore

This deceptively slim book covers a lot of ground. The author, Ilan Pappe, is a well-known expatriate Israeli historian, critic and social activist. He is one of the ‘new historians’ arising in Israel who have challenged the official Zionist version of Israel’s history.  As the name suggests Ten Myths is divided into sections which saves it from becoming a heavy treatise on the making of Israel.

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Ilan Pappe

Pappe takes apart the myth of Palestine being an empty land and shows how the displacement of the indigenous people was a part of early Zionist ideology. Pappe challenges Israel’s claim to represent all Jews,  and presents Zionism as  settler colonialism and the Palestinian national movement as an anti-colonial movement. 

Zionism  sought to transform a religion into nationalism at a time when the formation of nations was on the rise, particularly in Europe. Then after World War 2, when colonialism was being rejected by the civilised world, Zionism was supported in becoming a colonialist project “because the creation of a Jewish state offered Europe, and West Germany in particular, an easy way out of the worst excesses of anti-Semitism ever seen. Israel was the first to declare its recognition of ‘a new Germany’—in return it received a lot of money, but also, far more importantly a carte blanche to turn the whole of Palestine into Israel. Zionism offered itself as the solution to anti-Semitism, but became the main reason for its continued presence.” (more…)

by Daphna Whitmore

Several hundred people turned out yesterday in Auckland to rally in solidarity with the people of Gaza. The vicious response of the Israeli army to the mass demonstrations at the Gaza prison fence has created a sense of urgency  that the situation demands action. The rally turned into a spontaneous march to the US Consulate.

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Auckland solidarity march with Gaza

(more…)

by Susanne Kemp

It’s always problematic to point to this or that particular individual in the context of a massacre by state forces.  All lives lost are to be mourned – and we should get angry about all of them.

But in the case of the latest murder spree by the Israeli state, I want to mention Ahmad Abdullah Abdullah al-Adaini, a Palestinian Marxist and activist in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.  This comrade was murdered while participating in the right-of-return protest near the al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

Comrade Ahmad was born in the Gaza Strip in 1981 and later studied in Yemen.  Due to his studies and his English-language proficiency, Ahmad could have chosen a (more…)

Below we’re reprinting the official statement and itinerary for the speaking tour.

Dr. Ramzy Baroud’s NZ speaking tour itinerary – 18 to 24 May 2018.

Hosted by the NZ Palestine Solidarity Network

Ramzy Baroud brings the authentic voices of the Palestinian struggle for human rights to New Zealand, as part of a world-wide launch of his new book The Last Earth: a Palestinian Story.

Please note that signed copies of Ramzy’s book will be on sale for $35 at each venue – cash or EFTPOS (bookshop retail prices may vary). Other merchandise will be available also.

Each event is free entry and open to the public – bring your friends & workmates. There will be a collection for donations towards tour costs.

 

AUCKLAND: FRIDAY 18 MAY

10:30am: A special book signing event at UBIQ Auckland University Bookshop, 2 Alfred Street, Student Commons (off Princes or Symonds Street, City.)
12:00 midday: Listen to 95bFM radio for Kelly Enright’s studio interview with Ramzy Baroud on ‘The Wire’ current affairs programme.

AUCKLAND: SATURDAY 19 MAY

9:00am: Listen to Kim Hill’s face-to-face live interview with Ramzy on her popular ‘Saturday Morning’ programme, on RNZ National radio (FM 101.4)
2:00pm: Ramzy will speak at the Nakba Rally for Free Palestine, Aotea Square, Queen St, CBD.

AUCKLAND: SUNDAY 20 MAY

Free public talk: 7pm Freemans Bay Community Hall, 52 Hepburn St, Auckland.

 

HAMILTON: MONDAY 21 MAY
Free public talk: 7pm: Wintec, Room A2.05, City Campus, Hamilton.
Access via Gate 3 or Gate 2 on Tristram Street. Free parking.

 

WELLINGTON: TUESDAY 22 MAY

Book signing from 12pm to 1pm: Vic Books, Easterfield Building, 1 Kelburn Parade, Wellington 6012.
Evening event: 6pm Free Public talk: St Andrews on the Terrace, 30 The Terrace, Wellington City 6011. (Wellington event book sales by Vic Books).

 

CHRISTCHURCH: WEDS 23 MAY
Free public talk: 7pm Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral, 234 Hereford St, Christchurch 8011.

 

DUNEDIN: THURSDAY 24 MAY

Free public talk: 5:15pm Burns 2 Lecture theatre, Ground Floor Arts Building, Albany Street, University of Otago.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK AND ITS AUTHOR:

Gaza-born Palestinian author Ramzy Baroud is (more…)