Tag Archives: Homelessness in Gaza

Al fresco living in Gaza

Gaza; al fresco living August 13 2014

Gaza is forever in our hearts & minds as Palestinians come out from cover, still in shock & mourning, to assess the damage & figure out what to do next. There is trauma; there is resilience & there is the incredible human capacity to make the best of a bad situation.

These two young guys, one with an arm bandaged up to his armpit, are preparing for a stretch of al fresco living—-probably stunned they’re still alive. Israeli apologists for genocide in Gaza try to deflect attention from the number of small children killed by citing death demographics proving young men of this age–the ‘Hamas age’–were the greatest number killed, as if that makes genocide all okay.

We’re glad these young men survived & we don’t give a rat’s ass if they belong to Hamas or any other group. Our fullest solidarity with them. We love that in the midst of rubble, they continue to fly the Palestinian flag, a symbol of their resistance to apartheid & genocide & their commitment to a future Palestine.

Keep rallying to demand “Stop the slaughter in Gaza”, “End the blockade of Gaza” & keep evangelizing for the economic boycott of all Israeli goods (barcode beginning 729).

(Photo by Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)


Homeless in Gaza

Homeless in Gaza August 13 2014

Israel & the US have a public relations catastrophe on their hands after tweets went round the world exposing ethnic cleansing in Gaza. It was certain their think tanks would work overtime to counter the images of Palestinian children. Anyone who’s ever tangled with a Zionist knows they’re a broken record of whining that anti-Zionism is anti-Jewish. Guilt-baiting is their stock-in-trade & often quite effective even though they wear it to death.

The Palestinian solidarity movement has made itself entirely clear: there is no room in this movement for anti-Semitism or racism of any kind. The political group who don’t seem to get that are libertarians. There are fifty different varieties of libertarians but the ones we’re speaking of are those who think David Duke, the white supremacist, anti-Semite, & former grand poobah of the KKK, has a place in our movement. Or the ones who get into the conspiracy of illuminati, Free Masons, & Rothschild bankers & think David Ickey-poo sincerely supports Palestinians.

We want to build an international movement where men & women of every hue are comfortable. Does anyone seriously think civil rights activists would be comfortable speaking on the same platform as David Duke who considers them inferior beings? You can say “enough with the harping on this question” but looking at media coverage of the Palestinian solidarity movement shows you cannot harp on this enough.

According to a 2005 report by the US State Department, anti-Semitic incidents have increased significantly since 2000, including harassment & intimidation; vandalism (graffiti, fire bombings of Jewish schools, desecration of synagogues & cemeteries); physical assaults. They noted the increase particularly in France, Germany, the UK, Belgium, & The Netherlands & they blamed it on far-right groups as well as “disadvantaged & disaffected Muslim youth”. It isn’t the most reliable report in the world because it confounds Palestinian solidarity with anti-Semitism but an increase of such incidents are a matter of grave concern. They did not report a rise of anti-Semitic incidents in the US.

One wonders if they did a comparative analysis of the rampant Islamophobia, persecution of Roma, & victimization of immigrants that prevail as state policy in some of those same countries–in particular France, Greece, & The Netherlands. Is the increase in anti-Semitism part of the general trend of political polarization & the rise of extreme right-wing goon squads or is it sui generis for some unexplained reason?

What’s emerging now among politicians & media are alarmist reports about the rise of anti-Semitism which they blatantly & shamefully link to Palestinian solidarity. The UN’s Ban Ki-moon, who couldn’t bring himself to condemn Israeli ethnic cleansing, issued one of the first volleys in this insidious campaign deploring anti-Semitic attacks in Europe since the genocide in Gaza began. Several media sources followed suit, denouncing anti-Semitism among Palestinian supporters, which they claim is evident & rampant on social media.

French politicians who are forcibly deporting Roma & attempting to ban Palestinian solidarity protests are up in arms about vandalizing & looting of Jewish businesses, burning of cars in Jewish neighborhoods, & clashes between Palestinian supporters & Jewish residents. They claim Palestinian supporters entered Jewish neighborhoods on more than one occasion chanting “Gas the Jews” & “Kill the Jews”.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who has distinguished himself for xenophobia & forcible deportation of Roma says he was “profoundly shocked & revolted” by an incident in Paris which he claims turned violent when Palestinian supporters trapped Jews in a synagogue. One of those trapped later told Israeli TV that “the streets outside were “like an intifada”.”

Newsweek magazine, which has a history of inflammatory journalism, had an article titled ” “Exodus: Why Europe’s Jews Are Fleeing Once Again” about anti-Semitism in Europe & they described that incident at the Paris synagogue. The article began: “The mob howled for vengeance, the missiles raining down on the synagogue walls as the worshippers huddled inside.”–& went downhill from there. Even the French minister didn’t accuse Palestinian supporters of attacking the synagogue with missiles.

Newsweek drew on the most questionable sources for information about rising anti-Semitism: the Zionist Anti-Defamation League; Natan Sharansky, a Russian Zionist who administers settlers for Israel; & another schnook named Ben Cohen who says: “Saying that Jews are the only nation who don’t have the right to self-determination, smearing Israel as a modern incarnation of Nazi Germany or apartheid South Africa, asserting that the ‘Israel Lobby’ manipulates American foreign policy from the shadows is unmistakably anti-Semitism.” Who’s smearing who here!?

If these anti-Semitic incidents are real, that’s alarming; if Palestinian supporters are involved, that’s worse than reprehensible. But frankly, that’s highly doubtful & every attempt to smear Palestinian solidarity with this crap is slander intended to discredit justice. If there were “Palestinian supporters” harassing synagogues, let two words suffice: agents provocateurs.

It’s very likely there’s an increase of anti-Semitism in Europe as part of the political polarization in response to neoliberal austerity programs & the rise of neo-Nazi groups like Golden Dawn in Greece. We only wish such alarmism & concern included Roma & immigrants in France & elsewhere, & Palestinians under siege in Gaza.

This man in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza sleeps al fresco outside his apartment which was bombed during a 72-hour ceasefire which Israel violated (Aug 11). Twitter this, Israel!

Respond to the slanders against Palestinians & the solidarity movement with larger rallies & evangelize for the economic boycott of all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729).

(Photo by Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

Under there really entrances to “attack tunnels” under all this rubble?

Gaza--returning home to rubble August 7 2014

Do you think we’ll find the entrance to those cement “attack tunnels” from Gaza to Israel when this rubble gets removed? Or do you think it more likely Israel will prevent back hoes & bulldozers from removing the cement so their war propaganda won’t be exposed as lies? So we won’t know that ethnic cleansing was the purpose for bombing homes, schools, mosques, hospitals, refugee centers?

What’s that saying from Abraham Lincoln? “You can fool all the people some of the time, & some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Israeli hasbara is down to ‘fooling some of the people some of the time.’ Anybody else paying attention who buys it has to have their head examined.

Many have noted a major shift in media coverage of Israel & Palestine, including The London Times refusing to publish the scurrilous ad by Eely-Oily Weasel (known better by his stage name Elie Wiesel) accusing Palestinians of using their children as human shields. This shift is not because Israel went too far this time; their genocide & dispossession of Palestinians has gone on relentlessly for over 66 years. These media outlets are not the least bit squeamish about genocide & have been covering Israel’s ass for all of that time. What’s changed is that the BDS boycott movement politically educated hundreds of thousands of people around the world to the historic crimes committed against the people of Palestine. When Israel entered this phase of Operation Ethnic Cleansing people knew exactly what it was all about. BDS combined with Twitter & social media stripped the veil of obscurantism, mysticism, & Exodus mythology to the bare bones & exposed it as colonial fraud.

Israel is a lynch pin of neocolonial policy & plunder in the Middle East & it won’t be let go without a fight–including on the propaganda front. Those smarmy think tanks are working overtime these days to devise a new approach to selling Israeli mythology destroyed by ethnic cleansing witnessed by the entire world.

Palestinian solidarity can’t buy any of it. We stand steadfast against genocide & on the side of justice. We don’t want to hear equivocations; we don’t want phony UN investigations that let Israel walk away scot-free from war crimes. We demand in every possible venue that Israel lift the blockade of Gaza.

That’s our job. And don’t think for one moment that over a million people in the street over the last month demanding “Stop the slaughter in Gaza” was all for naught. It changed everything. Palestinian justice stands a chance now. They no longer stand alone against the mightiest & most barbaric military forces in the world: Israel & the US Pentagon.

Continue protests demanding “End the blockade of Gaza” & evangelize for the economic boycott of Israel (barcode beginning 729).

This litle guy is in the Gaza town of Khan Yunis, which was pummeled by Israeli bombers.

(Photo by Said Khatib/AFP)

Returning home to rubble

Gaza ceasefire (returning home) August 7 2014

Where do Palestinians in Gaza go from here? They’re returning home to bombed out rubble with only the clothes on their back. They’ve no place to toilet or bathe or sleep. Some may have beloved still buried in the rubble. Before they bring in back hoes & bulldozers to remove rubble, they need rescue teams to recover bodies & make sure no one is buried alive. They need port-a-potties & temporary housing. They need toiletries, clean clothing, diapers, medicines.

Israel’s blown out the ony power plant & destroyed the sanitation systems so on an emergency basis those need to be repaired lest diseases run rampant over an already malnourished population.

But let’s get real. Israel’s embargo of Gaza has the area hermetically sealed tighter than a drum; nothing goes in or out without Israel’s approval. The smuggling tunnels used by Palestinians to bring in vital products embargoed by Israel are destroyed. If Israel bombed out the hospitals & refugee centers in Gaza does anyone seriously believe they’ll open the gates now for back hoes & bulldozers? For rebuilding materials like steel & cement? Or let Gazans rebuild the power plant to restore electricity?

The bombing hasn’t stopped yet; it never really has, but continuous sorties are punctuated periodically with massive assaults like Operation Protective Edge as part of Operation Ethnic Cleansing. Israel forcibly removed Zionist settlers from Gaza in 2005 claiming it was a peace initiative but we now know it was to facilitate ethnic cleansing & make the operation a case of shooting fish in a barrel.

The most important task of Palestinian solidarity is to demand in every venue & every forum that Israel end the blockade of Gaza. That mission has to be the centerpiece of all our work from now on out. It isn’t just a matter of donating humanitarian aid to Gaza since Israel will obstruct the delivery–& obstruct it violently as they did in 2010. In that year, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, six civilian ships with solidarity activists from around the world, attempted to defy Israel’s blockade of Gaza & deliver humanitarian aid by ship. Israeli commandos from speedboats & helicopters boarded the ships, assaulted activists, & shot to death ten unarmed activists. A UN investigation under the gutless Ban Ki-moon faulted the solidarity activists & let Israel walk away scot-free from ten murders. The UN investigation also concluded Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was legal.

International agencies will be coming out of the woodwork asking for dough to help Gaza. The Red Cross is already out with a “Gaza & Israel Appeal”, as if Israel & the bantustate of Gaza suffered equal damage. One can argue this is diplomacy but it’s more honest to call it opportunism. The Red Cross raked in millions for Haiti relief after the 2010 earthquake but still hasn’t made an accounting of dispersal & shows no evidence for having done so. An elementary need in Gaza would be port-a-potties & while the Red Cross took in millions, most Haitians were not provided toilets for many months; some never got them. The rubble remained in the streets & is probably still sitting there; displaced Haitians are still living in makeshift squalor.

Be extremely selective in who you give funds to for humanitarian aid to Gaza especially because it will require a massive international political campaign to make sure it can be delivered. Obsequious appeals from beneficent looking blokes like Paul Farmer in Haiti don’t cut it. Beware the halos on those making appeals.

The most important humanitarian aid we can deliver to Gaza is to continue massive public protests, pickets, forums, speak-outs, teach-ins, demanding “stop the massacre in Gaza” & “end the blockade of Gaza!”

This is Salwa Shabat & four of her children returning to their bombed out home in Beit Hanoun, in north Gaza–once again, a few miles from the hills of Sderot where their suffering was so much fun to watch.

(Photo by Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)