Jerusalem Diaries: Umm Kamel al-Kurd Returns Home

Written by The Alternative Information Center (AIC)

When Umm Kamel was evicted from her home in Sheikh Jarrah (Jerusalem) on 9 November, where she had been living with her family since 1956, it was the second time in her life she was forced by the state of Israel to leave her home. The first time was in 1948, when she and her family were forced out of their home in Jerusalem.

On Thursday, 4 December, Palestinians, Israelis and internationals gathered to march to Talbyieh to demand the return of Umm Kamel and her family to their home.

A female Israeli doing civil service with Rabbis for Human Rights (www.rhr.israel.net) described to the Alternative Information Center how important she saw it that Israelis show their support in the fight for equal rights. “It makes all the difference to show up, even if it is just a few people.”

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Free Gaza Goes Fourth – Setting Sail Again The Newsletter of the Free Gaza Movement 1/2008, Dec. 8

The Free Gaza Movement has successfully sailed three times from Cyprus to Gaza in a historic and ongoing endeavor to break the siege of Gaza. Now it goes fourth. The next voyage is scheduled for this Monday night and the ship has left the port. Calling it an “enemy entity”, Israel collectively punishes the whole population of the Gaza Strip – and Palestine in general – for something that is not really clear. If it was terror, the army and state would not create the conditions for violence by taking away the human rights and driving parts of the population into despair. The Free Gaza Movement takes a stand for Palestine and is fighting for equal rights. – Also in this issue: the situation in Gaza, the London meeting, the abducted Free Gaza members, a request for a php developer and the quote of the week.

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GazaFriends: Dignity to Gaza – “We’re Back!” – Fourth Successful Voyage Breaks Through Siege of Gaza

9 December, 2008

(GAZA, 9 December 2008) – The Free Gaza Movement ship “Dignity” successfully broke through the Israeli blockade for the fourth time since August, arriving in Gaza Port at 2:45pm, Tuesday 9 December. The ship carried one ton of medical supplies and high-protein baby formula, in addition to a delegation of international academics, humanitarian and human rights workers. Three earlier missions made landfall in Gaza in August, October, and November through the power of non-violent direct action and civil resistance. The Free Gaza ships are the first international ships to reach the Gaza Strip in over 41 years.

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GazaFriends: Update on the Dignity’s journey to Gaza (11am 9 Dec)

We haven’t been able to establish phone contact with the Dignity, but the last GPS position at 8:30am put them in international waters, off the coast of Haifa – right on schedule to reach Gaza today around mid-afternoon.

We’ve put up photos from the departure on our Flickr site at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29205195@N02/sets/72157610948495614

The last time I was out of prison, I went to see my dad.

A note from Shministit Omer Goldman.

Dear ….,

Omerbw.jpgMy name is Omer Goldman. I am 19 years old. I am one of the Shministim.

Thank you for signing the Shministim letter to support me and my friends.

I first went to prison on September 23 and served 35 days. I am lucky, after 2 times in jail, I got a medical discharge, but I’m the only one. By the time you read this, many of my friends will be in prison too: in for three weeks, out for one, and then back in, over and over, until they are 21. The reason? We refuse to do military service for the Israeli army because of the occupation.

I grew up with the army. My father was deputy head of Mossad and I saw my sister, who is eight years older than me, do her military service. As a young girl, I wanted to be a soldier. The military was such a part of my life that I never even questioned it.

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BRITISH ACADEMICS TO BREAK THE SIEGE OF GAZA: BOAT LEAVES CYPRUS TO IMPLEMENT ‘RIGHT TO STUDY’ OF PALESTINIAN STUDENTS

8 December, 2008

BRITISH COMMITTEE FOR THE UNIVERSITIES OF PALESTINE (BRICUP)

PRESS RELEASE – For immediate release

Two Jewish academics from the UK, Emeritus Professor Jonathan Rosenhead and Research Fellow Mike Cushman, both from the Department of Management at the London School of Economics, have joined the latest ‘Free Gaza’ boat in an attempt to enable Palestinian university students to pursue their studies abroad.

The ‘Dignity’ sailed from Larnaca, Cyprus at 23.40 local time, Monday December 8, in an effort to break Israel’s 19-month blockade of Gaza and bring out 16 students who have places to study abroad. There are currently some 1700 students in Gaza who have been granted places at universities abroad – often with prestigious scholarships such as the Fulbright or Ford Foundation awards – but whom the Israeli authorities have prevented from leaving Gaza.

Higher education opportunities are extremely limited in Gaza. Many vital disciplines, including speech therapy, dentistry and physical therapy are not taught in Gaza, and there is no opportunity for doctoral study either in Gaza or in the West Bank. Study abroad is the only alternative for Palestinian students, yet this alternative is being denied them by the Israeli authorities.

Rosenhead and Cushman are members of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), which advocates boycotting Israeli academic institutions as long as they are complicit in Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territory. BRICUP recently held a packed meeting at SOAS where Israeli academic Prof. Ilan Pappe described the Israeli siege of Gaza as “slow genocide”.

Now they have joined those taking direct action to enable Palestinian students to continue their academic and professional training. Prof. Rosenhead said: “Our government has failed to uphold international law and defend the human rights of the Palestinians, including the right to study and the right to teach. On the 60th anniversary of the International Declaration of Human Rights, we are proud to join the ‘Dignity’ on its fourth blockade-breaking trip to Gaza. We hope that by the end of this week we will have liberated these Palestinian students, in accordance with international law, and enabled them to take up the places awarded them by universities around the world in recognition of their academic merit.”

Mr. Cushman said: “As academics we are particularly pleased to be travelling on the Dignity on this mission to enable at least some of the hundreds of students trapped in Gaza by the Israeli siege to get out and take up their places at universities round the world. This siege is an affront to any idea of academic freedom or human rights. We, working for a British university, have the freedom to teach and study. This must be a universal right, not at the discretion of an occupying power. How can anyone justify preventing young people from fulfilling their potential and learning how to serve their community more fully?”

This third trip by the ‘Dignity’ is expected to take 14 hours, arriving in Gaza on Tuesday 9th December at 13.30 local time (11.30 GMT).

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Notes to editors

1. The ‘Dignity’ is at sea right now. You can try ringing Mike Cushman on board the ‘Dignity’ on +44 773 670 5294, but it may be out of range.

2. BRICUP contact in the UK: Sue Blackwell, 0792 995 3893.

3. Relevant websites for further information:

http://www.letkhaledstudy.co.uk/ (for info on trapped Palestinian students in Gaza)

http://www.freegaza.org/ (Free Gaza boats campaign) http://www.freegaza.org/index.php?module=latest_news&id=41cadce39691c2458068c725561a1e25&offset= (Free Gaza movement’s own press release)

www.bricup.org.uk (academic & cultural boycott of Israel – UK) www.pacbi.org (academic & cultural boycott of Israel – Palestine)