GazaFriends: Egyptian police beat Gaza peace activists and the boy in the rubble

1 December, 2010

As Egyptian police beat peace activists, reports for Gaza break our hearts. Never forget that it is Israeli war crimes and Israeli/U.S. pressure that is keeping the people of Gaza bombed back to the mud age, It is Israel who has maimed, arrested and killed Palestinians, Internationals and Israelis who stand in support. Egypt’s orders come straight from Israel and the U.S. Greta

Dear friends (from one of the freedom riders, Donna Mulhearn)

He wasn’t like the other boys I met here in Gaza today. This boy, balanced on a piece of concrete jutting out of a high mound of rubble, had his arms folded and just looked at us.

Other boys run towards you and cry “Hallo mister” and they laugh, make funny poses for the camera and carry on. But the boy on the rubble was still. He stared in silence. His face defiant. His large, dark eyes piercing. He stood as though he was waiting. Waiting for us to do something perhaps, to say something. Just waiting.

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Protests held against Gaza siege

1 January, 2010 — Viva Palestina


Members of Gaza Freedom March, denied entry to Gaza, demonstrated in Cairo (Ali Abunimah)

Activists, both from Gaza and abroad, have held demonstrations on either side of an Israeli border crossing to the Palestinian territory, protesting against its continued siege by Israel.

Hundreds of protesters gathered around the Erez crossing on Thursday, to denounce the blockade that has caused immense suffering to those living in Gaza.

Nisreen el-Shamayleh, Al Jazeera’s correspondent who was on the Israeli side of the crossing, estimated that about 600 protesters were present, many from mainly Arab neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem.

“They represent Israeli-Palestinians as well as other Arab civil society organisations inside Israel and also with the support of some Israeli groups,” she said.

“Their major demand is for Israel to stop the siege on Gaza and to stop the suffocation of Gazans living under this blockade. They’re also calling on the international community to intervene.”

The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli blockade since 2007 when Hamas seized power in the territory.

The Erez crossing is the main entry and exit point to and from Gaza used by medical patients, journalists, diplomats and aid groups.

International support

On the Gaza side of the border, the demonstration was slower to get started, but protesters there were joined by 86 activists from the Gaza Freedom March, an international group that has been trying to get into Gaza with food and supplies.

Most of the Gaza Freedom March’s 1,300-strong group were refused entry into Gaza by Egypt, which controls the Rafah crossing point, because of what Egyptian authorities said was the “sensitive situation” in the territory.

Many of those remaining in Egypt held separate demonstrations in Cairo.
Ali Abunimah, the co-founder of the Electronic Intifada website, who was at the Cairo protest, told Al Jazeera the group had been surrounded by the police.

“I’ve spoken to some people who were pushed or kicked by police and a few people have [had] their cameras taken away,” he said.

“I’d say there are about 200 people here. We had anticipated quite a few more, but earlier today police barricaded some of the hotels where we are staying … I can’t tell you how many people have been prevented from joining us.”

A separate aid convoy has also been trying to reach Gaza through Jordan’s Red Sea port of Aqaba.

Lorries from the Viva Palestina convoy began crossing from Jordan into Syria on Thursday.

The events around Gaza coincide with the one-year anniversary of Israel’s devastating 22-day war on Gaza which left about 1,300 Palestinians dead. Thirteen Israelis also died in the conflict.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
Alice Howard
Viva Palestina UK – Administration Manager
Tel: 07944 512 469

Gaza Freedom March in Israel

1 January 2010 — The Real News Network

International, Israeli, and Palestinian activists demonstrate around Gaza against Israeli imposed siege

For months international, Israeli, and Palestinian activists have been planning the Gaza Freedom March. Organizers hoped an international delegation of 1300 activists from around the world would break the siege on Gaza by marching through Gaza to the northern border and through the Erez crossing, join the Israeli march. The Real News attended the Israeli side of the protest, and though the Egyptian government prevented the activists from entering Gaza, hundreds gathered to raise awareness of the desperate situation in Gaza a year after Operation Cast Lead.

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Q&A with Moazzam Begg, Omar Deghayes, Andy Worthington and Polly Nash

1 January 2010 — Dandelion

On October 21, at the launch of the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington) at the Cochrane Theatre in London. Spectacle, the production company, filmed the Q&A session following the screening, in which Moazzam Begg, Omar Deghayes, Andy Worthington and Polly Nash took questions from the large and well-informed audience. The Q&A session, which lasted for about an hour, is available via YouTube in nine parts, which are available below.

In the first part, following introductions, Moazzam talked about the difficulties facing prisoners released from Guantánamo, and Omar talked about the most vulnerable prisoners in Guantánamo: those from countries, including Libya, who cannot be repatriated because of fears that they will be tortured on their return. Omar also spoke about the aims of the Guantánamo Justice Centre, launched in August, which hopes to provide support and legal assistance for released prisoners around the world.

Parts 2 – 9: Video: Q&A with Moazzam Begg, Omar Deghayes, Andy Worthington and Polly Nash at the Launch of “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo”

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2010: U.S. To Wage War Throughout The World By Rick Rozoff

31 December, 2009 — Stop NATO

January 1 will usher in the last year of the first decade of a new millennium and ten consecutive years of the United States conducting war in the Greater Middle East.

Beginning with the October 7, 2001 missile and bomb attacks on Afghanistan, American combat operations abroad have not ceased for a year, a month, a week or a day in the 21st century.

The Afghan war, the U.S.’s first air and ground conflict in Asia since the disastrous wars in Vietnam and Cambodia in the 1960s and early 1970s and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s first land war and Asian campaign, began during the end of the 2001 war in Macedonia launched from NATO-occupied Kosovo, one in which the role of U.S. military personnel is still to be properly exposed [1] and addressed and which led to the displacement of almost 10 percent of the nation’s population.

In the first case Washington invaded a nation in the name of combating terrorism; in the second it abetted cross-border terrorism. Similarly, in 1991 the U.S. and its Western allies attacked Iraqi forces in Kuwait and launched devastating and deadly cruise missile attacks and bombing sorties inside Iraq in the name of preserving the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Kuwait, and in 1999 waged a 78-day bombing assault against Yugoslavia to override and fatally undermine the principles of territorial integrity and national sovereignty in the name of the casus belli of the day, so-called humanitarian intervention.

Two years later humanitarian war, as abhorrent an oxymoron as the world has ever witnessed, gave way to the global war on terror(ism), with the U.S. and its NATO allies again reversing course but continuing to wage wars of aggression and ‘wars of opportunity’ as they saw fit, contradictions and logic, precedents and international law notwithstanding.

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Stuart Littlewood – Reaching the Gates of Hell is not so Easy

31 December, 2009 — Palestine Think Tank

(VIA Redress) Egyptian ruler Mubarak torpedoes international voluntary aid to Gaza

gaza-egypt2.jpgStuart Littlewood considers the predicament of the Viva Palestina international humanitarian convoy – the culmination of voluntary work by thousands of supporters, fund-raisers and donors in the UK, Europe and internationally – whose journey to besieged Gaza was thwarted by Egypt’s ruler, Husni Mubarak, just four hours before it reached its destination.

The Viva Palestina convoy is being given the run-around by Egypt’s President Husni Mubarak and his “Awkward Squad”.

My heart goes out to the 500 or so dedicated people from 17 different countries who brought their convoy of 200 vehicles almost to the gates of Gaza, only to be stranded at Aqaba just four hours short of their destination.

And not only the 500 driving with the Viva Palestina convoy but the thousands of supporters, fund-raisers and donors back home who have worked for months to provide the medical supplies, the food, the transport and the countless other humanitarian items.

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Shoeless in Cairo by Mary Hughes-Thompson

31 December, 2009 — Gaza Friends

Written by Mary Hughes-Thompson, part of the GFM convoy that has been trying to get into Gaza.

In about an hour the Gaza Freedom Marchers in Cairo will be meeting in Tahrir Square to celebrate the beginning of 2010. January 1st will be the fifth day of my hunger strike.

It was an eventful and exhilarating day for all of us here in Cairo. This morning we began to arrive in small groups at a couple of locations in downtown Cairo, intending to join and up and begin a solidarity march to Gaza. We didn’t expect to get far before being stopped, so we took what things we had that would make it easier to spend the night in the street. As soon as we got out of our taxi near the Museum, Hedy and I and Hedy’s two friends from St Louis were immediately surrounded by security police who tried to lead us away from the area.

All around us we saw other small groups receiving the same reception. After sitting on a bench in front of the Nile Hilton for half an hour, with half a dozen police standing close and trying to persuade us to continue walking away, we suddenly saw a surge of people crossing the street a few yards from us, and we quickly rushed to join them. Free Gaza signs appeared, chants of “Free Gaza” were heard. Passengers in cars and buses gave us a wave and a smile. We were immediately encircled by several hundred policemen who placed barriers around us and began to push us more tightly together. We tried to keep space around Hedy, as we were pushed and squeezed. I feared my ribs would be crushed as I was squeezed tighter and closer to people around me. A few people fell or tried to sit in the middle of the circle and the police went after them.

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Viva Palestina: Today we marched!

31 December, 2009

In full view of all Cairo, we defied the law and we marched !

Nur it was wonderful … Tahrir Square we swarmed the place like ants. French, British, Egyptians, Palestinians we were everwhere flying flags, waving Kafeyahs … shouting and chanting … It was wonderful … The Egyptians hung out of windows and we cursed Mubarak …

Everything was swamped … quick as a flash.

We had to leave our hotels at the crack of dawn … by 7-30 all our hotels were ringed with riot police. Masses of them everywhere and we were all exacly on cue looking like tourists in twos and threes and then WHAM everyone made a run for the road and the flags came our WE WANT TO GO TO GAZA – WE WANT TO GO GAZA – VIVA VIVA PALESTINIA …

It was brilliant and there were endless Egyptians looking on and laughing and smiling as we cursed their President. The few that had been kep under arrest at the Hotels hasve banners strung across the road.

Then shortly after we had taken the square the army and ploice chaged in at us …. Almighty hell but everyone is safe. Some broken noses and so on but basically everyone is OK … We are now penned in and having speeches and so on at the edge of the square.

Nur it was magnificent … as though so much frustration afater being treated like criminals all week. There were endless flags and we just waved our scarves and shouted Viva Viva Palestina … People came from everywhere … We had people all converging at the same time. Right in their faces – illegal ! – Hounded all week.

My god when these bastards charged us it came with fists and kicks and all sorts … But we now have camps all over key areas and it has all been worth it … I still want to go to Gaza … This is what I came for ….

But my goodness Nur these Egyptian thugs are never going to forget this …

Great day so far … And now I must away again …


From: Keith Hammond []

Thank you so much for remembering this Nur …

We have gone through a roller coaster here. Police, betrayals and yet today in Tahrir Square it was like Palestine sprung from nowhere and the people in the buildings looked out staggered as though they were saying “how do these wee bastards do it” but Palestine came alive as a cause that will not go away Nur …

The flags and the people from everywhere aching to shout the name PALESTINE PALESTINE PALESTINE … VIVA VIVA ….

I have never experienced anything like it there were hundreds that just came from nowhere and the roads were blocked and the square came alive …

My dear old friend Palestine came alive in this dreadfully oppressed placed and brought life to everything here from out of nowhere ….

Today is a good day Nur … No Codepink in sight thank goodness ….


Cairo meets the movement, with tears and chaos and exaltation By Philip Weiss

31 December,, 2009 —

Today the Gaza Freedom March fragmented slightly when in the face of stern opposition from their fellows about 80 people headed off to Gaza on buses, the rest staying in Cairo.

But wait, weren’t you trying to go to Gaza? Yes, but it has been quite a drama. How to state this clearly…

Over the last week, as the international marchers arrived in Egypt, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry made it very clear that it did not want them going into Gaza, and it would arrest them short of that goal. But these 1400 are not tourists or milquetoasts, they are activists; and they were not going to be stopped by any old Ministry, even the ministry of a police state. Many set out by bus and taxi to the Sinai desert, while the 300 members of the French group camped out in front of the French Embassy across from the Cairo Zoo, demanding to go even as they were ringed by riot police.

After hunger strikes and demos and international press, and supposedly too the intervention of the president’s clement wife Suzanne Mubarak, the Egyptians relented yesterday and said, Well 100 of you can go in, two busfuls. I heard about this first as a rumor last night at an Egyptian-led rally at the Journalists Syndicate building in opposition to Bibi Netanyahu’s visit to Hosni Mubarak (Down Down Hosni Mubarak!), and already many of us were wondering, who would get the call? Code Pink, the antiwar group that has led the organizing, claimed victory and sent out a bulletin to delegations to select the two or three members who could go. Some delegations duly nominated representatives. But the decision set off an angry and wrenching round of all-night meetings, some of them in hotel stairwells, with many coming out against the deal. Even the Gaza Freedom March steering committee voted against the slice of bread that was being offered, instead of the whole loaf.

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Truth cast in lead By Michael Sfard

29 December, 2009 —

Never Again

Many groups are observing the one-year anniversary of the Gaza “Cast Lead” campaign, which is part of the many-year war against Gaza, with no end in sight. Gaza remains under a cruel and barbaric siege. Of the commemorative articles I have read, this piece, written by Israeli lawyer activist Michael Sfard, and translated by the indefatigable Sol Salbe, captures what I think. For all the bad things that Israel had done, and continues to do, the Gaza campaign was different. Last year, as the campaign raged, Richard Silverstein and I circulated among Jews a petition condemning the Israeli conduct of the war, based entirely on press reports. Since then, those press reports have been confirmed by human rights agencies, and most recently, by the Goldstone mission. Israelis, of course, reject these reports as biased, as examples of “lawfare”.

For the average Israeli, none of the Gazans human rights were violated, primarily because in order for that to happen, the Gazans would have to be human.

Last year, in playwright Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children, characters debated what to tell a child who is asking about pictures of dead Gazan babies she sees on the television.

Tell her, tell her about the army, tell her to be proud of the army. Tell her about the family of dead girls, tell her their names why not, tell her the whole world knows why shouldn’t she know? tell her there’s dead babies, did she see babies? tell her she’s got nothing to be ashamed of. Tell her they did it to themselves. Tell her they want their children killed to make people sorry for them, tell her I’m not sorry for them, tell her not to be sorry for them, tell her we’re the ones to be sorry for, tell her they can’t talk suffering to us. Tell her we’re the iron fist now, tell her it’s the fog of war, tell her we won’t stop killing them till we’re safe, tell her I laughed when I saw the dead policemen, tell her they’re animals living in rubble now, tell her I wouldn’t care if we wiped them out, the world would hate us is the only thing, tell her I don’t care if the world hates us, tell her we’re better haters, tell her we’re chosen people, tell her I look at one of their children covered in blood and what do I feel? tell her all I feel is happy it’s not her.

Don’t tell her that.

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