Amira Hass: Pro-Gaza activists under siege – imposed by Egypt and Hamas

8 January, 2010 — Ha’aretz

[Amira Hass was in Cairo during the stay of the Free Gaza March activists, and she went into Gaza with the small group that was allowed to enter (minus those who declined). This article covers some of her impressions of the activists in Cairo, as well as what happened in Gaza. This last part has not been widely reported, especially the role of Hamas in keeping the visitors under tight control, and undermining civil society role in organizing and carrying out the Free Gaza March. – Racheli Gai]

Pro-Gaza activists under siege – imposed by Egypt and Hamas By Amira Hass

The departure from Ramses Street in Cairo, in about 20 buses, was set for the morning of Monday, December 28. However, the organizers of the Gaza Freedom March knew the buses would not arrive. Just as on Sunday night, the buses hired by a group of French activists never made it to their starting point – Cairo’s Charles de Gaulle Street, near the French Embassy and across from the zoo.

In the week before the planned march, the Foreign Ministry in Cairo made it clear that the protesters would not be permitted to enter Gaza. Boats even mysteriously disappeared from the Nile on Sunday evening. The Egyptian authorities knew that scores of activists were planning to sail and light candles to mark the first anniversary of Israel’s attack on Gaza and the 1,400 people who were killed.

A total of 1,361 people came to Cairo from 43 countries to participate in the Gaza Freedom March, 700 of them from the United States alone, many more than initially expected. It started out as a small initiative. Then the American feminist and peace group Codepink signed on, and it gradually spread to other countries.

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Gaza: Our Guernica – A series of events to commemorate Gaza one year after Israel’s attack

10 January, 2010

Gaza: Our Guernica organized by the Palestine Societies at SOAS
University College London
Imperial College
Kings College
University of Westminster

Thurs 14th January – 6.30pm
***Remembering the War on Gaza (followed by Candle Lit Vigil)***
Tariq Ali (Writer)
Ghada Karmi (Exeter University)
UCL – Christopher Ingold Building/Main Quad

Mon 18th January – 7PM
***Besieged in Self Righteousness: Israeli public discourse after the last invasion of Gaza***
Daphna Baram (Journalist)

Mon 25th January – 6.30pm
***The Wounds of Gaza***
Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah (Surgeon, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Worked in Gaza after the last war)
Andrea Becker (MAP, Medical Aid for Palestinians)
Imperial – G16, Sir Alexander Fleming Building

Thurs 28th January – 6pm
***The Media and the War on Gaza***
Ehab Bessaiso (Media Analyst and Writer): The Arab Media and the War on Gaza
Sharief Nashashibi: The British Media and the War on Gaza
Chair: Dr Dina Matar (SOAS)
Westminister Uni – 2.05a LT, Titchfield Street

Mon 1st Feb – 6.30pm
***The End of Israeli Impunity? Gaza and the Goldstone Report***
Bob Marshall Andrews (Labour MP),
Paul Troop (Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights),
Prof. Robert Wintemute (Kings College)
KCL – s-3.20 Strand Campus

Wed 3rd Feb – 4pm
***Gaza: Past and Present***
Prof. Avi Shlaim (Oxford University)
Goldsmith Uni – Richard Hoggart Building Rm 256

Wed 17th February – 7pm
***Supporting the Boycott on Israel: A View from Within***
Dr. Anat Matar (Tel Aviv University)
SOAS – Room tbc

Haiti Newslinks 5-10 January, 2010

10 January, 2010

UN pledges support for Haiti elections
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 9 (UPI) — The head of the United Nations
mission in Haiti promised logistical support for the country’s national
elections this …

Commentary: The Haitian solution – Part 2
Caribbean Net News
By Jean H Charles “For sheer unspoiled physical beauty, no place on earth
can beat Haiti, the problem is the hard life of Haitians interfere with my…—6-6—.html

U.N. pledges support for Haiti elections | A GFBC bLOG
By GFBC Productions Staff
In a news conference Friday, Hedi Annabi, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s
special representative, said the United Nations will handle the
distribution of ballots and other electoral material to Haiti’s 11500
polling places and collect …

Vancouver Haiti Delegation: Jacmel – Port-Au-Prince – Vancouver
By Vancouver Haiti
I would also like to say that one of the most difficult parts of Haiti for
people who are concerned with the country is the issues of NGOs. Overall, I
believe there needs to be systematic review and reform of aid. …

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What say you, BBC?

10 January, 2010 — Pulse Media

It has been a year since Israel’s savage assault on Gaza that killed more than 1400 civilians. For the duration of the attack the BBC did not have a single man or a woman inside Gaza to cover it. This would be understandable if there weren’t any means available to get a journalist into Gaza. But this was not the case. The BBC, unlike channels such as Al Jazeera International, appeared content to comply with Israeli demands to keep clear. Worse, its journalists parroted Israeli claims about the rationales and the consequences of the assault. Just as the British government provide tacit support for the assault, so the BBC assisted it by giving Israeli officials ample time to rationalize the atrocities. If this were not bad enough, the BBC then took the reprehensible step of refusing to run a Disasters and Emergencies Commission (DEC) appeal for the victims in Gaza.

When months later it finally came to acknowledge that its coverage had indeed been biased, it claimed it was…too pro-Palestinian! (This prompted the great Robert Fisk to proclaim The BBC Trust ‘nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Israel Lobby’).

A week back we published a letter that friend of PULSE Anne Key had sent to the BBC complaining about the excessive deference with which it treats Israeli spokesmen. She has since received a reply in which, among the usual platitudes, the BBC editor writes: ‘We have given air-time to representatives from across the political spectrum and our correspondents are equally vigorous in their questioning of interviewees regardless of whether they are Israeli or Palestinian’. But the question was not whether the BBC gives airtime; it is rather the proportion of the airtime each side receives.

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