August 2014 Archives

Israel announced Sunday it will expropriate 400 hectares (988 acres) of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, angering the Palestinians and alarming Israeli peace campaigners.

The move to seize the land, in the Bethlehem area in the south of the territory, is the biggest of its kind in three decades...

Israel to annex 400 hectares in West Bank

Unlike the American media perception of US foreign policy goofily stumbling from one good-intentioned mishap to the next, the average person in the Middle East views the American military as a sociopathic power hell-bent on annihilation... 

see No-Win War on ISIS 

Map: Middle East, highlighting Libya, Egypt, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan

The U.S. has opposed Islamists in all eight of the turbulent lands stretching from Libya to Pakistan, yet has not managed to forge a solution in any of them. Are U.S. policies the problem, or is the region's upheaval beyond the reach of any outside power?

Credit: Alyson Hurt/NPR 

Nobody disputes the brutality and extremism of ISIS, but that is a completely different question from whether the U.S. should take military action against it. To begin with, the U.S. not only ignores, but actively supports, all sorts of brutal and extreme parties in the region... 

Sunsara Taylor and three other Abortion Rights Freedom Riders were arrested today around 12:30pm, as they stood in the middle of Guadalupe Street in Austin, TX, sounding the alarm on the abortion rights emergency: if nothing changes, this Monday will complete the largest round of abortion clinic closures ever to hit a single state! Women are NOT incubators! Several UT students joined them right there in the street, blocking traffic. Also arrested was a member of Stop Patriarchy who was standing on the side of the street, taking pictures. She had participated in civil disobedience last week and was arrested so brutally that a ligament in her shoulder is torn. Today, she was only taking pictures. This is unacceptable! 

U.S. Expanding War in Iraq

Under cover of ISIS atrocities, Obama proposes deployment of an additional 300 troops to the 850+  in place and undisclosed thousands of security contractors who never left. 

"The United States, for its part, is not a charity organization, nor is it a neutral bystander. Washington is an active participant in the conflict. In addition to authorizing direct strikes, the Obama administration continues to arm the Iraqi government forces and ethnic Iraqi militias and paramilitary groups." -- Raed Jarrar, policy impact coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee 

Ferguson Is America

The Dred Scott decision meant that to be black in America in the late 1850s was to live in a land that said you did not have a future... It doesn't sound all that far off from the situation facing black citizens today.
     photo by David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch 

Update: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's deployment of the National Guard to occupy Ferguson is as illegal as it is provocative.

From Oscar Grant to Michael Brown - the murder of our youth must STOP.

Bring your signs, sounds, banners, outrage and your love for the heroic people who have refused to subside in silence.


TWO LOCATIONS:  Monday August 18,  4:00 PM onward

Downtown OAKLAND

Oscar Grant Plaza (formerly known as Frank Ogawa Plaza)

14th and Broadway


Powell and Market  


Today in Ferguson right after 18-year-old Michael Brown's memorial service, the people marched ­­again. Ever since the day Michael was murdered by a Ferguson cop, the people have refused to stop protesting and resisting. They have turned the eyes of the world to this police murder and their demand for justice. And with the whole world watching, the protesters have been violently assaulted by a military-style police force that makes Ferguson look like a war zone, time after time -- but the people in Ferguson keep holding their heads high, and they keep resisting.

"The only way out of the quagmire the Jewish people of Israel have gotten themselves into is by granting all living under the control of the State of Israel the same political rights and social and economic rights and opportunities." -- Henk Zanoli, talking about his return of Righteous Among the Nations medal
/2014/08/14762549009_700fc13bb5_z.jpgOn Saturday August 16, several thousand protesters marched into the Port of Oakland toward the berth where a weekly Israeli cargo ship docks to offload its goods. The weekly docking of a Zim Lines cargo ship at the Oakland port was the focus (Zim Integrated Shipping Services is the Israeli international maritime shipping line). A community picket line at its berth was called for 5 AM Saturday, to meet the longshoremen arriving for the day shift to offload its cargo. 

There's a history of dramatic mass demonstrations and occupations at this port, including when they've stopped cargo from Israeli and South African ships, and during Occupy.  This time, the focus was on the present U.S.-backed Israeli massacre going down in Gaza. With Israel blockading, besieging and slaughtering Palestinians in Gaza, why should anyone tolerate Israeli commercial "business as usual" here? The diverse protest crowd was called into action out of the past weeks of outpourings of mass protest to stand with Gaza and the Palestinian people. 

A few hours before the target time, word went out that the ship was now offshore, hanging out and  delaying its itinerary, probably to avoid the protest - so the mobilization time got reset - and at 3 PM, between 4 and 5,000 people met at the BART station and headed for the ship's berth. We chanted along the mile or so march, including "From Ferguson to Palestine, Occupation is a crime!"

The police blocked the actual entry to the berth so the march stopped. There was a rally, and then because it was announced the ship would not approach the port this day, a victory march took everybody back. The Israeli ship had been delayed for a whole day - a day of success for the people fighting to stand with and support the people of Palestine in Gaza!

Sunday late afternoon, word went out: the Zim ship would dock at 6:30, and the longshore union (ILWU) would recognize a community picket line. A few hundred people got themselves into the port and set up the picket line. No one crossed the picket line and so the cargo was not offloaded for another day. Organizers say that means TWO days of successfully preventing Israeli cargo from being delivered, and they are considering what can be done next to build on this success.
Why is Obama adding to that number?

Because absent massive opposition, he can. We've been here before. Excuse #2 for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, "to free the Iraq people from Saddam Hussein's tyranny" was trotted out when weapons of mass destruction failed to materialize. 

It Takes More Than a Cease-Fire...

It will take peace. And peace cannot happen without an end to the occupation.

Billions of dollars in U.S. aid to Israel have failed to quash the sovereignty of the Palestinian state.

"U.S. complicity with Israel's action extends beyond the provision of military assistance. The U.S. has refused to take any action to halt Israel's war crimes and has blocked efforts in the UN to condemn them. The U.S. was also the sole country in the UN Human Rights Council to vote against an international investigation into Israel's actions as it is well aware that the investigation will reveal that war crimes are being perpetrated by Israel in Gaza." -- Diana Buttu, human rights attorney, Ramallah-based analyst, and former advisor to Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinians look at destroyed houses after returning to the Shejaia neighbourhood, which witnesses said was heavily hit by Israeli shelling and air strikes during the Israeli offensive, in the east of Gaza City August 5, 2014. REUTERS-Mohammed Salem

Palestinians look at destroyed houses after returning to the Shejaia neighbourhood, which witnesses said was heavily hit by Israeli shelling and air strikes during the Israeli offensive, in the east of Gaza City August 5, 2014. Photo by Mohammed Salem, Reuters.

survivors face an epic battle for water, shelter and power

Gaza Crisis Update August 4, 2014

c/o Institute for Middle East Understanding:

Since July 7, Israel has killed at least 1822 Palestinians in Gaza, including at least 377 children. Approximately 9400 others have been injured.

On Sunday (August 3), an Israeli missile strike outside of a United Nations school in Rafah in southern Gaza killed at least 10 civilians, including at least one child, and wounded dozens of others. Condemning the attack, UN officials said that they had informed the Israeli military of the exact GPS coordinates of the school, where approximately 3000 Palestinians were taking shelter, 33 times in an attempt to prevent it from being bombed, the final time just an hour before the attack. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the Israeli attack a "moral outrage and a criminal act," while a US State Department spokesperson declared "the United States is appalled by today's disgraceful shelling," adding, "The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians." The incident was the third time an Israeli attack killed civilians taking refuge in a UN school in 10 days. Approximately 30 people were killed in the two previous incidents. It was the seventh time a UN shelter has been hit by Israeli fire during the current assault.

Also on Sunday, 10 members of the al-Ghoul family, including three children and two women, were killed, and 20 others injured by an Israeli missile attack on their home in Rafah. The dead included a baby who was less then three weeks old.

Also on Sunday, eight members of the Najim family were killed, and 30 others wounded, by an airstrike on a home in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza. The victims had returned to Jabalia after the Israeli army announced on Saturday that residents of northern Gaza could go back to their homes. The dead included Bilal Abd al-Karim Najim, Abd al-Karim Najim, Ahmad Abd al-Karim Najim, Raghad Najim, and Suha Najim.

According to the August 3 UN daily Gaza emergency report: "Gaza's medical services and facilities are nearing collapse, with hospitals and clinics overwhelmed. Critical supplies of medicines and disposables are almost depleted and the destruction of power supplies has left hospitals dependent on unreliable back-up generators. The status of hospitals and medical facilities as protected objects under international law continues to be violated with more attacks reported since the last situation update." According to medical officials in Gaza, cases of viral meningitis have increased from five to 53 per day, while Israeli attacks are preventing the collection of decomposing bodies, posing a significant health risk.

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