Land Day

The people in Palestine are mobilizing for the 32nd annual commemoration of Land Day, happening March 30. Land Day marks the date of the Palestinian demonstration that occurred in the Galilee against a wide-scale land confiscation, when Israeli forces killed 6 Palestinians, injured 96 and arrested 300.

Today, the Land Day protests of the people in Palestine and around the world are focused on the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. The call for a global day of action on March 30 came out of the World Social Forum in Belem (Brazil) and aims to promote BDS as the most effective tool to stop Israeli policies of land theft and colonization and the discrimination, massacres and ethnic cleansing that have been carried out against the Palestinian people in pursuit of these goals.

FreeGaza have announced plans for a flotilla of aid ships-

We are looking for ships wishing to join the Hope Fleet and sail to Gaza in late May, and we are looking for high-profile people, including parliamentarians and celebrities, who want to join us and demand that a besieged Gaza cannot forever remain an open-air prison with no access to the world. The Free Gaza Movement will continue to challenge Israel’s brutal policies. We will go to Gaza again, and again, and again, until the Israeli siege is broken and the people of Gaza have access to the rest of the world.

If you are interested in joining or supporting this action, please email Iristulip(at)gmail.com. We will begin collecting names and information as we ready for this historic voyage. With your help, we will make the HOPE FLEET a reality.

For more information, please visit our website: www.FreeGaza.org

There is also a good post about the debate over BDS @ MondoWeiss which concentrates on the In These Times cover story where Naomi Klein (author of The Shock Doctrine) and Rabbi Arthur Waskow, (director of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia) talk over the issue.

Naomi Klein: The hard right seems to be strengthening all on its own, if we judge by the results of the recent Israeli elections. But I’ve noticed a change within Israel. I got quite a few e-mails from Israelis saying, “I’ve always opposed this, but I feel that it is the only option left.” I think that’s a reflection of the feeling of desperation among progressive Israelis who are watching their country move hard right and seeing the level of violence increase exponentially.

Still wondering about a boycott, the Israeli football team will get pep talks from the commander of the Givati Brigade, they can perhaps wear these t-shirts under their kit then do that pully up thing when they score a goal. Certainly there is variance in approaches among well meaning people, so this is worth reading, the MondoWeiss post also mentions that old canard about whither the Palestinian Gandhi?– where is the Palestinian non-violent movement? The answer is there is one try opening your eyes-

MondoWeiss:- Waskow, who supported BDS against the racist apartheid regime in South Africa, wishes that Palestinians would learn the lessons from the U.S. civil rights movement and organize nonviolent sit-ins, presumably to help Americans – and clearly American Jews – see their human desire is for peace, not the destruction of Israel.  He criticizes Hamas for not organizing boats to Gaza in the model of the Free Gaza movement initiated by ISM, as if this were truly an option available toHamas.

What Waskow (and other “peace” activists who claim to be searching for the Palestinian Gandhi who will lead Palestinians to freedom) fails to mention in the discussion is any acknowledgment of the overwhelming nonviolent response by Palestinians to decades of Israeli military occupation, including in Gaza. Where does he cite the human chain initiated by Palestinians across Gaza calling for unity and an end to the siege (that was dismissed as propaganda in the west)? What about Palestinian attempts to maintain survival by digging tunnels to Egypt as an act of nonviolent resistance to international attempts to blockade, isolate and imprison 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza?  Or all the diplomatic efforts to reach a ceasefire and truce initiated and upheld by Hamas? Why does Waskow not mention the weekly protests in Bi’lin – which regularly include Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals in collective nonviolent action – as well as the daily acts of courageous nonviolence at checkpoints all over the West Bank? Do the Palestinians need to set up a lunch counter to get the west and Waskow to see their nonviolent efforts to end occupation?

It is also I think in some unexamined way a slightly racist lack of knowledge, a lack of curiosity of the actual history based in some part on the (essentialist?) idea certain peoples are naturally more violent than others. James @ Mahatma X Files also has a good post on the non-violent ‘Gandhi’ concern trolls and says it better than me. And of course the concern trolls need to spend a bit more time seeing just what is the actual ‘peace process’ as in is there one?

Seymour Hersh reports some mixed messages from the Obama team-

The Obama transition team also helped persuade Israel to end the bombing of Gaza and to withdraw its ground troops before the Inauguration. According to the former senior intelligence official, who has access to sensitive information, “Cheney began getting messages from the Israelis about pressure from Obama” when he was President-elect. Cheney, who worked closely with the Israeli leadership in the lead-up to the Gaza war, portrayed Obama to the Israelis as a “pro-Palestinian,” who would not support their efforts (and, in private, disparaged Obama, referring to him at one point as someone who would “never make it in the major leagues”). But the Obama team let it be known that it would not object to the planned resupply of “smart bombs” and other high-tech ordnance that was already flowing to Israel. “It was Jones”—retired Marine General James Jones, at the time designated to be the President’s national-security adviser—“who came up with the solution and told Obama, ‘You just can’t tell the Israelis to get out.’ ” (General Jones said that he could not verify this account; Cheney’s office declined to comment.)

Oh that Dick Cheney, never happier than when he’s getting people killed.  And funnily enough on this day when people debate BDS BBC Worldwide has sold the rights for an Israeli version of The Office, maybe they’ll have a token Palestinian…expelled from their desk.

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