Tag Archives: Break the Siege

Honor Gaza victims by joining rally in NYC Monday

(CHICAGO 12/21/2010) – The American Muslims for Palestine – in coordination with other peace and social justice activists – will be marking the second year since Israel launched its deadly assault against the Palestinians of Gaza with a march and rally at 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 27, at 32nd and 6th Avenues, in New York City.

On Dec. 27, 2008, dozens of Israeli war planes unleashed a rampage of bombing and shelling, killing hundreds of people within a few hours. By the time the three-week assault ended on Jan. 18, 2009, more than 1,400 Palestinians were dead and more than 5,300 were seriously wounded. Critical infrastructure such as water treatment and electrical plants were destroyed, as were schools, mosques, municipal buildings and thousands of homes. More than 50,000 people were displaced.

And the situation in Gaza has only grown worse. Israel’s total blockage on Gaza has prevented most rehabilitation work to take place. Some 25,000 people still are homeless; 80 percent of Gaza’s 1.5 million people rely upon the United Nations for food aid; more than 40,000 children were turned away from UNRWA schools this fall for lack of space. Despite Israel’s promise to ‘ease’ the blockade, recent United Nations reports show that while there was some very slight improvement in some areas they did not reach 2007 levels, which already were in decline because of the siege. But in most economic and humanitarian sectors, the siege has grown tighter and the Palestinians of Gaza have grown poorer and hungrier.

Meanwhile the United States continues to block international legal bodies from pursuing the findings laid out in the Goldstone Report of war crimes committed during the attacks. Nor has Israel been held accountable for its ‘execution-style’ murder of nine unarmed, humanitarian activists aboard the Mavi Marmara in May 2010.

Since Operation Cast Lead, global mobilization against the occupation and Israel’s illegal and inhumane practices continues to grow. There is an increasing and unprecedented focus and isolation of the Israeli Apartheid policies.

But this has brought with it retaliation against Palestinians and their supporters, from harassment by campus officials to raids and grand jury subpoenas by the FBI.

This repression is a sign that the Zionists and their sponsors in Washington are worried — not only that further crimes will be met with equally fierce resistance, but also because they know Palestinians are more determined than ever to fight on until total liberation, until every refugee can return, until the land of Palestine is free from the river to the sea!

For more information:

AMP-NY: 347.671.9135
AMP-NJ: 917.443.4281

Sponsored by: Al-Awda NY: the Palestine Right to Return Coalition,  Hunter Students for Justice in Palestine, Columbia SJP, American Muslims for Palestine-NJ, American Muslims for Palestine-NY, US Palestinian Community Network-NY, Palestinian Club-Brooklyn College, Siege Busters Working Group, International Action Center, United National Antiwar Committee-NY, New York City Labor Against the War, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Labor for Palestine, International Socialist Organization, Socialist Action

 

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Palestinian-American denied entry to Egypt because he was born in Gaza

Mohammad is seen with his daughter Fridarose in the picture.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Mohammad Hamad and his wife, Heather, had been planning their family’s monthlong trip to Egypt for a year.

The Wisconsin family was traveling to Egypt to visit Mohammad’s brother. It would have been the first time Mohammad would have seen his brother in 11 years; his wife and children had never met him.

But while his wife and American-born children were allowed to enter the country, Mohammad was turned back – despite travelling on his American passport and having the appropriate visa Egypt requires, the Milwaukee paper reported.

How far do Israel’s inhumane policies reach?

I know one American-born young man, whose family is from Gaza. His mother and sister decided to take advantage of the ‘eased’ border restrictions and plan on visiting the Strip this summer. Their 19-year-old son and brother won’t be making the trip with them because they are too fearful he will not be allowed to leave Gaza.

Seems there’s an age restriction – any male aged 16 to 35 years old may be held in the besieged Palestinian territory indefinitely. I have not confirmed this myself, but I since learned there is another American – born and raised here – whose family is from Gaza who has been trying to leave there for the past six months. Israel will not let him out, I’m told.

It’s incredible. American citizens. One is not permitted to leave Gaza, where he was visiting family, and return home to the only country he has known – the U.S. – and the other denied entry into Egypt because he was born in Gaza.

And the U.S. Department of State  can’t – or won’t – do a thing about it. The State Dept.’s website warns Americans from visiting Gaza, stating consular services may not be able to react to crisis in a “timely” manner.

The State Department strongly urges that U.S. citizens refrain from all travel to the Gaza Strip.  This recommendation applies to all U.S. citizens, including journalists and aid workers.  U.S. citizens should be aware that as a consequence of a longstanding prohibition on travel by U.S. government employees into the Gaza Strip, the ability of consular staff to offer timely assistance to U.S. citizens there is extremely limited.

We’ve already known that the government of Egypt has been complicit in Israel’s illegal and unjust siege on Gaza. Now it seems it is helping Israel further humiliate anyone associated with the Strip.

But for the U.S. State Department to basically wash its hands of responsibility for its citizens traveling to Palestine seems to suggest Israel’s reach goes beyond our elected officials pockets. For the State Department, placating Israel and it’s rabid, pro-Zionist forces here also trumps the safety, welfare and dignified treatment of American citizens abroad.

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Resolutions condemning Israel’s Flotilla attack sent back to committee

Caving to pro-Israeli pressure, legislators from San Francisco and Richmond, Calif., sent two resolutions condemning Israel for its deadly attack on the Freedom Flotilla back to committee, where critics hope the measures will die.

After four hours of public testimony that lasted almost until midnight, San Francisco supervisors declined to vote on the resolution, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“That the resolution came before the Board of Supervisors is an important step for human rights and shows there is a fundamental shift occurring within the American dialogue about Palestine,” said Dr. Hatem Bazian, chairman of American Muslims for Palestine and professor of near eastern and ethnic studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Supervisor John Avalos, one of the measure’s sponsors, still backs the resolution, despite the pro-Zionist opposition.

“I’ve been told that this resolution is divisive,” the Chronicle quoted Avalos as saying. “But really it acknowledges the disproportionate power the state of Israel has to create a blockade and enforce it on the high seas, even to the extent of attacking civilians in the dead of night.”

City Council members in nearby Richmond also sent their resolution back to committee as well. After a contentious meeting, in which some council members questioned Mayor Gayle McLaughlin for bringing forward the resolution, it was sent back to the Human Rights Council. Mayor McLaughlin, who previously issued a statement condemning Israel’s May 31 attack that killed nine unarmed civilians, chairs the human rights committee, according to the Bay Citizen.

“This is something we have no control over,” said Councilman Nat Bates said in the Citizen. “Israel and Palestine don’t give a damn what Richmond thinks.”

Dr. Bazian, however, doesn’t agree with that assessment.

“What happens in San Francisco and Richmond is being watched closely by Israeli officials and people in Palestine,” Dr. Bazian said. California often sets the tone for the entire United States. “In Israel, these resolutions punched one more hole in the polished public relations apparatus Israel – through lobby groups in this country – has flooded Americans with. The more Americans voice their dissatisfaction with Israel’s illegal, inhumane and unjust policies, the weaker Israel’s hold on the occupation becomes.”

Dr. Bazian added: And actions such as the two resolutions bring hope to Palestinians around the world – those living under occupation and those living in Diaspora around the world.”

Watch AMP for further updates and pending action alerts on these issues.

~ Kristin Szremski 6/17/2010

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Raw, unedited video smuggled off the Mavi Marmara by flimmaker Iana Lee

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EXCLUSIVE: New Video Smuggled Out from Mavi Marmara of Israel’s Deadly Assault on Gaza Aid Flotilla

EXCLUSIVE: New Video Smuggled Out from Mavi Marmara of Israel’s Deadly Assault on Gaza Aid Flotilla.

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God Bless Helen Thomas

Ari Fleischer: Quit your whining!

You gotta love Helen Thomas, the 89-year-old newsroom maven, who’s covered every president since Dwight Eisenhower. She has the guts to ask the questions real reporters should be asking if they weren’t too scared of getting shut out of the elite glam social functions in Washington.

From Fox News:

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said that Hearst reporter Helen Thomas should be fired for saying that Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine.”

“She should lose her job over this,” Fleischer, President George W. Bush’s secretary, said in an e-mail to the Huffington Post that he posted on his Twitter account. “As someone who is Jewish, and as someone who worked with her and used to like her, I find this appalling.”

Fleischer suggested a double standard for Thomas, the 89-year-old White House Press Corps dean who has covered every president since Dwight Eisenhower.

“She is advocating religious cleansing. How can Hearst stand by her? If a journalist, or a columnist, said the same thing about blacks or Hispanics, they would already have lost their jobs.”

At a Jewish Heritage Month celebration at the White House last week Thomas, who is of Lebanese descent, said the Palestinian people “are occupied and it’s their land” and that Israelis should “go home” to Poland, Germany, America “and everywhere else.”

Helen is right. The majority of the Jews in Israel, particularly the Zionists in leadership, are descendants of Europeans whose ancestors converted to Judaism centuries ago. The ruling class in Israel and most of its Jewish residents are not descendants of the Biblical Hebrews, despite what AIPAC, the ADL and other Zionists groups would have you believe.

Helen Thomas just has the balls to say so.

Yay Helen! You go girl!

~ Kristin Szremski 6/6/2010

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Call Out for nationwide rallies Monday and Tuesday

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AMP demands US hold Israel accountable for deadly attacks on flotilla
Protest rallies taking place Monday and Tuesday throughout the country

(CHICAGO 05/31/2010) – In response to Israel’s deadly aggression in international waters against a flotilla of civil resistance volunteers bringing humanitarian and medical aid to besieged Gaza, the American Muslims for Palestine has organized protests across the country.

The rallies and demonstrations will take place Monday and Tuesday in Chicago,Detroit, Sacramento, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Washington DC, Boston, Miami and New Haven, CT.

On Sunday, while most Americans were enjoying a holiday weekend, Israel commandeered five humanitarian aid vessels, killing 16 unarmed volunteers and wounding more than 50, according to published reports.

In international waters, Israel attacked the Freedom Flotilla, which was taking 10,000 tons of donated humanitarian and medical supplies, such as motorized wheelchairs, to the Palestinians of Gaza, which Israel has held under total siege for more than three years.  People of conscious across the globe were horrified at the scene that played out before them on a satellite feed direct from the deck of the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara.

The American Muslims for Palestine condemns Israel’s actions in the strongest possible terms. Israel attacked the flotilla even though the five ships had changed course to avoid a night-time confrontation, according to organizers of the effort.

“Israel’s actions increases Arab and Muslim mistrust the United States, thus further eroding our standing in the world at this critical time in our nation’s history,” said Dr. Hatem Bazian, AMP Chairman and Professor of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. “Israel’s actions prove once again that it is a strategic liability to the United States and only complicates U.S. relations with the rest of the world.”

Israel will continue its illegal, inhumane and aggressive actions as long as the United States continues to send it more than $3 billion in unconditional military aid. It is time for President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and members of Congress to put U.S. interests before Israel’s.

It is imperative for the United States to finally stand up for the values upon which this country was founded and to tell Israel it has gone too far. AMP calls on the White House and Congress to hold Israel accountable by cutting off foreign aid. AMP calls on President Obama, Secretary Clinton and members of Congress to release the flotilla prisoners they captured illegally in international waters, to lift the siege on Gaza and to end the illegal, unjust and inhumane occupation of Palestine.

Interviews available. Contact:

Dr. Hatem Bazian
Chairman, AMP
Professor of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies
University of California, Berkeley
510.914.6722
hatemb@berkeley.edu

Munjed Ahmad, Esq.
Vice chairman, AMP
Attorney at Law, Milwaukee
414.467.5452
ahmadlaw@sbcglobal.net

Awad Hamdan
AMP Chicago Chairman
National Programs Director
773.951.2020
awad.hamdan@ampalestine.org

The American Muslims for Palestine is a national, grassroots organization whose mission is to educate the American public about issues relating to Palestine and its rich cultural heritage. For more information, contact Kristin Szremski, director of media and communications, at 708.717.4180 or media@ampalestine.org.

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