Tag Archives: Civil resistance
An American solidarity activist lost her left eye, after an Israeli soldier shot her in the face with a tear gas canister during a demonstration in Qalandiya Monday.
Emily Henochowicz underwent surgery Monday in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, following the demonstration that was held in protest to Israel’s murder of at least 10 civilians aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters Sunda.
Henochowicz, 21, was hit in the face with a tear gas projectile fired directly at her by an Israeli soldier during the demonstration at Qalandiya checkpoint Monday. Israeli occupation forces fired volleys of tear gas at unarmed Palestinian and international
protesters, causing mass panic amongst the demonstrators and those queuing at the largest checkpoint separating the West Bank and Israel.
“They clearly saw us,” said Sören Johanssen, a Swedish ISM volunteer standing with Henochowicz. “They clearly saw that we were internationals and it really looked as though they were trying to hit us. They fired many canisters at us in rapid succession. One landed on either side of Emily. Then the third one hit her in the face.”
Henochowicz is an art student at the prestigious Cooper Union, located in East Village, Manhattan.
The demonstration was one of many that took place across the West Bank Monday in outrage over the Israeli military’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and blatant violation of international law.
Demonstrations also took place in 1948 Palestine, Gaza and Jerusalem, with clashes occurring in East Jerusalem. Palestinian shopkeepers in the occupied Old City closed their businesses for the day in protest.
“Israel has promised the use of force against this unarmed
convoy of volunteers, who range
in age from 1 ½ to 88, if it does not turn back.”
Anchored in the Mediterranean Sea for the past 24 hours, the Turkish IHH ship, the Mavi Marmara, has been awaiting the recent arrival of one final boat carrying members of parliament from various European countries. This convoy of five ships and one Irish ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, will carry humanitarian aid and nearly 800 volunteers towards the Gaza Strip, despite Israel’s threats to block, arrest and/or deport the entire convoy.
The glassy azure sea must be deceptively harsh given three Free Gaza boats became victims of mechanical complications and breakdown yesterday during their short trip to join the Mavi Marmara, the largest passenger boat. In addition, political tension between the Turkish controlled North and Greece controlled South in the small island of Cyprus delayed the joining of the European MP’s, who were denied passage from South Cyprus and who have arrived only minutes ago.
On board the Mavi Marmara, over 560 volunteers from more than 32 countries continue to lift each others spirits through song and ceremony, study and prayer, as they await other participants and organize the delivery of thousands of tons of aid around the impending conflict with Israel. Volunteers from South Africa, Algeria, Turkey, Macedonia, Pakistan, Yemin, Kosovo, the UK and US, Kuwait, and many more – including an exiled past Archbishop of Jerusalem living in the
Vatican – have joined together across cultural and religious differences, age and occupation, to challenge the illegal siege of Gaza.
The cargo includes prefabricated homes and playgrounds, cement and other home-building supplies, medical devices and medications, textiles and food. The Israeli siege on Gaza, which restricts the entry of all materials, including food and medicine, into Gaza has been in place for nearly four years despite its glaring illegality.
Currently, Gaza receives only about 5% of the basic supplies it needs to function and none of the materials necessary to rebuild following the 2008-2009 massacre by Israel which killed more than 1,400 and destroyed hundreds of thousands of structures.
Israel’s open threats to the safety and mission of the convoy have been supplemented by vague and unreliable promise. If denied entry, the aid and volunteers are prepared to wait in International waters for as long as necessary to draw global attention to the siege and to encourage international intervention from the more than 32 countries
represented on the humanitarian convoy. Israel has promised the use of force against this unarmed convoy of volunteers, who range in age from 1 ½ to 88, if it does not turn back. To do so would be a crippling move in terms of Israel’s already-shaky public relations campaign, which works diligently to paint Israel in a positive light amidst
growing global awareness of its unjust treatment of Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza.
The best move Israel could make from all perspectives is to allow this convoy of aid into Gaza without hesitation and to quickly end the siege of Gaza before even greater public opinion and, possibly, foreign governmental support of Israel turns starkly against it. Whether this happens, however, is up to both the Israeli citizenship and government, and the citizenship and governments of all the countries represented on this convoy. As the hours unfold, it will
become clear who supports this just humanitarian mission and who chooses to turn their backs on it, an outcome that will surely be to the detriment of all.
It’s midnight. I’m seated at my over-sized oak dining room table in my University of Michigan sweats, a cup of cold coffee off to the side next to by BlackBerry.
I’m blogging, writing media advisories, press releases, and action alerts while mining media reports. I’ve got that familiar cold fear in the pit of my stomach,waiting for the inevitable.
With each passing minute the Freedom Flotilla, with its 800 volunteers and 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid and medical supplies, chugs ever more closely to Gaza’s waters and the waiting Israeli gunships. Everyone expects Israel to act disproportionately. Actually anything Israel does to commandeer those vessels whether shots are fired or not will be disproportionate merely because it will be illegal.
Israel has no right to patrol Gaza’s waters. It also has no right – no legal basis for the three-year-old blockade it has imposed upon 1.5 million – but it continues to act with impunity. The United States continues to fund the Israeli imperial colonial enterprise to the tune of $7 million per day. A full 75 percent of Congress’ 535 members are bedfellows with AIPAC and other pro-Zionist lobby groups, as evidenced by their signatures on AIPAC-sponsored letters decrying President Barack Obama’s stance on Israel’s illegal settlement construction earlier this spring.
Because of this ‘close relationship’ (as Vice President Joe Biden likes to stress), 800 people from around the world are risking their lives to break the siege. They are supported by legions of people like me, taking to cyberspace and desperately trying to garner attention, hoping to educate just one more person and open just one more mind.
Meanwhile, life has a way of continuing on its bumbling way, seemingly oblivious of the momentous events unraveling half a world away.
My 75-year-old father drove more than six hours from Michigan to visit. He’s staying at a hotel, though, five minutes from my home.
At this time in his life, my father should be enjoying his just rewards of a life well-lived. But I have brought much sadness to him in these ends years. First with my conversion to Islam. And now with my full-time activism for Palestine.
So he made the effort to come and visit. But he’s staying in a hotel. I didn’t even know he had arrived. I ran into him accidentally at the local mall.
And while we hugged and kissed and made small talk about his trip, I kept glancing at my BlackBerry.
I was genuinely happy to see my father. My smiles, though, belied the fear in my stomach, the worry of the fate of those 800 aboard the flotilla. So while we made plans for tomorrow, I was thinking about the impending confrontation between Israel and the peace activists. And my father most likely was remembering earlier days when I was less complicated and less worrisome.
Meanwhile, the world keeps spinning and time keeps marching on – inexorably on.
~ Kristin Szremski 5/29/2010
From the Associated Press:
Israeli gunships headed out to sea Friday to stop a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists from reaching the Gaza Strip, the military said, setting the stage for what could become a dramatic showdown on the high seas.
[Officials] … are prepared to use force if necessary. Masked naval commandos have been trained for the mission, and Israel has built a large makeshift detention center in a southern port to process the activists.
From the Associated Press
Israel’s foreign minister says the country is prepared to stop a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists from reaching the Gaza Strip “at any cost.”
Avigdor Lieberman said Friday the aid mission is a violent provocation, and he hopes the international community understands the Israeli response.
We cannot afford to remain silent and complacent in the face of these foreboding threats. Does Lieberman hope the world understand’s Israel’s response to the flotilla carrying civil resistance and humanitarian activists and tons of medical supplies like he hoped the world would ‘understand’ (aka Keep Silent, Turn the Other way, Complicity Agree) with Operation Cast Lead?
The wheelchairs in the picture are part of the aid on the flotilla. Are they so scary that they warrant threats of military action to stop them from reaching the hundreds of people – mainly children, I might add – who were maimed in Operation Cast Lead? How can the country with the world’s sixth largest military be so frightened of a legless child in a wheelchair?
Israel’s blockade on Gaza is criminal and inhumane. Despite Lieberman’s lie today, there is a massive humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Fully 90 percent of the Palestinians of Gaza now rely upon the United Nations for food aid, according to the United Nations. Yet, despite this, Israel allows into Gaza less than 20 percent of what is needed. So when Israeli officials try to whitewash their crimes by saying they allow the free flow of aid – remember that 80 percent of what is needed to sustain life and to rebuild after Operation Cast Lead is PROHIBITED from entering Gaza.
With Israel, the devil is always in the details.
~ Kristin Szremski 5/28/2010
May 26, 2010
The Free Gaza Movement?s freedom flotilla of eight ships?carrying more than 500 international activists and 10,000 tons of construction material and humanitarian aid destined for the besieged 1.5 million residents of the Gaza Strip?is expected to reach its destination on Friday or Saturday.
- Find out about the Free Gaza Movement by visiting its Web site:http://www.freegaza.org
As in the past, Israel has threatened to prevent the boats from reaching Gaza, but the participants remain undeterred. Supporters around the world can help them deliver their desperately needed supplies by taking part in the emergency response plan:
- U.S. – Send an e-mail and fax to your elected officials, including the president and Congress, calling on them to prevent Israel from using U.S. military aid against peaceful, unarmed citizens.
- Global – Call your elected officials and demand they stop Israel from using military force on peaceful, unarmed internationals.
- Global – Send an e-mail and fax to all Israeli embassies and consulates worldwide.
- Global – Call your nearest Israeli embassy and demand they prevent Israel from using military force on unarmed internationals.
- Global – Sign the petition demanding that Israel allow safe passage for the flotilla.
- U.S. – Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
- GLOBAL– Protest in front of your nearest Israeli embassy. This includes a planned protestat all Israeli embassies on or around Thursday, May 27 to coincide with the arrival of the Flotilla in Gaza coastal waters! In the event that Israel launches any military attack or naval blockade on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, our demonstration will be a powerful protest to demand that it be allowed to pass in peace!
- For news updates and more information on the emergency response plan, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla Coalition and news updates visit: http://gazafreedommarch.org/cms/en/flotilla.aspx
ACTION ALERT! PLEASE POST WIDELY
For the sake of Gaza—-we can’t wait!
Demand Safe Passage for the Gaza Freedom Flotilla – Protest at the Israeli Consulate in Chicago
When: Thursday, May 27
12 noon until 2:00 PM.
Where: Israeli Consulate
111 East Wacker Drive (just east of Michigan Avenue & Wacker Drive)
Bring Palestinian flags, banners and posters demanding that Israel allows us safe passage to Gaza!