Good news people. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on Friday at its general convention to divest from three companies that it says supply Israel with equipment used in the occupation of Palestinian territory. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), one of a handful of historic mainline Protestant denominations and the church of many American presidents, is the largest yet to endorse divestment at a church-wide convention.
This another victory against the illegal occupation of Palestinian land and the oppression of it’s people by Israeli hardliners and their proponents in Israel and the United States. The B.D.S. (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction) Movement has made significant gains in Europe and the ball is starting to roll here in the U.S.
As usual, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is being accused of being “anti-Semitic.” But in this article in the NYT, Church leaders deflect this argument and by stating that:
“We’re still committed to Israel and its right to exist, but we’re concerned about the occupation and think Israel can do better”…
We must support the B.D.S. Movement by getting the word out and doing our own little part against this violation of international law. Buy the book at the B.D.S. website to become more informed on the nature of the Movement that argues that the Occupation is a form of apartheid and should be fought as such.
Israel has now detained 240 Palestinians in West Bank raids (including 65 freed prisoners from the Gilad Shilat prisoner exchange) in an effort to locate and free three kidnapped Israeli teenagers. Yet the Israelis are also openly claiming that these actions are also an attempt to hurt Hamas.
Now I am not condoning the kidnappings by whom or whoever is behind these actions, and Palestinian Authority (P.A.) Pres. Mahmoud Abbas has come out publicly against them. But the Israeli government is using these raids as an excuse to target and intimidate Hamas members, also.
From The Guardian today:
The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said the re-arrest of the prisoners freed in the Gilad Shalit exchange “sent an important message” that the purpose of Israel‘s military campaign was both to return the teenagers and damage Hamas’s infrastructure in the West Bank.
As well as the arrests, the IDF said on Wednesday that it had carried out about 800 searches since Eyal Yifrach, 19, and Gil-ad Sha’er and Naftali Frankel, both 16, went missing on Thursday. These included raids on Hamas’s charity arm, Dawa, which Israel claims is used to recruit operatives, disseminate information and raise funds.
This was from The Guardian yesterday:
“We are turning Hamas membership into a ticket to hell,” Naftali Bennett, a far-right member of prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet, told army radio on Tuesday.
Should not the Israelis be trying to focus on the humanitarian issue here instead of having ulterior motives? Should they not be trying to cooperate with the new unity government and Abbas in that he has publicly announced his abhorrence regarding these kidnappings?
They do not for this is how the Israeli’s deal with the Palestinians. They act with over-aggression and with disregard for the so-called “peace process.” They do not want a two-state solution, they just want the Palestinians to just disappear.
In The Guardian yesterday there was a piece on striking testimonies from Israeli soldiers recounting their own violence against the people of occupied Palestine.
The Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence has been collecting these testimonies for it’s ten years of existence and conducted a reading in Tel Aviv’s Habima Square on Friday: the anniversary of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land in 1967.
They are all horror stories that recount the brutal nature of the occupation down to small incidents detailing differing types of atrocities against innocent Palestinian citizens. And it shows that even Israelis, themselves, feel guilt over their little part of the internationally condemned occupation.
Here is just one of the recounted incidents found in the article linked here:
Paratrooper, 2002, Nablus
We took over a central house, set up positions, and one of the sharpshooters identified a man on a roof, two roofs away, I think he was between 50 and 70 metres away, not armed. I looked at the man through the night vision – he wasn’t armed. It was two in the morning. A man without arms, walking on the roof, just walking around. We reported it to the company commander. The company commander said: “Take him down.” [The sharpshooter] fired, took him down. The company commander basically ordered, decided via radio, the death sentence for that man. A man who wasn’t armed.
I saw with my own eyes that the guy wasn’t armed. The report also said: “A man without arms on the roof.” The company commander declared him a lookout, meaning he understood that the guy was no threat to us, and he gave the order to kill him and we shot him. I myself didn’t shoot, my friend shot and killed him. And basically you think, you see in the United States there’s the death penalty, for every death sentence there are like a thousand appeals and convictions, and they take it very seriously, and there are judges and learned people, and there are protests and whatever. And here a 26-year-old guy, my company commander, sentenced an unarmed man to death.
A good report in the NYT on how actress Scarlett Johansson is refusing to give up a pro-Israel ad campaign by endorsing Israeli drink company SodaStream, which has a factory in the West Bank.
Also the article goes on to discuss the BDS Movement (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction), which aims to economically delegitimize Israel and its occupation of Palestinian through economic channels and how the movement needs more momentum. A must read.
Down with Johansson!
Read this great story in the NYT.
As STL followers know, I am very critical of Israel and their occupation of the Palestinian territories, their inhumane war of terror on the peoples of the occupied territories, and the arguments regarding which territories (mainly, the Golan Heights and issues with Jerusalem) belong to whom.
But the politicized teaching of curriculums has no place in Palestinian or, more specifically, Hamas ran schools.
Yet, on the other hand, this is what happens after decades of occupation and Israeli military violent actions.
But finally, I do not sponsor any form of violence by the Palestinian peoples against the Israelis or anyone else, but I understand how the results of Israel’s actions can lead to these results.
A very troubling and sad story in the NYT about how stone-throwing boys are spending long time periods in prison for this ridiculously over-blown charge. It is filled with tons of detail, and the pics and vids are terrific. A must-read that encapsulates the bigger picture of occupation in Palestine.