Palestine/Israel

The massacres in Sabra and Shatila took place 30 years ago. Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone bore witness as hell was brought to earth. They stood with the Palestinian people and they have campaigned for justice for them from those days 'till now.

January 22, 2002

Maitre Luc Walleyn
154 Rue des Palais
B-1030 Bruxelles
Belgium - Via Federal Express

Dear Maitre Walleyn,

Our friend and colleague, Kjell Bygstad of Oslo, Norway, has written to you with respect to our eyewitness testimony regarding the responsibility of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and of the Israeli armed forces under his direction for the massacres at Sabra and Shatila.

Methodical shooting of limbsIntroduction

The deliberate injury of the limbs of 23 boys by high velocity weapons has been logged and described by Defence for Children International – Palestine Branch (DCI-P) since March 2010. (1) Some of the facts have been published in national newspapers. These barbarous acts contravene international and national law but there are no judicial responses. The caring professions see the physical and mental pain of those who suffer and they should be in the vanguard in calling for this great cruelty to cease forthwith. Political leaders have failed to act. The Geneva Conventions Act 1957, which is of central importance in holding war criminals to account in the jurisdiction of the UK, is being emasculated.

Context

Most of the 1.5 million population of the Gaza strip is impoverished. Half are refugees from Mandate Palestine or their children. About 50% of the male population is without work. It has been isolated and occupied for decades. A commercial port was being built in 2000 but that was bombed by Israel. The isolation and the hobbling of its commerce was increased by a siege which was started in March 2006 in response to the election of a majority of Hamas members to the legislature. It was further tightened in June 2007 after the Hamas government pre-empted a coup by the Fatah faction that was led in Gaza by Mohammad Dahlan.


Piracy 1. the practice of attacking and robbing ships at sea
Compact Oxford English Dictionary

The British have affection for Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta The Pirates of Penzance. These pirates are jolly rascals. No such description can be applied to the pirates of Somalia and even less to the Pirates of the Levant, the Israeli navy.

Wide publicity has been given to piracy in Somalian waters since Captain Phillips of the American-crewed Maersk Alabama was captured. The arrival of a US missile cruiser and US destroyer added the tension and glamour required by the Hollywood confederation. The killing of three young Somalians and the release of the captain provided the blood and the triumph for the star spattered banner. Piracy in the Gulf of Aden and along the long shoreline of Somalia started in 1995 in response to rapacious fishing, mostly by Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean vessels. The dumping of toxic waste by European nations stoked more resentment1. Foreign fishing boats were the first targets but when these got protection from local warlords, the Somalian pirates turned to commercial and cruise shipping. With at least 20,000 vessels on passage they had plenty to choose from. Since the US navy Seals shot their men, over sixty more seamen have been taken hostage.

Why is it that little is heard of the piracy off the coast of the Zionist entity and the strip it dominates called Gaza? In contrast to the actions of young Muslim fishermen from an impoverished and broken Somalian nation, the entity carries out its piracy under the title of the Israeli Occupation Force, out of a country with the greatest wealth and with the pretense of a fully fledged legal system. As it turns out, its maritime law is the British Maritime Law of 1856, a hangover from the British Mandate.
 

"The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. Freedom and slavery are mental states." - Mahatma Gandhi

The rain has ceased for a while. The splendid purples of the heathers are in harmony with the grey of granite and the greens of lichen. Only a few thousand humans share the wide open spaces of the Dartmoor National Park on this sabbath.

Sleek bodies are being oiled against the Mediterranean sun in Netanya. There is music murmuring from I Pods; there is affluence and even opulence. But beneath the satisfaction there is deep unease.

By Leslie Bravery – April 14, 2008

Political ideology
The signatories to Israel's May 14, 1948 Declaration of Independence, identified themselves thus: “. . .
 
We members of the People's Council, representatives of the Jewish Community of Eretz-Israel and of the Zionist movement . . .”
The key to understanding the Israeli state and its relations with both the Palestinian people and its neighbours lies in the reference to the Zionist movement. Founded by Theodor Herzl in the late nineteenth century, Zionism holds that hostility to Jews is natural and inevitable and that Jews can only be secure through the creation of a Jewish state. The movement shared the outlook of European colonialism and most people would be astonished to learn of revisionist (as it became) Zionism's affinity with the fascist movements of the early twentieth century, its eventual co-operation with Nazism and its betrayal of non-Zionist Jews.