Unraveling the neoliberal, colonial links between Québec and Israel

Read Stefan Christoff’s excellent analysis for the Media Co-op of the ties between Québec and Israel.

Unraveling the neoliberal, colonial links between Québec and Israel

by Stefan Christoff

Political and economic relations between Québec and Israel have developed in major ways over the past decade. A process facilitated by the Parti libéral du Québec, with open complicity from the PQ, neoliberal colonial links articulated clearly in growing business collaborations and corporate military connections.

In 2008, the former Liberal finance minister Raymond Bachand lead an important political delegation to Israel, reported as having over forty people onboard, with both corporate and academic representatives from Québec, also including representatives from the FTQ’s Fonds de la solidarité. Bachand’s trip finalized a new formal economic and technology focused bilateral accord, existing in parallel to the Canada-Israel bilateral free trade agreement signed back in 1997, recently expanded under the Conservatives.

In signing the most recent Québec accord, Bachand stated that “by signing this complementary agreement, Québec is reiterating the attachment it has with Israel and its wish for a closer collaboration in the future.”

Symbolically the accord was signed in Jerusalem, a city that all mainstream political negotiations around Israel/Palestine clearly recognize as contested territory, a point also articulated many times by the UN. Bachand’s move to sign the deal in Jerusalem signaled a direct complicity with long standing Israeli colonial moves to assert control over the historic city as a centre of Israeli political power, while working to erase Jerusalem’s Palestinian identity.

Bachand also signed the bilateral agreement with former Israeli Industry minister Eliyahu Yishai, a right-wing politician and strong backer of ongoing settlement construction on Palestinian lands in violation of international law and UN resolutions. Continue reading “Unraveling the neoliberal, colonial links between Québec and Israel”

My grandmother In Gaza: Bury me under the mulberry tree, not in the cemetery

Read PSN member Dr. Ghada Ageel’s article which was published July 19 on Alternet.

My Grandmother In Gaza: Bury Me Under the Mulberry Tree, Not In the Cemetery
Palestinian refugees under attack long for home in their ancestral villages

Ghada Ageel | July 19, 2014

I speak to friends and family in Gaza every day. The stories they tell tear at my soul. I ask myself if President Barack Obama, at the pinnacle of power, hears the same harrowing accounts in his morning briefs from the NSA, CIA and other agencies. Reason says no. No report can tell of the terror Palestinians are enduring – particularly now with the ground war apparently getting underway – and the heartbreak they have lived for more than 66 years. These agencies assess raw numbers and immediate risk, but are not capable of grasping the horrors in Gaza caused by American weaponry and aid to Israel.

Do president Obama’s morning briefs mention my friend Abeer, who told me her three children — ages four to seven — are now using diapers from the fear caused by hourly Israeli bombardment?

Do the president’s morning reports tell of my ill, octogenarian grandmother who, in the event of her death, asked my uncle to dig a hole and bury her under the mulberry tree in her home in Khan Younis refugee camp and not to bury her in the family cemetery? This is not dementia. Sixty-six years of dispossession and upheaval have not robbed her of her wits. She is all too aware that the cemetery is often hit by American F-16s. In that cemetery, there is no dignity even in death.

Do the president’s morning reports tell of the humanity that still exists in a Gaza wracked by bombs and siege?  Where medicine is running low, one neighbor still shares blood pressure medication with another neighbor. Expelled from our homes 66 years ago, we still look out for each other and know that one day we will return home against all odds and all armaments that those who usurped our land throw at us day and night. That principle of protecting our neighbors through thick and thin, and the resolution not to be dispossessed again, undoubtedly played a part in the massacre at the Kwari’ family home when neighbors did not flee the targeted home but massed to it in defiance of the Israeli missile that soon leveled the home in total disregard for human life.

The property deeds that many Palestinian refugee families still possess is evidence our existence was once very different than the one that ekes out a living today in a spit of land 25 miles long by six miles wide. Journalists reporting from Ashkelon may disparage “terrorist” rockets and ignore our aspirations, but what terms do they use for those who expelled Palestinians from Al-Majdal? With expulsion, Ashkelon thrived on the ruins of that Palestinian community and the story is the same in hundreds of places across modern-day Israel.

I shout at anchors and correspondents, are we not humans?  Are we not allowed equal rights? Are we not permitted to return to our homes and lands?  When will you tell our history and not begin it last month?

Will conservative American politicians deny us the property rights and resistance rights they treasure? Will liberal American politicians deny us equal rights and subject us to Israeli segregation and apartheid-like Bantustans?

Yes, they will. They have done so for decades. And there is no salvation in looking to them. But the principles that galvanized the great social movements of the 20th century are open to the people of any land. We will seek equality and the right of return to our homeland and Israelis will find there is sufficient space for all of us.

A wrenching battle, however, lies ahead to achieve the equality and rights so many Palestinians envision. The lynch mobs that marauded through Jerusalem in recent days, pitched into frenzy by the rhetoric of vengeance emanating from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his partners, burned away the life of young Muhammad Abu Khdeir, and Israeli police nearly beat the life out of his younger Palestinian-American cousin, Tareq Abu Khdeir. Their enraged bigotry speaks of an Israel descending into the swamp of hate akin to the Jim Crow laws in American South.

The story of the current violence did not start on June 12 with the brutal killing of three Israeli teens as the cable news programs often suggest. Nor did it start with the killing of two Palestinian teens on May 15 in what Human Rights Watch now calls an “apparent war crime.”  No, the conflict started years ago when world leaders decided that Palestinian pain at the loss of their children didn’t count for much. Those unnoticed deaths have created an indignation and righteous fury that no Israeli missile will ever stop and no presidential report will ever explain.

This conflict is not complicated, as defenders of Israeli expansion would have one believe. In fact, it is very simple. Restoring some semblance of stability in this part of the world requires the fulfillment of Palestinian rights. Despite its military might, Israel cannot bomb away the Palestinian desire to live in freedom and dignity and with the rights sought by people the world over.

My grandmother may some day be buried in Khan Younis refugee camp under a mulberry tree. But her descendants will be buried in Beit Daras, the village of her childhood, having lived a full life, with equal rights, in a country Palestinians and Jews can only begin to imagine through the smoky horrors currently being visited on Gaza.

Ghada Ageel is a visiting professor at the University of Alberta (Edmonton) and a member of Faculty for Palestine, Alberta.

The Nakba at 66

Thursday, May 15 marks 66 years since the Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”): the dispossession, forced exile, and ethnic cleansing of some 750,000 Palestinians from their land before and during the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

Sixty-six years later, Palestinians still face an ongoing Nakba as Israel continues to deny the right of return of displaced Palestinians and to illegally colonize Palestinian lands. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have now lived under a brutal Israeli military occupation for nearly 47 years, and Palestinians in Israel live under a system of apartheid – more than 50 laws enshrine their status as second-class citizens based on their ethnic and religious identity.

Below are some basic facts about the Nakba, produced by the Institute for Middle East Understanding.

To learn more about the Nakba, you can visit the websites of the Institute for Middle East Understanding and American Muslims for Palestine.

Other sites you can use to educate people about the continuing relevance of the Nakba and the importance of the Palestinian right of return for establishing a just and lasting peace are Before Their Diaspora: A Photographic History of the Palestinians, 1876-1948 from the Institute for Palestine Studies; Ongoing Nakba Education Center from BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights; and Expressions of Nakba from the US Campaign to End the Occupation.

You can also check out and share the graphic from Visualizing Palestine on An Ongoing Dispossession: The Forced Exile of the Palestinians.

You can read the latest news related to the Nakba on Mondoweiss.

For an in-depth history of the Nakba and Plan Dalet, read Ilan Pappé’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

Al Jazeera in 2008 produced an award-winning series on the Nakba, which you can watch for free below.

Parts 1 & 2:

Parts 3 & 4:

Quick Facts: Israeli Independence & The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

Total number of Palestinians expelled during Israel’s creation (1947-49): Between 750,000 and 1 million.

Number of Palestinians expelled prior to Israel’s declaration of independence on May 14, 1948, and the ensuing war with neighboring Arab states: Between 250,000 and 350,000.

Total number of Palestinian population centers systematically destroyed during Israel’s creation (1947-49): More than 400.

Number of population centers ethnically cleansed of their Palestinian Arab inhabitants by Zionist forces prior to Israel’s declaration of independence on May 14, 1948, and the ensuing war with neighboring Arab states: More than 200.

Number of documented massacres of Palestinians by Zionist and Israeli forces during Israel’s creation: At least two dozen. The most notorious took place at Deir Yassin on April 9, 1948, when more than 100 Palestinian men, women, and children were murdered by Zionist paramilitaries belonging to the Stern Gang and Irgun (led by future Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin, respectively). These atrocities spurred the mass flight of Palestinians, and were instrumental in facilitating the creation of a Jewish-majority state in a region in which Palestinian Arabs were the majority.

Number of Palestinians who survived the expulsions, remaining within the borders of the new Israeli state: Approximately 150,000. Although granted Israeli citizenship, they were governed by Israeli military rule until 1966, had most of their land taken from them, and continue to suffer widespread, systematic discrimination today as non-Jews living in a “Jewish state.”

The total monetary loss of Palestinians dispossessed during Israel’s creation has been estimated at between of $100 billion and $200 billion (US) in today’s dollars.

The expulsion of the majority of the Arab population of what became Israel during the state’s establishment was not an unintended consequence of war, but rather a preconceived strategy of “transfer” to ensure the creation of a Jewish majority state. (See here for more on “transfer” in early Zionist thinking.) The military blueprint for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was called Plan Dalet (or Plan D) and was formally approved by the Zionist leadership on March 10, 1948. It called for:

  • “Destruction of villages (setting fire to, blowing up, and planting mines in the debris), especially those population centers which are difficult to control continuously.
  • “Mounting search and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the village and conducting a search inside it. In the event of resistance, the armed force must be destroyed and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state.”

In December 1948, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 194, which stated: “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

Successive U.S. administrations supported Resolution 194 and consistently voted to affirm it until 1993, when the administration of President Bill Clinton began to refer to Palestinian refugee rights as a matter to be negotiated between the two parties in a final peace agreement, following the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The Palestinian right of return has also been recognized by major human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. In 2001, Amnesty International issued a policy statement on the subject, which concluded: “Amnesty International calls for Palestinians who fled or were expelled from Israel, the West Bank or Gaza Strip, along with those of their descendants who have maintained genuine links with the area, to be able to exercise their right to return.” (See here for more on the Palestinian right of return and international law.)

A survey released in 2010 by BADIL, the Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, found the Palestinian refugee and displaced population to be approximately 7.1 million, made up of 6.6 million refugees and 427,000 internally displaced persons. Most of them live in refugee camps in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, or in neighboring countries, often only a few miles away from the homes and lands from which they were expelled.

Canada’s shameful record on Palestine

Hanna Kawas, Chairperson of the Canada Palestine Association offers an analysis of Canada’s record in the United Nations General Assembly on votes in 2013 related Palestine/Israel.

Canada’s Record at the UN General Assembly 2013:
17 Votes Against the Palestinian and Arab Peoples, and In Support of Israel Aggression and Apartheid

Canada’s voting pattern at the United Nations shows that the current government blindly and unconditionally supports Israel’s position, even when it is in contradiction with officially stated Canadian policies. The most recent UN General Assembly voting record of Canadian representatives demonstrated the shameful and biased positions of the Canadian Government that fly in the face of international humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Canada voted against the vast majority of the resolutions relating to Palestine/Israel (the one exception we could find was an abstention on humanitarian assistance to Palestinian refugees). Israel’s fan club in the UN, according to Prof. Richard Falk, the U.N. Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, includes “its three staunchest supporters, each once a British colony: the United States, Canada, Australia, with the addition of such international heavyweight states as Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands.” (The combined population of these three “heavyweight states” amounts to less than the population of the Palestinian city of Hebron or the Canadian city of Burnaby). Continue reading “Canada’s shameful record on Palestine”

NDP’s misplaced condolences for a war criminal

In an article for Canadian Dimension, author and activist Derrick O’Keefe offers a scathing critique of the NDP’s decision to offer official condolences on the death of Israeli war criminal Ariel Sharon, in which the NDP refer to Sharon as “a significant figure in world history and an influential leader who dedicated his life to serving his country.”

Listen, Paul Dewar! Ariel Sharon was a war criminal
Derrick O’Keefe | January 13th 2014

On Saturday, NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar issued a statement on the death of Israeli war criminal and former general and prime minister Ariel Sharon, expressing “sincere condolences to Ariel Sharon’s family and the people of Israel as they mourn their loss.”

Paul Dewar claimed his words were offered “on behalf of all New Democrats.” They were not. Many people, including party members, were repulsed by the saccharine platitudes marking the demise of a mass murderer.

The official statement was brief – a mere 54 words – but inexcusable, when considered beside the long record of crimes against humanity for which Sharon has been found responsible or complicit.

Ariel Sharon was a war criminal, whose actions led to the slaughter of many thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians. His warmongering cost the lives of Israelis too, and did a lot to permanently poison the well of any possible peace with justice in the Middle East. As the former NDP foreign affairs critic Svend Robinson said, in 2002: “Far from making Israel a safer place, Sharon’s policies have had the opposite effect.” Continue reading “NDP’s misplaced condolences for a war criminal”

Canada’s support for apartheid South Africa

With the Canadian media rewriting the history of Canada’s relations with apartheid South Africa as the world mourns the death of Nelson Mandela, author and activist Yves Engler offers an insightful article into the true nature of the relationship between Canada and the apartheid regime.

Our shame: Canada supported apartheid South Africa
Yves Engler

It’s enough to make one who knows even a little history gag.

The death of Nelson Mandela has led to an outpouring of vapid commentary about Canada’s supposed role in defeating South African Apartheid. “Canada helped lead international fight against Apartheid”, noted a Toronto Star headline while a National Post piece declared, “Canada’s stance against apartheid helped bring freedom to South Africa.”

Notwithstanding this self-congratulatory revisionism, Canada mostly supported apartheid in South Africa. First, by providing it with a model. South Africa patterned its policy towards Blacks after Canadian policy towards First Nations. Ambiguous Champion explains, “South African officials regularly came to Canada to examine reserves set aside for First Nations, following colleagues who had studied residential schools in earlier parts of the century.” Continue reading “Canada’s support for apartheid South Africa”

No electoral options for pro-Palestinian Canadians

Following the November 29 release of a transcript revealing Green Party leader Elizabeth May’s perspectives on the situation in Palestine, which led to her being dropped as a keynote speaker at a fundraiser for Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, the Montreal Media Co-op‘s Dru Oja Jay offers this relatively bleak assessment about options for Canadian voters concerned with Palestinian human rights.

Canadian Voters May Only Support Destruction of Palestinian Villages
Four national parties now endorse dispossession in the Negev
by Dru Oja Jay

Elizabeth May made enemies on both sides of the Israeli-Palestine conflict this week when she accepted to speak at an event organized by Canadians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East (CPJME), then derided that organization as “anti-Israel” in an interview with the B’nai Brith-run Jewish Tribune, then issued a denial that she had called CPJME anti-Israel, provoking the wrath of the Tribune editors, who released a full transcript and recording in which she does in fact denounce CPJME as “anti-Israel.” CPJME then cancelled her speaking event.  It was surprisingly flat-footed for someone who has been the leader of a national political party for the last seven years.

What’s missing from the discussion is that May’s pandering marks the official end of choice when it comes to Canada’s relationship with what Stephen Harper recently called “that light of freedom and democracy in what is otherwise a region of darkness,” Israel. Not one political party that is technically capable of winning a majority in Canada’s parliament is — as of now — willing to put up any resistance to Israel’s military occupation, belligerence, or ongoing campaign of dispossession against the Palestinians. Continue reading “No electoral options for pro-Palestinian Canadians”

Haaretz article on connections between Idle No More and Palestine

The Israeli daily Haaretz published this January 29 article on the links between Idle No More and the Palestinian struggle. Include great insights from Mike Krebs, who spoke at the 2012 Israeli Apartheid Week in Edmonton.

Palestinians and Canadian natives join hands to protest colonization

Palestinians, both at home and abroad, have found an unlikely partner in the struggle against colonization: First Nations, the indigenous peoples of Canada.

By Hadani Ditmars

Native peoples from all over the world joined together on Monday as part of an international day of solidarity with Idle No More, an indigenous uprising that has supporters across the globe.

Idle No More began in Canada, but it has sparked support from peoples including North African Tuaregs and New Zealand Maoris.

And with the many messages of support that came on Monday from indigenous peoples across the globe were messages of solidarity from Palestinians – both in their historic homeland and flung throughout the diaspora.

On the homepage of the Canada Palestine Association (CPA) is a link proclaiming “Palestinians in Solidarity with Idle No More and Indigenous Rights.”

It opens with an excerpt from the Mahmoud Darwish poem, “The Last Speech of the ‘Red Indian’ to the White Man”:

“You who come from beyond the sea, bent on war,
don’t cut down the tree of our names,
don’t gallop your flaming horses across
the open plains …
Don’t bury your God
in books that back up your claim of
your land over our land …” Continue reading “Haaretz article on connections between Idle No More and Palestine”

Woman Forced to Leave Family Behind: My Heart is Still in Gaza

Dr. Ghada Ageel, an Edmonton-based member of Faculty 4 Palestine Alberta and frequent presenter at PSN events, has had a article on Gaza published by CNN.

Woman forced to leave family behind: My heart is still in Gaza
By Ghada Ageel, Special to CNN
November 21, 2012

(CNN) — One week after leaving, my mom’s words still echo in my ears: “Leave Gaza now, please. Don’t think about us. I have many things to worry about.”

I entered Gaza on November 5 to help an American delegation there until the morning of November 11. My intention was to help the delegation and then have two full days with my family after the delegates left. But with tensions ratcheting up, my family in Gaza was fearful the Rafah crossing with Egypt would be closed and I would be stuck. To leave my extended family in such dangerous circumstances and return to my husband and three children in Canada was heartrending. But now it is worse. To see American-made Israeli fighter jets pounding Gaza just days after my departure is agony.

I lost the argument for an extra two days with my family the moment I said I “planned” to spend those extra days with them. My sister-in-law, Wafa, pounced on the words: “Nothing can be planned here. Gaza is not Canada. Everything is in the Israeli military’s hands.”

She was right. The Israeli government can undo plans and dreams in an instant.

Looking into my mom’s eyes, I felt cowardly to desert them. I hugged her and told her to stay safe. But deep in my heart I knew that there is no safety in Gaza. That was evident on Sunday when the Israeli military bombed the Dalou household and instantly decimated three generations of the family.

Read related: Gaza’s victims too young to understand, but not to die

The terrifying power of the Israeli military was already made clear at the beginning of the latest onslaught with the haunting photograph of a young BBC journalist grieving his dead infant. Israel claims to operate with pinpoint accuracy, but consistently kills a high proportion of civilians. In fact, the American delegation spoke to the grief-stricken father and mother of Ahmed Abu Daqqa, a young boy killed on November 8 while playing soccer outside his home. These Americans are important witnesses against the claim that Palestinians bear full culpability for this escalation. In fact, it was our children being killed, not the Israelis children.

As I joined the American delegation for the long trip back to Cairo, I was riven with emotion. Usually, the American delegates would greet me with cheers, claps and smiles. This time there was silence, grim faces, tears and no words. Everyone was waiting to hear from me. “I have been ordered to leave,” I said, “and I am frustrated and angry.” I burst into tears.

Will I see my family again? I don’t know.

War is unpredictable as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak seem to have forgotten from their safe vantage points. What is unleashed today in the new Middle East is not the same as the wars Israel unleashed in the years since 1948.

The Arab Spring means that the governments and people of the region are in much greater accord. The weak governments that looked the other way as Israel and the United States subjugated Palestinians have been replaced by governments that may yet assert Palestinian rights in ways that are not merely symbolic. West Bank Palestinians are now starting to confront the Israeli military in ways that the weak Palestinian Authority cannot stop as readily as it did four years ago during Operation Cast Lead.

As the situation deteriorates, it is vital to note that this war need not have occurred. A fragile truce had taken hold for 48 hours, notwithstanding Palestinian frustration over two separate incidents in the previous week when Palestinian youth were killed playing soccer.

In the opinion of many Palestinians, Netanyahu planned this aggression. He wanted to be seen by the electorate as the man with the iron fist protecting Israelis in the south of Israel. Palestinians were in his way. Self-inflated analysts talk of “mowing the grass” to rein in Hamas and other groups. But that mowing is terrifying civilians and destroying their neighborhoods.

What do they think will become of the traumatized children who endure such brutal attacks from the sky and sea? They will be no friends of Israel. No, Israel is proving once again that it has no interest in becoming part of the region.

But Israel’s actions have been largely the same for 64 years. The one period of brief hope in the 1990s proved fleeting because Israel failed to stop its illegal settlement activity and made clear to Palestinians its intent was not a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem but a series of disconnected cantons.

Barak has pledged continued military action against Gaza and Netanyahu has stated he hopes Hamas and others “got the message.” There is no doubt that his message of widespread death and destruction has been widely received by all Palestinians. I doubt, however, that the message will have the intended effect. Instead, the fury of having one’s neighborhood battered by F-16s and shells will likely unite Palestinians against an outside power that has besieged Gaza since 2007 and controlled it since 1967.

The inhumane blockade — with approximately 80% of Palestinians reduced to receiving food aid as Israel counts our calories to allow for anemia and stunting but not outright starvation — leads me to conclude that bleak days remain our lot.

Yet there is one factor Netanyahu fails to grasp: The spirit and will of Palestinians — from Rafah to Hebron to Jenin and the Palestinian refugee camps scattered throughout the Middle East — to achieve our freedom and rights. We will not relinquish our legitimate rights any more than African Americans or black South Africans in the 1950s. We will be bombed and bullied by Israel and the U.S. Congress, but in the end we will still demand our rights.

As long as my family walks the planet, we retain the right to one day walk back to our village of Beit Daras, a scant few miles from Gaza, and to live there with rights equal to our new neighbors. My grandmother, who is enduring this terrible onslaught, has an inalienable right, property deed in hand, to return to the village of her childhood — as do her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Gaza Assault Information and Action

With the latest Israeli assault on Gaza now in its seventh day, with over 141 confirmed deaths and more than 1000 wounded, and with an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire apparently delayed by Israel, PSN offers this roundup of helpful background information and opportunities for action on the issue.

Background Information

For key facts and the basics on Gaza, visit the Gaza Freedom March’s page of Gaza Key Facts and Gaza Under Siege Facts. You can also visit the BBC’s profile on Gaza or read Rashid Khalidi’s op-ed, “What You Don’t Know About Gaza,” which appeared in The New York Times. (Note: most of these resources were created during the last Israeli assault on Gaza in 2008-09).

For an introduction to the legal status of Gaza under international law, read the Institute for Middle East Understanding’s excellent reference sheet Israel, Gaza & International Law.

Also worth reading is Mehdi Hasan’s Ten Things You Need to Know About Gaza.

For a graphic illustration of the imbalance of power between Israel and Gaza, visit the Palestine Center’s Imbalance of Power: Understanding Weapons and Casualties in Gaza and Israel.

For a general introduction to basics of the occupation of Palestine, you can watch the documentary film Occupation 101 free online.

Background on the Current Israeli Assault on Gaza

For a timeline of events that led to the current Israeli assault on Gaza, check out Ali Abunimah’s comprehensive blog for Electronic Intifada on How Israel shattered Gaza truce leading to escalating death and tragedy: a timeline or the Institute for Middle East Understanding’s Timeline: Israel’s Latest Escalation in Gaza.

Mondoweiss has a good , short overview of 4 myths about the Israeli attack on Gaza, and also has a long, but highly recommended, article
Dissecting IDF propaganda: The numbers behind the rocket attacks.

For some thoughts on the timing of the current assault, you can read Ramzy Baroud’s Palestine Chronicle article, Netanyahu’s High-stakes Game in Gaza: Same Time, Same Place.

How to Follow the Latest on the Current Israeli Assault

To see the human impact of the assault, the Institute for Middle East Understanding is compiling and updating Gaza Under Attack: Stories From on the Ground and the blog Palestine From My Eyes has a very important post that updates the Names and ages of killed people in the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza. Electronic Intifada also has a moving (and not very graphic) photo essay, In photos: Gaza buries its children as Israeli attacks intensify.

The main Twitter feed to follow for updates is #gazaunderattack and @aymanqwaider also has frequent updates from Gaza.

The following pages are good resources for ongoing updates:

  • Mondoweiss is constantly updating its Gaza page.

What You Can Do

1. Share information about the assault on Gaza

Retweet information from #gazaunderattack and PSN’s Twitter feed. Like PSN’s Facebook page and please share the information we post with your Facebook friends. And, you know, talk to people you know about what’s going on in Gaza.

2. Call on politicians to take action

The Harper government is arguably the most pro-Israeli government in the world, and Prime Minister Harper has offered unqualified support for the current assault on Gaza. Unfortunately, the official statements of three main political parties as well as the Green Party, either support Israel exclusively or offer weak statements that frame the current conflict as Israeli retaliation, despite the timeline of events.

All parties should be urged to call for an immediate ceasefire as well as an end to Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza. You can use CJPME’s action alert to send a personalized message to all party leaders, foreign affairs, and your MP.  Or, send emails to the following:

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister: stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca
John Baird, Foreign Affairs Minister: john.baird@parl.gc.ca
Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the Official Opposition:  thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca
Paul Dewar, Foreign Affairs critic for the Official Opposition:  paul.dewar@parl.gc.ca
Bob Rae, Leader of the Liberal Party: bob.rae@parl.gc.ca
Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party:  Elizabeth.May@parl.gc.ca
Find your own MP’s contact info here.

Visit the action pages of US-based groups Jewish Voice for Peace and US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation for additional ways to take action, including pressuring US President Obama to take action.

3. Respond to biased media reports on the Gaza assault

When you read, see or hear reporting that is not accurately reflecting the reality of what is happening on the ground, it’s important to respond with letters to the editor of media outlets. Pro-Israel groups have well-funded networks that pressure media on so-called anti-Israel bias, so it’s important that we do the same.  Ironically, we suggest you use the pro-Israel media bullying group Honest Reporting’s media contact page to engage media on these issues.

4. Support and Attend Events in Solidarity with Gaza

In Edmonton, PSN is planning events to follow up from last Saturday’s emergency rally. Check back to our website frequently for updates and like our Facebook page at facebook.com/psnedmonton and follow us on Twitter for ongoing updates of events in Edmonton. You can also join our email list by sending a blank email to psn-edmonton-announce+subscribe@googlegroups.com.

PSN also welcomes new organizers, so if you are interested contact us to find out how to get involved.

Across Canada, get involved in what’s happening in your community at We Stand With Gaza and the Canadian Peace Alliance.

5. Join and Support BDS Efforts and Ongoing Palestinian Solidarity

While the current crisis in Gaza requires immediate action, an end to the current Israeli assault will do nothing to end the illegal occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem or end the illegal siege of Gaza. When the bombs stop dropping on Gaza, it’s important to continue to act to ensure Palestinian human rights.

In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued the Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS, calling “upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel.” Since the current assault on Gaza started, the Palestinian BDS National Committee has reiterated the importance of BDS campaigns and offered Five ways to effectively support Gaza through Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions.

Get involved with PSN to help us build ongoing BDS campaigns here in Edmonton.