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Home arrow Blog arrow September 2008 arrow September 23, 2008

September 23, 2008
WAWA Blog September 23, 2008: On HOPE, Gaza, Vanunu and Tampa, Florida UPDATED @ 3PM Sept. 25 GAZA leads


UPDATE from Greta:


I was sitting in the hotel lobby talking to some of the new passengers who are leaving for Gaza sometime in the next few days, when my Cyprus phone rang. "There is a bomb on the boat." The caller said. "There are two bombs on the boat, and the boat will blow up when you leave." Then he started to laugh. If I'd had the presence of mind to answer, I would have asked him how he knew which boat we were taking since WE don't know, but, like most obscene phone calls, the caller catches you off-guard, and the only answers seen to be after the fact.
 



We are getting ready to leave again for the second trip to Gaza. This time, we have two Palestinian parliamentarians on board and four physicians who are going to assess the state of the healthcare system in Gaza. As the first trip, there are glitches and stumbles and promises that have been broken unintentionally. We are, after all, not seasoned boat buyers, boat passengers or even boat attorneys. But, we have learned much over the past few months.
 
We have become seasoned bargainers, looking at boats with a careful eye to how much they cost and how much the fuel will cost and how much the crew will cost. We knew none of that six months ago. One of us has become a better attorney than many attorneys,as she travels the complex maza of maritime law. Several of us now know the difference between fore and aft, between port and starboard, but many still got seasick. We have learned that we have succeeded in spite of ourselves sometimes,and because of ourselves as well.
 
The naysayers said it couldn't be done, but we paid little attention, because we were determined. This trip, carrying 22 people to Gaza is filled with Palestinians who want to go back to Palestine. They are doctors and lawyers and members of parliament and businessmen. And, of course, that is one of the primary objectives to breaking the back of the blockade. Palestinians should have the right to go home, to visit their relatives, to enjoy the same courtesy that is given to most of us.
 
The 35-mile coast of Gaza is the only piece of  the Mediterranean under occupation by a foreign military force except for the Northern coast of Cyrpus, which has been occupied by Turkey since 1974. It's why the Cypriots are so helpful for this project, and it could never have been accommplished without them. They understand military occupation. On a hillside overlooking Nicosia is a huge sign that says, "Isn't it great to be a Turk!" You can see the sign for miles, larger than the Hollywood sign.
 
Like the sickening sign on the checkpoint outside Bethlehem that says, "Peace be with you" in three languages, these  signs  are finger-in-your-eye jeers from an occupier. And so, like any occupier, the thugs that follow them decide to threaten the people who challenge. The phone call today will be one of many. We got them the last time, threatening to kill us, telling us that mines were planted outside of Gaza, saying that the boats would be sabotaged.
 
But, like the last tiem, we will still go. And we will put Israel on notice that any harm that comes to the 22 people who are on this boat, the boat itself, or the people waiting for us will be because Israel doesn't know how to confront peaceful protest with anything except intimidation.


Greta Berlin
Media Team
Free Gaza Movement
357 99 08 17 67
http://www.freegaza.org
 


Mordechai Vanunu: Down from 6 to 3 and on Being Clear


[East Jerusalem, September 23, 2008] Today the Jerusalem District Court announced: "In light of (Vanunu's) ailing health and the absence of claims that his actions put the country's security in jeopardy, we believe his sentence should be reduced." [1]


Vanunu's prison sentence has now been reduced from six to three months in prison for speaking to foreign media in 2004.


 In a phone call to Vanunu this reporter questioned him regarding his health and he assured me that he is healthy physically and mentally and that, "The issue is about my right to be free, my right to speak and my right to leave the state."

 

According to Reuters "Vanunu was convicted by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court of 15 violations of a military order prohibiting him from talking to foreign journalists and leaving Israel.  The original indictment included 22 different violations of the order, but during the trial the State Prosecutor's Office submitted an amended indictment, and he was eventually charged with 19 violations and was acquitted of four. According to the indictment, Vanunu held conversations with foreign journalists and provided them with news and details on Israel's nuclear reactor. He was acquitted of speaking to foreign nationals on the internet and via video and voice chats…Since his release Vanunu has campaigned for the Jewish state to be disarmed while denying Israeli officials' charges that he has more secrets that he could divulge if allowed to emigrate.

"We should be clear here that Vanunu was convicted for the very act of speaking to non-Israelis, rather than the content of those conversations," attorney Michel Sfard said. "We do not consider this appropriate for a democracy in the 21st century." [2]

We should also be clear that Americans have provided over $108 BILLION to Israel, which claims to be a democracy, but is in fact an Ethnocracy.

"Israel is a not a democracy but is an Ethnocracy, meaning a country run and controlled by a national group with some democratic elements but set up with Jews in control and structured to keep them in control."-Jeff Halper, Founder and Coordinator of ICAHD/Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and a Noble Peace Prize Nominee for 2006. [3]

We should also be clear that in 1985, Mordechai Vanunu listened to his conscience and paid the price with 18 years in jail, most all of it in solitary. During those years the European Parliament, International Peace Bureau, Federation of American Scientists, American Friends Service Committee, Jewish Peace Fellowship, Episcopal Peace Fellowship all called for his release on humanitarian grounds. Amnesty International has classified Vanunu as a prisoner of conscience.

We should also be clear that in 1999, thirty-six members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to President Clinton calling for Vanunu's release from prison because they believed "we have a duty to stand up for men and women like Mordechai Vanunu who dare to articulate a brighter vision for humanity" but not a word has been heard from any USA politician regarding Vanunu's 2 ˝+ year long freedom of speech trial.

We should also be clear that 2008 is also the 60th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, upon which Israel's statehood was contingent upon upholding:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. -Article 19

Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own -Article 13:2


Vanunu will appeal this latest decision to the Supreme Court. Attorney Sfard also commented on the travel ban against Vanunu which will come up again for review in April 2008, "I plan to meet with the interior minister on this issue, which we hope will be reconsidered."

We should also be clear that Vanunu has freely spoken on the denial of his human rights on the World Wide Web in 2005, 2006 and 2008 in my freely streaming video interviews with him accesible under VANUNU ARCHIVES


http://www.wearewideawake.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=660&Itemid=175



1 http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3600947,00.html
2 http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3393749,00.html
3 Eileen Fleming, "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory" page 15





"HOPE has two children. The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine





THERE WILL BE HOPE IN GAZA

(LARNACA, 22 September 2008) - The Free Gaza Movement announced today that an international delegation of doctors, parliamentarians, and human rights workers will sail to Gaza aboard the SS Hope on Wednesday, September 24th. A press conference will be held on Wednesday at Larnaca Port prior to the ship's departure.

The passengers on board include:
- 5 physicians from 4 countries
- human rights lawyers and monitors
- Jamal Zahalka, a member of the Israeli Knesset
- Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council
- Mairead Maguire, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work in Belfast

According to Maguire, a world-renowned human rights campaigner, "This mission carries with it the hopes and wishes of many people around the world."

On August 23, two of the Free Gaza Movement's boats, the SS Free Gaza and the SS Liberty arrived in Gaza Port to the jubilation of tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered there. It was the first time in over forty years that international ships had docked in Gaza Port.

Since Israel tightened its blockade two years ago, malnutrition and unemployment rates in Gaza have soared. In May 2008, several international aid organizations, including CARE International UK, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam, and Medecins du Monde UK, stated that, "the stranglehold on Gaza's borders has made ... the work of the UN and other humanitarian agencies ... virtually impossible.  Only a trickle of medicine, food, fuel and other goods is being allowed in…making people highly dependent on food aid, and brought the health system and basic services, such as water and sanitation near to collapse."

Huwaida Arraf, the delegation spokesperson and a law lecturer at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, said, "The world cannot stay silent as the Palestinian people are deliberately starved and humiliated; Palestinians have a right to life with dignity. Last month, on August 23rd, our two, small, wooden boats, the SS Free Gaza and SS Liberty, sailed to Gaza and did what our governments would not do - we defied Israel's illegal collective punishment of 1.5 million men, women and children living in the Gaza Strip. On September 24th, we're sailing back to Gaza to challenge it again. Our boats are very humble, but what they represent is hope, and hope is what mobilizes change the world around."

The SS Hope was named in recognition of St. Augustine, who wrote that "Hope is the greatest of all virtues, even greater than Love. For Love only teaches us what should be, while Hope teaches us what will be."

Greta Berlin
Media Team
Free Gaza Movement
357 99 08 17 67
http://www.freegaza.org


For More Information, please contact:
(Cyprus/Gaza) Huwaida Arraf, +972 59 913 0426 /
(Cyprus) Greta Berlin, +357 99 081 767 /



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At the University of South Florida in Tampa, Rev. Stephen Sizer spoke about Christian Zionism last night. Tonight Alison Weir, Journalist and Founder of http://www.ifamericansknew.org  will discuss the Role of the Media in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Meeting the Challenge for Peace and I hope to learn much.

On Sept. 24 I will be be speaking about Vanunu's freedom of speech trial and the Olive Trees Foundation mini-Marshall PRO PLAN: Peace, Reconciliation and Opportunity.


In December 2007 I submitted the following book review and received the message from Amazon.com, that pending their approval, my review would be published within thirty-six hours.

I did not pass the Amazon inspection, but I do highly recommend his book to every USA Christian and most especially to the Presidential candidates and all of Congress.


Book Review:

Anglican priest from the UK, Dr. Rev. Stephen Sizer's new book, ZION'S CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS? sheds much needed light on how Jesus/The Prince of Peace who commanded his followers to forgive ones enemies and love all, has morphed into a militant crusader by many professing Christians in the USA.

Sizer's timely focus on the Holy Land, in particular Jerusalem, The Temple and the FUTURE of the world juxtaposed with the current political climate and neo-con ideology will hopefully wake up many American Christians who have been led astray by the heretical ideology of John Hagee, Hal Lindsay and Tim LaHaye.

The vast majority of American Christians do not even know that since 1948, the indigenous Christian population of the land we call Holy has gone from 20% of the total population to less than 1.3%.

Scholars and researches claim that unless things change asap, there will be no Christian witness in the land where Jesus promised that it is the Peacemakers who are the children of God by 2020.

"It is...irresponsible to suggest that God will bless us materially if we support the largely secular State of Israel, especially when this invariably means ignoring the plight of the indigenous Christian population of Palestine."-page 46, Zion's Christian Soldiers

Sizer's previous book is the perfect companion to his most recent, for "Christian Zionism-Road Map to Armageddon?" details how the cultish escapist theology of Christian Zionism fused with the neo-con political ideology has lead millions of Christians astray and help tip the world on its side heavy with military artillery.

"Zion's Christian Soldiers" utilizes easy to comprehend diagrams and thought provoking end of chapter questions that could bring American Bible Study programs into the 21st Century and infuse them with a much needed breath of fresh air.

Having been to Israel Palestine five times since June 2005, I highly recommend this scholarly yet easy to comprehend work to all Christians-and concerned global citizens- who have the courage to face reality and reclaim the gospel Jesus taught: The Peacemakers are the children of God.

God bless Sizer's work and struggle to provoke all Christians to remember that the Prince of Peace is the fulfillment of the Hebrew scriptures which the fundamentalist militant minded Christian Zionists have replaced with the apartheid state of Israel which USA taxpayers have supported with over 100 Billion dollars so far; well beyond what any other state or nation of the world has ever received in support from America.

"You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free."-John 8:32


 
 

   
 
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"HOPE has two children.The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine

 "He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust." - Aquinas

BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Trial

Published 10/30/10

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UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.


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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

" In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway."-Mother Teresa


“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has ceased...to obey the laws of life.”- Lewis Mumford, 1946



The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright



“Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death.” - Rev. MLK
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"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the Establishment of Israel
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