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Home arrow Blog arrow March 2009 arrow March 10, 2009

March 10, 2009
March 10, 2009: You Tube, Closed Zones, Commentary and "our children's souls”

 Closed Zone:


Yoni Goodman, director of animation for the Academy Award-nominated film, "Waltz with Bashir", has created a new animated short film on the closure of Gaza together with the human rights group, Gisha. It's 1:34 minutes long. Click here to watch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzqw7oBZT8k&feature=related


 

Hear Yoni Goodman talk about the process of making his new animated film on the closure of Gaza together with the human rights group, Gisha. Click here to watch:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPhrsY6KRIA

 

 

About Closed Zone


Despite declarations that it has "disengaged" from the Gaza Strip, Israel maintains control of the Strip's overland border crossings, territorial waters, and air space. This includes substantial, albeit indirect, control of the Rafah Crossing.

 

During the past 18 months, Israel tightened its closure of Gaza, almost completely restricting the passage of goods and people both to and from the Strip.

 

These policies punish innocent civilians with the goal of exerting pressure on the Hamas government, violating the rights of 1.5 million people who seek only to live ordinary lives - to be reunited with family, to pursue higher education, to receive quality medical treatment, and to earn a living.

 

The effects of the closure were particularly harsh during the military operation of Dec. 2008 - Jan. 2009. For three weeks, Gaza residents had nowhere to flee to escape the bombing.


Gisha - Legal Center for Freedom of Movement calls on the State of Israel to fully open Gaza's crossings and to allow the real victims of the closure - 1.5 million human beings - the freedom of movement necessary to realize their dreams and aspirations.



 

 UK aid convoy crosses into Gaza on Sunday:


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7932764.stm

 

Part of a 99-vehicle convoy bringing medicine, food, clothing and toys from the UK has reached Gaza after a 24-day journey through Europe and Africa.

 

Organised by the Viva Palestina group and backed by UK MP George Galloway, the convoy entered Gaza from Egypt.

 

It was held for a day because the Egyptian authorities objected to its carrying some non-medical goods.

 

Gaza is under a tight blockade by the Israeli military, which Egypt helps to enforce at the Rafah border crossing.

 

The Viva Palestina website said it took more than 90 minutes for all the vehicles to leave the two car parks in the Egyptian town of El-Arish where they stayed the night.

 

It said some non-medical aid had been unloaded in the line with negotiations with the Egyptians and would be delivered by the Egyptian Red Crescent.

 

The Egyptian RC is expected to deliver the non-medical aid via one of Israel's crossing points where it can be checked by the Israeli military.

 

Mr Galloway, a fierce critic of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians, said that more would follow and that Gazans should not feel they were alone. Mr Galloway kissed the ground after crossing into Gaza.

 

"I have entered Palestine many times but the most emotional of these is after the 22-day genocidal aggression against the Palestinian people," he told reporters, referring to the Israeli offensive which ended on 18 January which Israeli said was launched in response to rocket fire from Gaza.

 

About 1,300 people were killed in the offensive and thousands wounded.

 

United Nations emergency officials say Gaza is suffering from shortages of clean water, fresh food, medical supplies and and fuel.

 

On Sunday, there were reports that some Viva Palestina vehicles - which include a fire engine, ambulances and a boat on a trailer - had been pelted with stones and defaced in El-Arish which lies about 40km away from Rafah.

 

Vehicles had been daubed by anti-Hamas slogans, said British broadcaster Yvonne Ridley, who is one of the organisers.

 

Egyptian border officials said 10 Libyan trucks carrying medicine were allowed to transfer their aid to

 

 


 

 

Zeev Sternhell is a Professor at Hebrew University and one of the world’s leading authorities on Fascism. A Holocaust survivor, he is also active in the movement against Israel’s occupation. Last year he was targeted by right-wing Israeli terrorists, who were angered by his outspokenness against the settlers’ movement, and was lightly injured by a pipe bomb planted at his home.

 

I disagree with the fundamental argument of Sternhell’s article, below, which is that Kadima can save Israel from rising forces of Fascism in Israel. In truth, given Sternhell’s blistering assessment of Kadima, I’m not sure he himself actually believes this is a viable possibility.

 

Regardless of the core argument, the article is very worth reading for the searing critique of the current political climate in Israel, drawing some interesting political comparisons (“The political reality and moral climate in Israel are beginning to be far too reminiscent of Europe between the two World Wars”), almost every paragraph contains an anguished observation of the current state of Israel’s internal political climate, such as:

 

“Israel is not going to arrive at any agreement with the Arabs without American sanctions. However, no one is going to intervene if the Israelis decide to destroy the rule of law for themselves, devour human rights to the bone, establish their own rules of ethics and their own legal norms and, fronted by learned statements from these or those professors, remove themselves from the family of civilized Western nations.”

 

Despite his disgust for Kadima, he lays on it this charge:

 

“Since Kadima is unable to form a government, its existence must nevertheless be put to use for the greater and immediate end: blocking the radical right, pushing it to the margins and preventing the transformation of Israel into a colonialist state that stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River and rests on crushing discrimination based on nationality, religion and ethnic affiliation.”

 

And he ends with this: “This is not a matter of our image abroad and relations with the United States, but rather of our children's souls.--Rebecca Vilkomerson

 

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1069133.html

 

 

Kadima to Democracy’s Rescue

By Zeev Sternhell

 

Admittedly, the choice is not an easy one, but the political reality and moral climate in Israel are beginning to be far too reminiscent of Europe between the two World Wars. The danger of the break-up of democracy lurking behind a Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu-National Union government is far greater than the pull to the right that Kadima would risk in a Benjamin Netanyahu-Tzipi Livni government.

 

If something can be learned from the European experience, it is the fact that beyond the deep cultural reasons, at the immediate political level the collapse of democracy was not the result of force majeure, but rather primarily the result of blindness in understanding the needs of the hour. Democracy fell in Germany and Italy, where the left and the conservative and liberal right refused to cooperate in order to block the revolutionary right.

 

In France, democracy was saved thanks to an opposite process: There a popular front was formed, at the center of which was the socialist party with the liberal center at its right and the communists at its left. There were other reasons for this coalition, but the very fact of its formation sufficed to create a dynamic opposite to that in the two neighboring countries.

 

Most regrettably, the makeup of political forces in Israel is different. The left has long been eroded, but the principle is the same principle: Of two bad solutions, one should choose the less bad; when there are two dangers, one first tackles the more immediate threat. Such a threat is embodied in a narrow right-wing government, in which Likud and the sane parts of it will be prisoners in the hands of the worst nationalists in the history of Zionism. Israeli society will be a hostage in the hands of the 19 Knesset members from the parties of MK Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) and MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union), and its ills will be exacerbated to the point of posing a genuine threat to its future.

 

Lieberman, Ben Ari and Shas leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef at Netanyahu's side are the most destructive lineup Israeli politics has ever known. The danger in such a government is far graver with regard to domestic issues than to issues of war and peace - because in foreign policy, including the Iranian issue, the power to make the crucial decisions is in any case in the hands of the United States and the European Union. Israel is not going to arrive at any agreement with the Arabs without American sanctions. However, no one is going to intervene if the Israelis decide to destroy the rule of law for themselves, devour human rights to the bone, establish their own rules of ethics and their own legal norms and, fronted by learned statements from these or those professors, remove themselves from the family of civilized Western nations.

 

Beyond this, the fashion of idealizing Kadima, the power of its ideology and the purity of its ranks - that supposedly must be safeguarded on the benches of the opposition - is ridiculous. Zero achievements in relations with the Palestinians, two failed wars, the continuation of the filth of Jewish settlement in the territories, impotence in the economic area, widening social gaps and the undermining of the law-enforcement system are

Kadima's true "heritage."

 

Kadima's achievement in the election was thanks to two factors, neither of which is a basis for the future: Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's talent for exploiting the fear of the rise of the right that gripped broad sections of the middle class, and the absence of any real effort on the part of the Labor Party to rebuild itself.

 

Kadima is a collection of Likud refugees, Labor losers and other figures whose identity is not clear, and its chances of disintegrating or coalescing are the same in the coalition as in the opposition. Its Knesset faction includes the settler MK Otniel Schneller, but a moderate individual like Menachem Ben-Sasson was ejected from it. It is illusory to think that this is a torch borne at the head of the peace camp.

 

Since Kadima is unable to form a government, its existence must nevertheless be put to use for the greater and immediate end: blocking the radical right, pushing it to the margins and preventing the transformation of Israel into a colonialist state that stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River and rests on crushing discrimination based on nationality, religion and ethnic affiliation.

 

And if it does emerge that Kadima has the potential to exist in the long term and life in a coalition with Likud is insufferable, it will always be possible to join the opposition and conduct the struggle from there. In the meantime, Israeli society must not be allowed to become accustomed to a reality in which its face is that of Lieberman and Ben Ari. Instead of relating to them and their people as legitimate partners in government, we must brand a mark of shame on their forehead. This is not a matter of our image abroad and relations with the United States, but rather of our children's souls

 

 


Jewish Peace News editors:

Joel Beinin

Racheli Gai

Rela Mazali

Sarah Anne Minkin

Judith Norman

Lincoln Shlensky

Rebecca Vilkomerson

Alistair Welchman


Jewish Peace News archive and blog: http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com


Jewish Peace News sends its news clippings only to subscribers. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or manage your subscription, go to http://www.jewishpeacenews.net

   
 
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