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Welcome to Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land

Next meeting: Sat, Nov. 16, 2014, 10:00 am at the Salt Lake City Public Library (200 E 400 S) meeting room D in the basement.  All are welcome!

The Brakes Come Off in British Parliament's Vote on Palestinian Statehood

By David Hearst, Middle East Editor of The World Post, a partner of The Huffington Post

 Posted: 10/14/2014 3:21 pm EDT Updated: 10/15/2014 9:59 am EDT

 

 

For Israel, an umbilical cord carrying the lifeblood of the state extends between it and Washington. Just imagine the speeches in the British Parliament that voted to recognize Palestinian statehood on Monday being uttered on Capitol Hill. They would have been unrepeatable in the US Congress.

Nevertheless, there was an audible snap in Britain on Monday night. Freed of the burden of saying what Israel and its lobby demanded to hear, politicians of right and left said what they felt.

Sir Richard Ottaway, the Tory chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, one who, in his own words had stood by Israel through thick and thin said that such was his anger at the Israeli government's annexation of 950 acres of the West Bank, that he would abstain.

Sir Alan Duncan, the former Tory minister for international development compared the settlements in the West Bank to the apartheid system of South Africa and said they represented a "wicked cocktail" of occupation. In a speech to the Royal United Services Institute, the chief think tank of the British defense establishment, on Tuesday Duncan said: "Anyone who supports illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian land is an extremist who puts themselves outside the boundaries of democratic standards. They are not fit to stand for election or sit in a democratic parliament."

That judgement applies to most of the Israeli cabinet and certainly to its prime minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, who said on July 11: "There cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan."

Netanyahu went on to say that if Israel relinquished Judea and Samaria, the biblical vocabulary every Israeli politician uses for what Duncan described as stolen land, they would create another "20 Gazas."

Netanyahu has created major problems for anyone trying to sell the line that a vote for Palestinian statehood was a vote against attempts to restart negotiations with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, because unilateral recognition prejudiced the outcome.

Simply, that line has few takers according to the vote that was carried overwhelmingly. Whatever Israel claims are its intentions, facts on the ground now speak louder than words. 600,000 settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with their network of separate motorways, roads, walls, electricity, water, says all anyone wants to know about Israel's intention of handing back the West Bank. It will not. It can not. No Israeli leader is strong enough to do it.

Israel's fury at the vote was uncontained, issuing a statement condemning the vote. But the silence of its UK ambassador on Monday was complete. According to Haaretz, he refused to give interviews. He should reflect on the fact that if he is losing the support of establishment figures like Ottaway, he is losing the game. As Ottaway himself said: "I have to say to the government of Israel that if they are losing people like me, they will be losing a lot of people."

Duncan delivered probably the bluntest public message from an ex minister about the tactics Israel has employed in trying to fashion and control what the British political elite thinks and says publicly about the conflict. If it was wrong to correlate Israel with all Jews, it was equally wrong to conflate all Jews with Israel, Duncan argued.

But our politics has rules. And one important such rule is that our political funding should not come from another country or from citizens of another country, or be unduly in hock to another country. This rule seems to apply to every country except when it comes from Israel. Jewish voters in the UK should be welcomed as supporters of, and donors to, their favoured political party. Of course, the support of any British Jew for any political party can hinge on whatever they want, including on a politician's stance on Israel. But we should stop conflating, as we have for too long, British Jews with the Israeli lobby. They are distinct, and failing to recognise this treats the entire Jewish community as if they are homogenous, when of course they are not.We need British Jews for the Conservative, Labour, or other UK parties; not the Israeli lobby for any party.The time has come to make sure above any doubt that the funding of any party in the UK is clearly decoupled from the influence of the Israeli state.

This is sort of language has rarely if ever been heard before from a recently departed former Tory minister.

The parliamentary vote was the voice of the British establishment. It did not reflect the will of the British government, but as the former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said, it did reflect the will of the British people. That is difficult to test, but here are some measures: 50,000 emails sent to MPs in the last three weeks expressing anger at Israel during the latest Gaza war; 110,000 signatures on the petition supporting the motion; the biggest ever demonstrations in London over Gaza.

In contrast, the Palestinian voice is becoming more prominent, as is the Labour Party's search of the British Muslim vote. The loss of Baroness Warsi, the foreign office minister who resigned over the government's inaction over Gaza, was felt by David Cameron, for the same reasons of centre ground politics because she was so important to the conservatives chasing the muslim vote.

Will anything change? Little in the immediate future, but the international atmosphere is moving on. Incrementally Israel is losing impunity for its actions. The logic of Duncan's speech is that pressure should be applied to Israel in the terms of a boycott of all goods produced in the occupied territories. An academic boycott of Israel institutions of higher education in the West Bank should, according to the same logic, be considered. There is a university now in Ariel, once a settlement now a city where house prices are booming.

Once you pull one thread out of the weave of policies supporting the status quo in the occupation, the whole cloth unravels. Make no mistake, this vote was a landmark moment. For this century and most of the last, Zionists have done everything they could to make Palestine disappear, and the Palestinians invisible -- from the founding myth that the land they were settling was "empty," to the refugees, to the internally displaced, to every policy limiting the movement of Palestinians, and dictating where they can live today.

After this vote, and others like it, Palestine and Palestinians are somewhat more visible. They have statehood and they have rights as citizens under occupation, rights that are enforceable in British courts as they are in international courts. For how much longer will a British government continue to apply its American-dictated veto on moves to apply real pressure on Israel? When will the brake come off?

 

If Israel won't allow shipping to and from the port of Gaza, should Israeli ships be allowed to enter our ports?

     

 

Join the global movement and help bring an END to the blockade on Gaza! 

Next Boat: Oct. 25, LA

September- NO CARGO UNLOADED OR LOADED!! Hundreds of protesters maintained a strong and steady picket line. Workers honored picket and did not cross! Keep tracking ships and keep the conversation going! Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) CAN WORK!

Check Twitter @ stopzim and blocktheboat

On Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/events/1447374682195857/

 

Can't get to ports?  Check out "Buycott" App

and join the "Long Live Palestine" Campaign to boycott products from Israel. Find it at the App Store or go to www.buycott.com to learn more. Educate and act!

 

"U.S. (Catholic) Bishops plan to be stronger advocates for Israeli-Palestinian peace." 

After visit to Gaza one month after 50-day attacks, Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, told Catholic News Service, "In Gaza, we have witnessed the destruction, death, and loss of family. We feel an urgent need to bring attention to this."

"While calling for the removal of the Israeli separation barrier, which he said serves only as a sign of exclusion, retired Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer of San Angelo, Texas, said the warm relations shared by Christian and Muslim students in Catholic schools was inspiring. He suggested their cooperation could serve as a model for further grassroots encounters between Israelis and Palestinians." Read more at http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1403881.htm. Keep the conversation going!

 

"Free Palestine" Voice in Salt Lake City Grows Stronger at Protests in July and August, rain or shine.

 

      

 

 

Read more in the Deseret News: 

<http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865607910/Pro-Palestinian-crowd-rallies-in-Salt-Lake-City-as-Gaza-cease-fire-begins.html>

    

 


UJPHL Director, Frances ReMillard Gives Us a Personal Take

Gaza, My Experience

In 2008 I traveled to Israel/Palestine with plans to visit Gaza. It was my second visit and my second try at visiting Gaza. By 2008 Israel had completed their wall around Gaza (2004), moved their Jewish only settlements out of Gaza (2005) and Hamas had been elected (2007). I had applied for a permit to enter Gaza well in advance.  I was carrying a donation for the Episcopal Hospital in Gaza and planned to discuss with them how our group here in Utah might support them. My traveling partner was a British reconstructive surgeon who had thirty patients in Gaza waiting to see her. 

We arrived at the Gaza crossing early and spent many sobering hours waiting to get in. There was already a long line of people standing at the entry tunnel into Gaza. A camera, tethered to the ground but hanging from a balloon perhaps 150 feet over our heads peered into Gaza. Intermittent massive booms vibrated the air-- Israel was exploding sound bombs and sonic booms over Gaza.  We saw occasional arcs of smoke coming out of Gaza-- rockets set off by Palestinians. These rockets were clearly aimed south, towards the historic Palestinian town of Najd. The Palestinian residents of Najd had been driven out years earlier in another of Israel’s assaults-- “Operation Barak.” Israel had forced the Palestinian residents into Gaza, confiscated their land for Jewish settlers, and renamed the location Sderot. It is the story and the history of nearly all Palestinians.

During the hours I stood outside the wall enclosing Gaza, not one individual was allowed to enter.  One child, wrapped from head to toe in bandages, exited, carried out of Gaza and laid in the back seat of a waiting taxi, the door left open. The taxi did not leave. Hours later when we finally left, denied entry because our mission was not “humanitarian,” that child was still lying alone in the backseat of the taxi. As we drove away I wondered, “Was it really possible to have 1.5 million people, sealed in by a wall, and only one case serious enough to merit exit? None to merit entry?”

Today the Gaza population Israel is bombing has grown to 1.8 million, half of them children. Nearly all are refugees, a protected population under international law. Most were originally from Israel, driven or dumped into Gaza as part of Israel’s mission to create a pure Jewish State on all of historic Palestine.

The Israeli government and most U.S. leaders say it is Palestinian rocket-fire and those illegal tunnels which bring about Israel’s assaults. I don’t believe them. Common sense tells me that violence will erupt from any trapped population when their food, water and basic supplies for living are limited and their life made futureless.  I pray for the people of Gaza and look forward to the day when our government and leaders look past the latest shooting, instead address the root cause----Israel’s apartheid system in which laws spell out that it is Jewishness, not citizenship, which determines who deserves basic rights and only Jews, (from anywhere in the world) are entitled to the land. To accomplish that goal, Palestinians, whether in Israel or occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza are being stripped of their land and squeezed into ever shrinking enclaves. Right now Israel is choosing to focus on Gaza.

Frances ReMillard is a co-founder and the director of UJPH, a non-profit focused on increasing public understanding of the Israel/Palestine issue. She is the author of the booklet, “Is Israel and Apartheid State?,” and was a U.S. Delegate at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine hearings held in South Africa, 2011. 

September 4, 2014 - UN Update on Gaza (www.ochaopt.org) 

-2131 Palestinians killed (more than 75% civilians; 501 were children)

-71 Israelis killed (4 were civilians) 

-18,000 homes destroyed 

-110,000 Palestinians internally displaced

-450,000 people without water

 

In the News

ISRAEL-GAZA CONFLICT: MORE THAN A MILLION PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD TAKE TO THE STREETS TO PROTEST AT THE HORRIFIC CARNAGE UNFOLDING IN GAZA

 

Protest against the Gaza operation, Tel Aviv, July 26, 2014. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum

Thousands assembled at Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on Saturday evening for what became the largest protest against the Israeli military operation in Gaza thus far. According to official estimates some 7,000 protesters attended. 

IN LONDON

<http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/israelgaza-conflict-more-than-a-million-people-around-the-world-take-to-the-streets-to-protest-at-the-horrific-carnage-unfolding-in-gaza-9630883.html> 

Tens of thousands of demonstrators in London marched from the Israeli embassy in Kensington to Downing Street. Others protested in dozens of cities around the UK, including Birmingham, Cardiff and Edinburgh, as Palestinian officials announced the death toll had passed 1,000.

Watch some of what has happened on You Tube. <https://www.youtube.com/watchv=v6gVnbyQnt8>

ELSEWHERE 

Other pro-Gaza demonstrations were also mounted in cities around the globe, including Dublin, Singapore, Washington DC, San Francisco, Auckland and Melbourne.

 

A Response to the claim that Hamas uses 'Human Shields'

-Gaza, Israel and ‘Human Shields’

The People Putting Innocents in Danger are the Israelis

by Sarah Gillespie
July 25, 2014

What does it mean to use human shields? Employed by the Germans and Japanese in the Second World War, the tactic is premised on an underlying trust in your enemy’s humanity. It appeals to the compassion and mercy of the combatant that they not slaughter the innocent in order to avenge their target. The ‘shield’ is not the human bodies surrounding the ‘guilty’ party, the shield is the clemency that mankind instinctively affords the innocent. The shield evaporates only when confronted by an enemy who is not merely a fellow solder locked in a power battle, but a psychopath unconcerned with the pain of others. Such is the case with the Hamas. They are faced with an enemy who is willing to obliterate pregnant women, babies, kids, handicapped people, schools and crowded hospitals in order to smash their target. The Israelis repeatedly demonstrate a pathological disregard for any life that is not a Jewish life, and it is for this reason alone, that the Hamas are utterly incapable of ever using ‘human shields.’

However, Netanyahu, pro Israeli media and Zionist supporters can’t resist endlessly recycling their trope that the Hamas use civilians to guard their rockets. They are clearly flummoxed as to why this assertion does nothing to quell the snowballing international outrage at the massacres they are committing.  Their argument attempts to plant in our minds the notion that the Hamas actively invite the Israeli military to slaughter and maim innocents and, in doing so, prove that their savagery deserves to be annihilated. Paradoxically therefore, according to the twisted logic of Zionists, the more innocent Palestinians that die, the worse the Palestinians are. As a collective they are guilty of being innocent.

But this propaganda ploy doesn’t work. Not only does it not work, it boomerangs completely. Every time a Zionist apologist repeats their ‘human shield’ accusations they merely advertise their own deficit of basic humanity. They tell us ‘the Hamas think we have empathy for our fellow human beings, but if you look at the casualty figures, you’ll see how mistaken they are.’

The other issues at play here are the rights of the Palestinians to defend themselves and the pragmatics of warfare in a refugee camp. Israel is extremely fond of telling the world that they have the right to defend themselves. They enjoy a nuclear arsenal, cutting edge American weaponry and the formidable Iron Dome technology. Yet, although Israel constantly brags about its own egalitarian credentials, for some reason Israel refuses to grant the Palestinian people this same intrinsic right to defense that it demands for itself. Palestinians are not allowed to protect themselves. They are not allowed to fight. Instead we are invited to imagine that it is somehow acceptable for the Palestinians to have no weaponry whatsoever, no army, no solders, no rights. We are lead to believe that the only way for Palestinians to prove their integrity, is to lie down like lambs and quietly live out the unspeakably miserable lives of squalor, poverty and despair that Israel has designed for them. In short, Israel wishes the Palestinians were suicidal but, inconveniently, they keep proving to us that they are not.

Obviously asking a people to passively embrace their own ethnic cleansing is implausible. One would hope that the Jews, more than anyone, might be capable of grasping such a fundamental truth – but sadly not. Given then, that the people of Gaza, like any other human beings, have right to defense, where exactly should they store their weapons? In the rolling valleys and tumbling hills of Haraat al-Daraj? Amid the fauna-filled acres of Shuja’iyya? Gaza is home to approximately 1.8 million people, it is 25 miles long by 5 to 7 miles wide and sealed by both an Egyptian and Israeli blockade. It is the most crowded open air prison on earth. The only place to feasibly store weapons is inevitably in the proximity of the people forced to live there cheek by jowl. Israel has now ordered some 43% of the territory to be evacuated. But where to? The Kafka-esque request to insist people go, knowing there is nowhere to go to, is clearly there to benefit Israeli PR, not save lives. And it doesn’t fool anyone. There are currently hundreds of thousands of displaced. The schools that have opened to receive those fleeing are already overflowing and Palestinians that endured the bombings of schools during Operation Cast Lead, know that even a so-called ‘refuge’ can not guarantee safety. Let’s be clear: the only people putting the Palestinians in danger are the Israelis. The only people killing innocent people are the Israelis. Hamas may not be the party that the chattering classes of the West would want to govern them, but they are democratically elected and they have as much right as Israel, Britain, France and America to fight against an oppressor that quite literally wants to ‘wipe them off the map.’ They face a tough job, but one thing they can’t do is use human shields against an enemy that doesn’t recognise them as human.

Sarah Gillespie is a writer and musician living in London. 
<http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/25/gaza-israel-and-human-shields>

 

 

Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land

UJPHL director, Frances Remillard, responds to documentary about Israel that aired on KUED in December 2013. She states, "In Israel, 'citizen' is an empty word. It is only those that are designated 'Jewish nationals' that enjoy rights that we Americans expect as citizens."

Connect to the entire Salt Lake Tribune editorial from the Links tab in the orange Main Menu to the left.

Read more about UJPHL... 

Read about past events... 

#freepalestine #standwithgaza #gaza #westbank #endtheoccupation #zit  #standwithkeith

Last Updated ( Sunday, 19 October 2014 )
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