Gerry Adams writes at Léargas – Support the MV Saoirse:
The siege of Gaza by Israel is an international disgrace. The settlements on the west Bank are a breach of international law and the result of the theft of Palestinian land. The separation wall, which runs for hundreds of miles stripping the Palestinian people of land and water, is a weapon in the arsenal of an Israeli government determined to strengthen its apartheid system against the Palestinian people.
Last week the Israeli government imposed a new and harsh regime on the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners it holds. Education courses have been withdrawn; visits curtailed and telephone contact with families several restricted or withdrawn entirely.
We have seen it all before in our own situation. And repression didn’t work here and it won’t work there. It will only exacerbate a bad situation.
Imagine all the people of the north crowded into an area roughly the size of County Antrim. Imagine that 80% of those living there are entirely dependent on aid that has to come from outside the area, through hostile military blockades. Imagine that sanitation is terrible, food scarce, and that many homes destroyed several years ago in a military strike by your powerful neighbour, have not been rebuilt because they won’t let the building materials in.
Imagine that medicine are difficult to acquire and that essential and life saving hospital equipment can’t work because those who besiege your territory won’t let it in.
Imagine you have a huge number of children growing up in this, living in frightening conditions and with little hope for the future.
The treatment of the Palestinian people by Israel has been shameful.
To our credit Irish people have been very active over many years working in solidarity with the Palestinian people. There are Irish people today living and working on the west Bank and in Gaza. They do so knowing that there is a real risk to their lives.
Mel Frykberg of Inter Press Service writes at AntiWar.com – A Zionist Fights for Palestinian Rights:
To many people, Rabbi Arik Ascherman would appear to be a contradiction in terms. He is an ardent Zionist and religious Jew who believes that God made a covenant with the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. But the core of Ascherman’s Zionist ideology revolves around fighting for human rights, especially those of the Palestinians.
“I believe the best way I can protect my children and safeguard their future is to fight for justice and take a stand on the suffering of the Palestinians,” Ascherman tells IPS…
“There is nothing like getting beaten up together by the Israeli security forces to form a common bond and give Palestinians a new perspective on those they regard as their enemies,” laughed Ascherman…
RHR [Rabbis for Human Rights] believes that it stands for the authentic voice of Zionism and the Jewish tradition of human rights.
“There are many different strands of Zionism, religious and non-religious, some of which I abhor and which disgust me, but they do not speak for all Jews,” says Ascherman when questioned about the dispossession of Palestinians, which made way for the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.
“There were certainly those Zionists who were exclusionary and didn’t want to share the land with the Palestinians. But there were also the early socialist Zionist pioneers who wanted to share the land and saw themselves co-inhabiting with the Palestinians as the forefront of the workers’ revolution.
“Although I believe in the right of Jews to live in Israel and for the state to exist, Jewish biblical tradition states that justice and human rights triumph over establishing a greater Israel. If territorial compromise means avoiding bloodshed then it is a no-brainer.”