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Middle East

Former Israeli soldiers break the silence on the criminal occupation of Palestine

October 24, 2012 -- Green Left TV -- Former Israeli paratrooper Avner Gvaryahu, now an activist with Breaking The Silence, explains to Green Left Weekly's Peter Boyle how 850 former Israeli soldiers have given testimony about the gross injustices against the Palestinian people they have witnessed and made to participate in as part of Israel's military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. He was visiting Australia to promote the book Our Harsh Logic (Scribe Publications).

Palestine: Hugo Chavez condemns Israel's “savage” assault on Gaza Strip

Hugo Chavez criticised Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip as “savage” (Telesur).

By Ewan Robertson

November 16, 2012 -- Venezuelanalysis.com – Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has condemned Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip as “savage”, and called for an end to “aggression” against the Palestinian people. “Another aggression against the Gaza Strip has begun. Savage, savage: the state of Israel bombing the Gaza Strip again”, said Chavez to ministers yesterday in reference to Israel’s ”Pillar of Cloud” airstrike campaign against the Palestinian territory.

Israel began its offensive on November 14 by killing the military chief of the Palestinian organisation Hamas. Agencies report that 28 Palestinians and three Israelis have died in the conflict so far, with a further 250 Palestinians wounded.

The Venezuelan president argued that Israel's operation is occurring “because the [Palestinian] president Mahmoud Abbas has insisted that he’s going to request, once again, the entrance of Palestine as a full member state of the United Nations”.

Stop Israel's new massacre in Gaza: Boycott Israel now! -- Palestinian BDS National Committee

By the Palestinian BDS National Committee

November 15, 2012 -- On November 8, Israel carried out an attack on civilians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip, shooting 13-year-old Ahmad Abu Daqqa while he played football with friends. By November 14, Israel had intensified its attacks on Gaza and begun to implement an intensive plan of aggression that at the time of writing has killed at least 15 Palestinians, including at least six children, and injured over 150, predominantly civilians.

Despite biased Western media reports to the contrary, it is clear that Israel has initiated and escalated this new assault [1] on the eve of its upcoming parliamentary elections, underlining the time-honoured Israeli formula of Palestinian bodies for ballots.[2]

It is worth noting that a great majority of the Gaza population are refugees ethnically cleansed by Zionist militias and later the state of Israel during the 1948 Nakba and denied by Israel their UN-sanctioned right to return to their homes of origin.

(Updated Nov. 22) Solidarity from the Asian left: 'Stop Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza and the killing of children and civilians!'


A protest in Parramatta, a suburb of Sydney, on November 15, 2012, called for an end to Israel's attacks on Gaza.
 [To be included in this round-up, please send solidarity statements to linkssocialism@gmail.com.]

The Noynoy government must condemn Israel’s actions and support build-up of international pressure to stop Israeli aggression!

Statement by Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses, Philippines)

(Updated Nov. 16) Palestine: Gaza left activist, 'Israel has declared war', solidarity needed now! Ali Abunimah on Israel's goal


November 14, 2012 -- Al Jazeera's Shakuntala Santhrian interviews Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada. More from Ali Abunimah below the interview with Shamikh Badra.

* * *

Green Left Weekly's Peter Boyle & Patrick Harrison interview Shamikh Badra, Gaza-based activist with the Palestine People's Party

November 15, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Israel has launched a fresh full-scale war on the besieged people of Gaza. As well as assassinating a Hamas spokesperson (and publicly threatening all Hamas representatives), more than 10 people had been killed by November 15. The dead reportedly includes Omar, an 11-month-old baby whose father works for BBC Arabic.

بيتر بويلي، ممثل "التحالف اليساري بأستراليا" :شكرا للشّعب التّونسي الذي أظهر للعالم أنّ الانتفاضة الشعبيّة لا تزال قـوّة مؤثرة

[The following interview with national co-convenor of Australia's Socialist Alliance Peter Boyle appeared in Sawt Chaab (People's Voice), the weekly newspaper of the Tunisian Worker's Party (formerly the Communist Workers’ Party of Tunisia) on November 9, 2012. Tunisian Worker's Party comrades have been jailed for publishing this newspaper, which was produced in clandestinity under both the Bourguiba and Ben Ali regimes. While other papers disappeared because of oppression, Sawt Chaab has survived since 1985 through the determination of many militants. The interview and translation was done by Haithem Mahjoubi (email haithemmahjoubi [at] rocketmail.com) See the unabridged English text below.]

Palestine: The Histadrut -- its history and role in occupation, colonisation and apartheid

Histadrut poster marking the "Twenty Fifth Anniversary of the National Workers Federation" (1959).

By the Trade Union Friends of Palestine (Ireland)

October 11, 2012 -- BDS Movement -- Israel's trade union federation, the Histadrut, was founded in December 1920 in British Mandate Palestine. From its inception its aims were neither to build workers' solidarity nor represent or campaign for workers' rights.

Instead it was founded as an exclusively Jewish organisation to facilitate the colonisation of Palestine. As such it worked in tandem with the Jewish Agency to promote the exclusion of Palestinian labour and produce, and was at the forefront of the movement to turn Palestine from an Arab country into a Zionist one.

Today it continues to work hand in hand with th government of Israel and promotes and defends policies that violate the basic civil, political and human rights of Palestinians.

Tariq Ali on Syria: 'Total solidarity with the people, down with the dictatorship. This remains my position'

Cartoon by Carlos Latuff.

Click HERE for more by Tariq Ali. For more on Syria, click HERE.

By Tariq Ali

September 16, 2012 -- CounterPunch, via Green Left Weekly -- Angered by the non-stop, one-sided propaganda on CNN and BBC World, usually a prelude to NATO bombing campaigns (including the six-month onslaught on Libya, the casualties of which are still hidden from the public) or direct occupations, I was asked to explain my views on RTV [Russia Today].

I did so, denouncing the promotion of the Syrian National Council by Western media networks and pointing out that some of the armed-struggle opposition were perfectly capable of carrying out their own massacres and blaming them on the regime.

There were doubts at the time about who was responsible for the massacre in Houla in May. No longer. It’s now clear that the regime was responsible.

Video: Ilan Pappe on 'The forgotten Palestinians'

September 16, 2012 -- Green Left TV/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Celebrated Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, whose landmark publication The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine documented the removal of 700,000 Palestinians from their lands in 1948, has written a new book, The Forgotten Palestinians.

In the book and at his September 16, 2012, community meeting at Sydney University above, Pappe reveals the situation for Palestinians who still live within Israel's borders.

The meeting was the first event of Pappe's 2012 Australian lecture tour. It was hosted by the Sydney Peace Foundation with the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Leichhardt Friends of Hebron. Pappe was in Australia to deliver the annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture at the University of Adelaide.

Film by Green Left TV.

Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK and the Kurdish struggle

Prison writings: The PKK and the Kurdish Question in the 21st Century
By Abdullah Ocalan, translated and edited by Klaus Heppel; preliminary notes by Cemil Bayik
Transmedia Publishing, London, 2011 [Order here.]

Reviewed by Chris Slee

September 6, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Abdullah Ocalan is (or was -- it is uncertain if he is still alive) the leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a group fighting for the rights of the oppressed Kurdish minority within Turkey and in the Middle East more broadly. Ocalan has been held in a Turkish prison on the island of Imrali since being kidnapped from Kenya by Western intelligence agencies and handed to Turkey in 1999.

This book was written in prison, as part of an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. It was later adopted as a manifesto by the PKK at its 2002 congress.

The geopolitics of the Syrian uprising/insurgency

[Click HERE for more analysis of the situation in Syria.]

By Michael Karadjis

August 13, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The continuing mass uprising against Syria’s Bashar Assad dictatorship on the one hand, and the growing intervention by the reactionary Gulf monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, along with Turkey, on the side of the growing armed insurgency on the other, has led to a situation where many on the left are sharply divided over who to “support”.

Some claim the Saudi-led covert intervention requires support for Assad’s bloody regime as a lesser evil “secular” alternative to what they believe is an inevitable “jihadi” regime, given the rise of a vicious Sunni sectarian aspect to the civil war and the Saudi-led backing of such forces. Also, given the largely verbal (until recently) support given to the Gulf states’ intervention by the US and other imperialist states, support for Assad against this allegedly “imperialist-backed” assault on Syria is necessary to prevent the destruction of the Syrian state, which they allege imperialism desires due to Assad’s alleged anti-imperialist credentials (which even most of these writers, however, admit is very tenuous at best).

Adam Hanieh on Egypt: The Muslim Brotherhood, the military and the continuing revolution

Thousands of Egyptian protesters cross the Kasr al-Nile bridge to attend a rally in Cairo on January 27, 2012, to demand democratic change, a year after the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

[For more analysis and discussion on Egypt, click HERE.]

By Adam Hanieh

August 12, 2012 -- Socialist Resistance -- Eighteen months after mass protests and strikes ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak from power, the basic aspirations that drove Egypt’s uprising remain largely unfulfilled. The vast majority of the population has seen little substantive improvement in living conditions. Political decision making continues to be dominated by a military junta closely tied to the United States.

Syria: Assad regime near end amid rising violence

[Click HERE for more analysis of the situation in Syria.]

By Tony Iltis

August 12, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- The 50-year rule of the Ba’ath Party in Syria looks to be effectively over. In the past month armed clashes have spread to the Syrian capital, Damascus, and the largest city, Aleppo. Armed opposition forces have taken control of several border points. On August 6, Prime Minister Riad Hijab defected to the opposition.

The regime of Bashar al-Assad — who inherited the presidency in 2000 from his father, Hafez al-Assad, who seized power in a 1970 military coup — no longer controls the country.

However, an end to the violence, which has claimed 20,000 lives since the uprising that broke out in March last year against Assad, looks far away. So, too, does the realisation of the uprising’s original aims: democratic rights and economic justice.

The regime has indicated it will cling to whatever power it can with counter-offensives in Damascus and Aleppo. Western demands that Assad face an international war crimes trial, and the nastier fate of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi who was brutally murdered after his overthrow and capture by NATO-led forces, has given Assad no incentive to compromise.

Palestinian People's Party's Shamikh Badra: 'Palestinians must unite to tackle occupation'

Shamikh Badra, youth leader of the Palestine People's Party, speaking at a forum in Perth during his Australian tour. Badra is touring Australia thanks to socialist youth group Resistance. Filmed by Zeb Parkes for Green Left TV.

Shamikh Badra interviewed by Patrick Harrison

August 12, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Shamikh Badra is the youth and students coordinator for the Palestinian People Party (PPP) in the Palestinian Gaza Strip. The PPP is a left-wing, secular party that is part of the Palestinian liberation movement. Badra is on a tour of Australia sponsored by the socialist youth organisation Resistance and the Socialist Alliance.

* * *

Since the Egyptian revolution that overthrew Mubarak, there has been a lot of hope for changes in Egypt's policy towards Israel — in particular the possibility that the Egyptian government might open its borders with Gaza and alleviate Israel's near-total siege on the territory. How has the relationship between Gaza and Egypt changed?

Now the borders between Gaza and Egypt are closed completely. The situation, which was so bad before, is even more difficult and complex.

Richard Seymour: The Syrian revolt enters a new phase

Anti-Assad protest in Syria organised by the Local Coordinating Committees. Some 300 LCCs have refused to recognise the imperialist-backed Syrian National Council.

[Click HERE for more analysis of the situation in Syria.]

By Richard Seymour

Israel’s environmental colonialism and eco-apartheid

The construction of Israel’s mammoth apartheid wall has separated Palestinian farmers from their fields and destroyed Palestinians' legally owned fertile agricultural land.

By Ben Lorber

July 12, 2012 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Since the idea of Zionism first gripped the minds of a few intellectuals and the limbs of many agrarian pioneers in the early 20th century, the state of Israel has presented its settlement of the land of Palestine, and its uprooting of the Palestinian people, as a rejuvenation of the earth. By “greenwashing” the occupation, Israel hides its apartheid behind an environmentalist mirage, and distracts public attention not only from its brutal oppression of the Palestinian people, but from its large-scale degradation of the earth upon which these tragedies unfold.

Determined to “make the desert bloom”, an international organisation -- the Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet LeYisrael (JNF-KKL, or JNF) planted forests, recreational parks and nature reserves to cover over the ruins of Palestinian villages, as refugees were scattered far from, or worse, a few hilltops away from, the land upon which they and their ancestors had based their lives and livelihoods.

Syria: No to Western intervention, no to illusions in Assad

Tariq Ali on Russia Today, July 13, 2012: "We have a very grim, polarised situation in which the choices are limited: either a Western-imposed regime composed of sundry Syrians who work for the Western intelligence agencies ... or the Assad regime. It's clear the people of Syria want neither ..."

By Phyllis Bennis

June 28, 2012 -- Znet -- Fifteen months on, the short Syrian spring of 2011 has long since morphed into a harsh winter of discontent. Syria is close to full-scale civil war. If the conflict escalates further, it will have ramifications far outside the country itself. As former UN Secretary-General and current envoy of both the UN and the Arab League Kofi Annan put it, “'Syria is not Libya, it will not implode, it will explode beyond its borders.”

Sudan: Interviews with Sudanese Communist Party's new leader, Mohammed al-Khatib; student protests continue

June 18, 2012 -- Police fire tear gas at protesters. Sudan's capital has become the scene for growing protests against austerity measures of the government of President Omar al Bashir. The protests were started June 16 by students from the University of Khartoum. The protests gained momentum and attracted more participants. On June 18, Bashir tried to explain in the parliament the need for a reduction of fuel consumption and an increase in food prices. But instead of calming the public uproar, civilians joined the demonstrations, shouting slogans against lifting subsidies on fuel and the increase in food prices. Amid the demonstrators some student activists also called for toppling the regime. Police have intervened by using tear gas. The riot police fired bullets into the air to disperse protesters. Some protesters were fainting and vomiting. Radio Dabanga reported how students of the ruling National Congress Party armed with iron bars accompanied the police and security forces. They assaulted several female students inside the university.

By Jaafar al-Sirr

Egypt: 'Reject the Supplementary Constitutional Declaration' military coup

June 18, 2012 -- http://www.e-socialists.net/node/8845 --  The signatories to this statement announce their complete rejection of the Supplementary Constitutional Declaration. The declaration completes the process of the military coup which began on February 12, 2011, after Hosni Mubarak’s rule had been ended, and put down roots through the Constitutional Declaration of March 2011 and the ludicrous and corrupt arrangements for the transitional period.

We therefore call on the Egyptian people to reject the Supplementary Declaration and to show their rejection by participating a mass mobilisation against it as an expression of their insistence that the revolution must continue and meet its objectives. We affirm that resistance to the coup demands the following:

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