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ISM Digest 30th December 2008

ISM Digest 30th December 2008

1) BNC: "Stop the massacre in Gaza – Boycott Israel now!" (12-29-08)
2) Red Crescent evacuating Neigbourhoods in Rafah (12-29-08)
3) Journal: Attacks last night in Gaza (12-29-08)
4) Palestinians destroy sections of the wall separating Gaza and Egypt
following intense Israeli attacks in Rafah (12-28-08)
5) Israeli Navy pull in towards Gaza Port - Heavy Israeli shelling of
Gaza reported 12-29-08
6) Free Gaza Movement: Dignity leaves for Gaza - Challenges world to
"Stop this madness!" (12-29-08)
7) Israeli forces kill resident of Ni'lin and leave another in
critical condition during demonstration of solidarity with Gaza

1) BNC: "Stop the massacre in Gaza – Boycott Israel now!"

Press release from the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
National Committee (BNC)
Occupied Ramallah, Palestine - 27 December 2008: Today, the Israeli
occupation army committed a new massacre in Gaza, causing the death
and injury of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including a yet
unknown number of school children who were headed home from school
when the first Israeli military strikes started. This latest
bloodbath, although far more ruthless than all its predecessors, is
not Israel's first. It culminates months of an Israeli siege of Gaza
that should be widely condemned and prosecuted as an act of genocide
against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the occupied coastal strip.

Israel seems intent to mark the end of its 60th year of existence the
same way it has established itself – perpetrating massacres against
the Palestinian people. In 1948, the majority of the indigenous
Palestinian people were ethnically cleansed from their homes and land,
partly through massacres like Deir Yassin; today, the Palestinians in
Gaza, most of whom are refugees, do not even have the choice to seek
refuge elsewhere. Incarcerated behind ghetto walls and brought to the
brink of starvation by the siege, they are easy targets for Israel's
indiscriminate bombing.

Prof. Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the
Occupied Palestinian Territory and international law expert at
Princeton University, described Israel's siege of Gaza last year, when
it was still not comparable in its severity to the current situation,
as follows:

"Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of
Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective
atrocity? I think not. The recent developments in Gaza are especially
disturbing because they express so vividly a deliberate intention on
the part of Israel and its allies to subject an entire human community
to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty. The suggestion that
this pattern of conduct is a holocaust-in-the-making represents a
rather desperate appeal to the governments of the world and to
international public opinion to act urgently to prevent these current
genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy."

The most brutal episode of this "collective tragedy" is what we have
seen today.

Israel's war crimes and other grave violations of international law in
Gaza as well as in the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory,
including Jerusalem, could not have been perpetrated without the
direct or indirect complicity of world governments, particularly the
United States, the European Union, Egypt, and other Arab regimes.

While the US government has consistently sponsored, bankrolled and
protected from international censure Israel's apartheid and colonial
policies against the indigenous people of Palestine, the EU was able
in the past to advocate a semblance of respect for international law
and universal human rights. That distinction effectively ended on
December 9th, when the EU Council decided unanimously to reward
Israel's criminal disregard of international law by upgrading the EU-
Israel Association Agreement. Israel clearly understood from this
decision that the EU condones its actions against the Palestinians
under its occupation. Palestinian civil society also got the message:
the EU governments have become no less complicit in Israel's war
crimes than their US counterpart.

The large majority of world governments, particularly in the global
south, share part of the blame, as well. By continuing business as
usual with Israel, in trade agreements, arms deals, academic and
cultural ties, diplomatic openings, they have provided the necessary
background for the complicity of world powers and, consequentially,
for Israel's impunity. Furthermore, their inaction within the United
Nations is inexcusable.
Father Miguel D'Escoto Brockman, President of the UN General Assembly
prescribed in a recent address before the Assembly the only moral way
forward for the world's nations in dealing with Israel:

"More than twenty years ago we in the United Nations took the lead
from civil society when we agreed that sanctions were required to
provide a nonviolent means of pressuring South Africa to end its
violations. Today, perhaps we in the United Nations should consider
following the lead of a new generation of civil society, who are
calling for a similar non-violent campaign of boycott, divestment and
sanctions to pressure Israel to end its violations."

Now, more than ever, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
National Committee, BNC, calls upon international civil society not
just to protest and condemn in diverse forms Israel's massacre in
Gaza, but also to join and intensify the international Boycott,
Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel to end its
impunity and to hold it accountable for its persistent violation of
international law and Palestinian rights. Without sustained, effective
pressure by people of conscience the world over, Israel will continue
with its gradual, rolling acts of genocide against the Palestinians,
burying any prospects for a just peace under the blood and rubble of
Gaza, Nablus and Jerusalem.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) includes: Council of
National and Islamic Forces in Palestine; General Union of Palestinian
Workers; Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions; Palestinian
Non-Governmental Organizations' Network (PNGO); Federation of
Independent Trade Unions; Union of Palestinian Charitable
Organizations; Global Palestine Right of Return Coalition; Occupied
Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI); General Union
of Palestinian Women; Palestinian Farmers Union (PFU); Grassroots
Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (STW); Palestinian Campaign
for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI); National
Committee to Commemorate the Nakba; Civic Coalition for the Defense of
Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCDPRJ); Coalition for Jerusalem; and
Palestinian Economic Monitor.–-boycott-israel-now

2) Red Crescent evacuating Neigbourhoods in Rafah

Gaza, December 29th, 2008. The Red Crescent in Gaza is evacuating
people from the neighborhoods in Rafah located along the border with

According to the international Human Rights Volunteers in Gaza, people
are being mobilized to leave the area as urgently as possible.

"Under the guise of humanitarian efforts, people are being informed
that their homes are about to be destroyed. After an inhumane siege
that left Gaza with little to lose, people are being asked to say
goodbye to the last remains of their former lives. " Fida Qishta,
Palestinian resident of Rafah, International Solidarity Movement

"After days of coordinated bombings all over Gaza, the pretense of
avoiding civilian casualties is nonsensical. The offensive bombing of
sites in Gaza has already lead to over 300 deaths and 1,000 injuries.
To pretend that Israel wants to avoid unnecessary deaths is to ignore
the facts." Jenny Linnel, British citizen, International Solidarity

Human Rights Activists working with the International Solidarity
Movement and the Free Gaza Movement have been in Gaza since August,
witnessing and working to document the Israeli siege on Gaza, which
has been intensified by the recent aerial bombing campaign. The siege
has been implemented through continued occupation, border closures
including land, sea, and air, military invasions, and a blockade
restricting food, medicine, food.

Due to Israel's policy of denying access to international media, human
rights defenders and aid agencies to the Occupied Gaza Strip, many of
these Human Rights Defenders arrived in Gaza with the Free Gaza
Movement's boats that have repeatedly broken the Israeli blockade of

3) Journal: Attacks last night in Gaza

By Sharon in Gaza (to view Sharon's blog, go to:

Gaza, December 29, 2008, This will be hurried as very short collision
of internet, electricity, and me, before we have to head for our night
time locations before dark.

Last night my group went to Al Awda hospital in order to be in the
Jabalia region in case of incursion. One of the targets bombed by
Apaches was a mosque near us; the next door shop and house were also
destroyed, the rubble collapsing on top of the six daughters of the
Belusha family.

I watched live footage as they tried to extract the single traumatised
little girl who survived. The others were dead. We visited the site
this morning, catching a ride back to Gaza city with a driver whose
eyes were full of tears.

In Gaza I went to see the Kabariti family in the port area, who you
will recall hosted us for Christmas Eve. They confirmed the entire
Gaza coast was shelled all night from about 1am, with the shells
apparently coming from Israeli ships too far out at sea to be visible.
We could see this happening from the top of Al Awda hospital, counting
14 shells in a row at one point to the little port where the Dignity
docks. Any boats linked to the government were bombed, as well as
several which weren't, including that belonging to human rights
defender Dr Eyyad Saraj. When the extinguisher boat tried to put out
resulting fires, it was bombed. The port offices were bombed.

The Kabariti family, whose 6 children range from 4 to 18 years old,
had spent a frightened night and appeared exhausted. As they talked to
me this morning, another missile hit the port across the road. I had
not seen the family since the strikes began on Saturday; I spoke to
their oldest son and daughter who described being at Karmel High
School when rockets hit the building in the initial strikes. H said he
had stayed outside the gate for a last 5 minutes studying for his
exam, thus avoiding injury when this happened. Now he doesn't know if
the exams will even happen.

The children told me their 11 year old cousin had to carry an injured
kindergarten child to the hospital when Al Wahda school was hit at the
same time. The children's mother R is worried about her parents; they
live above a money exchange and the rumour is these will be targetted
next; this has happened twice before in past Israeli attacks. They
told me that in another area of Gaza a medical supplies storage
building was bombed and the gas station next door to it exploded.

EJ and Mo visited the Islamic University which had 5 rockets dropped
on it by F16s at around midnight; the 5 story Women's Building (in
which I had attended some Midwifery degree classes), the Admin
Building, and the Technical Building were reduced to a pile of rubble.
The damage extended to the neighbouring Al Azahar University.

Please bear in mind that these are only a number of the multiple hits
that have occurred, they are just the ones I have been made aware of
in a hectic day.

Tonight we are going to the same regional locations as last night. We
have several arrangements to ride with ambulances visibly in case of

Thank you so much for all your messages of support, demonstrations and
actions and media work. I am so sorry I can't reply individually to
such supportive emails.

For photos:

4) Palestinians destroy sections of the wall separating Gaza and Egypt
following intense Israeli attacks in Rafah

Gaza, 28th December 2008 - Parts of the wall between Gaza and Egypt
were torn down according to International Human Rights Observers
witnessing and documenting the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

British Human Rights Observer, Jenny Linnel, who is working with the
International Solidarity Movement, was in Yibnah Camp in Rafah and
confirmed that the Palestinian resistance has destroyed sections of
the wall that separates Gazan Rafah from Egyptian Rafah.

"They have blown up part of the wall. The Israeli's bombed the border
half an hour ago. Soon after there was a loud explosion and parts of
the wall came down. Many have passed through the border," said Linnel.

"We heard shooting and we have seen an ambulance. We have heard that
someone is hurt. People are saying that the Egyptians have been
shooting at people crossing the border."

Human Rights Defenders from various countries are present in Gaza and
are witnessing and documenting the current Israeli attacks. Due to
Israel's policy of denying access to the Occupied Gaza Strip for
international media, human rights activists and aid agencies, they
have arrived in the strip on the Free Gaza Movement's boats. These
voyages have repeatedly broken the Israeli blockade.

For Video links and photos, got to:

5) Israeli Navy pull in towards Gaza Port - Heavy Israeli shelling of
Gaza reported

International volunteers eyewitness Israeli bombings in Gaza

2:30am 29th December 2008 - Canadian Human Rights Activist Eva
Bartlett has reported that the Israeli attacks into the Gaza Strip
have escalated again, with the Israeli Navy shelling Gaza.

"The Israeli Navy have pulled in towards Gaza Port and are shelling
the coastal area. The shelling is incredibly heavy." Eva Bartlett -
International Solidarity Movement

Earlier Eva Bartlett had reported from Al-Shifa intensive care unit in

"Dr Khaled from Shifa hospital's intensive care unit told me today
around 10am that the majority of cases in the ICU are critical, with
approximately 80% who will not survive. At that time, the 24 beds in
the ICU were the fourth shift of critically injured, the former three
having died from their injuries."

Human rights defenders from Australia, Britain, Canada, Italy, Poland
Spain and Lebanon are currently present in Gaza, and are witnessing
the current Israeli attacks first hand.

Spanish citizen, Alberto Arce, said on Sunday evening that an
international group would be accompanying fire-fighters in the Strip;
"People are expecting more Israeli attacks. The fire-fighters here in
Gaza have an impossible job dealing with the never-ending fires from
Israeli air-strikes."

Due to Israel's policy of denying international media and aid agencies
access to Gaza, they arrived in the coastal strip on the Free Gaza
Movement's boats. These voyages have broken the Israeli blockade five
times now, and a sixth is due to depart from Cyprus on Monday.

The Free Gaza Movement boat "Dignity" will be leaving Monday afternoon
on an emergency mission to Gaza, loaded with three or four tons of
urgently needed medical supplies.

On board are four physicians, including Dr. Elena Theoharous, a
surgeon and Member of Parliament in Cyprus. Also going are Cynthia
McKinney, a former US Congresswoman and Green Party presidential
candidate, and Sami al-Hajj, an Al Jazeera reporter and former
detainee at Guantanamo Bay.

6) Free Gaza Movement: Dignity leaves for Gaza - Challenges world to
"Stop this madness!"

(Larnaca, Cyprus 29 December 2008) - There is a time when silence is
complicity and inaction is unacceptable. On Saturday, December 27,
Israel began Operation "Cast Lead," a military onslaught against the
civilian population of the Gaza Strip that has - so far - massacred
more than three-hundred men, women, and children, and seriously
injured over a thousand.

In response to Israeli butchery, the Free Gaza ship, the DIGNITY, will
depart Larnaca Port at approximately 5pm (UTC), on Monday, December
29, bound for besieged Gaza. The ship is on an emergency mission
carrying in physicians, human rights workers and over three tons of
desperately needed medical supplies donated by the people of Cyprus.
Coordinating with the Gaza Ministry of Health, the doctors will be
immediately posted to overburdened hospitals and clinics upon their

We are not asking Israel for "permission" to go, and we will not stop
until the DIGNITY lands in Gaza. We are answering urgent calls from
hospitals and health care workers in Gaza by taking in three
physicians who will stay and work in Gaza for several weeks. We will
hold Israel responsible for the safety of our passengers and our cargo
of emergency medicine.

Even before the present Israeli blitzkrieg, Karen Koning Abu Zayd,
head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), asserted
that, "Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be
intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution, with the
knowledge, acquiescence and - some would say - encouragement of the
international community."

Ewa Jasiewicz, a Free Gaza organizer living in Gaza, agreed with Abu
Zayd, saying: "Where is the United Nations? Where is the Arab League?
Where is the outrage against Israeli cruelty and Egyptian complicity?
Every hospital in Gaza is already overwhelmed. Israel is committing
war crimes here in Gaza, and words of condemnation are no longer
enough. The world must act now to stop this madness."

The Free Gaza Movement continues to do what the governments of the
world will not do - take direct action to defend the health, lives,
and dignity of 1.5 million Palestinians under siege in the Gaza Strip.

This catastrophe is still unfolding, and humanitarian needs in Gaza
are quite literally devastating. The world can no longer stay silent
as the Palestinian people are deliberately massacred, starved and
humiliated. We have to create a new consciousness that turns the
practice of human rights from rhetoric into reality. Palestinians have
an inalienable right to live, and the undeniable right to a life with

The passengers on this Free Gaza emergency delegation include:
* International humanitarian and human rights workers from Cyprus,
Australia, Ireland, Great Britain, Tunisia, and the United States.
* Doctors going to Gaza to volunteer in local hospitals, including Dr.
Elena Theoharous, surgeon and Member of Parliament from Cyprus.
* Journalists going to Gaza to report on the massacre, including Al-
Jazeera reporter Sami al-Haj, a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay.
* The Hon. Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman and Green Party
presidential candidate.

For more information, please contact:
(Gaza) Ewa Jasiewicz, +972 598 700 497 /
(Cyprus) Lubna Masarwa +357 99 081 767 /
(U.S.) Greta Berlin, +1 310 422 7242 /

7) Israeli forces kill resident of Ni'lin and leave another in
critical condition during demonstration of solidarity with Gaza

Ni'lin, December 28th, 2008. Israeli forces have killed one
Palestinian man from Ni'lin, while another is in critical condition,
as they opened fire on a demonstration against the Israeli massacre of
the people of Gaza.

Arafat Rateb Khawaje, 22 years old, was shot in the back with live
ammunition, he died at 2:45pm in Ramallah Hospital.

Mohammed Kasim Khawaje, 20 years old, was shot in the forehead with
live ammunition from close range. He remains in critical condition in
Ramallah hospital.

Mohammed Sror was shot in the leg with live ammunition, but his
injuries are not critical.

Israeli activist Jonathan Polack said that "Fifteen Palestinian youths
were protesting when five soldiers, who were 15 metres away opened
fire with live ammunition straight at the group of protesters. They
shot one protester in the back, one in the forehead and one in the

Ibrahim Amira, member of the Popular Committee in Ni'lin said: "The
Occupation is going to turn Ni'lin into a ghetto as it has turned Gaza
into a ghetto. And the same way that a massacre is taking place in
Gaza against those resisting the siege, a massacre is now taking place
in Ni'lin against those resisting the Apartheid Wall"
Arafat Khawaje is now the third resident of Ni'lin to be killed by
Israeli soldiers during demonstrations against the construction of the
Apartheid Wall on Nil'in's land.

On the 29th July 2008, ten year old Ahmed Mousa was shot through the
forehead with live ammunition, killing him instantly. The following
day Yousef Amira was shot twice from close range with rubber-coated
steel bullets leaving him brain-dead. He died a week later on 4th
August 2008.

Lina Escobar, a Spanish citizen who witnessed the attack, stated, "By
agreeing to upgrade relations with Israel the European Union is
rewarding Israel for it's policies of mass murder in Lebanon and
Palestine. It makes it complicit in the murder of the youth of Ni'lin
for protesting their village being turned into a prison by the
Apartheid Wall."

Sara Weinberg, a U.S. citizen from Chicago and a friend of Khawaje's
brother, said: "The internationals that live in the village went out
in solidarity with Ni'lin residents to demonstrate against the
massacre on Gaza. I was standing about 15 meters from the boys, when
we heard the sound of live ammunition. I heard screams and saw that 3
had been shot. One man was shot in the leg, another in the head right
above the eyebrow and a third was shot in the back. Men carried all
three, the one shot in the head was bleeding profusely. The one that
was shot in the back was unconscious. We ran down to the street from
the olive fields and the soldiers would not stop shooting tear gas at
us. It took the soldiers at least 5 minutes to let the ambulance
through the checkpoint at the entrance to the village."

Links to video footage and photos:

For more information and for photos of those killed and injured please
contact: Adam Taylor - ISM Media Office - +972 598 503948 or email

© Scoop Media

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