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Monday, August 30, 2010
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Solidarity Campaign Press Release:
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
"PFLP Solidarity Campaign interviews Leila Khaled, Palestine’s leading revolutionary woman"
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Solidarity Campaign is happy to announce the release of the first part of an interview with Leila Khaled. PFLP Solidarity Campaign co-ordinator Mike Walker conducted the interview via Skype with Leila at her home in Amman, Jordan on the 6th April this year.
Leila Khaled is often referred to as a terrorist by her enemies, the United States and the State of Israel. But in the Occupied Territories, the Gaza Strip and the countless refugee camps scattered throughout the Arab world she is a revolutionary hero, a freedom fighter and the embodiment of the Palestinian militant struggle against Zionism and Imperialism in the Middle East and for freedom and self-determination.
Leila Khaled and the PFLP shot to international attention when Leila became the first woman to hi-jack a commercial airliner on August 29th 1969. Leila made the pilot divert the plane over Haifa, where she was born but has never been allowed to visit, eventually allowing the plane to land in Damascus, Syria. The passengers were disembarked and the plane was blown up in front of the international media. Golda Meir had stated that June that "There was no such thing as Palestinians", but Leila Khaled and the PFLP had put the Palestinian struggle firmly onto the world stage, where it could no longer be ignored.
Today Leila is a core member of the PFLP and serves on its Politburo, dealing primarily with the ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees. Walker stated that “Leila is a true revolutionary woman that has dedicated her life to the struggle of Palestinians for their right to self-determination, and to return home.” “Leila is an inspiration to us all,” he continued.
Leila Khaled finished the interview by stating that she had “a message for the New Zealanders.” She then warned that we should all “beware Zionism. Nazism caused humanity twenty two million casualties and the destruction of Europe. What do you think that Zionism will do, do we need a third world war? We have to stop the expansion of the Zionist ideology and policy.”
The full interview is available at here
A full transcript or audio is available on request.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Mike Walker, PFLP Solidarity Campaign co-coordinator
First Published in The Spark July 2010
and on www.workersparty.org.nz
On the 31st of May commandos from the Israeli Defence Force stormed a boat carrying aid and activists to the besieged Gaza strip, opening fire and killing 9 people on board. In a typical official Israeli response, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon accused the flotilla’s organisers of `having ties to Hamas and al-Qaeda terror organisations’. This has been followed by so-called `universal condemnation’ of the attack by the `International Community’ and calls for an end to the siege. In practical terms this means allowing more goods into the Gaza Strip. What it doesn’t mean is an end to Israeli control of the borders, the airspace, the coastal waters and literally every aspect of Palestinian life.
The seeds of the modern day conflict between the Zionist state of Israel and Arab resistance were firmly planted not in 1948, but with early Jewish settlers. Ahad Ha’Am (Asher Ginsberg) was a Russian Jew and Zionist, and a very prominent pre-state Zionist thinker, who visited Palestine from 1891 onwards. He explained that the Jewish settlers “treat the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, rob them of their rights in a dishonest way, hurt them without reason and then pride themselves on such actions.” He concluded that “no one attacks this despicable and dangerous tendency…” Why this aggression against the indigenous population of Palestine? The answer to this question lies in what Zionists are attempting to do in Palestine which was summarised by David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of the Israeli state, in the introduction to `The History of the Haganah’. He wrote:
“At the present time we speak of colonisation, and only of colonisation. It is our short-term objective. But it is clear that England belongs to the English, Egypt to the Egyptians and Judea to the Jews. We will say to the Arabs: `Move Over’; if they are not in agreement, if they resist, we will push them by force.”
The Israeli state is the modern manifestation of the Zionist colonial project that early Jewish settlers spearheaded in the late 1800s. Its actions throughout its history, the continuing oppression of Palestinians and the outlandish attack on solidarity activists should not be seen in isolation from Zionist goals in the Middle East.
Imperialist domination Prior to WWI
Chaim Weizmann, an early Zionist political leader, recognised that for the Zionist project to succeed in Palestine it would require, an `intermediary stage’ during which the `fair country of Palestine will be protected by such a Mighty and just Power as Great Britain.’ He explained that `under the wing of this power, Jews will be able to develop, and to set up the administrative machinery which…would enable us to carry out the Zionist scheme.’ Under the British mandate in Palestine and with the protection and political support of British imperialism the foundation of the Zionist state was firmly laid. In fact Zionism’s expulsion of three quarters of a million Palestinians, al-nakba, and declaration of statehood in 1948 could not have been achieved without the British quashing of a Palestinian revolt, which had lasted from 1936 until 1939.
The post-WWII balance of world power shifted and Zionism proved to be politically dynamic, as it was able to realign itself with the new dominant imperial power, the United States. The US State Department noted in 1945 that oil reserves in the Middle East constitute “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history.” In 1973 Senator Henry Jackson exposed American reliance on Israel to defend these interests, stating that its job was to “inhibit and contain those irresponsible and radical elements in certain Arab States….who, were they free to do so, would pose a grave threat indeed to our principal sources of petroleum in the Persian Gulf”. Today the United States provides $US three billion in military aid every year to Israel, and has helped Israel to build one of the most powerful militaries in the world. In exchange Israel was, and continues to be, America’s “attack dog” in the Middle East and protector of American interests. Imperialist backers also provide political cover. Barack Obama’s administration recently blocked a Security Council resolution to have the flotilla raid impartially investigated, suggesting instead that Israel investigate itself.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly seized on this opportunity to clear Israel of wrong-doing and announced a commission featuring three elders of the Israeli state and two international observers, one of whom recently joined the `Friends of Israel’ in Britain. The United States hailed the decision and released a statement saying that “Israel has a military justice system that meets international standards and is capable of conducting a serious and credible investigation.” A fair investigation by Israel into the events leading to the deaths of nine activists and into the legality of the siege of Gaza, is highly unlikely. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called the Israeli commission a “transparent attempt to justify murder and piracy”. Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, ran an article which surmised that the intention was to “placate the world…especially the United States.”
Investigating the raid on the freedom flotilla
Calls for `investigations’ though, regardless of who conducts them, expose a blatant and recurring amnesia in the West in terms of Israeli violations of Palestinian rights. In September 2009 a UN fact finding mission presented its findings to the Council of Human Rights in Geneva, after impartially investigating Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead”. Known as the Goldstone Report it concluded that “The tactics used by Israeli military armed forces in the Gaza offensive are consistent with previous practice”, which was described as the “application of disproportionate force and the causing of great damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure, and suffering to civilian populations.” This was unacceptable to the United States so the House of Representatives passed a resolution stating that “the report [was] irredeemably biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy.” The US pledged to “stand by Israel in the fight against the Goldstone Report“, and the reach of American influence was visible when the Palestinian Authority also deferred endorsing the report’s findings. Any investigation that condemns Israeli actions will realistically be ostracised by the US, Israel and its allies rendering it impotent.
A complete end to Israel’s brutality?
While we should condemn the killing of the flotilla activists, we should also remember that Palestinians face this kind of oppression and brutality every day of their lives at the hands of the Israeli state, as it continues its expansionist project that is funded and politically supported by the world’s imperialist powers. It is time to start concentrating on the real causes of their oppression and the means by which Israel’s domination is maintained in the Middle East.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
Originally posted on the english PFLP site here:
Musician David Rovics condems placement of PFLP on 'anti-terror' list
David Rovics, a well-known progressive U.S. singer-songwriter, denounced the listing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and other national liberation movements on so-called "anti-terrorism" lists on August 1, 2010 as he planned to participate in a New Zealand concert supporting Palestine and protesting the designation of the PFLP on such lists. Rovics, a mainstay of labor, international solidarity, anti-racist and social justice politics and culture, has produced over 11 albums and over 200 songs (including an album of songs for Palestine entitled "Al-Awda/Return.") He will play a fundraiser concert in Christchurch, New Zealand on August 20, organized by the Workers Party of New Zealand's PFLP Solidarity Campaign, a campaign protesting the criminalization of national liberation movements and demanding the removal of the PFLP and other Palestinian organizations from 'anti-terror lists' by selling t-shirts and holding grassroots fundraisers to support the PFLP and the Palestinian national movement.
Rovics told the Workers Party of New Zealand that "the criminalization of the PFLP and other organizations by various governments is sheer hypocrisy. These same governments are signatories to UN conventions that make it clear -- the PFLP and the Palestinian people generally are not criminals. They are resisting a criminal occupation -- it is the militaristic, apartheid state of Israel which is the criminal here, which needs to be treated as such, not the PFLP." The concert, which is part of Rovics' Australia/New Zealand tour, will take place at Canterbury University in Christchurch, and feature Don Franks, a New Zealand-based singer/songwriter in addition to Rovics.
Rovics, based in the United States, performs around the world at cafes, pubs, universities, churches, union halls and protest rallies, and his music has been featured on Democracy Now!, BBC, Al-Jazeera and other networks. The PFLP salutes Rovics and the Workers Party of New Zealand for their courageous and principled support for the Palestinian movement and their commitment to refuse and resist criminalization of resistance and to support the national liberation struggle of the Palestinian people.