Show your support for Palestinian Resistance
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
The Spark December 2010 – January 2011
On the 12th of October 2010 John Key designated “a further seven international terrorist groups under the Terrorism Suppression Act”. He claimed it helped “implement our international obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373″. Under this pretence the addition of Palestinian organisations, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the military wing of Hamas (Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades), to the New Zealand list of designated terrorists, is especially problematic. To highlight the hypocrisy and contradiction involved in these designations I will examine parts of the Terrorist Designations Working Groups (TDWG) paper; “Statement of case to designate the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as a terrorist entity”.
A terrorist act is defined in the ‘Terrorist Suppression Act (TSA)’, section five, as an act which is carried out “for the purpose of advancing an ideological, political, or religious cause” or to “induce terror in a civilian population.” With outcomes such as “the death of, or serious bodily injury to, one or more persons”, “a serious risk to the health or safety of a population” or the “destruction of, or serious damage to, property of great value or importance, or major economic loss, or major environmental damage”. The case to designate PIJ features two case studies, used to highlight terrorist acts and support the case for designation.
Gaza Rocket Resistance
The first case study concentrates on a “Rocket campaign into southern Israel”. The case study details that during the “Gaza conflict”, “…these rockets killed 3 Israeli civilians. Between the year 2001 and May 2009 the rockets killed a total of 16 Israeli civilians. Since 2007, when a majority of Palestinians voted for Hamas, Israel has maintained a complete siege of Gaza that the United Nations has called a “crisis of human dignity”. Article 33 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions states that “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed.” The Goldstone report on operation ‘Cast Lead’ stated that Israel used the “application of disproportionate force and the causing of great damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure, and suffering to civilian populations.” It details deliberate Israeli attacks on hospitals, schools, ambulances, civilian infrastructure and the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields. It also confirms the deaths of over 1600 Palestinian civilians, one hundred times the number of Israelis killed in almost a decade of rocket attacks. Israel’s ‘Cast Lead’ operation and the siege of Gaza, by definition, would appear to contradict not only international law, but would fit the TSA’s definition of a terrorist act.
Resistance to illegal settlers
The second case study details the “shooting of security guards at Nitzanei Shalom Industrial Park”. The document details that the “the Park is situated on the Palestinian side of the West bank border”, making it an Israeli settlement in occupied Palestine. The settlements in the West Bank that these security guards are paid to protect are in direct violation of Article 49 of the fourth Geneva Convention which states that “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” The case study sees the Israeli settlers, and their protectors, as a benign actor in the conflict. This is far from the truth, since the settlers are both armed and violent.
A recent report by Defence of Children International concludes that “Apart from the loss of land taken for the settlements and their related infrastructure, settler violence, such as beatings, shootings and destruction of property are a common occurrence in the lives of Palestinians, including children.” From March 2008 until July 2010 there were 38 documented incidents of Israeli settlers targeting Palestinian children resulting in 45 deaths. The acts “serve a political and strategic goal, and are carried out by ideological settlers”. Once again this would seem to fit the definition of a terrorist act.
The case for designation against PIJ then adds that these types of attacks carried out by Palestinian armed groups have an objective of compelling “Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Palestinian Territories”. This is an overt political motive which supposedly supports the acts’ definition as a terrorist one. But what is missing is that the Palestinian objective is in line with International Law, whereas the Israeli objective is in direct contravention.
The Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) & Violent Self-Determination
The TSA provides for one caveat to the definition of a terrorist act, being that it “is not an act that occurs in a situation of armed conflict…in accordance with rules of international law applicable to the conflict.” The document seeks to answer the question “does the LOAC apply?” This relates firstly to a “key distinction between armed conflict and other internal disturbances”, related to the “level, kind and consistency of violence”. It then comes to the conclusion “that it is not clear…whether that conflict is an international or non-international one”.
The case study attempts to brush aside over 60 years of armed resistance to the state of Israel, concluding that “outside of the combat period” (of ‘Cast Lead’) the resistance does “not meet the threshold to be considered an armed conflict”. In a report produced by the International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), it refutes the test applied by the TSA in determination of Armed Conflict and the intensity of hostilities:
As to the condition that the liberation movement should attain a minimum of effectiveness as a belligerent, i.e. it should be a party to a real on-going armed conflict: it is the whole approach of the Conventions that international armed conflicts are defined not as a function of the degree of intensity of hostilities, but in terms of its parties and the type of relations existing among them. It does not appear as a requirement in either Article 1 or Article 96 nor for that matter common Article 2 of the Conventions.
It is also clear that this is an international conflict. The UN General Assembly passed Resolution 3103 (XXVIII) which states:
The armed conflicts involving the struggle of peoples against colonial and alien domination and racist regimes are to be regarded as international armed conflicts in the sense of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
The United Nations has also on many occasions reaffirmed the right for people to struggle, with violence if necessary. General Assembly Resolution 2649 (XXV) affirmed the “legitimacy of the struggles of peoples under colonial and alien domination recognised as being entitled to the right to self-determination to restore to themselves that right by any means at their disposal.” Resolution 3070 (XXVIII) of 30th November 1973 reaffirmed the right to struggle for self-determination “by all means, including armed struggle,” while Resolution 2787 (XXVI) in 1971 sought to clarify further, with the General Assembly identifying and recognising the legal characteristics of armed conflicts as wars of national liberation, i.e. involving peoples against colonial and alien domination and racist regimes, explicitly including those in South Africa and involving ‘the Palestinian people’.
The ‘Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning the Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States’ resolves what would appear to be a controversial issue posed by cases of violent self-determination. It clearly states “that the ‘forcible action’ or force which is prohibited by Article 2, paragraph 4 of the Charter is not that used by people struggling for self-determination but that which is resorted to by the colonial or alien governments to deny them self-determination.” This in itself would provide for an interesting caveat to all of the designations so far in this country, putting the focus on the violence and brutality of the oppressor with their modern armies and war machines, and not the guerrilla struggles of the oppressed.
The “Geneva Declaration on Terrorism” further reiterates this concept stating that the “terrorism of modern states and their high-technology weapons is far worse than the political violence practiced by groups who want to end oppression and live in freedom.” It concludes that “it is a cruel extension of the scourge of terrorism to classify the struggle against terrorism as ‘terrorism’.”
International Law and the state of Israel
Why would you try to manipulate clear distinctions regarding the nature of the conflict and attempt to label it non-international? The answer is simpler than it would seem. If this is defined as an International conflict the LOAC and thus the Geneva Conventions apply, which validates the Palestinian National Liberation Struggle and condemns the Israeli state to being the terrorist.
It should be patently obvious that International Law is vigorously applied to one side and ignored for the other. So while useful for highlighting the contradictions and hypocrisy involved in terrorist legislation, it also needs to be put into its own context. Terrorist Legislation should be seen as a part of a system that is used to maintain the imperialist powers’ spheres of influence in the third world. The truth is that many of the liberation movements condemned as terrorists represent a direct threat to western control of third world resources and politics and thus the maintenance of capitalism worldwide.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Tens of thousands of members and supporters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine gathered today, December 11, 2010, in Gaza City's Palestine Stadium, marking the forty-third anniversary of the PFLP's founding in a mass rally. Click here for PHOTOS of the event!
Palestinians from all sectors - men and women, elderly and children, workers and farmers, attended the rally from all sectors of Gaza City, and traveling in groups from throughout the Gaza Strip, waving red flags that filled the stadium.
Comrade Jamil Majdalawi, member of the Political Bureau of the PFLP, delivered the main speech of the rally, emphasizing the need for Palestinian national unity to confront the occupier and build the resistance in the face of all repression. He emphasized that the Palestinian people have the right to all forms of resistance, including armed, popular and economic resistance, and that resistance is the only solution to the occupation.
He denounced the accumulation of wealth, power and influence at the expense of the struggle of the Palestinian people, saying that it benefits the enemy only. He called upon Hamas and Fatah to move toward reconciliation and prioritize the national struggle of the Palestinian people.
He denounced the path of "negotiations" and "peace talks" flowing from the Oslo accords and said that the masses of the Palestinian people must lead a collective reevaluation in order to learn the lessons of this period to continue the march of the Palestinian revolutionary struggle.
He emphasized that for the PLO to fulfill its role as an umbrella uniting the people, it must be democratic and embrace all of the parts of the Palestinian national movement in a pluralistic manner, based on democratic elections and proportional representation.
Comrade Majdalawi paid tribute to the Front's leadership and history, calling for the freedom of General Secretary Comrade Ahmad Sa'adat in the jails of the occupier, and the freedom of his comrades and all Palestinian prisoners, and saluting the legacy of past General Secretaries Abu Ali Mustafa and George Habash. He noted the strength and importance of the involvment of young people and women in all activities and at all levels of the Front and the Palestinian movement.
Comrade Musab al-Bashir, a freed former prisoner, spoke about the struggle of prisoners, calling on all forces to prioritize the case of Palestinian prisoners, and pointing to the prisoners' movement as an example of ending the internal division. He discussed the ongoing crimes and abuses being committed against prisoners in the Zionist jails, and emphasized the commitment of the Front on the 43rd anniversary to its imprisoned comrades and all of the imprisoned sons and daughters of the Palestinian people.
The festival included artistic performances, speeches and poetry and concluded with a new song performed by the Palestinian artist Ahmed Assaf entitled "The Backbone of the Front".
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Below is the text of a letter sent to Ahmad Sa'adat, imprisoned leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Workers Party New Zealand
PO Box 10, 282 Dominion Road
Ramon Area, PO Box 699
Postal Code 80600
Dear Comrade Sa’adat,
The Workers Party of New Zealand condemns the continued isolation of Ahmad Sa’adat, general secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and his conviction by an Israeli military court on spurious terrorist charges.
The Workers Party (NZ) sends it warmest greetings to Comrade Sa’adat and expresses its solidarity with him as he endures an extended term of isolation. We condemn the arrest and detainment of Palestinian National leaders and all Palestinian political prisoners and further, condemn the punitive punishment handed out to Comrade Sa’adat for his attempts to organise prisoners in Zionist jails.
We recognise that the on-going incarceration and isolation of Comrade Sa’adat is a part of the Zionist strategy to deny the Palestinian people their right to self-determination. Comrade Sa’adat has been targeted because he leads a faction of the Palestinian resistance that refuses to negotiate away the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people.
We acknowledge the courageous leadership provided by the PFLP for over 40 years in the struggle to liberate and establish a free democratic secular and socialist Palestine.
We call for the release of Ahmad Sa’adat, all Palestinian political prisoners, and the removal of the PFLP as a designated ‘terrorist organisation’ from terrorist lists around the world.
Paul Hopkinson – PFLP Solidarity Campaign co-ordinator
Mike Walker - PFLP Solidarity Campaign co-ordinator
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Occupation Courts Sentence Sa'adat to Six Months More of Isolation -Take Action!
*The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat* www.freeahmadsaadat.org
In yet another outrage and attack upon the humanity of Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian people, Ahmad Sa'adat was sentenced to an additional six months in isolation inside Israeli prisons, an extension that will last until April 21, 2011.
As actions and events took place throughout Palestine and around the world - in the United States, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Ireland, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere - in support of Sa'adat's
struggle to end isolation and hundreds of letters and petitions were
delivered to prison officials from concerned human rights advocates
around the world, the Israeli authorities have sentenced this
Palestinian leader to another six months barred from human contact.
Sa'adat has been held in isolation for over 500 days, since March 19,
2009. He has been confined without access even to the other prisoners
in the isolation unit and deprived of basic human rights. His personal
books have been confiscated and he is routinely denied access to media
and reading material in any language other than Hebrew. He has been
denied family visits, including from his wife Abla, and his lawyers
have several times been barred from visiting him. His recreation time
has been limited repeatedly.
Isolation and prevention of human contact is widely understood by
human rights advocates to be ill-treatment that amounts to torture
and/or cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, in violation of the
Geneva Conventions. Ongoing and repeated isolation that will now
stretch to over two years, justified by vague declarations of
"security" needs, indicate that the Israeli regime is dedicated to
attempting to isolate Sa'adat not only from his fellow prisoners, but
to isolate and silence his voice among the Palestinian people.
Sa'adat's ongoing isolation only serves to make clear time and again
that the Israeli courts are merely an arm of the occupation, dedicated
at all levels to maintaining the oppression of the Palestinian people
and providing a "legal" pretext for ongoing brutality and human rights
Sa'adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation
of Palestine, has been held in Israeli jails since March 14, 2006,
when he was abducted from Jericho prison, where he had been held in a
Palestinian Authority prison under U.S. and British guard. While
imprisoned in the PA jail in Jericho, he was elected to the
Palestinian Legislative Council. He was sentenced to thirty years in
prison on December 25, 2008 by an Israeli military court for his
political activity, and has spent over 500 days in continually-renewed
isolation at the present time.
The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat salutes the human rights and
Palestine solidarity activists around the world who have rallied to
struggle for Sa'adat and the approximately 7,000 prisoners held in the
jails of the occupation. This work defeats the occupation's plans - it
refuses to allow the Palestinian prisoners, on a Palestinian, Arab or
international level, to be isolated. The voices of Ahmad Sa'adat and
the Palestinian prisoners will be heard, and no bars or isolation will
The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat calls upon all to confront this
outrage - to continue to write, speak out, demonstrate, and demand
that Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners achieve their
freedom. Isolation will not silence Ahmad Sa'adat, the Palestinian
prisoners or the cause of the Palestinian people!
PFLP Solidarity Campaign members in Lyttelton (NZ) during the international days of action in support of Ahmad Sa'adat
Saturday, October 23, 2010
David Rovics and Don Franks perform at PFLP Solidarity gig
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine solidarity campaign held a benefit gig at Canterbury University on Friday August the 20th. The gig featured David Rovics from the United States and Don Franks from Wellington.
Don Franks, a Workers Party activist, opened the gig and performed songs about the class struggle in New Zealand. “One more Thursday in Black” tells the story of Louise Nicholls and every victim of Police rape, with the chorus “in closing the law showed who it works for”.
Don finished a great set with a song written about the 2001 Police ‘Terror Raids’ in New Zealand. Detailing the polices brutal raid of the Ruatoki and the arrest of activists from around the country it was summed up with the line “Safer communities together, Yeah fuckin right!”.
David Rovics then took to the stage, sporting a ‘Resistance is not Terrorism’ t-shirt, and performed a mix of poetry, storytelling and politically inspired music that kept the audience captivated throughout.
There was a campaign stall at the gig selling both ‘Resistance is not Terrorism’ and Leila Khaled t-shirts, Palestine pamphlets, PFLP Badges and the Spark (the monthly paper of the Workers Party (NZ)).
More video can be found here
Saturday, October 16, 2010
by Mike Walker
"This is your court and you possess the force to celebrate the trial and convict me on the basis of your lists of accusations, the public one and the secret one, and you can dictate a sentence prepared by the political and security apparatuses that are behind this trial. But I too possess a will obtained from the justice of our cause and the determination of our people to reject any decision from this ‘kangaroo court'..." -Ahmad Sa'adat
Currently there are over 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners being held in Israeli jails. This number is increasing daily as IDF Military Incursions and searches in the West Bank total over 500 separate incidents and 300 arrests each month, mainly targeting political ideology. This is not an unusual part of Palestinian political life and has been a crucial part of the Zionist strategy to eliminate political opposition to the state of Israel. An example of this can be seen when examining the political life of the current General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); Ahmad Sa’adat. Between the years of 1967, when Sa’adat joined the PFLP led Palestine Student Union, to 2002 when he was abducted by the IDF from a jail in Jericho, Sa’adat had been arrested 9 times and jailed for close to ten years for his involvement in the PFLP.
Ahmad Sa‘adat, General Secretary of the PFLP, was arrested again on the 15th of January 2002 by the Palestinian General Intelligence Service. He was then transferred to Force 17 (the Palestinian Presidential bodyguard), and held after that in President Arafat’s compound in connection with the killing of the Israeli Minister of Tourism, Rehavam Ze‘evi, on 17 October 2001. The PFLP claimed responsibility for the killing, although Ahmad Sa‘adat was not formally charged with any recognisable criminal offence. This assassination was a response to the killing of Abu Ali Mustafa, General Secretary of the PFLP, who was killed in a targeted assassination by two rockets fired from an Israeli helicopter as he sat at his desk in Ramallah on August 27, 2001.
A petition was presented to the Palestinian High Court of Justice in Gaza calling for the immediate release of Ahmad Sa‘adat. This caused the High Court of Justice to request that the PA General Intelligence Service bring evidence against him. The Intelligence Service failed to do so and on the 3rd of June 2002 the High Court ordered the immediate release of Ahmad Sa‘adat as he had never been charged or brought before a judge.
“Following the decision of the Palestinian High Court of Justice in Gaza ordering that Ahmad Sa‘adat be released immediately, Amnesty International is calling on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to respect this decision and free him from detention without further delay. Amnesty International is also calling on Israel to publicly guarantee that Ahmad Sa‘adat will not be subjected to any extrajudicial measures, including assassination.
The United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) must also ensure that the PA and Israel respect Ahmad Sa‘adat’s rights. Both countries were involved in concluding the agreement whereby Ahmad Sa‘adat was being kept in detention, and are providing a team of observers who are monitoring his detention.” – Amnesty International
The Palestinian Authority insisted that it was keeping Ahmad Sa’adat for his own safety after a statement by Ra‘anan Gissin, an Israeli government spokesperson, warning that if "he is not brought to justice, we will bring justice to him. You can’t let murderers free." It is widely believed that Yasser Arafat sold out Sa’adat, in exchange for an end to a month long IDF siege of his own compound, and agreed to transfer him to a Jericho prison where he was to be guarded by British and American soldiers. While in prison in Jericho with no charges or evidence levelled against him, Sa’adat’s younger brother Muhammed Sa'adat, was assassinated by Israeli special forces and his wife arrested when attempting to travel to a conference she was scheduled to speak at outside of Palestine. In March 2006 fearing his imminent release Sa’adat was abducted, along with other prisoners, by the IDF and taken to Israel to stand trial. This followed the sudden withdrawal of American and British monitors, that where guarding Sa’adat, arising suspicion that America and Britain where once again conspiring with Israel.
An Israeli military court found Sa’adat guilty of heading “an illegal terrorist organisation” and sentenced him to 30 years imprisonment. The PFLP slammed the verdict; "When the Israelis arrested him, they accused him of having killed Zeevi, but this accusation did not appear in the sentencing which proves that his arrest was political and was not related to security issues.", along with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who called the court's decision "unfair" and "not legally justified." Ahmad Sa’adat is the General Secretary of a legitimate political and military organisation who received approx 40,000 votes in 2006 making them the third largest party behind Fatah and HAMAS. The PFLP holds 50 seats on city councils and is the largest party in the governing city of Ramallah, while also currently holding the mayors office in Bethlehem. Since the 1980’s the PFLP has been active in building popular organisations in the fields of health, women’s rights, agriculture and the workers union movement.
The PFLP rejects Imperialisms two state solution that would limit a Palestinian state to less than 20 percent of the land mandated by the British in 1947. George Habash, the founder of the PFLP, vehemently opposed the American lead peace process that started in Madrid and culminated in the Oslo accords, which caused major rifts in the PLO and lead to the PFLP withdrawal from the organisation, albeit temporarily. Ahmad Sa’adat opposed the new “Road Map” for peace proposed by the Quartet from his prison cell, on the grounds that it is designed solely to provide security for Israel's occupation and criminalise opposition to it as terrorism. For Sa’adat and the PFLP today, any resolution is tied to the right of return of Palestinian refugees that where forced from their land during the Nakba (Catastrophe), and an eventual single secular democratic state where all people regardless of race or religion have equal rights. The PFLP’s continuing military struggle and its associated political ideologies threaten the very existence of the inherently racist Israeli state and Imperialisms grip on the Middle East. The labelling of the PFLP as a “terrorist organisation”, by Israel and other Western state’s, is nothing but an attempt to vilify Palestinian resistance, imprison its leaders and provide justification for Western intervention.
The Workers Party of New Zealand is calling for the immediate release of Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian political prisoners being held illegally in Israeli and Palestinian jails, and for the immediate removal of the PFLP from “terrorist designation lists” in the EU and North America.
The Campaign to free Ahmad Sa’adat
Saturday, October 9, 2010
The PFLP Solidarity Campaign is taking to the streets this October in Christchurch, Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin in support of Ahmad Sa'adat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the PFLP.
There will be street stalls, where we will be selling 'Resistance is not Terrorism' t-shirts, film screenings and pickets around the country.
If you would like to get involved in any of the above centers drop us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
I interview Mike Walker of Christchurch, New Zealand for the hour. Mike is an organizer with the "Resistance is not Terrorism" campaign of the Workers Party in New Zealand to send material aid to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). You can read more about the campaign here: http://wpnz-pflp-solidarity.blogspot.com/
Tune in today at 4:00 p.m.
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.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Press Release: Workers Party of New Zealand
Facebook Shuts Down Palestinian Solidarity Group
The US-based social networking site Facebook has shut down a New Zealand based PFLP Solidarity group, as well as permanently closing the accounts of all four group administrators with no right of appeal. The group, which had approximately 500 members, was established after the recent Flotilla attacks to show solidarity with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and raise awareness of the solidarity campaign led by the Workers Party of New Zealand, who are fundraising for the PFLP.
None of the administrators of the PFLP Solidarity group were given any notice from Facebook that they had violated terms or conditions, and were given no direct reason as to why they had had their accounts disabled. “They did not even send an email to me explaining why my account was disabled”, said one of the group’s administrators.
Marika Pratley, PFLP Solidarity Campaign coordinator and group administrator in Wellington said, “This was clearly a political attack against the PFLP and an attempt by Facebook to censor and shut down the solidarity campaign”.
The PFLP advocates a single secular state in all of Palestine, with equal rights for all, regardless of race or religion, and is the second largest group in the PLO. Facebook have deemed that support for the PFLP violates its terms and conditions while allowing many blatantly racist anti-Palestinian groups to continue to exist without such censorship.
The Workers Party believes that all political ideas and discussion should be free of censorship on the internet, but wishes to expose this hypocrisy, which often surrounds debate of the Palestine issue. Palestinian groups are frequently censored and branded as terrorists while supporters of the racist state of Israel are not.
The PFLP Solidarity Campaign is determined to continue on, despite Facebook's censorship. “We have already raised over $1000 through selling T Shirts. Deleting a Facebook group is not going to stop us showing solidarity with Palestine or the PFLP”, said Christchurch administrator Mike Walker.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Ramon Prison - Isolation Section
To the US Social Forum:
I greet you from inside the walls of the prisons of the occupation, with the voice of thousands of Palestinian and Arab political prisoners. On behalf of the Palestinian prisoners' movement, the Palestinian national movement, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, I carry our salutes to the US Social Forum, this coming together of movements of oppressed peoples to organize and stand together against racism, colonialism, oppression and imperialism.
The Palestinian struggle for national liberation is part and parcel of the international movement of peoples for national liberation, international racial and economic justice, and an end to occupation, colonialism and imperialism. We salute all of the oppressed groups, nations and communities who have come together to build this social forum, including our sisters and brothers in the Palestinian and Arab community in the US and the indigenous peoples of the Americas on whose land the US empire of today was built, and who have remained a constant presence of resistance for over 400 years.
As we struggle to end apartheid, racism and occupation in Palestine, we recognize that we face not only the enemy immediately before us - Israel - but the full force and muscle of the U.S. government behind it. We view the US Social Forum as an expression of the popular movements inside the United States, working inside the empire to achieve justice for all, and join our hands in solidarity with yours. Our struggle is your struggle, and your struggle is ours.
The power of the U.S. empire in a unipolar world is being shaken by resistance and popular movements, from those inside the U.S., to the rising strength of the Left in Latin America, in Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua and elsewhere, to the development of alternative and regional powers around the world who are forming a strong counterweight to the empire. It is a necessity that the US empire and the unipolar world upon which it thrives is upended, and we greet the USSF's commitment that "another U.S. is necessary" with resounding agreement and solidarity.
A global front of the Left, of popular movements, of those who struggle for liberation and against imperialism and oppression, is necessary today, and the US Social Forum - and the entire Social Forum movement - is integral in building that global Left Front.
As you know, our struggle in Palestine is deeply linked to the struggle in the United States. There are two camps - the camp of empire and its allies, headed by the U.S. and Israel and, in our region, the complicit Arab regimes, and the camp of resistance. We see you as part of the resistance camp. The U.S. government is responsible for the Israeli crimes against our people - the thousands of political prisoners behind bars, the millions of refugees prohibited from returning home, the ethnic cleansing and home demolitions, the ongoing occupation, the apartheid wall tearing through our land, the apartheid and entrenched racism. For over 62 years, the U.S. government has been the sponsor of the racist Israeli state.
Today it is more critical than ever that you escalate your campaigns in solidarity with Palestine, that you internationally isolate Israel and all of its products, that you make it clear that the people of the United States stand alongside the people of Palestine to achieve our full national and human rights - to self determination, return for our refugees, an end to occupation, and national liberation.
We have heard news recently of the massacre of the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza, and that the seas have carried a great message of courage and shouldered a great burden of blood; that the prisons that hold our prisoners of freedom have held the prisoners of freedom of the world; and that the international movement for justice has new martyrs who will inspire us all to struggle in their path of courage, strength, indomitable solidarity and commitment to justice in the face of brutal oppression. Their example is an example to us all, and the Flotilla martyrs, prisoners, organizers and participants are part of the long line of heroes of our Palestinian people's struggle, and all of our global people's struggles for justice and liberation.
Towards a global left front - for socialism, equality, justice and liberation!
We join in your call: Another World is Possible! Another U.S. is Necessary!
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
As part of Marxism 2010, the Workers Party and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, took to the streets as part of a protest in Wellington against the Israeli IDF "Flotilla Raid".
500 Protesters marched through Wellington, holding up traffic, to the Israeli Embassy chanting "from Wellington to Gaza we support the Intifada!", "Down Down Israel" and "2 4 6 8 Israel is a racist state".
Once at the embassy there where a number of speakers. Mike Walker, PFLP Campaign Co-ordinator, spoke about the need to look beyond each Israeli massacre to the root causes of the conflict, which he defined as the Zionist colonial project and its Western Imperialist backers.
The following day as part of Marxism 2010 the PFLP Solidarity Campaign presented a session on aspects of Resistance. Paul Hopkinson, Workers Party member and PFLP Campaign co-coordinator, spoke about the Palestinian Intifada's, there differences and consequences. Mike Walker then spoke about the detention of Ahmad Sa'adat, the General Secretary of the PFLP, and the designation of the Popular Front as a terrorist organisation.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Media Release: "PFLP Solidarity Campaign transfers funds to Palestinian Resistance"
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
"PFLP Solidarity Campaign transfers funds to Palestinian Resistance"
Due to the generosity and support of progressive people in New Zealand for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Palestinian cause, the PFLP solidarity campaign are happy to announce the first transfer of funds. One Thousand NZ Dollars raised by the campaign has been received by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine for their use in whatever manner they deem most effective in resisting ongoing Israeli oppression, racism and military occupation.
The majority of the money has been raised through the sale of “Resistance is not Terrorism” t-shirts throughout the country. A new t-shirt is being designed featuring Leila Khaled, PFLP activist and resistance fighter, and will be released at a nationwide launch on the anniversary of the creation of the Zionist state of Israel, known by Palestinians as the “Nakba”, or catastrophe, on May 15th.
The campaign opposes the re-establishment of an Israeli embassy or any diplomatic relations with the Zionist state and deplores a recent announcement by Murray McCully, that a Working Holiday Scheme will “deepen our tourism and education links, and over time contribute to growth in our bilateral commercial, trade and investment links” with Israel. Campaign co-ordinator Mike Walker stated that “instead of extending diplomatic ties with Israel we should be cutting them altogether, following the examples of Venezuela and Bolivia”
The campaign seeks to challenge the political paradigm that allows legitimate National Liberation movements to be labelled as terrorist organisations, and the undemocratic way in which terrorist laws are administered. Prime Minister John Key recently added organisations to the ‘terrorist list’ in New Zealand, with no consultation, justifying it by stating they engaged in “terrorist acts including the indiscriminate killing of civilians and assassination of political leaders.” This statement lacks any credibility when New Zealand’s government seeks to strengthen links with the state of Israel that targets and kills political leaders, trade unionists, writers, cultural exemplars, community activists, local leaders, and student organisers while waging an economic and military war against a civilian population that has been under the tyranny of the longest running illegal military occupation in recent history.
Walker stated that by funding the Palestinian Resistance movement directly “people in New Zealand can stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their resistance, however that manifests itself”, while supporting the PFLP “and its vision of a single secular state in all of Palestine, where all people regardless of race, gender or religious beliefs have equal rights.”