BDS, a means to freedom

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Thirty eight years into Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights, Israel continues to expand Jewish colonies. It has unilaterally annexed occupied East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and is now de facto annexing large parts of the West Bank by means of the Wall. Israel is also preparing – in the shadow of its lanned redeployment from the Gaza Strip – to build and expand colonies in the West Bank.

Fifty seven years after the state of Israel was built mainly on land ethnically cleansed of its Palestinian owners, a majority of Palestinians are refugees, most of whom are stateless. Moreover, Israel’s entrenched system of racial discrimination against its own Arab-Palestinian citizens remains intact.

We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.

BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.

The campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is shaped by a rights-based approach and highlights the three broad sections of the Palestinian people: the refugees, those under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians in Israel. The BDS call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:

  1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

This is done through boycotts, divestment and sanctions.

Boycotts target products and companies (Israeli and international) that profit from the violation of Palestinian rights, as well as Israeli sporting, cultural and academic institutions. Anyone can boycott Israeli goods, simply by making sure that they don’t buy produce made in Israel or by Israeli companies. Campaigners and groups call on consumers not to buy Israeli goods and on businesses not to buy or sell them.

Israeli cultural and academic institutions directly contribute to maintaining, defending or whitewashing the oppression of Palestinians, as Israel deliberately tries to boost its image internationally through academic and cultural collaborations. As part of the boycott, academics, artists and consumers are campaigning against such collaboration and ‘rebranding’. A growing number of artists have refused to exhibit or play in Israel.

Divestment means targeting corporations complicit in the violation of Palestinian rights and ensuring that the likes of university investment portfolios and pension funds are not used to finance such companies. These efforts raise awareness about the reality of Israel’s policies and encourage companies to use their economic influence to pressure Israel to end its systematic denial of Palestinian rights.

Sanctions are an essential part of demonstrating disapproval for a country’s actions. Israel’s membership of various diplomatic and economic forums provides both an unmerited veneer of respectability and material support for its crimes. By calling for sanctions against Israel, campaigners educate society about violations of international law and seek to end the complicity of other nations in these violations.

bds movement-amira haas

Over 170 international organizations have endorsed the BDS Movement worldwide. Its time that we as American citizen do our part to boycott Israeli apartheid until Palestinians have equal rights! Read more at BDS Movement!

Also look at BDS’ FaceBook page for daily updates on the movements progression.

 

The boycott of Israeli products and companies supporting Israel is a peaceful means of putting international pressure on apartheid Israel and follows in the footsteps of the successful boycott against South African apartheid. Help end Palestinian suffering by boycotting Israel today!

The following two photos list all of the items currently under boycott. Read  a summary of how each company on the boycott list is supporting Israel here.

We must do our part in supporting equal rights for the Palestinians, through non-violent measures the BDS Movement has been proven successful in Apartheid South Africa, and can also be successful in Apartheid Palestine.

 

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Journalism a Crime in Occupied Palestine

Journalism isn’t considered a crime by universal law. A journalist is a person who collects, writes, or distributes news or other current information as a resource to the general public. Journalism can be considered one of the most important jobs in the entire world. Without journalists, we would have no knowledge of current issues happening globally. In addition, without journalists we would never know when human rights violations would occur.

Journalists sometimes expose themselves to danger, particularly when reporting in areas of armed conflict or in states that do not respect the freedom of the press. Organizations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders publish reports on press freedom and advocate for journalistic freedom.

It should be emphasized that killing of journalists and media workers is a violation of international law.

However, in occupied Palestine journalism is a crime. Israel is notorious for hiding their war crimes, and assaulting journalists is a way to keep these war crimes hidden. Israel is considered the world’s 2nd deadliest place for journalists, behind Syria. In the 2014 siege of Gaza by Israel, the Committee to Protect Journalist put the number of Palestinian reporters and media workers killed during the Israeli assault on Gaza at least fifteen in less than  40 days. Since then the number of journalist being murdered and held in administrative detention without charges has risen dramatically.

 

Journalist Rami Rayan was killed on 30 July 2014 in Israeli shelling of a market in Gaza City’s Shujaiya district. Mohammed Asad / APA Images

 

Administrative detention is implemented solely on the basis of an administrative order, without either indictment or trial. Under certain circumstances, this type of detention may be lawful. However, due to the substantial injury to due process inherent in this measure, international law stipulates that it may be exercised only in very exceptional cases – and then only as a last possible resort, when there are no other means available to prevent the danger. Nevertheless, Israeli authorities routinely employ administrative detention. Over the years, thousands of Palestinians have been held in Israeli custody as administrative detainees for extended periods of time.

Israel’s use of administrative detention blatantly violates the restrictions of international law. Israel carries it out in a highly classified manner that denies detainees the possibility of mounting a proper defense. Moreover, the detention has no upper time limit. Over the years, Israel has placed thousands of Palestinians in administrative detention for prolonged periods of time, without trying them, without informing them of the charges against them, and without allowing them or their counsel to examine the evidence. In this way, the military judicial system ignores the right to freedom and due process, the right of defendants to state their case, and the presumption of innocence, all of which are protections clearly enshrined in both Israeli and international law.

Administrative detention holds no barriers, and Israel routinely uses this as a means to detain journalists in the occupied territories from exposing their war crimes. Mohammed al-Qeeq is a prime example. Al-Qeeq, a married father of two who works as a journalist in Ramallah has been held under a six-month Israeli administrative detention order without charge or trial along with 660 other administrative detainees currently being held by Israel. His crime, being a journalist.

“Mohammed al-Qeeq, like many before him, is being silenced by administrative detention measures in order to quell the Palestinian narrative,” Abbas Hamideh, director of the Global Campaign for Palestinian Political Prisoners, told MintPress News.

“Journalists have a powerful voice with the outside world via social media,” Hamideh said. “This, in particular, Israel tries to crush.” Mohammad al-Qeeq is a journalist arrested by Israel to shut the voice of truth

Israel’s unlawful practice of administrative detention allows the regime forces to detain Palestinians without charge or trial for months or even years. Only in the rules of the Israeli occupation a person is imprisoned without any accusation or charges against them. The administrative detainees have no knowledge of the evidence allegedly against them and no way to try to refute it.

In response to his unlawful administrative detention by Israel, al-Qeeq has gone on a hunger strike, living only on water for the 87th day respectively. Al-Qeeq stands against occupation & inequality, as well as journalistic freedom.

According to Maan News  Agency, Amnesty International on Wednesday demanded Israeli authorities to transfer hunger-striker Muhammad al-Qiq to a Palestinian hospital in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

“The Israeli courts have failed, over many years, to provide effective legal recourse to the thousands of Palestinian administrative detainees held without charge or trial on the basis of secret “evidence” withheld from them and their lawyers, under orders that can be renewed indefinitely, Amnesty International said. Including journalists.

A video emerged a few days ago from Al-Qeeq as he lay dying in his hospital bed. Unwilling to give up, asking only to see his son one last time.

Political campaigns have risen across the world urging the United Nations and various human rights organizations to get Israel to comply with international law. However there have been no changes in the situation and Israel continues to defy international law. The death of Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qeeq is imminent after nearly 87 days of hunger strike. Since then, four more prisoners have joined in the hunger strike in hopes of achieving their freedom.

Campaigns and protests have risen across the globe in support of al-Qeeq.

Fayhaa Shalah, seen in the video below is the wife of Mohammad al-Qeeq who has been on a hunger strike since November 25 2015. She is calling on Journalists around the world and activists to act now to save her Husbands life.

“Muhammad is fighting for his freedom,” Shalash says in the brief English-language video, “He is on hunger strike because he wants to be free.”

 

Activists have been protesting vigorously over the last week using social media storms and hashtags #AlQeeqFree and #AlQeeqDying as an international outcry to protects the rights of journalists, and Palestinians in the occupied territories. As well as putting an end to administrative detention which defies international law.

Several tweet sheets have been created by underground human rights organizations to help in the social media storms, making it easier and more effective to spread the word on a mass scale. And social media storms have been going every day, around the clock for nearly a week.

Its time that we as international activists and journalists stand together for our rights to report and work as media professionals deemed under international law. We must put an end to Israeli war crimes, administrative detention, and slaying of domestic and foreign journalists simply doing their job.

 

 

There is a purpose

I’m sure most of the subject matter here is controversial and hard to digest. Those of you that have seen the Syndicates Facebook and Twitter pages understand what I’m talking about. It might be fair to say that I am desensitized to much of the terrible images and videos that I am showing. But I am not, and I am showing them for a purpose. Because this is a daily occurrence for Palestinians living under military occupation. Matter of fact, its happening right now as we speak. And it must stop.

For years, the Israeli government has gotten away with war crimes, illegal land grabs, apartheid, human rights violations, discrimination, collective punishment, and theft of natural resources. Its time we all stand together to put an end to it. As I continue to post, I will touch on each of these subjects, and more so you can understand the full nature of the conflict.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only the that ever has.”-Margaret Mead

How do we put an end to this occupation you ask? Through peaceful, non violent resistance. I get it, I get it. How can there be peace in a region with so much tension? The answer to that question is simple. End the occupation and grant Palestinians equal rights. There can be no peace without justice. So long as the Palestinians do no have equal rights, that everyone in this world has, there can be no peace. In a future post we will discuss how we as an international community can come together and nonviolently resist occupation and apartheid.

So why is this conflict important for you? Because we are NOT part of the solution, instead we are part of the problem. The U.S. (3 billion of your tax payer dollars) are funding and militarily backing apartheid and occupation. Something that wasn’t allowed in South Africa or in Nazi Germany, and that shouldn’t be allowed now in present day Palestine.

Imagine for a moment, that Mexico decides to give a portion of Texas to a group of people with no homeland (Texas in this reference is its own individual state, not connected to the U.S.). Now remember that Mexico is illegally giving away Texas, they don’t own it and technically cannot give it away, but they do. And as a result they without your consent, give away your home and everything you own. Now keep imagining for me, that you are sitting in your home one day, watching football or cooking or whatever it is that makes you happy. When suddenly an army comes in and begins to militarily occupy your home and your neighborhoods. Forcing you immediately to leave at gunpoint, or face death. Where do you go? What do you do? Here’s the catch, you are a peaceful civilization, with no army, no navy, no aviation and no way to defend yourself, your home, or the land that your family has lived on for generations. So what do you do? Do you leave? Or die? Or do you resist and fight back? (Remember you don’t have guns)

As touchy as this subject is, its important that we not turn a blind eye to it. Palestinians have been living under this brutal occupation for over 65 years, losing their homes, land, generations of history, and their lives. America is one of the most influential countries in this world, if we as Americans can back apartheid and military occupation we are in turn becoming an example to other nations that this is okay. And it is far from okay and not a legacy that we want to leave behind.

robert deniro

Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world have rapidly begun to show their criticism over Israeli antics and U.S. contribution, and have begun to favor the cause of the Palestinians struggle. It time Americans join the rest of the world and stop supporting Israel’s genocide.

 

 

A poem, from Palestine’s lost generation

Photo Credit: Unknown

I find myself

In trance, I am searching through the foundations,
of my beginnings.
Sifting through pages of records, spellbound,
probing for clues of my origin.
The lineages struggle of my eventual life.
Slowly breaking,
The original web of my existence.
Only pieces remain.
of a fragmented past.

A deep Mexican descent begging to be revealed,
lost to the illnesses of time.
Domestic devastation, tearing the threads apart.
Seeded anger. Bound for eventual,
destruction.
A vanished history. Fallen,
to the sickness of assiduous mentality.
Of unwavering ideals.
If only not lost, who would we be?

And the near lost lineage of Palestinian bloodline
Life robbed over 47 years,
at the hands of our present day oppressors.
The land of my ancestors, I’ll never know.
Simply the faint narratives,
of thick olive groves, manned
at the hands of my great grandfathers.
Buried sensory details of the salt lined air of the
Mediterranean.
Only memories of the rubble remains.
From the refugees camps,
of which I came.

The pages I flip are white with defeat
No further have I stepped, than before
My efforts
Neither wavering, nor faulting.
Of which carry my desire
For understanding.
Perilous appreciation of the spirit,
is of No wealth;
to the ignorance of the uninquisitive.
Oh, but know!
the blood in my veins
will forever reach for curiosity.

A child lost,
to generations displaced;
is but a child found.
To a generation,
defaced.

-Mj