Tuesday, February 24, 2009

British Government 's Smear Campaign of Gaza Aid Convoy : Nine Terrorist Suspects Released

Update on " Gaza Aid Convoy "
Gaza Hamas Fatah
Gaza holds one Israeli soldier as a prisoner
Israel holds over 11,000 Palestinians as prisoners
20 Israelis killed 1300 Gazans killed in Israel's Attack on Gaza
UN and Humanitarian and Human Rights organizations accuse Israel of " War Crimes " and " Crimes Against Humanity "
Amnesty International Calls for Arms Embargo of Israel

UPDATE: Feb. 24,AT 3:28 PM

From CommonDreams & CODEPINK :50 International Delegates to Arrive in Gaza With Gift Baskets for Gazan Women Vow to camp on border if blocked, demand its opening Feb. 23, 2009

WASHINGTON - February 23 - A 50-member international delegation will attempt to cross the Egyptian border into war-torn Gaza early next month, carrying 2,000 gift baskets to pay tribute to the incredibly resilient, beleaguered Gazan women on International Women's Day, March 8.

Set to depart Cairo March 6, the impressive delegation -- which includes acclaimed author Alice Walker, former state department official Ann Wright, CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin and 47 others from around the world -- expects Egyptian authorities will allow them to cross into Gaza March 7. The delegation, organized by the U.S. women's peace group CODEPINK and coming at the invitation of the Gaza Gender Initiative of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), it the first delegation of its size and kind to attempt to enter Gaza since July 2007, when Israel imposed the blockade.

If Egyptian authorities deny the group's entrance, the group will camp out at the border until they get in, said delegation organizer Benjamin. Hundreds of aid workers, lawyers, and convoys carrying humanitarian aid have been denied entrance by Egyptian authorities at the Rafah border.

Once inside Gaza, the delegation will spend several days meeting with Palestinian women's groups, delivering aid to relief groups and witnessing the devastation from the 22-day Israeli invasion.

For more details see: CodePink

and check out article on how Republicans are supporting more Neo-Nazis while hoping for a new American Civil War at:

DownWithTyranny Geert Wilders, Dutch Neo-Nazi, Banned From Britain, Is Being Hosted In America By Republicans Feb. 24, 2009


“Nine innocent people were prevented by the police from joining our convoy,” said Galloway. “The timing of the operation is seen locally as an attempt to smear and intimidate the Muslim community, and I must say they seem to be right. Photographs of the high-profile snatch were immediately fed to the press to maximize the newsworthiness of the smear.”

Galloway seeks inquiry into convoy arrests By Duncan Campbell at Tehran Times Feb. 23, 2009

LONDON (The Guardian) -- The Respect MP George Galloway has called for an investigation after police stopped a convoy taking aid, toys and medical supplies to Gaza and arrested nine people under anti-terror laws.

All nine men arrested on the M65 near Preston last Friday( Feb. 13, 2009) have been released without charge, but the organizers of the Viva Palestina convoy, which is headed by Galloway, said that aid donations dropped by 80% after news of the arrests.

Police stopped three vehicles and arrested six men from Blackburn and three from Burnley under the Terrorism Act. The 100-vehicle convoy left without them and is now in Morocco.

“Nine innocent people were prevented by the police from joining our convoy,” said Galloway. “The timing of the operation is seen locally as an attempt to smear and intimidate the Muslim community, and I must say they seem to be right. Photographs of the high-profile snatch were immediately fed to the press to maximize the newsworthiness of the smear.”

Aid convoy terror suspects released without charge " By Pat Hurst, Press Association February 19, 2009

Three men arrested on suspicion of terrorism as an aid convoy set off for Gaza were released without charge, police said today.

The suspects were held with six other men last Friday night on the M65 near Preston in Lancashire, after two vans and an ambulance traveled to London to join the convoy to the middle East.

Police said it was an on-going intelligence-led operation and searched the vans and a number of homes in Burnley.

They released six of the men held but kept three others, aged 26, 29 and 36, in custody until they were released today.

...Assistant Chief Constable Andy Cooke, Lancashire Constabulary's lead for Counter Terrorism, said today: "Lancashire Constabulary, with the support of the North West Counter Terrorism Branch, will robustly investigate any information that is passed to us about possible terrorist activity and if necessary take action.

"Terrorism affects us all and protecting the safety of the public is of paramount importance. Security for our communities is our highest priority and sometimes we have to make arrests.

Is it really public safety and national security which these police agencies had in mind or was it just a lot of hype to undermine public support for the Gaza Aid Convoy. We know very well that the British like the Americans and and Canadians support Israel and have little or no sympathy for the innocent people who have been wounded or killed in Gaza during the most recent conflict in which Israel has been accused of War Crimes against Humanity. Israel has continued its on-going siege of Gaza only allowing aid to trickle into Gaza.

Even the Obama administration for all his rhetoric of reaching out to Arabs and Muslims has decided that all the people of Gaza are collectively responsible for attacks on Israel by Hamas. Therefore logic dictates that all the citizens of Gaza can be defined as being Enemy Combatants and even terrorists so Israel is therefore permitted to kill as many citizens of Gaza as it wishes to.This also means that one again the United States this time under President Obama believes that schools, hospitals , police stations, fire departments , ambulances and medical personnel are all legitimate targets and this also includes United Nations facilities and personnel. So Obama early in his presidency so far has shown little respect for non-combatants in Gaza or for personnel who are part of humanitarian organizations in Gaza including members of the Red Cross . But this is all typical of America's views on these issues over the last 20 or 30 years. So Obama believes no real supporter of Israel should be disturbed by the deaths of a few hundred Palestinian children since one day they too may grow up to be " Terrorists". Isn't this in the final analysis just another form of racism.

also see:
No charges for Gaza convoy trio BBC.co.uk

The Gaza Aid Convoy is continuing its journey to Gaza. The Moroccan government helped the convoy move through the country and into Algeria.

Moroccan Algerian border opens for UK Gaza aid convoy 21 February 2009- Press TV

and :

" Africa border opens for Gaza aid " BBC News.co Feb.21, 2009

The border between Morocco and Algeria, closed for almost 15 years, has been temporarily reopened for an aid convoy heading towards the Gaza Strip.

The convoy of 99 vehicles, which left from the UK loaded with medicine, food, clothes and toys, crossed into Algeria near the Moroccan town of Oujda.

The frontier was shut in 1994 after Morocco accused Algeria of involvement in an attack on a hotel in Marrakech.

The convoy is due to cross from Egypt to Gaza in early March...

Back in Israel and Gaza little hope of peace negotiations . The new Israeli govenment is even more hostile to the Palestinians than the previous government.

Concerns grow over Netanyahu's rise - 21 Feb 09

US Vice President Joe Biden defends Israel unconditionally. Little hope that Obama/Biden administration will put pressure on Israel to improve its abysmal human rights record.

Sen. Joe Biden On Being A Zionist - 2007

John Kerry in Gaza- Feb. 20, 2009

And here's a couple of articles on Israel-Palestinian relations:

Israeli Rivals Split on Future of Mideast Peace Process By Jean-Luc Renaudie, Agence France-Presse Feb. 22, 2009

Jerusalem - Israeli hawk Benjamin Netanyahu failed to convince centrist rival Tzipi Livni to join him in a broad governing coalition on Sunday because of their divergent views on the Middle East peace process.

"We didn't reach any agreement," Livni told reporters after their meeting in Jerusalem. "There is an essential divergence and we have to clarify if there is a possible common path. We didn't make progress on any essential subjects."

" Hamas: Israel picked 'most dangerous' politician to lead it " By Haaretz Service and The Associated Press Feb. 20, 2009

... Hamas spokesman on Friday said Israel had picked the "most extremist and most dangerous" to lead the country, only hours after Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu accepted a mandate to form its next government.

The choice of Netanyahu "does not herald a period or peace or stability in the region," AFP quoted Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum as saying.

Another Hamas official on Friday branded both Netanyahu and his rival, Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, as enemies of the Palestinians.

"Hamas doesn't differentiate between Netanyahu and Livni, they are all hostile toward the Palestinian people and they are all terrorists," Hamas official Ismail Radwan told Al-Jazeera. "Tasking Netanyahu with forming the government is a lesson for those who had hoped for peace."

Before last weeks election, Netanyahu pledged to topple Hamas from power in Gaza if elected prime minister.

A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, said on Friday that the PA will not deal with the new Israeli government if it is not committed to peace.

"We will not deal with the Israeli government unless it accepts a two-state solution and accepts to halt settlements and to respect past accords," AFP quoted Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina as saying.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said any future Israeli government that doesn't accept the establishment of a Palestinian state and continues settlement building will not be a partner.

"We will not be in the negotiations for the sake of negotiations," Erekat said.

and is Hamas whistling in the dark or wasting its breath as it appeals to Obama to treat Hamas and Gaza fairly:

Hamas asks Obama to deal with Palestinians fairly" By The Associated Press & Haaretz.com, Feb. 21, 2009

A Hamas official on Saturday disclosed the contents of a letter he wrote to President Obama on behalf of the internationally shunned militant group that rules the Gaza Strip.

Ahmed Yousef, a Hamas government official, said that in the letter, he called on Obama to deal in a fair way with the Palestinian issue. Many Palestinians believe that U.S. foreign policy is biased in Israel's favor.

The letter was given to United Nations officials who passed it to U.S. Sen. John Kerry during a visit to Gaza on Thursday.

Kerry's foray into Gaza marked the highest-level visit by a U.S. politician since Hamas seized power of Gaza in 2007. Kerry did not meet with Hamas officials.

Obama has said he wants to reach out to Muslims everywhere, but it's not clear whether he'll change U.S. policy toward Hamas.

Yousef said that when Hamas learned of Kerry's visit to Gaza, he swiftly penned the letter.

"We tried to seize the opportunity, and that led us to quickly write a letter to President Obama, to be passed to his hands," Yousef told The Associated Press.

He spoke a day after Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum denied that Hamas sent the letter. However, Yousef said Saturday that the letter was endorsed by the Hamas government.

Yousef said he also asked Obama to be open toward the militant group, which is considered a terrorist group by the U.S. and most of the international community.

"We also spoke about the need for the U.S. administration to be open with Hamas, which enjoys broad support in the Palestinian street," he said.

The letter summarized the militant group's visions and attitudes, Yousef said, but did not elaborate.

And there are calls for an Embargo on Arms sales to Israel and Hamas:

Amnesty urges Israel arms embargo Media With Conscience Feb. 23. 2009

Amnesty International, the human rights group, has called for a global arms embargo on Israel over its conduct during the war on Gaza.

The group on Monday called for the UN Security Council to impose the embargo until mechanisms were in place to ensure that military equipment supplied by other countries, particularly the US, was not used to violate international law.

"Israeli forces used white phosphorus and other weapons supplied by the USA to carry out serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes," Donatella Rovera, who led the Amnesty's investigation in Gaza, said.

"Their attacks resulted in the death of hundreds of children and other civilians, and massive destruction of homes and infrastructure."

...Malcolm Smart, Amnesty's Middle East director, said that "all states should suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions to Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups, until there is no longer a substantial risk of human rights violations".

...Amnesty has called on Washington, which gives $3bn a year in military aid to Israel, to investigate Israel's use of US weapons during its Gaza campaign.

also see: " Suspend Military Aid to Israel, Amnesty Urges Obama after Detailing US Weapons Used in Gaza " by Rory McCarthy The Guardian UK Feb. 23,2009

JERUSALEM - Detailed evidence has emerged of Israel's extensive use of US-made weaponry during its war in Gaza last month, including white phosphorus artillery shells, 500lb bombs and Hellfire missiles.

In a report released today, Amnesty International detailed the weapons used and called for an immediate arms embargo on Israel and all Palestinian armed groups. It called on the Obama administration to suspend military aid to Israel.

...Amnesty said Israel's armed forces carried out "direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects in Gaza, and attacks which were disproportionate or indiscriminate". The Israeli military declined to comment yesterday.

Palestinian militants also fired "indiscriminate rockets" at civilians, Amnesty said. It called for an independent investigation into violations of international humanitarian law by both sides.

and so it goes,

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