Friday, June 21FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA, PALESTINE WILL BE FREE

IRISH FM CONDEMNS SNUBBING OF ZIONIST AMBASSADOR

NOVANEWS

 Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin expressed regret at the decision of Carrickmacross Town Council to vote to remove the page from the distinguished visitor’s book signed by the Zionist ambassador during a recent visit to the town.
“I fully understand and share the deep concerns which many people in Ireland feel in regard to Israel’s policies on a number of issues…However, it is a basic principle of relations between States that we treat each other’s diplomatic representatives with civility and respect, regardless of any policy differences,” he said. (Ynet)
2. Haaretz March 01, 2010
 Universities across the globe mark Israeli Apartheid Week 
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1153017.html
 By Danna Harman, Haaretz Correspondent in Europe
LONDON – A filmmaker, anthropologist and economic researcher are among those headlining events marking what pro-Palestinian organizers have declared as “Israeli Apartheid Week” – and all three speakers are Israeli.
University campuses in more than 40 cities around the world are marking the week with lectures, films, multimedia events, cultural performances and demonstrations. Since they were first launched in 2005, the events have become some of “the most important global events in the Palestine solidarity calendar,” according to its organizers.
Its aim, they state on their Web site, is to “contribute to this chorus of international opposition to Israeli apartheid and to bolster support for the boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) campaign.” Though many of the details about those events were not being promoted on the Apartheid Week Web site, it did list several events being offered by Israelis.
Among them is Shir Hever, an economic researcher at the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem, who is scheduled to give a series of lectures at the University of Amsterdam entitled “Could the Economic Policies of Israel be Considered a Form of Apartheid?”
In addition, Israeli activist and filmmaker Shai Carmeli-Pollak is screening his 2006 documentary “Bil’in Habibti,” about Israel Defense Forces violence, at Boston-area universities.
Jeff Halper, the Israel-based professor of anthropology who is co-founder and coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, was scheduled to speak on “Israeli Apartheid: The Case For BDS” at Glasgow University.
The participation of several Israelis in the anti-Zionist events is “atrocious,” said David Katz, a member of Britain’s Jewish Board of Deputies who grew up in South Africa and has long fought the comparison between that country’s racial segregation and Israel’s ethnic divisions.  “They are free to do as they please, but it’s atrocious,” he said of the participating Israelis. “I think they don’t understand the analogy they are making… which is insulting to those who suffered under apartheid.”
“It’s like calling things ‘holocaust’ which are not the Holocaust or terming something ‘genocide’ which is not genocide,” said Katz. As part of efforts to counter the Apartheid Week events, one Jewish charity brought over Benjamin Pogrund, a South African immigrant to Israel who is the former deputy editor of the Johannesburg-based Rand Daily Mail, to speak to British university students about why Israel is not an apartheid state.
“The game plan of those who seek the destruction of Israel is to equate us with South Africa, a pariah state which had to be subjected to international sanctions,” Pogrund has said. “Israelis coming to take part in this week should know better.”
In Canada, the legislature in the province of Ontario unanimously condemned Israeli Apartheid Week, voting for a resolution that denounced the campus events. “If you’re going to label Israel as Apartheid, then you are also… attacking Canadian values,” Conservative legislator Peter Shurman told Shalom Life, a Toronto-based Jewish Web site.
“The use of the phrase ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ is about as close to hate speech as one can get without being arrested, and I’m not certain it doesn’t actually cross over that line,” he said. 
3. Forwarded by Denis Halliday
[The Russel Tribunal on Palestine is being held currently in Barcelona; for background http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.net/  Dorothy]
Friends – this excellent beginning and evidence yet to come demands that the many Israeli crimes in respect of the people of Gaza be forced on the UN Security Council and simultaneously brought before the General Assembly for action.
Maybe the GA can insert  some backbone into the politially corrupt body that is  the Security Council. The G-77 needs to stand up and be counted. The EU needs to discover integrity and respect International Law. The US needs to examine its blind foreign policy. For the first time in 100 years, the human rights of the Palestinian people must be respected.
From: Breyten Breytenbach <b.breytenbach@laposte.net>
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2010 15:56:33
To: <media@russelltribunalonpalestine.net>
 Subject: Re: Press release-Morning 1 March-Russell Tribunal on Palestine
I’m writing to reiterate my full support to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. It is high time that we move towards practical ways of showing our support for the Palestinian people and our abhorrence of and resistance to Israeli oppression. I hope this Tribunal can come up with resolutions we can all advocate and try to take forward.
Breyten Breytenbach
On Mar 1, 2010, at 5:41 PM, Russell Tribunal wrote:
Opening First Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine: The Right to Self Determination
01-03-2010 Morning release
The morning of the first session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine opened with a focus on the Palestinian right to self determination as enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1956.
The session was opened by Stephane Hessel, a co-author of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Ambasador de France. He said,?We are acting in the name of every individual which has a responsibility to put pressure on international bodies to uphold international Law. We cannot allow for the impunity of those responsible for violations of international law to remain unchallenged?.
Pierre Galand from the organising committee for the Russell Tribunal on Palestine explained, A solution can come about through the mobilisation of public opinion, as was the case with civil society organisation against the Vietnam war and dictatorships in Latin America during the 70s. The purpose of the tribunal is to show the complicity of international states in the perpetuation of the ongoing violations of the rights of the palestinian people and to mobilise public opinion to end this
Felicia Langer, Vicky Peña, Gustave Massiah, Pilar Sampietro, ánd Lluis Llach outlined international laws applicable to the Palestine-Israel context such as the Fourth Geneva Conventions 1949, and European Union Law including the articles enshrined within the EU-Israel Association Agreement signed in 1995, which places an obligation on Israel to respect human rights and democratic principles as well as adhere to economic production within 1967 borders. Elementary principles of distinction between civilian and military objects, civilians and combatants and proportionality were represented.
The Jury for the Tribunal, comprised of eminent figures from the field of human rights law and campaigning, heard from Madjid Benchikh, Professor of International Law and Former Dean at the Faculty of Law, Algiers.
Asked by Jury Member barrister Michael Mansfield how states can legally respond to Israels wilfull and persistent non-compliance with international law, he responded with a suggestion of refering Israel to the UN Security Council for non-restitution of territories acquired by force following the 1967 war.
David Bondia, an Expert witness and Professor of Public International Law and International Relations at the University of Barcelona, presented on Israels use of domestic law to contradict and violate international law, including the use of military orders, prison policy and the use of military courts as a different and non-IHL compliant judicial system which violates the prohibition of Apartheid and negates the right to life.
He advocated for a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions strategy to pressure Israel into compliance with International Law, as was practised by grassroots movements around the world and mainly Eastern and African states with regards to Apartheid South Africa.
Daragh Murray from Ireland and recently returned from 18 months in Gaza, is a legal advisor for the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza. Murray was representing the Director of PCHR Raji Sourani for this session as Raji was prevented from leaving Gaza by the closure regime imposed by Israel and enforced by Egypt and the international community. Daragh defined the denial of the right of self determination as a fundamental denial of the right to human dignity, choice and freedom, and Israels denial of this right as absolute.

He suggested applying the conditions demanded of Palestinian liberation movements by the Quartet (USA, EU, Russia, and the UN) onto Israel: Recognition of past agreements, recognition of Palestine and an end to attacks on civilians. Describing the conditions in Gaza he said 85% of the population is dependent on food aid, 80% live in poverty, unemployment is at 42% and the population of industrial workers has dropped from 65,000 in 2007 to 35,000 before Israels Operation Cast Lead in 2008 to 1878 now in 2010.
The number of people which PCHR has been able to establish clearly died due to Israels blockade is 26 although the figure has been estimated at much higher due to other variables such as chronic diseases and cancers which may have been pacified if treatment had been accessed.
The international boycott of the democratically elected government of the Hamas movement was cited as a striking example of the violation of the right to self deterrmination. The UN was also critiqued for possibly violating the principles of its own charter through its conduct within the quartet. Making the violations of International Law with regards to Palestine a domestic issue – an electoral issue – in non-International Law compliant states within the EU was described as a key means to change policy. The European Court of Human Rights, Domestic Courts and Universal Jurisdiction were cited as mechanisms to enforce international law.
Notes for Editors
Russell Tribunal Jury members are: Maired Maguire, Cynthia McKinney, Gisele Halimi, Aminata Traore, Ronnie Kasrils, Alberto San Juan, Michael Mansfield, Arcadi Oliveres, Jose Antonio Martin Pallin.
For interviews contact: Frank 00 447718998695
For pictures click here: http://www.comedia.cat/es/comediateca/tribunal-russell-palestina <http://www.comedia.cat/es/comediateca/tribunal-russell-palestina>
4. Ynet news Monday, March 01, 2010
Phony website counters Israel’s PR campaign
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3856347,00.html
Information Ministry believes Palestinians or radical leftists behind launching of website containing footage of Palestinian casualties, IDF soldiers’ funerals. ‘This site offers a different, more complete picture of the issues at hand,’ homepage reads. Ministry plans to file police complaint 
 Roni Sofer Published:  03.01.10 
 
Israel is fuming over the launching of an anti-Israel website with a name very similar to that of a website recently set up by the Information and Diaspora Ministry. The ministry’s website, which has been criticized for reflecting the right-wing side of the political spectrum, is part of a new campaign aimed at improving Israel’s image abroad.
Foreign journalists have also criticized the Israeli website for they way they are portrayed in it.  The ministry estimates that Palestinian or radical left-wing elements launched the anti-Israel site as a means of countering the Israeli PR campaign. The ministry said it plans to file a police complaint.
The ministry’s website is masbirim.gov.il, while the anti-Israel site is hasbara.co.il.
5. Haaretz Monday, March 01, 2010
Last update – 07:32 01/03/2010    
No country would accept Netanyahu’s conditions for peace
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1153031.html
By Akiva Eldar 
The decision to add the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb to the list of historical heritage sites up for renovation was not made with the intention of inflaming tempers and sabotaging efforts to revive final-status talks with the Palestinians. It was merely a routine move by a rightist government, further proof that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “two states” speech at Bar-Ilan University was a milestone on the road to nowhere.
The only difference between “the rock of our existence” that launched the Western Wall tunnel violence in 1996 and the 2010 model is that this time Netanyahu is wearing a mask, trying to pass himself off as peace activist Uri Avnery, with the generous help of Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
The prime minister, as we all know, simply can’t wait for renewed final-status talks to get underway, but Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refuses to back down and is setting “conditions that predetermine the outcome of the negotiations,” as Netanyahu told Haaretz a week ago. Indeed, the Palestinians have made their participation in indirect talks conditional on, in part, a construction freeze during the talks in West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem.
They have the audacity to claim that it is Netanyahu’s demand to expand settlements during negotiations along with the assertion of Jewish ownership over sensitive sites which are the conditions that predetermine the outcome of the talks. The Palestinian demand for a total freeze on settlement construction, including that required for natural population growth, is not, in Netanyahu’s words “a condition that no country would accept.” Israel accepted that condition in the road map seven years ago. In an article in the journal of the Israel Council on Foreign Relations in December 2009, Prof. Ruth Lapidoth, recipient of the 2006 Israel Prize for Legal Studies, and Dr. Ofra Friesel write that the Netanyahu government is obligated by the road map, which was ratified by the Sharon government.
A former legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry, Lapidoth stresses that the 14 remarks (not reservations, as they are usually termed) that Israel appended have no legal validity. And since the U.S. government promised no more than to relate “fully and seriously” to these remarks, they don’t have any diplomatic validity, either.
Netanyahu argues that Sharon reached an oral agreement with George W. Bush that the construction freeze would not apply to the “settlement blocs” and that the United States would take into account natural-growth requirements. The prime minister therefore expects the Palestinians to honor not only formal agreements to which they were a party, but also informal understandings reached behind their backs between Israel and America.
Yet when the Palestinians demand an acknowledgment of understandings they reached with the Olmert government on a number of final-status principles, Netanyahu says this is a “precondition that predetermines the outcome of negotiations.” The prime minister also contemptuously rejects the Palestinian demand that the talks be resumed where they were halted in December 2008. He is not prepared to even listen to the parameters for a final-status agreement proposed by Bill Clinton in December 2000.
Netanyahu insists he has the right to start negotiations from square one, ignoring every agreement already reached with the Palestinians. He has even forgotten the Wye River Memorandum of 1998, under which he undertook, in Clinton’s presence, to transfer 13 percent of Area C to the Palestinians.
Netanyahu sticks only to those clauses in the interim agreement (Oslo 2) that removed responsibility for the Palestinians’ welfare from Israel’s hands and left Israel in control of Area C (60 percent of the West Bank). And of course, Netanyahu is totally committed to those clauses that require the Palestinians to combat terrorist infrastructure and incitement and refrain from asking the United Nations to condemn the injustices of the occupation.
Netanyahu is setting conditions for negotiations that no country would accept. His opposition to a settlement freeze and his refusal to resume talks where they left off expose his Bar-Ilan declarations as a cunning diversionary tactic. As his chief spokesman, President Shimon Peres, is wont to declare, “You have to tell the people the truth.” The dismal truth is that, behind the mask, Netanyahu is still the same old Bibi. 
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