Thursday, August 21, 2014

First Dog on the Moon: On Frontier Wars, Settler colonialism and resistance

Dear friends,
as I have mentioned before one of the reasons I became active in the Palestine solidarity activism is because of my own personal history - I saw the similarities between the Indigenous struggle of the Palestinian people and the struggle of Indigenous Australians.  Coming from a family of mixed heritage (my mother is Aboriginal and my father comes from a mixed European background), my first engagement with political activism was around Aboriginal and Indigenous rights and the struggle for land rights and justice in this country.

Aboriginal Australians have been no different from the Palestinians in fighting back against ethnic cleansing and settler-colonisation. Our people carried out an extensive armed resistance to European settler colonialism. This resistance began the moment Cook set foot on Australian soil in 1770 – the Gweagal people attacked Cook’s landing party with spears and woomeras. From that moment on Aboriginal resistance never ceased (for my earlier blogs on this, click here)


This resistance to European settler-colonialism in Australia is known as "The Frontier Wars". The period was largely ignored historically until Australian historian, Henry Reynolds wrote about it in 1981.

Today, First Dog on the Moon (Andrew Marlton), who is an Australian Walkley Award winning political cartoonist and satirist published a cartoon addressing the Frontier Wars in Australia and the hypocrisy of the Australian Abbott government (it should be noted that the Labor govts have also been completely hypocritical in relation to this as well).  The cartoon is very poignant, moving me to to tears.

First Dog's cartoon about the Frontier Wars is not only about the resistance by Aboriginal Australia to European settler-colonialism but it is also about the whitewashing of that history by repeated Australian governments. 

I have been a big fan of First Dog on the Moon for sometime.  Recently, during the assault on Gaza, First Dog also published a cartoon ridiculing the Israeli government's propaganda about its settler-colonial attacks and war crimes in Gaza.  I posted a copy of the cartoon on my Red Butterfly Effect blog (click here) but I will also post it again below.
 


First Dog's (Andrew Marlton's) cartoons appear regularly in The Guardian.

First Dog on the Moon also has his own website, which you can check out here.

in solidarity, Kim
**


THERE ARE NO MONUMENTS, NO MEMORIALS ...

This cartoon first appeared in The Guardian’s online edition on 22 August, 2014

 



MEANWHILE IN GAZA...

This cartoon first appeared in The Guardian’s online edition on 21 July, 2014



Melbourne Community Protest and Picket against Israeli war profiteer, Elbit Systems

Dear friends,
after the inspiring action by activists in Melbourne against Israeli war profiteer, Elbit Systems (see my previous post), a community protest and picket is being organised for October. Please find the details below.

in solidarity, Kim



Note from Kim: On Blogging and Posts

Dear friends,
just a quick post to let you know that my access to the internet for the last week has been extremely limited, as a result I have not been able to post much at to Live from Occupied Palestine. This will unfortunately be the case for the coming week as well. 
 

I will be posting information articles up to the Live from Occupied Palestine Facebook page, when I do have internet access.  However, my posts to the blog will be intermittent during this period but I will endeavour to post when I can.

Things should be back to normal, however, by the end of next week (29/30 August).

Thank you once again for your continued support!

In solidarity, Kim

Friday, August 15, 2014

Melbourne Activists lock down Israeli war profiteer Elbit Systems in protest against Israel's massacre in Gaza

Dear friends,
I have been away from the computer most of the day, so am only now getting to post about the terrific pro-Palestine action which took this morning in Melbourne against war profiteer, Elbit Systems.  Elbit Systems is the Israeli weapons manufacturer whose drones have been used in Gaza to kill hundreds of unarmed and defenseless Palestinian men, women and children. Earlier this week, Israel's Occupation Forces praised Elbit's drones (unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs) "for delivering added operational value in recent combat in Gaza".

According to Bloomberg's financial press, the Israeli based Elbit Systems share price has increase 6.1 percent to $63.01 since Israel began its murderous assault on Gaza, which has resulted in more than 2000 Palestinians killed, the majority (more than 80%) civilians, including almost 470 children.

The action this morning was organised by the Melbourne Palestine Action Group, which is made up of activists from the Whistleblower, Activist and Citzens Alliance and Renegade Activists.  The activists successfully locked down Elbit for approximately 5 hours.

Nina Bassat, the president of The Jewish Community Council of Victoria, ignoring the aggressive mass murder carried out by the Israeli state using Elbit's drones in Gaza, accused the activists of "aggressive behaviour", saying:  “This accentuates the difference between the sides in this conflict. The Jews in our community pray for peace and the Palestinian supporters express aggressive behaviour.”  Bassat comments come as the Zionist community organisations in Victoria and New South Wales prepare to host Israeli Foreign Minister, anti-Arab racist and cheerleader fro Israel's war crimes in Gaza, Avigdor Lieberman, in less than ten days. 

Lieberman has been quoted as saying the devastation caused by Israel in Gaza, which has left almost 250,000 displaced and destroyed 10,000 homes leaving almost 70,000 homeless was a "good thing".  Lieberman in the past has also called for the execution of Palestinian of the Knesset and for genocide to be enacted against the Palestinians.  Melbourne activists from Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid and Students for Palestine are currently organising a peaceful community picket to oppose Lieberman's visit to Australia.

I have included photos taken by members of the MPAG that was posted to twitter and faceook. I have also included a very short video shot by my friend, Jacob Grech, a long time anti-war activist, who is a member of Renegade Activists.

I have included two media reports on the action below. Other media reports on the action (with video) can be accessed here:

Channel 7 (includes video)

Herald Sun (with video from Channel 10)

In solidarity, Kim


video
 Video by Jacob Grech

 


  













*Please note the article below gets the name of the WACA wrong - WACA is the Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance. 

Anti-war activists raid Israeli drone factory

By Asian Correspondent: Aug 15, 2014 

Anti-war activists stormed a factory in Port Melbourne this morning  to protest against the Australian government’s support for Israeli’s war in Gaza. They raided the manufacturing compound which, they said, supplies arms and drones for Israel.

Named the Melbourne Palestine Action Coalition (MPAC), it consists of activists from Whistleblowers Australian Citizens Alliance (WACA)  and renegade activists. The protesters occupied the roof of Elbit Systems and blockaded the front gate.

WACA’s Spokesperson Sam Castro said, “We are here today to call on the Australian Government to end military trade deals with Israel and cancel all domestic contracts with Elbit Systems.”

Anti-war activists occupy the rooftop of Elbit Systems (Photo: WACA)

The activists blasted Elbit Systems as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of unmanned aerial drones used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in their ongoing offensive in Gaza.  It accused the company to have “profited over the month-long attack with their share prices rising by 6.1% in July.”
Elbit is  Israel’s largest military company which sells its drones around the world as ‘field tested’.  According to the group, they have been tested on the Palestinian population under Israel’s illegal military occupation. Elbit provides services and technology to the Israeli army including surveillance equipment and drones.

There is evidence documented by various human rights groups, that drones are used to kill innocent civilians in Gaza. Al Mezan Centre, a Palestinian human rights organization, attributes the killing of more than 1,000 Palestinian in Gaza between 2000-2010 by drones, the group claims.
MPAC also accused the Australian Federal Police of spending $145 million for a computer policing system supplied by Elbit Australia after being tried and tested in the Palestinian Occupied Territories in 2010.

With front gate locked up, the activists scaled the wall of the company, then dropped a nine meter banner, reading ‘Elbit Drones Kill Kids In Gaza #BDS’ – a replication of the Israeli Government’s apartheid wall.

They said Israel’s ability to launch devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world.

The group said it is shocking to know the fact that Melbourne is one of the most livable cities in the world, yet there is a company making drones near the city. Drones that kill women and children are manufactured in the leafy suburb of Port Melbourne, they said.
 By importing and exporting arms to Israel and facilitating the development of Israeli military technology, governments are effectively sending a clear message of approval for Israel’s military aggression, including its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.
The WACA Spokesperson Sam Castro further said, “This is just the beginning of a global campaign to stop the war profiteering of private corporations off the people of Palestine and others around the world.”

**

Pro-Palestine activists arrested over Israeli arms protest in Melbourne

Protesters chanted and unfurled banners at site of company linked to Israeli arms manufacture






Victoria police have arrested seven pro-Palestinian protesters who climbed upon the roof of an Israeli arms manufacturer in Melbourne.

The protesters entered the premises of Elbit Systems at Port Melbourne about 5.30am on Friday, unfurling a banner on the roof that read “Elbit drones kill kids in Gaza #BDS”.

The protesters were heard to chant “free, free Palestine”, while protesters on the ground held a sign that read: “We don’t want your dirty wars”. A fake separation wall, to represent the Israeli-built wall in Gaza, was erected, while four D-locks were placed on the company’s gates.

Victoria police said officers were deployed to monitor about 20 protesters in total, with the seven people on the roof arrested and then released with a court summons for trespass.

Elbit Systems makes a variety of aerospace, land and naval systems for the military. Its Australian division is primarily focused on the Australian Defence Force (ADF) but pro-Palestinian groups say the wider company is linked to the manufacture of drones used in the Gaza conflict.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) praised Elbit’s technology during its recent incursion into the Gaza strip, which has left more than 1,600 Palestinians dead. The company’s Skylark unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, have been described as a “real asset” by the IDF due to their ability to gather intelligence on targets for the military.

Sam Castro, of the Melbourne Palestine Action Group, a coalition of three groups behind the protest, said Elbit will be continually targeted by protesters.
“This draws attention to the fact the Australian government has complicity in the killing of children in Gaza by allowing a war profiteer to operate in our city,” she told Guardian Australia.

“This is a private company making money out of death machinery which is killing children in Gaza. We are linking up with protesters around the world to keep targeting Elbit because it is not welcome in our country.”

Elbit had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication. Nina Bassat, the president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria told JWire the protest “accentuates the difference between the sides in this conflict. The Jews in our community pray for peace and the Palestinian supporters express aggressive behaviour.”

Castro said the protesters were committed to non-violence and that the Jewish community “doesn’t realise the Israeli government has gone rogue”.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Israel's destruction of the Islamic University of Gaza - eyewitness photos

Dear friends, 
these photos are taken by my dear friend Dr Mosheer Aamer, who teaches linguistics at the Islamic University in Gaza.  The photos are of the destruction of his office and the humanities faculty at the university.

Writing about the photographs, Mosheer explained:
My University office, or what remains of it, as a result of an Israeli F16 missile that hit the University's Administration building; the Faculty of Arts area was completely obliterated. This savagery must stop.
When I spoke to him about the photos, he told me that as horrible as the photos are, "seeing things on the ground this morning was even more horrendous; you just wonder what on earth would make them target an Arts Faculty that is home to languages, journalism and history departments?"

As I have noted on previous post, Israel regularly targets Palestinian academic institutions. Prior to carry out its assault on Gaza, Israel carried out three weeks of illegal collective punishment of the Palestinian residents of the Occupied West Bank. This included carrying out sweeping attacks on Palestinian educational facilities and the right of Palestinians to education.  Israel repeatedly raided Palestinian universities, including Birzeit University near Ramallah and the Arab American University in Jenin. In Bethlehem, Israeli Occupation Forces used the main plaza of Ahliya University as a holding ground for blindfolded Palestinian who had been arrested during raids on Dheisha refugee camp, while at Al Quds University, Occupation Forces open fire with teargas and raided the offices.

While the University Presidents of many American universities were outspoken against the adoption of support for the Palestinian BDS campaign by the American Studies Association, they have been silent about Israel's attacks on the right of Palestinian students to education.  Similarly, the Australian Abbott government and a variety of university chancellors have preferred to turn a blind eye to Israel's repeated undermining of the Palestinian right to education and have opposed the Palestinian BDS campaign.


To see my earlier post on the West Bank raids, click here.
 
Israel's deliberate targeting of Palestinian academic institutions in both the Occupied West Bank and in Gaza, demonstrates once again the importance of supporting the Palestinian BDS campaign, in particular the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.


Mosheer has recently joined twitter and you can follow him: @MosheerAamer

In solidarity, Kim


***













Gaza still strangled by Israeli blockade

Dear friends,

please find below my lastest article on Gaza, published by Red Flag.

In solidarity, Kim 

**

Gaza still strangled by Israeli blockade






A three-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came to an end on 8 August after Israel refused to lift its illegal siege and blockade of Gaza. Almost 2 million Palestinians remain captive inside the biggest open-air prison in the world.

Israel’s month-long assault on Gaza left more than 1,870 people dead, including 1,380 civilians – among them were 430 children. In addition, 10,000 Palestinians were injured, including almost 2,900 children.

The numbers for both the dead and injured are expected to rise as bodies are excavated from the rubble of the towns and cities destroyed by Israel and with the resumption of the Zionist state’s assault on Gaza. In the hours following the collapse of the ceasefire, Israel carried out at least 47 airstrikes, killing five people, including at least one child.

Israel began its murderous assault on 8 July, after three weeks of illegal collective punishment against the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, in the wake of the 12 June kidnapping and murder of three teenage Israeli settlers. At the time of the kidnappings, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Hamas. It was later revealed that the Netanyahu government knew that the three settlers were dead almost immediately and that Hamas was not involved in ordering their kidnapping. 

On 25 July, BBC journalist Jon Donnison reported via Twitter that he had been informed by Israeli police spokesperson Mickey Rosenfeld that the teenage settlers had been killed by a “lone cell” that was affiliated to Hamas “but not operating under the leadership”. However, Netanyahu used the kidnapping to escalate Israel’s attacks in order to undermine the newly established Palestinian unity government. 

Israel carried out indiscriminate attacks against the largely defenceless civilian population. It targeted civilian infrastructure including houses, hospitals and schools. More than 520,000 Palestinians were displaced, more than 10,000 houses were destroyed, and more than 65,000 people were made homeless. According to the United Nations Refugee Works Agency, Israel also carried out strikes against at least six UN schools housing thousands of displaced Gazans, despite being given the precise locations of the schools. In fact, the Israeli military was advised on 33 occasions of one school’s location and 17 times of another’s. It still bombed them. 

Amnesty International issued a statement on 7 August saying that there was growing evidence that Israel had deliberately targeted medical workers and facilities. At least 19 ambulances and aid workers were killed as they attempted to rescue the wounded and collect the dead, while 49 doctors, nurses and paramedics, along with 33 other aid workers, were injured. Five hospitals and 34 medical clinics were either destroyed or damaged and forced to close. 

The targeting of civilians or civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals/medical centres and civilian housing, is a war crime. 

Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment has also resulted in the widespread destruction of essential infrastructure, including water and sanitation networks, electricity supply lines and Gaza’s only power plant. At least 130 factories have been destroyed, including ones producing essential medicines.
Israel’s constant bombardment has also devastated the agricultural harvest, which has provided the imprisoned Palestinian population with staples such as potatoes, tomatoes, olives and other vegetables and fruits. In June, the UN reported that 57 percent of Gazan households were already suffering from food insecurity as a result of Israel’s illegal blockade. 

The first waves of humanitarian assistance arrived in early August. However, no matter how much assistance Gaza receives, the root cause of the humanitarian disaster there continues. Israel’s eight-year blockade had already brought Gaza to the brink of a humanitarian crisis. There was very little drinking water and dwindling fuel supplies, which are needed to run generators for hospitals, schools and homes. There were limited power supplies due to Israel’s repeated attacks on Gaza’s only power plant. 

In the last six years, Israel has carried out three major attacks on Gaza, repeatedly destroying houses, hospitals and schools and killing hundreds of Palestinians. 

Israel has made clear that its tactic is to afflict Gaza with ruin and devastation in order to achieve its goal of complete Palestinian capitulation and acquiescence in the illegal occupation and apartheid regime. This was confirmed on 5 August, when Israeli government spokesperson Ofer Gendelman told Palestinian news agency Ma’an that Israel would agree to the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip only in exchange for the Palestinian resistance disarming. 

As long as Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and blockade continues, it will be impossible to rebuild Gaza and overcome the humanitarian disaster that the Zionist state has caused. The demand by the Palestinian resistance for the lifting of the siege is a basic humanitarian demand, which should not be up for negotiation but instead implemented immediately.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

B'TSELEM: 251 people from 36 families killed by Israel in Gaza

Dear friends,
Israel human rights group, B'Tselem have documented the killing of 251 people from 36 families by the Israeli military in Gaza. Below is a screen shot of their infographic, for full details please visit their website here

According to B'Tselem, "the families were killed in 36 incidents where civilian homes were bombed or shelled. In these incidents, 251 people were killed, including 55 women, 114 minors, and 11 people over the age of 60". 

B'Tselem notes the figure of 36 families is only an initial investigation figure, indicating that the number will most likely and sadly rise.


In solidarity, Kim 

**

Families bombed at home, Gaza, July 2014 (initial figures)


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Israeli propaganda, social media and mainstream reporting from Gaza

Dear friends,
Please find below a reprint of a fairly long article from Israel's Haaretz newspaper discussing the reportage of the international media in Gaza. Over the last four weeks, the world has been exposed to the horrors of what Israel is doing in Gaza via the reports by journalists on the ground in Gaza, as well as via their social media posts and tweets in real time, along with the social media posts/tweets by Palestinian citizen journalists.  

As a range of commentators have noted, for the first time, Israel's military assault on Gaza is being reported in real time via social media, with twitter being a key platform for this.This has meant that the Israeli government and military, which regularly imposes gag orders on both the Israeli media and international media in relation to its military actions, has not been able to control or shape the media in the way it has done previously.  

It has resulted in Israeli government officials throwing tantrums and accusing international media of being Hamas dupes and/or acquiescene to Hamas.  However, Israeli journalist Ansel Pfeffer interviews a range of international journalists who state categorically that this was not the case, that in fact Hamas was no where to be seen as they were to busy fighting against Israel to spend their time trying to supposedly censor the Western media.  

This, however, not stopped the Netanyahu and his government trying to spin it that this is what happened in order to try and white wash Israel's murderous rampage in Gaza.  The Israeli Occupation Forces (IDF) have already announced that they have put together a team to deflect the accusations of war crimes. We can expect over coming weeks more spin from the Netanyahu government as it tries to not only discredit the images and reports coming out of Gaza about its war crimes, but we can also expect more blatant attempts to whitewash these war crimes.

I have also included below two videos examining the issue of social media and reporting from Gaza.  One is short report from Channel 4's Paul Mason and the other an Al Jazeera panel discussion, which includes Palestine solidarity activist, writer and researcher Ben White.

In solidarity, Kim




Channel 4 News Report on social media - 3 mins



Al Jazeera discussion panel - 25 minutes


Foreign press: Hamas didn't censor us in Gaza, they were nowhere to be found

Reporters who covered Operation Protective Edge in Gaza dismiss Israeli accusations of giving Hamas an easy ride.

By | Aug. 8, 2014 | 9:25 PM | 9





Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Aug. 6, 2014, news conference in Jerusalem regarding Hamas firing rockets into Israel. Photo by AP Photo/Jim Hollander Pool
 



On Wednesday night Benjamin Netanyahu briefed the foreign press, summing up four weeks of warfare in Gaza. “Now that the members of the press are leaving Gaza and are no longer subjected to Hamas restrictions and intimidation,” he said,” I expect we will see even more documentation of Hamas terrorists hiding behind the civilian population, exploiting civilian targets. I think it’s very important for the truth to come out.” 

The prime minister’s voice betrayed no rancor but his words masked a deep frustration in his office over what one adviser called “a conspiracy of silence” by the foreign correspondents reporting from Gaza for the past month. “They have remained silent over how no one digs too deep into the Hamas side or into how they use civilians as human shields,” the adviser said. “That’s how they get an opportunity to cover Gaza, and it creates an imbalanced picture, which is bad for Israel. We should be trying to expose that.” 

Netanyahu’s expectations have yet to be fulfilled. Of the 710 foreign journalists who crossed into Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, only a handful have claimed they were intimidated by Hamas or produced hitherto unpublished footage of rockets being fired from civilian areas, such as the pictures filmed by Indian channel NDTV, which were shown at the Netanyahu briefing. Maybe such footage will still emerge — all the foreign correspondents interviewed for this piece insisted that it doesn’t exist, and not because they wouldn’t have liked to obtain such pictures. 

“It’s a phony controversy,” said one reporter who spent three weeks in Gaza and, like most who were interviewed, asked to remain anonymous. “This is a post-facto attempt to claim the media’s biased and Netanyahu [is] therefore infallibly right." 

Elusive Rockets
But how could Hamas and other Palestinian organizations launch 2,657 rockets and mortar shells from Gaza, Israeli officials ask, and only NDTV reporter Sreenivasan Jain captured a launcher on film? Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor says he can’t believe “how veteran war photographers couldn’t capture even one launch team, a single Hamas fighter on a barricade, the kind of exclusive photo they routinely risk their neck for.” 

“What nonsense,” says one senior correspondent based in Israel. “The fact that NDTV succeeded proves nothing; it was an almost unbelievable opportunity. There are places which are just too dangerous and a photographer has to first protect himself.” 

“I didn’t see a rocket at point of launch,” says one European photographer who left Gaza a few days ago, “but I did see a lot in the air, and those pictures were published. If I had a chance I would have photographed launchers, but they were well hidden. Israel, with all its sensors and drones, didn’t find them all.” 

“You couldn’t tell exactly where a rocket was being launched from,” says an American reporter. ”Often they were hundreds of yards away, although you could hear the launch and see the contrails. We didn’t hesitate to mention the general area in our reports, but that didn’t necessarily add much.” 

“There are always some gung-ho photojournalists who would go to any front line, no matter how dangerous,” says Anne Barnard, the New York Times Beirut bureau chief, who spent two weeks reporting from Gaza. “But that requires essentially an informal embed with the militants, to even be able to locate them without getting caught in crossfire on the way. Our team in Gaza noted frequently in stories that Hamas operates in urban areas and from farm fields. We mentioned witnessing specific rocket launches in numerous stories, witnessing the rocket going up from some distance away, that is. But in two weeks I never saw a rocket crew; for obvious reasons, to avoid getting a hit by Israeli strikes, they try not to be seen.” 

Missing in Action
The elusive rocket launchers are only one detail in the Israeli criticism. Where were the Hamas attackers throughout the operation? Why are pictures of uniformed and armed fighters totally absent from the coverage? 

“I described the few Hamas fighters I saw in my pieces,” says one veteran war reporter, “but there were so few of them. It reminded me a lot of Lebanon in 2006, where you didn’t really see Hezbollah fighters even right at the border. Except for one chance encounter with a mortar team who looked embarrassed to be spotted. It was the same in Iraq, too, in the 2003 insurgency. Most of the time the fighters were invisible and dangerous.” 

Reporter after reporter returning from Gaza has spoken of how, with the notable exception of spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas fighters melted away during the warfare, even abandoning their regular checkpoint at the entrance to the Strip from Erez, so no one was checking the journalists’ passports. 

“Members of the political wing could only very occasionally be found or talked to,“ says Barnard. “This was frustrating because, of course, there are many questions they should be asked, not just to respond to Israeli allegations but to evaluate their performance on their own terms and those of Palestinians in Gaza: Are their strategy and tactics effective? Do they believe they have popular support for their conduct of the conflict and the decisions they made? How do they respond to people who complain that they went into hiding and left ordinary people who had no choice about the fact that their neighbor was in Hamas to be targets?” 

The New York Times came in for specific criticism from pro-Israel advocates who focused on the seeming failure of its star photographer, Tyler Hicks, to capture any militants in his camera lens.
“Tyler saw some guys come out of a hole in the side of a building in Shujaiyeh during the brief cease-fire on July 20,” recalls Barnard. “They were without guns but making gestures to say no photos. I put that in the story. Tyler also took pictures of at least one Hamas member being buried, but again funerals were harder to access than usual because they were held quickly and without much fanfare and [with] few mourners because of the danger. You could understand why they stayed out of sight: Israel appeared to be defining Hamas targets very broadly, to include any member of the Hamas administered police, government, etc. They may have felt that they would be targets, and so would the reporters they were talking to. We certainly were concerned about that ourselves.” 

“There’s been a lot of talk about Hamas preventing us from seeing them,” says another correspondent with extensive experience in covering Middle East wars. “But the fact is that the areas they were fighting in were just too dangerous. If I had tried to report from Shujaiyeh during the fighting, I would probably have got killed. Hamas isn’t a regular army: When they leave the fighting areas, they don’t wear uniforms or carry guns.” 

None of this impresses the Foreign Ministry’s Palmor. “The fact remains [that] we didn’t see anywhere pictures of fighters carrying weapons or launching rockets. There were humanitarian cease-fires when they were free to walk around without being attacked. Why didn’t they try to photo them then? I don’t think anyone was in Hamas’s pay. That’s why the question mark is so large. We know Hamas were trying very hard to hide, not just for their security but for propaganda purposes. We have heard of reporters who said they weren’t allowed near fighters and were threatened. But this is the A-Team of the war-reporting profession. How did Hamas succeed so completely?” 

Press Freedom
This is perhaps the biggest bone of contention that Israeli spokesmen have with the foreign media corps: Why won’t they acknowledge they were being pressured and monitored by Hamas? All but a few journalists deny there was any such pressure. 

“I wasn’t intimidated at any point,” says one seasoned war reporter. “I didn’t feel Hamas were a threat to my welfare any more than Israeli bombings. I’m aware some people had problems, but nothing beyond what you would expect covering a conflict. Hamas’s levels of intimidation weren’t any worse than what you occasionally experience at the hands of the IDF, which didn’t allow access to fighting for most of the conflict either. As a rule no armed forces permit you to broadcast militarily sensitive information.” 

If anything, most reporters are complaining that Hamas seemed to make little effort to engage with the media. “How could there be Hamas censorship if there was no Hamas to be seen?” says one exasperated reporter. 

“The American military, and many others including Israel, imposes limits on embedded reporters under which you cannot reveal troop movements, weapons locations and other info that could compromise ‘operational security,’” says another experienced correspondent. “There was no such official restriction from Hamas because there was no embed and almost no contact. Hamas did not complain about anything to anyone on our team.” 

In a few cases, journalists who tweeted on their personal Twitter accounts about seeing rockets launched from specific areas deleted the tweets after other Twitter users complained. Most of these complaints seem to have come, though, from local residents who were worried that they would lead to Israeli strikes. “I heard that Hamas officials made inquiries about a reporter who tweeted about rocket launches,” says one journalist, “but it seemed they were asking to see if she was really a reporter and not a spy.” 

In another case, a number of reporters have said off the record that Hamas officials summoned one photographer and warned him that they would confiscate his camera if he didn’t delete a certain picture. There are also reports of fighters brandishing rifles to prevent photographers from taking their picture, but all the reporters insist these were isolated cases. 

“Look, no one is claiming for one moment that Hamas is an enlightened organization that believes in freedom of the press,” says one reporter who has been visiting Gaza for years. “I don’t think I have to mention that fact in every report I make. But at least over the last month, they were simply too busy fighting to bother themselves very much with the media.” 

Government officials are convinced that the great majority of foreign journalists are simply too embarrassed to admit that they worked under Hamas monitoring. “It’s clear that they were being intimidated and had to face abnormal pressure,” says one spokesman. “We know of specific cases in which they were harassed and menaced.” 

“I can’t really judge them,” says another senior press official. “It is extremely difficult with Hamas in your hotel lobby and in the corridor.” 

Asymmetric Journalism
“Israel wants reporters to write about the conflict as it conceived it, as a security problem framed by the IDF,” says one reporter with 30 years experience in hot spots worldwide. “Most journalists chose to report it from the point of view of [the] humanitarian impact of conflict, which is what war reporters actually usually do. They’re not writing like defense correspondents. I personally chose not to speak to Hamas mouthpieces because I hold Hamas propaganda in as much contempt as that of Netanyahu.” 

“In all conflicts, reporters are loathe to ‘serve’ either side by revealing information that could lead to a specific strike in real time,” says the New York Times’s Barnard. “Even information that could be seen as having led to a specific strike.
  
"First of all, that could endanger all reporters by making them be seen as spies. But beyond that, we are observers, not participants. We don’t want to be the reason that, say, a bomb was dropped. What if it killed a bystander? So let’s say I had seen a rocket launch from a specific building in Gaza, which I did not, I would not have reported it in real time, by my own choice. For one thing I wouldn’t want the return strike to come while I was standing there. That said, I also assume the Israeli military has better ways than reporters’ tweets to know where rockets are launched from. But I would, and did, report launches that we saw, in stories a few hours later.” 

“Much of the criticism from the government, and groups monitoring the [coverage,] is from people who don’t understand the real role of the media. They just want to see which side ‘wins’ in each report,” says a another journalist in Gaza. “Our job isn’t to give out points, and this isn’t a game. The great majority of our readers simply rely on us to explain what is happening here.” 

But Israeli spokesmen find it hard to accept such a view of the reporters’ role in Gaza. “Their entire objective seems to be to supply pictures of dead babies and blood,” says one. “Not context.” Another spokesman echoes him, saying that “when it gets down to pictures of dead children, then Israel can’t win because we don’t have any. That’s the fact of life.” 

Many reporters, especially those belonging to large news organizations that had reporters and teams on both sides of the conflict, dispute these claims.  

“There’s an asymmetry here, not just in the warfare but also in the coverage,” says one bureau chief. “You can’t cover an organized army and a guerrilla group in the same way, and it’s pointless to try. You have to find the correct proportions in each report and news package, and I believe we did a good job of that.” 

Not all the Israeli officials share the criticism. Nitzan Chen, director-general of the Government Press Office, says that “you can’t judge the correspondents without having been in their place. At the end of the day they also have families and want to get home in one piece. Their job isn’t to do [PR] for Israel; they don’t work for us. All in all, I think the coverage was relatively balanced.” 

On the other side are some correspondents who accept at least a bit of the Israeli criticism. 

“Looking back, I should have at least tried to report a bit more about the Hamas fighters and still plan to,” says one reporter still in Gaza. 

“There was just so much work around the civilian casualties and the destruction that it swamped us. Going to home after destroyed home, where multiple family members were killed, was just too shocking, even for those who had covered Syria. The civilian angle took up nearly all the attention, but the Hamas angle should have got more coverage, especially the fact [that] they were fighting with so much greater tenacity and discipline than in 2009 and, to judge by the Israeli strikes, had hidden weapons in private homes and mosques. That should have been covered better, but there was just so much death all around.”

Melbourne joins Global Day of Rage for Gaza - 9 August 2014

Dear friends,
as Israel resumed its murderous bombardment of Gaza, hundreds of thousands around the world prepared to join the Global Day of Rage for Gaza on Saturday, 9 August.  Melbourne joined the Day of Rage, holding it fifth demonstration in support of the people of Gaza in as many weeks. More than 1000 people joined the rally. 

After hearing speakers at the State Library of Victoria, the protest marched through the Melbourne CBD up to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) office.  At DFAT, protesters posted up the names of the Gaza dead on the windows and walls of the building to highlight not only Israel's brutality in Gaza but to also highlight the complicity of the Australian Abbott government which has continued to support Israel and its "right to self-defense", massacre the largely defenseless population of Gaza who have been locked in an open air prison for the last 8 years.  


The protest organised by the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid and Students for Palestine called on the Australian Abbott government to break all ties with apartheid Israel and call on the Australian public and all people of conscience to support the Palestinian initiated Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

The next Melbourne event in support of Palestine is a public meeting: After Israel's massacre in Gaza: Why you should boycott apartheid Israel

You can check out photos from earlier Melbourne rallies here (1 Aug), here (26 July), here (19 July) and here (12 July).  Also you can view a roundup of Australian rallies from the weekend of 19th & 20th July here.

In solidarity, Kim

**
Gaza Calling: All out on Saturday 9 August Day of Rage
Join the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Movement today. Demand Sanctions on Israel Now.
As we face the full might of Israel’s military arsenal, funded and supplied by the United States and European Union, we call on civil society and people of conscience throughout the world to pressure governments to sanction Israel and implement a comprehensive arms embargo immediately.
Take to the streets on Saturday 9 August with a united demand for sanctions on Israel.
From Gaza under invasion, bombardment, and continuing siege, the horror is beyond words.  Medical supplies are exhausted. The death toll has reached 1813 killed (398 children, 207 women, 74 elderly) and 9370 injured (2744 children, 1750 women, 343 elderly). Our hospitals, ambulances, and medical staff are all under attack while on duty. Doctors and paramedics are being killed while evacuating the dead. Our dead are not numbers and statistics to be recounted; they are loved ones, family and friends.
While we have to survive this onslaught, you certainly have the power to help end it the same way you helped overcome Apartheid and other crimes against humanity. Israel is only able to carry out this attack with the unwavering support of governments – this support must end.
This is our third massacre in six years. When not being slaughtered, we remain under siege, an illegal collective punishment of the entire population. Fishermen are shot and killed if they stray beyond a 3 km limit imposed unilaterally by Israel. Farmers are shot harvesting their crops within a border area imposed unilaterally by Israel.  Gaza has become the largest open-air prison, a concentration camp since 2006. This time, we want an end to this unprecedented crime against humanity committed with the complicity and support of your own governments!
We are not asking for charity. We are demanding solidarity, because we know that until Israel is isolated and sanctioned, these horrors will be repeated.
Take action this Saturday
  1. Make boycotts, divestments and sanctions the main message at every protest around the world. Take banners and placards calling for sanction on Israel to every protest. Tweet them using the hashtag #GazaDayofRage. Email us your pictures and action details to GazaDayofRage@gmail.com.
  2. While news of all the mass protests outside Israel’s embassies around the world have given us hope, after weeks of protests, we urge you to intensify your actions. Occupy Israeli embassies, challenge Israeli officials (and others) supporting the current aggression against Gaza whenever they appear in public and stage sit-in in government buildings.
  3. Boycott all Israeli products and take action against corporations profiting from Israel’s system of colonialism, occupation and apartheid. March to boycott targets in your city and educate the public about companies complicit in Israel’s ongoing military assault and illegal siege of Gaza.
  4.  Palestinian trade unions are calling on our brothers and sisters in the trade union movement internationally to stop handling goods imported from or exported to Israel. The trade union movement has a proud history of direct action against Apartheid in South Africa, the Congress of South African Trade Unions has joined us in the call for direct action to end Israel’s impunity.
From occupied and besieged Gaza
Signed by
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
General Union of Palestinian Women
University Teachers’ Association in Palestine
Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (Umbrella for 133 orgs)
Medical Democratic Assembly
General Union of Palestine Workers
General Union for Health Services Workers
General Union for Public Services Workers
General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers
General Union for Agricultural Workers
Union of Women’s Work Committees
Pal-Cinema (Palestine Cinema Forum)
Youth Herak Movement
Union of Women’s Struggle Committees
Union of Synergies—Women Unit
Union of Palestinian Women Committees
Women’s Studies Society
Working Woman’s Society
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
Gaza BDS Working Group
One Democratic State Group
- See more at: http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/gaza-calling-all-out-on-saturday-9-august-day-of-rage-12423#sthash.M3O2tCyb.dpuf
Gaza Calling: All out on Saturday 9 August Day of Rage
Join the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Movement today. Demand Sanctions on Israel Now.
As we face the full might of Israel’s military arsenal, funded and supplied by the United States and European Union, we call on civil society and people of conscience throughout the world to pressure governments to sanction Israel and implement a comprehensive arms embargo immediately.
Take to the streets on Saturday 9 August with a united demand for sanctions on Israel.
From Gaza under invasion, bombardment, and continuing siege, the horror is beyond words.  Medical supplies are exhausted. The death toll has reached 1813 killed (398 children, 207 women, 74 elderly) and 9370 injured (2744 children, 1750 women, 343 elderly). Our hospitals, ambulances, and medical staff are all under attack while on duty. Doctors and paramedics are being killed while evacuating the dead. Our dead are not numbers and statistics to be recounted; they are loved ones, family and friends.
While we have to survive this onslaught, you certainly have the power to help end it the same way you helped overcome Apartheid and other crimes against humanity. Israel is only able to carry out this attack with the unwavering support of governments – this support must end.
This is our third massacre in six years. When not being slaughtered, we remain under siege, an illegal collective punishment of the entire population. Fishermen are shot and killed if they stray beyond a 3 km limit imposed unilaterally by Israel. Farmers are shot harvesting their crops within a border area imposed unilaterally by Israel.  Gaza has become the largest open-air prison, a concentration camp since 2006. This time, we want an end to this unprecedented crime against humanity committed with the complicity and support of your own governments!
We are not asking for charity. We are demanding solidarity, because we know that until Israel is isolated and sanctioned, these horrors will be repeated.
Take action this Saturday
  1. Make boycotts, divestments and sanctions the main message at every protest around the world. Take banners and placards calling for sanction on Israel to every protest. Tweet them using the hashtag #GazaDayofRage. Email us your pictures and action details to GazaDayofRage@gmail.com.
  2. While news of all the mass protests outside Israel’s embassies around the world have given us hope, after weeks of protests, we urge you to intensify your actions. Occupy Israeli embassies, challenge Israeli officials (and others) supporting the current aggression against Gaza whenever they appear in public and stage sit-in in government buildings.
  3. Boycott all Israeli products and take action against corporations profiting from Israel’s system of colonialism, occupation and apartheid. March to boycott targets in your city and educate the public about companies complicit in Israel’s ongoing military assault and illegal siege of Gaza.
  4.  Palestinian trade unions are calling on our brothers and sisters in the trade union movement internationally to stop handling goods imported from or exported to Israel. The trade union movement has a proud history of direct action against Apartheid in South Africa, the Congress of South African Trade Unions has joined us in the call for direct action to end Israel’s impunity.
From occupied and besieged Gaza
Signed by
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
General Union of Palestinian Women
University Teachers’ Association in Palestine
Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (Umbrella for 133 orgs)
Medical Democratic Assembly
General Union of Palestine Workers
General Union for Health Services Workers
General Union for Public Services Workers
General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers
General Union for Agricultural Workers
Union of Women’s Work Committees
Pal-Cinema (Palestine Cinema Forum)
Youth Herak Movement
Union of Women’s Struggle Committees
Union of Synergies—Women Unit
Union of Palestinian Women Committees
Women’s Studies Society
Working Woman’s Society
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
Gaza BDS Working Group
One Democratic State Group
- See more at: http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/gaza-calling-all-out-on-saturday-9-august-day-of-rage-12423#sthash.M3O2tCyb.dpuf
Join the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Movement today. Demand Sanctions on Israel Now.
As we face the full might of Israel’s military arsenal, funded and supplied by the United States and European Union, we call on civil society and people of conscience throughout the world to pressure governments to sanction Israel and implement a comprehensive arms embargo immediately.
Take to the streets on Saturday 9 August with a united demand for sanctions on Israel.
From Gaza under invasion, bombardment, and continuing siege, the horror is beyond words.  Medical supplies are exhausted. The death toll has reached 1813 killed (398 children, 207 women, 74 elderly) and 9370 injured (2744 children, 1750 women, 343 elderly). Our hospitals, ambulances, and medical staff are all under attack while on duty. Doctors and paramedics are being killed while evacuating the dead. Our dead are not numbers and statistics to be recounted; they are loved ones, family and friends.
While we have to survive this onslaught, you certainly have the power to help end it the same way you helped overcome Apartheid and other crimes against humanity. Israel is only able to carry out this attack with the unwavering support of governments – this support must end.
This is our third massacre in six years. When not being slaughtered, we remain under siege, an illegal collective punishment of the entire population. Fishermen are shot and killed if they stray beyond a 3 km limit imposed unilaterally by Israel. Farmers are shot harvesting their crops within a border area imposed unilaterally by Israel.  Gaza has become the largest open-air prison, a concentration camp since 2006. This time, we want an end to this unprecedented crime against humanity committed with the complicity and support of your own governments!
We are not asking for charity. We are demanding solidarity, because we know that until Israel is isolated and sanctioned, these horrors will be repeated.
Take action this Saturday
  1. Make boycotts, divestments and sanctions the main message at every protest around the world. Take banners and placards calling for sanction on Israel to every protest. Tweet them using the hashtag #GazaDayofRage. Email us your pictures and action details.
  2. While news of all the mass protests outside Israel’s embassies around the world have given us hope, after weeks of protests, we urge you to intensify your actions. Occupy Israeli embassies, challenge Israeli officials (and others) supporting the current aggression against Gaza whenever they appear in public and stage sit-in in government buildings.
  3. Boycott all Israeli products and take action against corporations profiting from Israel’s system of colonialism, occupation and apartheid. March to boycott targets in your city and educate the public about companies complicit in Israel’s ongoing military assault and illegal siege of Gaza.
  4.  Palestinian trade unions are calling on our brothers and sisters in the trade union movement internationally to stop handling goods imported from or exported to Israel. The trade union movement has a proud history of direct action against Apartheid in South Africa, the Congress of South African Trade Unions has joined us in the call for direct action to end Israel’s impunity.
From occupied and besieged Gaza

Signed by: Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, General Union of Palestinian Women, University Teachers’ Association in Palestine, Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (Umbrella for 133 orgs), Medical Democratic Assembly, General Union of Palestine Workers, General Union for Health Services Workers, General Union for Public Services Workers, General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers, General Union for Agricultural Workers, Union of Women’s Work Committees, Pal-Cinema (Palestine Cinema Forum), Youth Herak Movement, Union of Women’s Struggle Committees, Union of Synergies—Women Unit, Union of Palestinian Women Committees,Women’s Studies Society, Working Woman’s Society, Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel, Gaza BDS Working Group, One Democratic State Group.
Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions National Committee (BNC)
BNC includesCouncil of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), Palestinian National Institute for NGOs, Global Palestine Right of Return Coalition, Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS), Federation of Independent Trade Unions, General Union of Palestinian Workers, Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, General Union of Palestinian Women, Union of Palestinian Farmers, General Union of Palestinian Teachers, General Union of Palestinian Writers, Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE), Union of Professional Associations, General Union of Palestinian Peasants, Union of Public Employees in Palestine-Civil Sector, Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (STW), National Committee for Grassroots Resistance, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba, Civic Coalition for the Defense of Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, Coalition for Jerusalem, Union of Palestinian Charitable Organizations, Palestinian Economic Monitor, Union of Youth Activity Centers-Palestine Refugee Camps, Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Initiative

**
All photos by Kim Bullimore, unless indicated otherwise (other photos by Emerson Tung).






Palestinian speaker, Nasser Mashni from Australians for Palestine speak the importance of solidarity with Palestine and the Palestinian BDS campaign.


Cuban activist, Aili Labinino, daughter of Ramon Labinino, one of the "Cuban Five" political prisoners jailed by the USA gives solidarity greetings to Palestine and conveys her father's solidarity message from prison. with Palestine.  The Cuban Five are five Cuban men who are unjustly imprisoned in 1998, falsely accused by the US government of committing espionage conspiracy against the USA.   The Cuban Five are Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González.

Trade Unionist, Cecilia Judge from the Australian Services Union speaks on union support for Palestine.



Long time, anti-war activist, Jacob Grech speaks on arms traders and dealers and the Australian government's complicity with Israeli arms traders.

 Above: Photo by Emerson Tung
 Israeli and Jewish activists oppose Israel's massacre in Gaza.  Photo by Emerson Tung

Heba from Federation of Australian Muslim Students and Youth leading a chant at the rally

Greens MP, Adam Bandt speak in solidarity with Palestine.


Mai Saif, Palestinian activist from Students for Palestine calls for continued solidarity with Palestine

Dr Rick Kuhn, from the Canberra based Jews against the Occupation condemns Israel's occupation and apartheid regime and calls for support for the Palestinian BDS campaign.

Protest takes to the street to march to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) 

 Above:Photo by Emerson Tung






Above: Photo by Emerson Tung




Arriving at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to protest Australia's support for Israel and to call on the Australian Abbott government to break ties with apartheid Israel.


Outside DFAT

Posting the names of the Gaza dead on the windows/walls of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Demanding the Australian government breaks all ties with apartheid Israel.

Posting the names of the Gaza dead on the windows/walls of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Demanding the Australian government breaks all ties with apartheid Israel. 


Posting the names of the Gaza dead on the windows/walls of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
 

Posting the names of the Gaza dead on the windows/walls of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

Rally outside of the DFAT building 

Posting the names of the Gaza dead on the windows/walls of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

Posting the names of the Gaza dead on the windows/walls of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

Posting the names of the Gaza dead on the windows/walls of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Demanding the Australian government breaks all ties with apartheid Israel. 

Posting the names of the Gaza dead on the windows/walls of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Demanding the Australian government breaks all ties with apartheid Israel.