In three days of fighting 18 Palestinians have been killed and dozens injured, while two Israelis have been wounded.
We ask bloggers to take a single day out of their schedule and focus it on an important issue. By doing so on the same day, the blogging community effectively changes the conversation on the web and focuses audiences around the globe on that issue. ~ Blog Action Day Website
For the past 3 years, every October 15th, Blog Action Day has been marked by tens of thousands of bloggers, discussing the same issue. From the environment, to poverty, to this year’s theme of water, Blog Action Day is a perfect fit for PULSE, which never fails to make the connection between these “social issues” and the politics driving them, 365 days of the year.
To all of us at PULSE that follow world events (or rather “the money”, or rather “the power”) it’s very evident that water, being the very essence of basic needs for sustaining life, becomes a cynical tool, leveraged by the powerful, in order to oppress, control and often kill off whole populations of human beings deemed meaningless.
On October the 15th PULSE will dedicate itself to the issue of water, and we invite all our blogging readers to do the same.
Patrick Bond, South Africa’s leading analyst and author of a number of excellent books on the country’s post-Apartheid neoliberal transformation, reports about rising class polarisation and the prospect of mass social unrest in the wake of the global economic recession.
(Durban, 28 June 2009) — With high-volume class strife heard in the rumbling of wage demands and the friction of township “service delivery protests”, rhetorical and real conflicts are bursting open in every nook and cranny of South Africa.
The big splits in society are clearer now. The 2005-09 dispute within the ruling African National Congress (ANC) between camps allied to former president Thabo Mbeki and President Jacob Zuma has resolved itself largely in Zuma’s favour.
Today marks the second anniversary of the criminal siege of Gaza. Here is a statement signed by over 40 NGOs, humanitarian and UN organizations denouncing Israel’s blockade:
We, United Nations and non-governmental humanitarian organisations, express deepening concern over Israel’s continued blockade of the Gaza Strip which has now been in force for two years.
These indiscriminate sanctions are affecting the entire 1.5 million population of Gaza and ordinary women, children and the elderly are the first victims.
The amount of goods allowed into Gaza under the blockade is one quarter of the pre- blockade flow. Eight out of every ten truckloads contains food but even that is restricted to a mere 18 food items. Seedlings and calves are not allowed so Gaza’s farmers cannot make up the nutritional shortfall. Even clothes and shoes, toys and school books are routinely prohibited.
For those who refuse to accept the brutal reality on the ground, the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa has produced a new detailed legal report which confirms “that Israel is practicing both colonialism and apartheid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).” The study was commissioned to “test the hypothesis posed by Professor John Dugard in the report he presented to the UN Human Rights Council in January 2007, in his capacity as UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the OPT:
Israel is clearly in military occupation of the OPT. At the same time, elements of the occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law. What are the legal consequences of a regime of prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid for the occupied people, the Occupying Power and third States?
On the specific question of colonialism the report unambiguously states that:
“Five issues, which are unlawful in themselves, taken together make it evident that Israel’s rule in the OPT has assumed such a colonial character: namely, violations of the territorial integrity of occupied territory; depriving the population of occupied territory of the capacity for selfgovernance; integrating the economy of occupied territory into that of the occupant; breaching the principle of permanent sovereignty over natural resources in relation to the occupied territory; and denying the population of occupied territory the right freely to express, develop and practice its culture” (pp. 15-16). Furthermore, “Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem is manifestly an act based on colonial intent” (ibid.).
Concerning the charge of apartheid, the report states:
By examining Israel’s practices in the light of Article 2 of the Apartheid Convention, this study concludes that Israel has introduced a system of apartheid in the OPT (p. 17)
The Anti-Defamation League and the Israel advocacy group “Stand With Us” are leading an aggressive, direct campaign to pressure UCSB administrators and faculty to investigate and discipline Professor of Sociology William I. Robinson for having introduced materials critical of Israel in a course on global affairs. The UCSB academic senate opened an official inquiry alleging “academic misconduct” and “anti-semitism”, following complaints by two students in response to an email Robinson sent out to his class during Israel’s war on Gaza. The email consisted of an article published in the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle by Judith Stone, who had recently returned from the occupied territories (the editor responsible was fired the next day), a photo essay which juxtaposed Nazi atrocities against Jews in WWII and Israeli atrocities against Palestinians in Gaza and the following commentary:
If Martin Luther King, Jr. Were alive on this day of January 19, 2009, there is no doubt that he would be condemning the Israeli aggression against Gaza along with u.s. military and political support for Israeli war crimes, or that he would be standing shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinians. I am forwarding some horrific, parallel images of Nazi atrocities against the Jews and Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians. Perhaps the most frightening are not those providing a graphic depiction of the carnage but that which shows Israeli children writing “with love” on a bomb that will tear apart Palestinian children.
Perhaps dismayed by the cabinet’s decision to reject Lieberman’s ‘loyalty oath’ proposal, Jewish communities in the central Galilee are taking matters into their own hands. Call it grassroots fascism. Jonathan Cook reports:
A community in northern Israel has changed its bylaws to demand that new residents pledge support for “Zionism, Jewish heritage and settlement of the land” in a thinly-veiled attempt to block Arab applicants from gaining admission.
Critics are calling the bylaw, adopted by Manof, home to 170 Jewish families in the Galilee, a local “loyalty oath” similar to a national scheme recently proposed by the far-right party of the government minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Other Jewish communities in the central Galilee — falling under the umbrella of a regional council known as Misgav — are preparing similar bylaws in response to a court petition filed by an Arab couple hoping to build a home in Misgav.
And here’s one more on Obama’s speech in Cairo. Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa Al-Omrani of IPS give an overview of what human rights activists in Cairo think of “the speech no other president could make” as Jonathan Freedland put it in his typically deferential commentary in the Guardian. As opposed to seeing the speech as “sensitive, supple and sophisticated” (Freedland), opposition journalist and reform campaigner Abdel-Halim Kandil argues that “Obama’s visit was a show of support for both the dictatorial Egyptian regime and the criminal policies of Israel regarding the Palestinians…It represents an acknowledgement of Egypt’s role in serving U.S. and Israeli policy objectives, while totally overlooking the regime’s dismal record on human rights and political reform.” For more on this, see Ann’s analysis of the spectrum of responses to the speech posted below.
Egyptian officials are lining up to praise U.S. President Barack Obama’s address to the Islamic world delivered in Cairo Thursday. But local campaigners for political reform say the speech was disappointingly light on the issues of democracy and human rights.
“Obama spoke very briefly and in very general terms on these two subjects,” opposition journalist and reform campaigner Abdel-Halim Kandil told IPS. “Despite the hype, Obama’s speech was little more than an exercise in public relations.”
Nicholas Noe tracks the evolution of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s rhetoric since 2006.
Over the last decade and a half, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Lebanon’s militant Shiite movement Hezbollah, has steadily moved front and center in the often vitriolic (and regularly under-informed) Western debate over the threat that ‘radical Islam’ is said to pose to the world at large.
Now, as Nasrallah appears ready to lead what could be a new majority in the Lebanese Parliament, the steady stream of accusations and threats have, somewhat predictably, turned into a deluge – with Arab states, Arab media and prosecutorial offices far and wide at the forefront of efforts to paint him as public enemy Number One.
A central reason for all the attention in the past, of course, has been that Nasrallah and Hezbollah have managed – for better or worse, depending on your perspective – to inflict a series of increasingly significant setbacks for US and especially Israeli interests: the ignominious, unilateral withdrawal from South Lebanon by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in May 2000, the failure of the Bush administration to vanquish Hezbollah and Syria in one go following the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri, and, of course, the July 2006 war – vigorously encouraged by the Americans and lost by the Israelis.