January 28, 2011

Will Palestine march?

The tyrant exists only in the imagination of his subjects - Tamim Al-Barghouti

Some of us are witnessing the beginnings of regime change in Tunisia and Egypt. ( I say some of us because the major news channels in the US are not reporting the massive Egyptian uprising) This is not the ‘regime change’ so beloved by our governments working covertly behind their chosen despots and dictators who disenfranchise their own people and keep them in poverty and humiliation. The people on the streets in Egypt and Tunisia are not looking for palaces and wealth. They are marching for the universal values of justice and human rights; the right not to be tortured by their own police; the right to freedom of expression; dignity and the right to choose their own leaders fair and square.

The price of food is rising. An income of $2 a day allows no room for manouvre. All over the world forests and peatlands are being ripped up to provide plantations , not for food, but for fuel to satiate the ever growing demand for energy for industry and 3 car families who will not comprehend their own greed.

$2 dollars a day is the average Egyptian income. In Gaza where there is over 60% unemployment (due to the obliteration of industry by the IDF) there is barely any money at all. The Palestinian Papers have served to highlight the truth we already knew – that the PA was just another western puppet, bought off and toeing the delinquent Zionist line.

Egypt receives the second highest monetary handout, after Israel, from the US. Egypt is the puppet of America and the people will have a hard time effecting change. They know this, and their bravery is all the more remarkable because of it. Without the compliance of Egypt the Palestinians could not be kept under siege, and it is this way because our governments conspire to make it this way. The US conspires with the UN to announce the illegality of settlements, bombings, massacres, siege and destruction, yet ensures that each of these things can happen by funding them all. Nothing is achieved except bloodshed. There was no peace process.

Ordinary citizens are taking to the streets and it is entirely possible that Palestinians, so badly let down by those purporting to represent them, will follow. The 7.6 million Palestinian refugees could march. The door is opening. The borders are creaking. Would Israel massacre 7.6 million people walking peacefully back to their homes, or are the third generation refugees so snug in their cocoon of distant and safe resistance that everything they say they want is not worth the risk to life and limb after all. This may be their only chance. Pubic opinion is on the side of the oppressed.

Israel wants the world to forget that the right of millions of Palestinian refugees to return to the place from which they fled is enshrined in international law. The right of return is a Right. They do not need permission.


  1. The courageous revolt by the people of Tunis against their Western backed dictator have electrified the Arab world in a way not seen in a generation.

    It is against this background of mass protest and heightened calls for democracy and liberalisation and civil rights in Egypt, that the next International Blockade Busting Aid Mission to Gaza will be carried out.

    In this new atmosphere, is it possible that the siege of Gaza can be broken by the International Convoy Movement in away not achieved previously?

    Building materials are specifically prohibited from entering Gaza by the Israelis. And as yet no International Aid Convoy has been able to deliver this form of desperately needed aid. (and definitely not in the volumes required to really make a difference).

    As a Viva Palestina volunteer I was privileged to enter Gaza and witness with my own eyes, the city's desperate need for the banned building materials.

    With the new developments in Egypt could it be possible for the International Convoy Movement to spearhead a wider movement to get such banned industrial cargoes into the city in quantities not envisaged before?

    The Water drilling equipment and pumps needed to replace the bombed agricultural bores, Concrete Trucks and Cranes, Reinforcing Steel and Sewer and Water pipe, and the industrial amounts of Cement and building materials needed to repair urban and rural infrastructure and the big trucks needed to haul it all, across the Sinai desert to Rafah and through the crossing.

    In the new atmosphere is it possible that all this could be done?

    Already the the International Convoy Movement has proven to the world that the siege can be broken.
    The astounding Tunnel Movement also openly defies the siege. The combined power of the Israeli and Egyptian authorities have been powerless to stop the tunnel movement or the convoys, though both the convoys and tunnels have been violently attacked, like the Tunisian protesters it has not stopped us, as a result the siege is becoming an unenforceable farce.

    We need to appeal to civil agencies, businessmen and contractors, building and construction firms, in Egypt and the wider world, to invite them to take advantage of the growing breach in the siege of Gaza, inviting them to enter with us under our international umbrella in the next convoy. And under the umbrella of our provenly successful International Convoy Movement deliver industrial construction materials and equipment in meaningful quantities, as we again break through the illegal siege of Gaza.

    In appealing to civil society, we need to be honest and explain to the heads of businesses and other civil organisations that despite our proven history of success in breaking the siege, there are still risks, and losses are still possible, but
    eventually the siege will be broken permanently, and those business people and civil organisations who dared to be the first to enter Gaza under the umbrella of the International Aid Movement will be the best well placed to take advantage of the re-construction building boom that has been artificially frozen in time by the illegal blockade.

    It is well past time to reinvigorate this beautiful city and turn it back to its rightful historic place as a wealthy centre of Mediterranean trade and commerce and tourism.

    This plan may be less ambitious than an envisaged mass march of the millions of refugees through Egyptian territory back to their home land as suggested in this post. But, is in my opinion a realisable and necessary first step to a the natural and free movement of goods and people.

    For such a mission to succeed The International Convoy Movement will need to do an outreach for institutional
    support, from mosques and churches, unions and other civil organisations as well as business.

    Could such an outreach to wider civil society be organised before the next International Convoy?

    Does the International Convoy Movement have the necessary links to civil society to take this next step?

  2. The situation in Egypt is very fluid.

    Though it really does seem Mubarak is on the ropes, with his family already being sent out of the country

    It seems that the army are posing as saviours of the crisis.

    But rather than a military coup it seems more like an orderly handover of power with Mubarak appointing top military leaders to run the country before he leaves to join his family.

    According to Al Jazeera interviews and eyewitness reports, the police are completely missing from the streets and in public. There have been criticisms of the police for the looting, as the looting and other lawlessness that has occurred is seen as a result of the withdrawl of the police.

    The police are considered loyal to the Mubarak regime, and it has been surmised that they have been ordered off the streets by the army.

    What ever the reason, the police's complete absence has been remarked by many eyewitnesses and commentators.

    The Egyptian army has filled the vacuum, tanks and soldiers are on the main roads and in the squares of every city.

    So far there have been no reported violent clashes between the army and the protesters. This is in sharp contrast to the violence and fatal shootings dished out to the protesters by the police forces.

    There have been active efforts by the protesters to fraternise with the soldiers. (some of the front line tanks carry prominent anti-Mubarak graffiti.)

    There has also been reports that a number of political prisoners have been released from prison, mostly government opposition members of the Islamic Brotherhood.

    Sunday morning is the start of the business week, but most stores are reportedly staying closed.

    Protests were again called for today, using the social networking sites, and the internet. Though the operation of the internet has been severely curtailed, at least one internet provider company has not heeded the government ban on operating. As well as this using satelite phones Egyptians have been able to access the international world wide web to post their messages and organise the protest rallies.

    Al Jazeera had cameras mounted at the entrance to the main square in Cairo where protesters were reported to be planning to gather. The cameras showed that entry to the square was through a cordon of tanks and soldiers.

    However witnesses say that arriving protesters are not being prevented by the military from entering and gathering in the square. The only condition is that they must agree to be searched by soldiers before they are allowed to enter to prove that the carry no arms.

    Al Jazeera reports that armed police have been joining the protesters and posing as looters. It is surmised that the army cordon and body search for weapons is to prevent this happening again.

    (When armed looters and vandals attacked Egypt's cultural treasures in the Cairo museum protesters formed a human chain around the building to protect it.)

    In other news there have been reports of massive Egyptian military movements in the Sinai (bordering Gaza).

    Possibly related to this; Press TV reporting from inside Gaza has said that fuel supplies have dried up, due to a cessation in the operation of the tunnels which supply the majority of fuel to the territory.

    What does all this mean?

    No doubt the peaceful transition of power from Mubarak and his forces to the army would be the best solution as far as the West and Israel are concerned.

    On the other hand the fraternisation that is occurring between the protesters and the army on the streets might make it very hard for the army high command just to take over and operate in the same old way as Mubarak and his cronies. The army may not be able to crack down as hard on the pro democracy protesters as the police forces have, but I think that they will tighten the siege on Gaza to keep their Western backers happy. After all the Egyptian military is the main benefactor of the multi $billion aid given by the US to Egypt.

  3. Tunnels vs. Tunnels?

    Are the Palestinians being being sacrificed in a power play by the Egyptian Military?

    On Sunday it was reported that the Egyptian military was crossing tanks into the Sinai under the Suez canal in special military tunnels built by Egypt to move military forces to the north to defend themselves from an Israeli incursion.

    There were also preliminary reports of shortages of fuel in Gaza, most of which is smuggled in through the tunnels. Though the cause of the shortages was not was at the time not reported.

    Since my previous then, events have shown that it was not the possibility of an the Israeli incursion that the Egyptian army was mobilising against.

    Instead, in co-ordination with the Israeli military, it has been reported that the Egyptian army has launched a pre-emptive surprise attack on the Bedouin communities close to the Gaza border, killing 12 Bedou.

    With all the upheaval in Egypt, what has prompted the Egyptian military leaders to order this attack, at this time?

    As has been known for a long time, the nomadic Bedouin tribes people of the Sinai desert have been in charge of the Egyptian side of the tunnels built to defy the Israeli illegal siege of Gaza.

    This is not news.

    So why has the Egyptian army decided to attack them now?

    Are the Egyptian military leaders trying to seek approval from the US and Israel for a military dictatorship to seize power in Egypt?

    The tunnels under the Suez and the tunnels under the Northern border were both dug to defy Israeli racist invasion and occupation. If the Egyptian army is using one set of tunnels against the other, it is a perversion of the original purpose they were dug.

  4. From the Guardian:

    "White House warns $1.5bn aid to Egypt could be withdrawn"


    Is this the reason for Sunday's attack on the Bedouin tunnellers by the Egyptian military?

    "But Obama, while pressing for political reform, held back from a call for legitimate elections amid fears in the US and among its allies in other parts of the Middle East, including Israel and Jordan, of political power shifting to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
    Instead, the White House appears to be looking for reform that will keep the present power structure in place. But it has added to the pressure on Mubarak by saying it is reviewing its $1.5bn (£946m) in annual aid to Egypt, most of it (to the) military."

    The bulk of this $1.5bn in aid money, as is well known, is given to the Egyptian army by the the American White House on the condition that Egypt stays allied with the state of Israel and in particular actively helps Israel imprison and starve the Palestinians in the Gaza enclave.

    In the light of the White House's threat to withdraw this funding, is the unprecedented show of strength on Sunday by the Egyptian military against the Bedouin tunnellers at the height of the protests against the Mubarak regime, an attempt to display to the Americans that the Egypt Military high command want to keep this flow of blood money coming?