A rare portrait of legendary turkish singer Selda, famous in the west for her 70s recordings but who continued a mysterious career in the past decades. After weeks of negotiations, we convinced her to play live and solo for the first time in 10 years. Here’s this little wander on the magnificent Bodrum Peninsula, Mediterranean Sea.
Demonstrations of tens of thousands of people have been held all over Europe in support of the Palestinian people in recent weeks. Here in London, national demonstrations have been held every weekend
[…] There is one crucial factor that the Palestine solidarity movement must take heed of. Its very success or failure depends on it. In everything we do, we must take our leads, cues and directions from Palestinians themselves.
This does not mean finding some token Palestinian to advance agendas we have already decided on. No: Mahmoud Abbas, Israel’s West Bank puppet, is a Palestinian, but does not speak for the people.
The principle of a Palestinian-led movement is crucial. We must listen to what Palestinians want. We must be constantly self-critical, and we need to continuously and consistently challenge white supremacy and privilege.
I think the movement has improved in recent years in terms of making sure Palestinian voices are heard more. But we need to do much better. Our speaking panels need more Palestinians and Arabs: there is certainly no shortage of young, articulate and extremely bright Palestinian activists, writers and thinkers who are in the West, often as students, journalists and academics. The leftist publisher Verso this year published a “Nakba Day reading list” – which initially did not include a single Palestinian author (they later revised it after receiving criticism on Twitter).
I would say that the main factor that has changed the movement for the better in the last decade has been the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
In 2005, BDS graduated from a good idea and solidified into a concrete call for action – a platform of defined action, signed onto by a vast array of groups within Palestine itself and within the Palestinian diaspora. Most importantly, this document was initiated and is still maintained by Palestinians themselves.
As such, the political demands behind the BDS call were clear, and rooted the long-standing priorities of the Palestinian liberation movement itself: an end to Israeli occupation, full equality for all, and the return of all Palestinian refugee expelled from Palestine.
The articulation of these strong, easily understandable, and just goals has been critical, and it has been the main reason for the slow and steady growth of the BDS movement ever since. It is this growth, achieved by Palestinians themselves, that is the crucial background in understanding the huge current protests in favour of the Palestinian people, and against Israeli war crimes.
It’s worth listening carefully when Netanyahu speaks to the Israeli people. What is going on in Palestine today is not really about Hamas. It is not about rockets. It is not about “human shields” or terrorism or tunnels. It is about Israel’s permanent control over Palestinian land and Palestinian lives. That is what Netanyahu is really saying, and that is what he now admits he has “always” talked about. It is about an unswerving, decades-long Israeli policy of denying Palestine self-determination, freedom, and sovereignty.
What Israel is doing in Gaza now is collective punishment. It is punishment for Gaza’s refusal to be a docile ghetto. It is punishment for the gall of Palestinians in unifying, and of Hamas and other factions in responding to Israel’s siege and its provocations with resistance, armed or otherwise, after Israel repeatedly reacted to unarmed protest with crushing force. Despite years of ceasefires and truces, the siege of Gaza has never been lifted.
As Netanyahu’s own words show, however, Israel will accept nothing short of the acquiescence of Palestinians to their own subordination. It will accept only a Palestinian “state” that is stripped of all the attributes of a real state: control over security, borders, airspace, maritime limits, contiguity, and, therefore, sovereignty. The twenty-three-year charade of the “peace process” has shown that this is all Israel is offering, with the full approval of Washington. Whenever the Palestinians have resisted that pathetic fate (as any nation would), Israel has punished them for their insolence. This is not new.
In the past seven or more years, Israel has besieged, tormented, and regularly attacked the Gaza Strip. The pretexts change: they elected Hamas; they refused to be docile; they refused to recognize Israel; they fired rockets; they built tunnels to circumvent the siege; and on and on. But each pretext is a red herring, because the truth of ghettos—what happens when you imprison 1.8 million people in a hundred and forty square miles, about a third of the area of New York City, with no control of borders, almost no access to the sea for fishermen (three out of the twenty kilometres allowed by the Oslo accords), no real way in or out, and with drones buzzing overhead night and day—is that, eventually, the ghetto will fight back. It was true in Soweto and Belfast, and it is true in Gaza. We might not like Hamas or some of its methods, but that is not the same as accepting the proposition that Palestinians should supinely accept the denial of their right to exist as a free people in their ancestral homeland.
This is precisely why the United States’ support of current Israeli policy is folly. Peace was achieved in Northern Ireland and in South Africa because the United States and the world realized that they had to put pressure on the stronger party, holding it accountable and ending its impunity. Northern Ireland and South Africa are far from perfect examples, but it is worth remembering that, to achieve a just outcome, it was necessary for the United States to deal with groups like the Irish Republican Army and the African National Congress, which engaged in guerrilla war and even terrorism. That was the only way to embark on a road toward true peace and reconciliation. The case of Palestine is not fundamentally different.
Instead, the United States puts its thumb on the scales in favor of the stronger party. In this surreal, upside-down vision of the world, it almost seems as if it is the Israelis who are occupied by the Palestinians, and not the other way around. In this skewed universe, the inmates of an open-air prison are besieging a nuclear-armed power with one of the most sophisticated militaries in the world.
Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University and the editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies, and was an adviser to the Palestinian delegation at the Madrid-Washington Palestinian-Israeli negotiations of 1991-93.
Five Latin American countries withdraw envoys from Israel
August 1, 2014
The decision of the Latin American countries to recall their ambassadors in Tel Aviv is a “deep disappointment”, says Israel.
El Salvador on Wednesday became the fifth Latin American country to withdraw its ambassador from Israel in protest at Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.
Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru have already recalled their ambassadors.
Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said that the move encourages Hamas; “this decision encourages Hamas which has been recognized as a terrorist organization by several countries. The countries standing against terror must act responsibly and should not reward them. While Hamas has been responsible for hindering a ceasfire, El Salvador, Peru and Chile were expected to support international attitude for peace and demilitarization of Gaza”, the statement said.
Earlier Israel criticized Brazil over its decision to recall its ambassador in protest at Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.
Brazil was one of 29 countries in the UN Human Rights Council that voted last Wednesday to investigate Israel over its military offensive in Gaza.
During a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping on July 17, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said her country was “profoundly concerned by the dramatic events” in Gaza.
The Palestinian death toll from a devastating Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip rose to 1283, according to a Gaza Health Ministry spokesman.
According to the spokesman, at least 7170 Palestinians have also been injured in the ongoing Israeli attacks since July 7.
viva Latin America
We’re tired of war. I, for one, have had enough of bloodshed, death and destruction. But I also can no longer tolerate the return to a deeply unjust status quo. I can no longer agree to live in this open-air prison. We can no longer tolerate to be treated as sub-humans, deprived of our most basic human rights. We are trapped here, trapped between two deaths: death by Israeli bombs and missiles, and death by Israel’s blockade of Gaza.
—Mohammed Suliman, Palestinian human rights worker in Gaza, "From Gaza: I would rather die in dignity than agree to living in an open-air prison" (via fotojournalismus)