Gaza talks, Ireland leg, Gaza still in crisis

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Ireland is treating me well!  The talks I’ve given in Kinsale, Cork and Galway, Dublin have been well-attended and well-received, and managing to have lots of random encounters with folks who are willing to engage in discussion on Palestine, even if they aren’t familiar with the facts. It’s these meetings and the positive feedback that inspire me, aside from the Palestinians’ steadfastness:

Thanks very much for your informative and professional talk today at UCC in Cork. I do not know how you kept so calm while presenting those true images without getting angry or breaking down with emotion, especially the ones of the injured and dead children. If I were presenting it, then it would just be too much for me to handle.
I was amazed by the way you would stand up to the soldiers with nothing more than a loud speaker. I would not be brave enough to stand up to them with a gun in my hand. You are truly an outstanding, brave and courageous woman and it was a pleasure to meet you.

-Trevor Lawrance, Cork, Ireland

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Thank you Eva Bartlett for sharing your inside knowledge of Gaza and the suffering of the people with us yesterday evening. You are one inspirational and very brave woman. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I left the Friary …….all night questions and thoughts just kept coming to me. 

–Sally Thelen, Kinsale, Ireland

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Today Eva spoke in UCC and tonight she is speaking in Galway. Eva spoke with passion and knowledge and experience of what she has witnessed and shared many reports and actualities that do not reach us on mainstream censored media. Both adults and young people entered in discourse and left with much more information and hopefully a passion to share and create further awareness and change. Do not miss out on this opportunity to hear direct reports from Eva following Eva’s years of experience living through the atrocities of 2008/9 and 2012.

-Eileen Carr, Dublin, Ireland

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Great to meet you last night Eva. Your commitment to human rights and justice and willingness to put your life on the line is truly inspiring. I know the tour is not about you, but in sharing the human stories from Palestine with audiences to try and mobilise them to take action to support justice. Nevertheless, there are not many people brave enough to stand between Israeli soldiers firing live weapons and Palestinian farmers in Gaza. Some of the Palestinian samud is definetely in your soul. Palestine will be free.

-Hilary Minch, Kinsale, Ireland

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see more feedback here

from Dublin:

This evening in Dublin Eva Bartlett spoke on Gaza to a very focused audience on current and past years in Gaza. There was footage from the 2008/9 massacres and also from 2012, along with the devastating floods of 2013 and the almost impossible existence of the farmers and fishermen. There was interactive discussion that went on for hours afterward whilst people enjoyed refreshments and Palestinian food, having also watched many short documentaries made by the Welcome to Gaza Convoy of 2013 that I took part in.

People commented that their eyes were opened and that they would view the world and world political complicity in the suffering of the people of Gaza very differently now. People wanted to know what they do could to end this devastating destruction of a people and a way of life. This is the purpose of this tour…to highlight the situation not covered by mainstream media and act upon it. The will is there…it needs to be taken up strongly by those who can.

The evening was attended by MEP Emer Costello who will meet with Eva, myself and Martin Quigley in her position as MEP with special interest in Palestine to discuss furthering of the process of Irish and the occupiers relationship. many thanks to all who attended and to the way that we all worked together for a very succesful event. Especially Tigeress Eye (Fatin al Tamimi), Martin Quigley, Kevin Squires, Robby Martin, Kifah Ajamiah and other members of the IPSC.  A young member of the audience, an extremely bright and insightful young man, commented that though he is at the end of his formal secondary schooling that he had been very unaware of this now. He was greatly disturbed that this is the situation. Goodnight all…goodnight Gaza.

-Eileen Carr

In the talks, many people have asked “who will hold Israel accountable for the war crimes its soldiers have committed?” (chemical weapons on Gaza–white phosphorous and depleted uranium; banned weapons on Gaza–DIME and flechette bombs; point-blank assassinations of civilians; daily firing upon farmers and fishers; an inhumane, cruel, sadistic siege which is designed to decimate every aspect of life in Gaza, rendering it unlivable as the UN predicted it would be in 2020 —it already is!). Margaretta D’Arcy, the great Irish anti-war activist, has it right; she’s urging that we not only hold talks and discuss the manufactured poverty and suffering of Palestinians, but that we really mobilize a campaign, strategize, do what our politicians are too spineless, bullied or ignorant to do, and make change. An uphill battle, to be sure, but one we have to commit to.

Mohammed Omar’s latest article on the dire, manufactured misery in Gaza notes:

Palestinians are the only Arab people without a state. We are required to recognize the rights of others to live in safety, freedom and security, but no one recognizes our right to do so. Instead we’re forced to live like caged animals, contained and trapped inside reservations and bantustans, segregated, alienated from our land and heritage, treated as lesser humans, herded by armed guards through crammed, narrow, metal checkpoints. And not just by Israelis, but by Egyptians as well. Not that long ago, Gaza was under Egyptian rule. We’re still the same people—yet we’re disrespected and subjected to endless cold questions and looks of suspicion.
Why is it that some people are treated like animals, while others are deemed human beings worthy of respect? Which humans have the right to determine who is human and who a lesser mortal or animal? Did the world not learn the lessons of the 1930s and 1940s, the danger that comes when race or faith are used to determine an individual’s humanity? How do I explain this to my son or daughter?

see the full article “Some Animals Are More Caged Than Others…But Why? here

UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk noted, in June 2013:

Whether it is fishermen unable to go beyond six nautical miles from the shore, farmers unable to access their land near the Israeli fence, businessmen suffering from severe restrictions on the export of goods, students denied access to education in the West Bank, or patients in need of urgent medical attention refused access to Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank, the destructive designs of blockade have been felt by every single household in Gaza. It is especially felt by Palestinian families separated by the blockade.

The people of Gaza have endured the unendurable and suffered what is insufferable for six years. Israel’s collective punishment of the civilian population in Gaza must end today.

Israel has the responsibility as the Occupying Power to protect the civilian population. But instead of allowing a healthy people and economy to flourish, Israeli authorities have sealed off the Gaza Strip.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared in 2010:

We will not allow the opening of the crossings to Gaza and outside of Gaza to the extent that it will help them bring back life into a completely normal pace.” 

On Nov. 17, 2012, four days into Israel’s eight-day assault on the Gaza Strip, when Israel was again massacring the Palestinians locked within Gaza’s fences and walls, deputy Israeli Prime Minister Eli Yishai publicly called for the Israeli army to “blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages, destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water”.

The following day, Gilad Sharon, son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, called for Israel to “flatten entire neighbourhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing”, adding, “there is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip.” [see full article here]

In terms of the numerous genocidal policies the Israeli authorities enforce on the Palestinians of Gaza, one of the more strikingly sadistic was the starvation diet:

Dov Weisglass, adviser to Ehud Olmert, advised “put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” And so it was. The “health ministry determined that Gazans needed daily an average of 2,279 calories each to avoid malnutrition — requiring 170 trucks a day — military officials then found a host of pretexts to whittle down the trucks to a fraction of the original figure. The reality was that, in this period, an average of only 67 trucks — much less than half of the minimum requirement — entered Gaza daily.

UN staff too have noted that Israel failed to factor in the large quantity of food from each day’s supply of 67 trucks that never actually reached Gaza. That was because Israeli restrictions at the crossings created long delays as food was unloaded, checked and then put on to new trucks. Many items spoiled as they lay in the sun. And on top of this, Israel further adjusted the formula so that the number of trucks carrying nutrient-poor sugar were doubled while the trucks carrying milk, fruit and vegetables were greatly reduced, sometimes by as much as a half.” [see full article:  Israel’s starvation diet for Gaza]

On an even more sombre note (these below incidents wouldn’t be happening if Gaza was allowed normality instead of being forced to use candles and generators because of the siege):

Two toddlers died late Wednesday in a fire in an apartment in Rafah, civil defense officials said.

Malak Fathi Sheikh el-Eid, aged 2, and Ghana Fathi Sheikh el-Eid, one-and-a-half years old, were found dead following the fire.

Four other family members were reported injured.

The fire started when a candle overturned in the apartment, fire fighters said.

Gaza residents often use candles to light their house during frequent power cuts, which can last up to eight hours a day.

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Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, witnesses said.Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces opened fire on dozens of Palestinians who had stormed an area of the buffer zone east of Jabaliya, injuring a 19-year-old in the leg.He was taken to Kamal Adwan hospital with moderate injuries.An Israeli army spokeswoman said there was a gathering of “approximately 150 Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip. Two approached the security fence in a prohibited area and so soldiers called on them to stop. Once they failed to comply, they fired warning shots and then fired at their lower extremities. One hit was identified.”In early March, Israeli forces shot and killed 57-year-old Aminah Qudeih east of Khan Younis when she approached the separation barrier between Israel and the Gaza Strip.The woman’s relatives told AP she was mentally ill, and assumed she wandered toward the border by mistake.Israeli military forces have killed over 60 Palestinians and injured 897 since the resumption of peace negotiations with Israel in July, the Palestine Liberation Organization said this week.
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