Archive for the ‘people power’ Category

Left Forms New Coalition for 2010 Elections

April 21, 2009

A new coalition has been formed to counter the dirty and traditional politics in the country. It has pledged to advance the politics of change and promote a ‘pro-people’ platform for the 2010 elections.

BY RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat

Progressive party-list groups, people’s organizations, individuals and personalities formed the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan or People’s Patriotic Coalition), Thursday, April 16 at the Bahay ng Alumni, University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City.

In his speech, House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna (People First) Rep. Satur Ocampo said Makabayan’s primary objective is to advance the politics of change. “Sa esensiya, ang politika ng pagbabago ay naglalayong wakasan at palitan ang reaksyunaryong politika ng status quo na siyang pumipigil sa pag-unlad ng lipunang Pilipino” (In essence, the politics of change aims to put an end to and replace the reactionary politics of the status quo that hinders the progress of Philippine society.)

Ocampo, Mariano Speak During Launching of Makabayan Watch the video

Ocampo said the same politics of change was advanced by Partido ng Bayan (People’s Party) in 1987 and has been advanced by Bayan Muna since 2001.

Ocampo said that while the progressive party-list groups in Congress have achieved victories in the last three elections, the space provided for them remains narrow. “Kung magpapakasya tayo roon, mananatili tayong maliit na minorya sa bilang,” (If we limit ourselves to this, we will remain a minority in number.) he told the audience.

Through Makabayan, Ocampo said, more progressive candidates will run for municipal and even national positions.

Ocampo added that Makabayan will work with local leaders who have stood up against dirty and traditional politics. He cited Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio and Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca. “Naghahanap sila ng mga kapanalig…upang isulong ang kilusang pagbabago.” (They are looking for partners …to advance the movement for change.)

Ocampo also said that Makabayan’s politics of change is in harmony with Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno’s moral force. Makabayan, Ocampo said, aims to provide a channel for transformational leaders being sought for by the Chief Justice.

Makabayan’s general platform for the 2010 elections includes fighting for people empowerment, transparency and accountability in governance, uplifting the lives of the poor, developing a strong and self-reliant domestic economy, a more equitable distribution of wealth, saving the environment, defending the country’s sovereignty, upholding human rights and pursuing a just and lasting peace.

In his speech, Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) Rep. Rafael Mariano described Makabayan as“isang koalisyong nakatuntong at nagsusulong sa mga mithiin, tagumpay at kalakasan ng kilusan ng mamamayan at ng kanilang partidong pampulitika” (a coalition that is founded on and advances the aspirations, victories and strengths of the people’s movement and their political parties).

Candidates for Senate

In a press conference, Makabayan co-chairperson and economist Maita Gomez declared the coalition’s support for at least four candidates for the Senate.

“As of now, we are proposing at least four possible candidates for the Senate. (They are) public officials with clean track records in government and a long history of leadership and public service. Patuloy silang pinagkakatiwalaan ng masa dahil itinataguyod nila ang pulitika ng masa,” (They continue to enjoy the trust of the masses because they advance the politics of the masses.) Gomez said.

Gomez revealed the initial four as Ocampo, Reps. Liza Maza (Gabriela Women’s Party), Mariano, and Teodoro Casiño (Bayan Muna).

Ocampo said the coalition is still scouting for other possible candidates who are willing to embrace Makabayan’s patriotic and pro-people orientation.

New party list groups

Ocampo also announced the formation of two new party-list groups under Makabayan – the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Party-List and the Confederation for the Unity, Advancement and Recognition of Government Employees (Courage) Party-List.

In an interview, Courage President Ferdinand Gaite said it is high time that government employees have representation in Congress. While Gaite recognized the support of progressive party-list groups in advancing the interest and welfare of government employees, he said it would be better if government employees themselves articulate their own sentiments.

Genuine representation in Congress, Gaite said, will echo the demands of the sector including the P3,000 ($62.93 at the current exchange rate of $1=P47.67) salary increase, security of tenure, right to union/association and the like. “We will also help in articulating the nationalist demands of the people such as the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and opposition to Charter change,” Gaite said.

Courage has 300,000 members in 200 unions nationwide

‘Strongest opposition force’

In a taped message, Jose Maria Sison, speaking as chairperson of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), said, “Makabayan is a formidable combination of patriotic and pro-people forces in comparison to the fractious state of the traditional political opposition. Even at this very moment, it can be described as the strongest opposition force in terms of being the most principled instrument of the people, having the most cogent patriotic and progressive platform, gathering the most dedicated and most active volunteers in the service of the people and enjoying the strongest and most reliable mass base on a nationwide scale.”

In her solidarity message, Sen. Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal, said, “Ang tunay na pagbabago ay magmumula sa tunay na progresibo” (Genuine change will come from genuine progressive leaders.)

She said formation of Makabayan was the “first time a real nationalist coalition” will exist in the country. “This is the only party that is willing to die for their philosophy.”

Former House Speaker Jose de Venecia and wife Gina, Senators Mar Roxas and Francis Pangilinan, Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, and film director Joel Lamangan also delivered their solidarity messages.

Former Sen. Leticia Ramos-Shahani, lawyers Harry Roque, Evalyn Ursua, Renato Constantino, Jr., National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera,, Reps. Teofisto Guingona III (Bukidnon), Rodolfo Plaza (Agusan del Sur), Del de Guzman (Marikina City), Matias Defensor (Quezon City), Abigail Binay (Makati City), former Ambassador Roy Seneres and wife Minerva, former beauty queen Maria Isabel Lopez, Marichu Maceda, Quezon City Vice Mayor Herbert Bautista, former and incumbent municipal and city officials from different cities and provinces attended the assembly.

Challenges

Maza said that the coalition is ready to oppose all moves to change the 1987 Constitution. “We vow to prosecute Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and top Arroyo officials for plunder and corruption, human rights abuses and other crimes committed under her administration,” she said.

Mariano said Makabayan will be aggressive and strong in the face of big challenges and responsibilities.

In her speech, Maza recalled the political persecution the progressive party lists have gone through, “Maraming hagupit ang hinarap. Walang nagawa ang estado sa tatag ng ating prinsipyo, sa kasigasigan ng ating mga kasama at kaibigan” (We confronted persecution. The state failed to destroy the steadfastness of our principles and the determination of our colleagues and allies.)

“Dinukot, pinatay ang ating kasapian ngunit hindi tayo umatras” (Our members were abducted and killed but we never wavered.)Maza added.

In his message, Sison said, “The electoral form of struggle can be a major part of the movement to arouse, organize and mobilize the people to achieve immediate basic reforms or the ultimate aim of social revolution. There is no error of electoralism or parliamentarism when there is no foreclosing of other forms of struggle that the people have the sovereign right to adopt and wage. There is also no error of reformism when there is no pontification that the struggle for reforms is the sole option of the people.”

Mariano said, “Mahigpit itong tatangan sa mayamang karanasan ng masang nakikibaka at mga nakamit na maniningning na tagumpay” (Makabayan will firmly hold on to the rich experience of the struggling masses and to their glorious victories.)(Bulatlat.com)

Tunay na reporma sa lupa: hindi suntok sa buwan

February 6, 2009

Ilang-Ilang D. Quijano

Desididong ipagtagumpay ang laban para sa tunay na repormang agraryo. (Ilang-Ilang Quijano)

Rali ng mga magsasaka noong Enero 20: Desididong ipagtagumpay ang laban para sa tunay na repormang agraryo. (Ilang-Ilang Quijano)

HINDI miminsang tinanong si Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano kung seryoso sila sa pagtutulak na isabatas ang House Bill 3059 o Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB).

Dahil sa umano’y kabiguan ng Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) na ipamahagi ang mga lupain ng bansa sa mga magsasaka, idinisenyo ang GARB ng progresibong mga party-list kasama ng militanteng mga samahang magsasaka. Inihain nila sa Kongreso, noong 2007, ang panukalang batas na umano’y “kumakatawan sa di-kumukupas na adhikain para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa.”

Noong Hunyo 2008, nagtapos ang CARP. Sinimulan ng gobyernong Aquino 20 taon na ang nakakaraan para tugunan ang demokratikong panawagan ng kilusang masang nagpatalsik sa diktadura, nagtapos ito nang nananatiling konsentrado pa rin ang mga lupain ng bansa sa kamay ng iilang panginoong-maylupa.

Marami sa mga panginoong maylupang ito, matatagpuan mismo sa loob ng Kongreso, gaya ng mga Arroyo na malalawak ang lupain sa Negros Occidental. Kaya naman nang mapresyur ang mga kongresista na palawigin ang CARP na kapos pa sa target nitong mga lupaing dapat ipamahagi, ipinasa nila ang Joint Resolution 19 o anim na buwang ekstensiyon ng programa.(Basahin ang kaugnay na artikulo)

Inulan ng batikos ang Joint Resolution 19 dahil tinanggal sa CARP ang complusory land acquisition o sapilitang pagbawi ng lupa, at ginawa na lamang itong boluntaryo. Hindi rin maaaring amyendahan ang batas ng isang resolusyon lamang. Kalaunan, ibinasura na rin ng Kongreso ang House Bill 4077 o CARP Extension With Reforms na itinutulak naman ng ilan.

Pero hindi na lamang hahayaan ng mga magsasaka na tuluyang makalimutan ang kanilang problema sa kawalan ng lupa. Ngayong “patay na” ang huwad na CARP, ayon kay Rep. Mariano, panahon nang maipakilala ang GARB na isang radikal na programa para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa.

“Seryoso, pursigido, at ubos-kaya” nila itong itutulak na maisabatas, tawagin mang suntok sa buwan ng karamihan.

Layunin ng GARB

Matayog ang mga layunin ng GARB. Kabilang rito ang pagbasag sa monopolyo sa lupa ng iilang panginoong maylupa at dayuhang kompanya; pagwasak ng piyudal at mala-piyudal na pagsasamantala sa kanayunan; pairalin ang mga kooperatiba para sa pagpapataas ng produktibidad ng benepisyaryong magsasaka; at paunlarin ang agrikultura ng bansa bilang salalayan ng pambansang industriyalisasyon.

Sa GARB, ipapamahagi nang libre ang lahat ng mga lupaing agrikultural ng bansa sa mga magsasaka. Ito umano ang pinakamalaking pagkakaiba nito sa CARP, na maraming mga eksempsiyon na nagagamit ng mga panginoong maylupa at negosyante para patuloy na kontrolin ang mga lupain at agawin ang mga ito sa mga magsasaka.

Saklaw ng GARB ang mga pribadong lupain gaya ng malalaking asyenda, plantasyon ng mga korporasyong transnasyunal, lupaing pang-aquaculture, at mga lupaing nakatiwangwang. Saklaw din nito ang mga pampublikong lupain gaya ng mga lupaing idineklara ng gobyerno para sa gamit komersiyal, residensyal, at industriyal, reserbasyong militar, eryang panturismo, lupaing mineral, at special economic zones.

Wala rin sa GARB ang mga iskemang alternatibo gaya ng stock distribution option, leaseback, joint venture, corporative scheme, at farm management contract na mayroon ang CARP at ginamit para hadlangan ang aktuwal na pamamahagi ng lupa sa mga magsasaka. Sa ilalim ng GARB, hindi rin pagbabayarin ang mga magsasaka ng amortisasyon sa lupa, na sa ilalim ng CARP ay naging dahilan para mabawi ito sa kanila.

GARB, inaasam-asam

Inaasam-asam ng 72-anyos na si Rufina Nolasco ng Brgy. Balibag, Calatagan, Batangas, ang araw na mapapasakanilang muli ang lupain na sinaka ng kanila pang mga ninuno. Kasama si Nanay Rufina, tagapangulo ng Samahan ng Ugnayan ng Mangingisda at Magsasaka sa Calatagan, sa mga magsasakang bumiyahe sa Maynila para sa kilos-protesta noong Enero 22.

Ginunita ng mga magsasaka, sa pangunguna ng Kilusang Magubukid ng Pilipinas, ang ika-22 anibersaryo ng Mendiola Massacre kung saan 13 magsasaka ang namatay sa isang marahas na dispersal sa kilos-protestang nananawagan ng tunay na reporma sa lupa. Kasabay nito, iginiit ng grupo ang pagsasabatas ng GARB.

“Walang kagutuman noong nasa mga tao pa ang lupa,” wika ni Nanay Rufina, na kagaya ng libu-libo pa sa 16 barangay sa Calatagan ay itinaboy sa lupaing binakuran at patuloy na inaangkin ng pamilyang Zobel de Ayala, sa kabila ng dalawang desisyon ng Korte Suprema na pabor sa mga magsasaka. Maya’t maya ang banta ng demolisyon sa kanilang mga tahanan. Iginigiit pa nila maging ang pananatili sa laylayan ng kanilang dating mga sakahan.

Walang naramdamang tunay na reporma sa lupa sa nakaraang 20 taon, aniya. “Ito (GARB) ang tunay na maglilingkod sa mga magsasaka, dahil ipapamahagi nang libre ang lupa. Kaiba sa CARP, na ginagamit lamang para bawiin ang lupa mula sa mga magsasaka,” aniya.

Bunuan sa Kongreso

Noong Enero 21, inikot ng mga lider ng Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) ang mga opisina ng mga kongresista para ikampanya ang GARB. Hindi sila pinansin at tinarayan pa sila ng iba. “Busy ako,” sabi umano sa kanila ni Rep. Elpidio Barzaga ng pangalawang distrito ng Cavite. Ang iba naman, gaya ni Rep. Justin Chipeco ng pangalawang distrito ng Laguna, nagsabing mas pabor siya sa ekstensiyon ng CARP kung ipananatili rito ang compulsory land acquisition.

Pinaunlakan naman sila ni House Speaker Prospero Nograles. Pero hindi siya nangakong susuportahan ang GARB at nagpahayag ng pagkiling sa pagreporma na lamang sa CARP. Sinabihan niya ang mga magsasaka na mag-lobby sa mga miyembro ng House Committee on Agrarian Reform. Pinangungunahan ang komite ni Akbayan Rep. Risa Baraquel Hontiveros, na may-akda namang ng HB 4077. “Kung ano ang committee report, ‘yun ang susuportahan ko,” aniya.

Gayunpaman, bukas umano siya sa debate hinggil sa GARB.

Para kay Rep. Mariano, makarating lamang sa plenaryo ang GARB, malaking tagumpay na para sa mga magsasakang nais ibalik sa pambansang usapin ang pangangailangan para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa, lalo sa gitna ng pandaigdigang krisis pampinansiya.

“Ang pagpapatupad ng tunay na reporma sa lupa ang magiging dahilan at daan sa pagkakaroon ng mas maunlad na agrikultura at mas matatag na pambansang ekonomiya na magiging pansalag sa mga bayo ng pandaigdigang krisis pampinansiya,” ayon sa mambabatas.

Sama-samang pagkilos

Sa pakikipagdiyalogo pa lamang sa mga kongresista at kay Nograles, ramdam na ni Imelda Lacandazo, tagapangulo ng Kasama-TK, na hindi magiging madali ang pakikipagbunuan para maipasa ng Kongreso ang GARB. Pero isa lamang umano ang pagsusulong ng GARB sa mga porma ng malaon nang pakikipaglaban ng mga magsasaka para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa.

“Tuluy-tuloy ang sama-samang pagkilos ng mga magsasaka. Natuto na ang mga magsasaka sa hakbang-hakbang na tunay na reporma sa lupa na sila mismo ang nagpapatupad,” aniya.

Inihalimbawa niya ang 2,800 ektarya sa Brgy. Macabud, Montalban, Rizal na ngayo’y kolektibong sinasaka ng mga magsasaka sa kabila ng tangkang land use conversion o pagpapalit-gamit ng lupa tungo sa golf courses at pabahay na pagmamay-ari ng pamilyang Ayala at Lopez.

Daan-daang magsasaka sa 1,700 ektaryang Hacienda Looc sa Nasugbu, Batangas, ang nakapanatili sa kanilang mga lupain sa kabila ng pagkansela ng kanilang mga Certificate of Land Ownership Award sa ilalim ng CARP at paninibasib ng mga kompanyang nais gamitin ang lupa para sa turismo.

Gayundin, sa Mamburao, Mindoro Occidental, hindi na nagbubuwis ang mga magsasaka sa may-ari ng isang 600-ektaryang lupain. Dati-rati, aabot sa 12 kaban ng palay kada ektarya at 60 porsiyento ng ani sa mangga ang kanilang ibinabayad sa panginoong maylupa na si Rodrigo Quintos.

Samantala, sa Hacienda Luisita ng pamilyang Cojuangco sa Tarlac, isa sa pinakamatingkad na halimbawa ng kabiguan ng CARP at lunsaran ng pakikibakang magsasaka na lumundo sa isang masaker noong 2004, may 1,800 ektarya na ang kolektibong tinatamnan ng mga magsasaka.

“Sa pamamagitan ng pag-oorganisa at sama-samang pagkilos, ‘yung hindi kayang ibigay na lupa ng gobyerno at mga kapitalista, kayang bawiin ng mga magsasaka. Ito ang tunay na diwa ng tunay na reporma sa lupa,” sabi naman ni Lita Mariano, pangkalahatang kalihim ng Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon, grupong kabilang din sa mga nagsusulong ng GARB.

Kaya’t maaaring suntok sa buwan ang pagsasabatas ng GARB – pero hindi ang pagkamit ng mga magsasaka sa tunay na reporma sa lupa.(PinoyWeekly)

BAN Balikatan (Bicolano Alliance for Nationalism Against Balikatan) protests the RP-US military exercies in the Bicol provinces

January 29, 2009

BAN Balikatan (Bicolano Alliance for Nationalism Against Balikatan)

protests the RP-US military exercies in the Bicol provinces

Bonus Tracks: Bushrack

January 22, 2009

Mass Mobilizations Against Balikatan All Over Bicol Today
01/22/2009 by banbalikatan

In Albay, 5,000 people expressed their resounding opposition of the conduct of Balikatan 2009 in Bicol and thundered the streets to shout: STOP BALIKATAN! They also told the US Troops to stay out of Albay Province.

In Sorsogon, 7,000 people stormed into the streets shouting NO TO BALIKATAN and encouraging more Sorsoganon folks to speak out against Balikatan and defend our sovereignty.
Sorsoganons by the thousands rally against Balikatan

In Masbate, 8,000 people congested the narrow streets in order to indicate their strong opposition of Balikatan 2009 and no to indignity, intervention, human rights violations, US terrorism and poverty.

In Camarines Sur, 2,000 people flooded the streets shouting out protests and pouring out their indignation of foreign intervention and violations to the Constitution.

In Camarines Norte, a substantial number of people also participated in an Outdoor Activity to protest against Balikatan.

All over Bicol today, January 22, 2009, more than 22,000 Bicolano nationalists headed by BAN Balikatan expressed their opposition to US Intervention and terrorism. Bicolanos showed that they will never rest until the US troops have totally been driven out of our country, VFA/MLSA have totally been scrapped, genuine peace has been achieved and our country has undergone significant and lasting political and economic change.

—————————————————————–

01/20/2009 by banbalikatan
News Release
January 20, 2009
References: Tessa Lopez, public information officer, BAYAN-Bikol
John Concepcion, spokesperson, KARAPATAN-Bikol

Bicol militants challenge new US President Obama to Stop Balikatan!
Sets massive rally against Balikatan on Jan. 22

Leaders of people’s organizations comprising the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Bikol (BAYAN-Bikol) gathered in Legazpi City today to issue a challenge to US President-elect Barack Obama on the day of his inaguration to put a stop to the Balikatan exercises in the country, as well as to rescind the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

According to Tessa Lopez, public information officer of BAYAN-Bikol; “As the new president of the sole superpower in the world, we hope that Obama will make a clear foreign policy shift contrary to the war-mongering Bush regime.. In this light, our challenge to him is to stop the Balikatan exercises in the Philippines before it cause more damage to the lives of Filipinos,”

“To show the urgency and seriousness of our call we will lead a massive rally against the Balikatan this coming January 22. All provinces of the region will mobilize on this day and we expect at least 20,000 people to participate. This is a clear manifestation of the Bicolano people’s opposition against the exercises,” added Lopez.

Meanwhile John Concepcion, spokesperson of KARAPATAN-Bikol said, “If the Balikatan is not stopped we fear that the number of human rights violations will spike in the region. This is aside from the fact that the US troops are trampling on our country’s sovereignty and they are also endangering the lives of Bicolanos with their war games,”

“So we are enjoining more Oragons to come and participate in the rally so that early on we can register our opposition to the Balikatan and the VFA. Like Gen. Simeon Ola we must continuously oppose the presence of US troops in our country,” ended Concepcion. # # #

Kabataang Pinoy (Filipino Youth) of Bicol Speaks Out Against Balikatan

01/21/2009 by banbalikatan

Kabataang Pinoy-Bikol Statement:
Reference: Journey Alfonso, Spokesperson
ANG KABATAANG PINOY-BIKOL AY KONTRA SA BALIKATAN

Kaming mga Kabataang Bikolano ng KABATAANG PINOY ay maigting na tumututol sa pagpasok ng Balikatan exercises sa Kabikulan. Walang ibang hatid ang pagdating ng tropang militar ng Kano kundi ang pamamaslang, paninira at pangwawasak ng kabuhayan at mismong buhay nating mga Bikolano.

Hindi makakatulong sa pag asenso ng ating rehiyon at bansa ang tropang militar ng Kano. Bagkus, lalo lang iigting ang kaguluhan. Kung talagang “Humanitarian Mission” lamang ang kanilang sadya, bakit hindi ang Red Cross na lamang ang maglunsad nito? Pinalalabas lamang nila na Humanitarian Mission ang pakay upang malinlang ang mga tao at malaya nilang magawa ang tunay na anti-mamamayang misyon sa ating rehiyon.

Siguradong lalaganap na naman ang paglabag sa mga Karapatang Pantao sa ating bansa. Hindi pa ba sapat ang sakripisyo’t kahihiyan na dinanas ni Nicole at kanyang pamilya sa kamay ni Smith at iba pang kasamahang sundalong Kano? Napatunayan nga ng hukuman na nagkasala ang Amerikanong sundalong ito at nahatulan ng habambuhay na pagkabilanggo,ngunit ngayon ay pinalaya at nakabalik na sa sariling bayan.

Ang kaso ni Nicole na isang kabataang Pilipina ay pagpapatunay sa pagpoprotekta ng tropang Kano ng Balikatan. Hindi makatarungan ang batas. Ang nangyari kay Nicole ay maaring maulit kung hahayaan na lamang natin ang paglulunsad ng Balikatan Exercises dito sa Bikol.

Tutulan natin ang Balikatan, para sa katahimikan ng Bikol. Tutulan natin ang Balikatan at siguarduhing hindi na lumala pa ang talamak na prostitusyon, droga, sex scandals, pang aabuso, at mismong pagyurak sa Karapatang Pantao nating mga Bikolano. Tutulan natin ang Balikatan upang hindi na mas lumala pa ang pagdanak ng dugo ng maraming sibilyan. Huwag nating hayaang makapasok ang Tropang Kano sa ating Rehiyon na maaring magpakalat ng mga sakit tulad ng AIDS, Syphilis, atbpang klase ng sexually transmitted diseases o STD.

Hindi ang Balikatan Exercises ang sagot sa kahirapan, at hindi ito ang solusyon sa kagutuman. Huwag tayong magbulag-bulagan, alamin natin ang magiging epekto nito sa ating bayan. Huwag basta paniwalaan ang kasinungalingang sinasabi ng gobyerno, na makakatulong ito, at ito ay para rin sa ating kapakanan, dahil alam naman nating pansariling interes lamang ang iniisip ng may mga katungkulan sa gobyerno at hindi ang kapakanan nating mga mamamayang sibilyan.
Huwag hayaang dalhin sa Bicol ang gerang nangyayari na sa Mindanao,
Maigting nating isigaw: NO TO BALIKATAN!!!

Presss Conference in Legazpi City, Jan 20, 2009

PAHAYAG SA MIDYA
Enero 20, 2009
Reference: JOEL ASCUTIA, Regional President – PISTON Deputy Secretary General (09153199469 / 4834624)

RP-US BALIKATAN Exercise, Instrumento para sa Higit na Proteksyon sa Industriya ng Langis at sa Interes ng Estados Unidos!
BALIKATAN Exercise TUTULAN AT LABANAN!

Tinututulan ng CONDOR-PISTON-BICOL ang pagsasagawa ng ika 25 RP-US BALIKATAN Exercise sa Bikol. Ito ay tahasang paglabag sa soberanya, integridad at mga probinsyon sa Saligang Batas ng bansa.

Ito ay pagyurak sa kalayaan ng bansa at direktang panghihimasok sa internal na mga usaping dapat ay responsalidad ng ating gubyerno. Ang pagpasok ng mga sundalong Amerikano ay magdudulot ng mas malalalim na suliraning sosyal dahil sa pagdisrespeto sa ating kultura, tradisyon, relihiyon at kababaihan.

Ang RP-US BALIKATAN Exercise ay ang magkasanib na ehersisyo militar ng mga sundalong Amerikano at sundalong Pilipino. Sa bahagi ng mga sundalong Pilipino, layunin nitong mapamilyarisa at matuto sa mga makabagong teknika sa pakikidigma partikular sa paggamit ng mga sopistikadong kagamitan at sandatang pandigma.

Sa kabilang banda, matuto naman ang mga sundalong Amerikano sa mga bagong operasyong pangkombat sa mga kagubatan ng bansa.

Kung kaya’t hindi kami naniniwala sa sinasabi ng mga tagapagsalita ng BALIKATAN na “purong humanitarian mission” ang pakay nito, ito ay isa lamang na panlilinlang at panloloko sa mamamayan para maisagawa ang mas madilim na pakay nitong maglunsad ng mga operasyong militar laban sa mga mamamayang tumututol sa paghahari ng Estados sa buong mundo at sa rehimeng Arroyo bilang pinakamasugid na tagasunod nito sa bansa.

Sa pangunguna ng sektor ng tranportasyon at CONDOR-PISTON sa Bikol, naitambol natin sa bansa at sa buong daigdig ang ating malakas na panawagang buwagin ang pandaigdigang kartel sa industriya ng langis. Isa sa pangunahing pinagkukunan ng limpak limpak na kita ng Estados Unidos ang pagmamay-ari sa mga dambuhalang kumpanya ng langis gaya ng PETRON at CALTEX na siya ring nagdodomina sa bansa.

Sa bisa ng OIL DEREGULATION Law, nais ng US na manatili ang kanyang kontrol sa negosyong ito at tahasan nitong gagamitin ang kanyang pwersang militar para nyutralisahin at supilin ang higit pang lumalakas na paglaban ng sektor kasama ang buong mamamayang Bikolano at Pilipino.

Naninindigan din kami na hindi kailangang magsagawa muna ng BALIKATAN Exercise kung seryoso ang gobyernong Arroyo na tugunan ang problema ng mamamayan Bikolano sa kagutuman, kalusugan, eskwelahan at iba pa.

Hindi rin kailangan ang mga sundalong Amerikano para magpatupad nito dahil mayroon tayong mga ahensya at organisasyong sibiko na may ma kakayahan at karanasan sa pagpapatupad ng mga proyektong ito.

Huwag tayong pumayag na insultuhin at bastusin ang ating kalayaan at kasarinlan ng NUMERO UNONG TERORISTA sa daigdig na Estados Unidos. Magkaisa tayong tutulan at labanan ang BALIKATAN Exercise sa Bicol at saanmang lugar sa Pilipinas.
Buwagin ang Pandaigdigang Kartel sa Langis!
Wakasan ang Imperyalitang Pandarambong sa Bansa at sa Daigdig!

Drive Out US Troops and Balikatan! – Tindog Atenista
01/22/2009 by banbalikatan

Statement
Tindog Atenista
Reference: Gerard Edgar O. Surtida, Spokesperson
STOP BALIKATAN 2009! NO MORE TO FOREIGN INTERVENTION!

Tindog Atenista, an alliance of individuals and organizations in Ateneo de Naga University, condemns the implementation of the Balikatan 2009 and its suspicious objectives through “humanitarian missions”.

The news has erupted and was confirmed by the released statements from the advance party movements of the RP-US Balikatan that since October last year, they have ensured that several areas in the Bicol region will be the primary locations for the implementation of the 25th Balikatan Exercies 2009.

The Chairman of the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement Commission Edilberto Adan, other high-ranking officials, and the military spokesperson of the Solcom, 9th ID and 901st 1B also confirmed that there are 3-4 possible provinces in Bicol Region that will be affected.

JUNK THE MDT and VFA! The implementation of the Balikatan Exercises throughout the country came forth from the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) of 1951, which states that the Republic of the Philippines has entered into a “mutual understanding and agreement” with the United States of America in terms of military activities.

This continues to reflect the characteristics of the country being a dependent, neo-colonial outpost of the United States of America. Such characteristics were observed in US’s wars of aggression against Korea and Vietnam. From the MDT, Visiting Forces Agreement came to be. This This lengthened the direct and indirect interference and stay of US in Philippine soil, making the country open for foreign military activities.

Provisions in the VFA sets that US military forces need not to be inspected in entering and leaving the country, making us more prone to illegal activities such as illegal drugs, smuggled goods, exploitation of natural resources, nuclear weapons, etc. only US military forces are given the authority to check and inspect their own cargo and transport vehicle as stipulated in the provision.

Furthermore, a provision of tax exemption is given to these foreign elements, which is a big disadvantage to our economy’s part. Both MDT and VFA aimed to have a more developed and improved military tactics and technology but for more than 50 years of foreign intervention, no development was seen and our AFP still remains backward.

This is a grave offense against our sovereignty and a severe threat to our national security.

WE WANT GENUINE SOVEREIGNTY AND INTEGRITY! Balikatan 2009 with the objective of giving humanitarian actions to the Bikolanos is a farce. It is a farce that was proven in the past Balikatan exercises. Its unwanted effects were further supported by the 17 congressmen of Mindanao for its suspension.

What the people need is not more foreign activities and intervention happening in our country but a change and progress in economy, politics, and culture. What the people need is change and progress that is not tainted by the filth coming from foreign influences.

What we need is a government that is efficient and sufficient by itself and free from overseas interference. Provisions of MDT and VFA directly contradict our right to sovereignty and integrity. Such provisions disrespects and puts into utter disregard our laws of the land.

It is a big conspiracy of lies and deceptions Balikatan will bring more human rights violations as seen in the “Nicole Case”, more environmental degradation, more exploitation of our natural and human resources, and more chaos within the region. This is unacceptable.

WE NEED WHAT IS NECESSARY! The very fact that this is a humanitarian mission is also as true as the thought that Balikatan 2009 is a free helping hand. The Philippines being the host country for this program will the source of finance for this activity. What we need right now is not the “helping hands” of foreign elements.

Needless to say, we do not need them at all in these times of crisis and hardships. We need proper and fair subsidies in education, agriculture, development and improvement of facilities and services, and health.

We do not need hypocrites to walk among the oppressed and suppressed. We do not need more funding for the military activities for this will not save us from our churning stomachs and burnt down lungs.

What we need is change and progression without this aliens interfering in everything that we do. Drive them out now!

We therefore call upon the youth sector and the other sectors of Bicol region to stand up and drive out the Balikatan 2009.

Also, we call upon the people and other public officials to junk the MDT and VFA for it is the basis why such foreign intervention continues to exist in our country.

YOUTH STOP BALIKATAN!
DEFEND OUR SOVEREIGNTY & INTEGRITY!
DRIVE THEM OUT NOW!

News Release
January 17, 2009
Reference: Prof. Jocelyn Bisuna, spokesperson, BAN BALIKATAN

More sectors speaking out against Balikatan exercises!
Sorsogon alliance vs Balikatan launched

More and more sectors are now voicing out their opposition against the planned Balikatan exercises in the Bicol region. Now, a Sorsogon-wide group named Sorsoganon United Movement Against Balikatan at Para sa Kapayapaan or SUMABA KA (SPEAK OUT) is launched to demand a stop to the exercises.

According to Jocelyn Bisuna, spokesperson of the region-wide alliance BAN BALIKATAN, “Aside from people’s organizations and human rights advocates, Sen. Francis Escudero and the Catholic Church in Legazpi have already taken their position. Sen. Escudero pointed out the ‘hidden agenda’ that may be behind the Balikatan exercises and expressed fear that it may be used to interfere with Philippine affairs.

“Meanwhile Bishop Lucilo Quiambao voiced out his view that the Balikatan will just be a bane to Bicolanos because civilians will be the ones caught in the crossfire when US troops are engaged in armed encounters. The bishop also said that prostitution would increase with the presence of US troops and the morality of our youth will be endangered,” said Bisuna.


“It is good that more and more people and organizations are now coming out and standing up against Balikatan 09. It is even better now that an alliance like SUMABA KA has been formed to carry out the campaign against this new type of invasion,” added the patriotic teacher.

“We hope that other formations like these will be formed at the soonest time possible in other Bicol provinces so that we can show the US troops that we do not want them here and we have not forgotten our history,” ended Bisuna.

The convenors of SUMABA KA are the following Fr. Rene Mabute, Sorsogon State College(SSC) President Dr. Antonio Fuentes, Pastor Lemuel Igdanes (UCCP), Atty.Joven Laura, Mr. Lito Bonifacio, Mrs. Elisea Bonifacio (Baptist), Mrs. Jenny Decano, SSC Student Council President Jayboy Evano, Joey Goiz, Red Lasay, Noel Gepulle (KADAMAY), Enrique Ermino (LFS), Mark Rosas (KARATULA), Eduardo Ferreras (PORTA), Reynaldo Hababag (BAYAN), Jing Francisco, Teodoro Escanilla (KARAPATAN), Constantino Jerus (KMP) and Lisa Dugan (UMASA SORSOGON BAY) . # # #

=================

American Soldiers in Sorsogon

===================

Bonus Track

GUARDIAN.CO.UK


President orders air strikes on villages in tribal area

* Ewen MacAskill in Washington
* The Guardian, Saturday 24 January 2009

Barack Obama gave the go-ahead for his first military action yesterday, missile strikes against suspected militants in Pakistan which killed at least 18 people.

Four days after assuming the presidency, he was consulted by US commanders before they launched the two attacks. Although Obama has abandoned many of the “war on terror” policies of George Bush while he was president, he is not retreating from the hunt for Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders.

The US believes they are hiding in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan, and made 30 strikes last year in which more than 200 people were killed. In the election, Obama hinted at increased operations in Pakistan, saying he thought Bush had made a mistake in switching to Iraq before completing the job against al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The US marine corp commander said yesterday that his 22,000 troops should be redeployed from Iraq to Afghanistan. Gen James Conway said “the time is right” to leave Iraq now the war had become largely nation-building rather than the pitched fighting in which the corps excelled; he wanted the marines in Afghanistan, especially in the south where insurgents, and the Taliban and al-Qaida, benefit from both a nearby safe haven in Pakistan and a booming trade in narcotics.

Obama has warned that he is prepared to bomb inside Pakistan if he gets relevant intelligence about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. He had also said he would act against militants along the border if the Pakistan government failed to.

The US missiles were fired by unmanned Predator drones, which hang in the sky gathering intelligence through surveillance and, when commanded and directed by remote control, to launch attacks.

The strikes will help Obama portray himself as a leader who, though ready to shift the balance of American power towards diplomacy, is not afraid of military action.

The first attack yesterday was on the village of Zharki, in Waziristan; three missiles destroyed two houses and killed 10 people. One villager told Reuters of phonethat of nine bodies pulled from the rubble of one house, six were its owner and his relatives; Reuters added that intelligence officials said some foreign militants were also killed. A second attack hours later also in Warizistan killed eight people.

The Pakistan government publicly expressed hope that the arrival of Obama would see a halt to such strikes, which stir up hostility from Pakistanis towards the government; in private, the government may be more relaxed about such attacks.

There is a lot of nervousness in the new administration about the fragility of Pakistan, particularly as it has nuclear weapons, but it also sees Afghanistan and Pakistan as being linked. In the face of a Taliban resurgence, there is despair in Washington over the leadership of the Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai, and there will not be much disappointment if he is replaced in elections later this year.

But Washington insists on seeing as one of its biggest problems the ability of the Taliban and al-Qaida to maintain havens in Pakistan. Obama on Thursday announced he was making veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke a special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan. The secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, spoke by phone to the Pakistan president, Asif Ali Zardari.

===================

http://www.arkibongbayan.org/breakingnews/banbalikatan.jpg

BAN Balikatan or Bicolano Alliance for Nationalism Against Balikatan is an alliance of nationalist and patriotic Bicolanos against the 2009 RP-US Balikatan Exercises – the 25th Joint RP-US War Exercises, to be conducted in the provinces of Region V Bicol, Philippines.

BAN Balikatan believes that the main purpose for conducting joint military exercises by the AFP and US Military in Bicol this 2009 is to intensify the US intervention in our country.This activity is a flagrant violation of our country’s sovereignty and integrity based from the related provisions in the Constitution.

Contact BAN Balikatan at banbalikatan.media@gmail.com

Visit website at:

http://banbalikatan.wordpress.com/

Photos: BAYAN – Panay leads various groups in marking the Mendiola Massacre of 1987

January 28, 2009

BAYAN – Panay leads various groups

in marking the Mendiola Massacre of 1987

Plazoleta Gay, Iloilo City .

January 22, 2009

The multi-sectoral protest commemorated the 22nd anniversary of the Mendiola Massacre. Members of Paghugpong sang Mangunguma sa Panay kag Guimaras (PAMANGGAS) recalled the historic event which happened in 1987, vobisng to continue the struggle of the farmers for land.

The picket also strongly condemned the US-backed Israeli invasion of Gaza which has resulted in the loss of lives of hundreds of civilians. Despite the recently declared temporary ceasefire by the Israeli government, war of aggression will continue in the days to come because of the absence of unconditional declaration of ceasefire. BAYAN believes that the war on Gaza is instigated by the US policy of war on terror.

–  EDGAR PELAYO, Secretary-General, BAYAN – Palnay

(Photos Courtesy of Bayan=Panay)

Arkibong Bayan

Photos: 22 years after the bloody carnage: “All we want is piece of land”, say relatives of Mendiola Massacre victims

January 28, 2009

22 years after the bloody carnage:

“All we want is piece of land”,

say relatives of Mendiola Massacre victims

January 22, 2009

22 years after the bloody carnage:

“All we want is piece of land”, say relatives of Mendiola Massacre victims

Quezon City, Philippines- “All we want is a piece of land that we can till and call our own. But what we got from them the state was bullets.”

Twenty two years after the bloody carnage, relatives of the infamous Mendiola Massacre said they want to move on and continue with what their husbands and relatives pursued two decades ago, but the horrible event kept on visiting them like day-to-day nightmares.

After their 7-day camped out at the Ministry of Agrarian Reform (now Department of Agrarian Reform or DAR), from January 15-21, 1987 on January 22, leaders and members of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), numbering about 15,000 decided to march from the agrarian reform office to Liwasang Bonifacio and then to Mendiola.

In Mendiola, military and police elements open fired and peppered the farmers and their sympathizers with bullets. Thirteen marchers, mostly farmers from Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog regions were killed and identified as Danilo Arjona, Leopoldo Alonzo, Adelfa Aribe, Dionisio Bautista, Roberto Caylao, Vicente Campomanes, Ronilo Dumanico, Dante Evangelio, Angelito Gutierrez, Rodrigo Grampan, Bernabe Laquindanum, Sonny Boy Perez and Roberto Yumul.

Aside from the 13 farmers who were killed by state security forces, reports also said 39 marchers sustained gunshot wounds and 32 sustained minor injuries. “Let me set the record straight. What we want is a parcel of land but what the government gave to us were scores of bullets and in the aftermath of the massacre is a bankrupt, bogus, anti-farmer and pro-landlord agrarian reform program,” the Kilusang Enero 22 or KE 22 said in a press statement.

KE 22, an assembly of relatives of Mendiola Massacre added that the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) passed by Congress during the time of former President Corazon Aquino was a comprehensive failure and merely sustained the 22-year old wounds caused by the Mendiola Massacre.

“How can you have justice with CARP? It is not a social justice program but an instrument for further landgrabbing, further denial of peasant land rights and class exploitation by the landlord few. CARP is part of the long-running injustice committed to the victims of Mendiola Massacre,” KE 22 said. .

Relatives want GARB

KE 22 said it is actively supporting the passage of Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) or House Bill 3059 principally authored by the late Anakpawis party list Rep. Crispin Beltran and co-authored by his successor Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna party list Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela party list lawmakers Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.

“We hope the leadership of House Speaker Prospero Nograles will move on and act with dispatch and resolution in favor of HB 3059. This social justice measure is necessary for the cause of land and justice across-the-country,” relatives of Mendiola Massacre victims added.

GARB which is still pending before the House Committee on Agrarian Reform will cover all agricultural lands and have these lands distributed for free to all landless, land lacking and willing to till farmers all over the country, according to KMP deputy secretary general Willy Marbella, a survivor of Mendiola Massacre.

KMP’s Marbella said lands operated by transnational corporations, including commercial farms ran by big agribusiness groups shall be nationalized in favor of farmworkers and agricultural workers who would be trained to manage and operate these large plantations and commercial agri-business farms.

In the case of sullied lands, or lands acquired through fraud, deception, intimidation, or the use of force and violence, these would be subjected to confiscation, while landlords who acquired their landholdings without any shades of blood debts or crimes against their tenants will receive just compensation and shall be paid by the state based on the average tax assessment on the land for the immediate last three years preceding the effectivity of the act.

The KMP leader said farmer beneficiaries are guaranteed with security of tenure and sustained support systems to make the awarded lands more productive and more responsive to the needs of the farmers and the Filipino public in general.

Success story

Meanwhile in Hacienda Luisita, farmworkers continue to cultivate more than 1,800 hectares of the hotly disputed sugar estate outside the framework of the 20-year old CARP.

“The key to this success story is the determination of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers to challenge and fight the Stock Distribution Option scheme legitimized by the bogus CARP. Now, the farmworkers and poor farmers of Hacienda Luisita are reaping the fruits of their labor,” the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) said in a press statement.

UMA public information officer Rey Calaguing said the hacienda farmworkers and poor farmers are planting various crops in more than 1,800 hectares like rice and vegetables. “We are encouraging more farmers to join and form themselves into cooperation units to be able to cover other hectares for their livelihood. This is peasant class power in full swing,” he said.

UMA said the current “bungkalan” campaign has already benefited 838 families or roughly 1,676 individuals spread in the barangays of Malapacsiao (244.5 hectares), Asturias (209.93 hectares), Bantog (258 hectares), Cut-Cut (275.9 hectares), Balite (153.4 hectares), Mutrico (248 hectares), Pando (163 hectares), Texas (140 hectares), Pasajes (60 hectares) and Parang (51.5 hectares).

Camp-out in HOR, march to Mendiola

The KMP together with the fisherfolk group Pamalakaya, UMA, Amihan peasant federation and farmer groups Kalipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) will stage a three-day camp-out at the House of Representatives beginning on Monday.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said about 1,000 farmers will participate in the camp-out from Jan.19-21 in Batasan Complex. He said farmers and fisherfolk will conduct mass lobbying with congressmen starting Monday and update lawmakers on the current situation of farmers and explain to lawmakers the necessity of passing HB 3059.

“We will seek an audience with House Speaker Prospero Nograles. That is one of the objectives of the three-day peasant camp-out in Batasan. We will not entertain any kind of political snub, that’s for sure,” warned Hicap.

On Jan.22 farmers will march from DAR to Mendiola to officially end the four-day peasant march for land and justice. The Pamalakaya leader said the march to Mendiola will be joined by militant groups under the umbrella alliance of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.

Hicap said some 1,500 placards bearing the face of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be slashed and burned in Mendiola to show the peasant’s collective outrage against the brutal and anti-rural regime of President Arroyo and the farmers’ resolve to fight for genuine land reform.#

FOR REFERENCE:
WILFREDO MARBELLA, KMP Deputy Secretary-General
ROY MORILLA, KMP Public Information Officer (+63-905-421-73-05)

For Immediate Release
January 22, 2008

REFERENCE:
ANTON DULCE
Vice Chairperson/Media Officer, 09095189340
KEN RAMOS
Chairperson, 09215129678

On the 22nd anniversary of Mendiola Massacre
No justice, No peace for the Filipino peasants, people

“No justice! No peace!” is the message of militant youth led by ANAKBAYAN as they joined the Peasant March to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Mendiola Massacre, where unarmed peasants demonstrating for land reform were gunned down by state security forces.

“The demands of the 13 peasants murdered in 1987 remain the same. Unless social justice is attained thru genuine land reform, the victims of the Mendiola Massacre will not find any peace,” according to ANAKBAYAN National Chairperson Ken Ramos.

Ramos lambasted the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, or CARP, as a ‘cure worse than the disease’. “The amount of land monopolized by landlord families has increased, rather than decreased throughout the two decades of CARP implementation. It contains pro-landlord loopholes, such as retention limits, non-distributive options and land conversions that are being exploited by landlords up to this very day,” Ramos said.

Ramos also condemned ‘pseudo-progressive groups’ that are forcing CARP on the people. “Years of implementation have proven that CARP is already defective, so why are they insisting on its extension? It is simply because CARP funds and foreign financial aid for land reform have been their cash cow for a long time. These groups, together with big landlords and compradors, are the ones who benefited from the fake agrarian reform policy, not the peasants,” Ramos added.

“From Aquino to Arroyo, the demand for land by the peasants has been met with brute force. Thus, there is ‘no peace, no justice’ in the countryside.”

“Because of their unwavering resolve to expose the faulty CARP and push genuine agrarian reform, peasants have been victims of state fascism,” Ramos said.

Ramos pointed out that the peasant sector bore the largest number of casualties committed by AFP death squads under Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya 1 & 2. He further berated the upcoming Balikatan exercises to be held in the Bicol Region this April as another measure to monitor and repress the peasant movement in the region.

“Giving farmers the piece of land they deserve is a starting point to achieve peace in the countryside,” Ramos said. “Genuine land reform is a start to ending the semi-feudal roots of poverty in the Philippines.” ###

Anakpawis Partylist
National Headquarters
Jan 22, 2009

End slavery: Obama promise remains an elusive dream for Filipino peasants

Exactly twenty two years after the bloody massacre of 13 peasant activists in Mendiola, the calls which were met with bullets by the Aquino administration has become even louder as the issue of landlessness worsen under the Arroyo regime.

Anakpawis members from Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon and Metro Manila converged once more in Mendiola to reiterate their call for justice to the victims of Mendiola Massacre and that the demands of peasant for genuine agrarian reform should be met.

According to Anakpawis Spokesperson Joel Maglunsod, “As we witness the coverage and attention that the inauguration of US Pres. Barack Obama, we can’t help but compare their celebration to the centuries-old struggle of the Filipino people against slavery. The peasants, who have long struggled to own the land they till since the Spanish colonial rule, are still at the mercy of mighty landlords. What’s worse is that peasants are being massacred all over the country and justice was never served.”

In 1987, the same year as the Mendiola massacre, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) was implemented in response to the demands of farmers at the time. But, according to Maglunsod, the law was not meant to really address the root cause of landlessness which is land monopoly but rather to strengthen the control of big landlords over bigger parcels of land. After all, according to him, instead of distributing land, the implementors of CARP have now expanded the reach of their haciendas.

“It is high time for the enactment of a genuine agrarian reform law not the extension of the pro-landlord CARP.” Maglunsod said that the government cannot deny that peasants remain landless despite having spent P20billion of taxpayers’ money. “The need for justice in the form of equitable distribution of land remains,” he added..

This is the reason why the late Anakpawis Rep. Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran, the poorest yet most revered congressman of our time, filed House Bill 3059 or Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) in November 2007. This, Maglunsod explained, is a law drafted by the collective struggle of the peasantry against slavery and destitution brought about by landlessness.

Anakpawis however believes that the task of explaining genuine agrarian reform will be extremely difficult noting our kind of government and society. Their representative, Cong. Rafael Mariano, who himself is a landless peasant will have to get the signatures of the landlord-dominated congress. This is why they vow to continue fighting for the peasants’ right to own the land they till in the parliament of the streets and wherever necessary. “Freedom from slavery is never free but is earned through the collective struggle of a people who really wants it,” ended Maglunsod. # #

Peasants shake the lower house, call for the passage of GARB

The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) and the peasants from Katipunan ng mga Samahan ng Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) coming from Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, Batangas and Quezon, held ground at the gates of the House of Representatives in Batasan, Quezon City. They are joined by Pamalaya-Pilipinas (fisherfolk), Amihan (peasant women), UMA (agri-workers) and support groups. Their mobilization at the lower house is part of their 4-day campaign to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the Mendiola Massacre that took place during the Aquino regime on January 22, 1987.

“At Mendiola Massacre, 13 peasants were killed when police and military forces opened fire at my fellow peasant demonstrators who were calling for genuine land reform then. Until now, no justice whatsoever were given to them and their families, thus, we are fighting tirelessly for genuine land reform as our commitment and vow to their martyrdom. At the Hose of Representatives, we are fighting for the passage of House Bill 3059 Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB),” opened Antonio Flores, KMP National Auditor and KMP – Southern Mindanao Region Chair.

“We are going to shake this lawmaking institution, 200 peasants from Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, Batangas and Quezon are going to lobby their district lawmakers to enact GARB on Wednesday. We are also visiting Speaker Nograles’ office to discuss why we want GARB to be passed. We believe this is a first at HOR, hundreds of lobbyist at the same time calling for the passage of a same bill,” added Flores.

Moreover, agri-workers from Hacienda Luisita joined the street forum at the gate and discussed regarding their victories and why GARB would be helfpul to their plight. Anakpawis Rep. and KMP Chair Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano also talked about the role of GARB to the overall struggle for genuine land reform.

“We are vigilant about what’s happening inside the house, we are to block any efforts of landlord lawmakers to revive the dead CARP and invent legislative moves protecting their domination over the country’s vast agricultural lands,” noted Flores.

“As peasants from other provinces arrive, we are to hold an in-depth and point-per-point discussion about GARB. We are going to do a “Read Along GARB,” with audiences from the countrysides and other groups and sectors,” Flores added.

KMP, Kasama-TK, Pamalakaya, Amihan, UMA, Anakpawis leaders and members are to stay at the gates of the lower house until January 21 before they proceed to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). The next day they would march from DAR towards Mendiola to call for genuine land reform, justice for the Mendiola Massacre victims and the passage of GARB.#

FOR REFERENCE:
ANTONIO FLORES, KMP National Auditor / KMP – Southern Mindanao Region Chair
ROY MORILLA, KMP Public Information Officer (+63-905-421-73-05)

=================

PRESS RELEASE
January 20, 2009
REFERENCE:
ANTONIO FLORES, KMP National Auditor / KMP – Southern Mindanao Region Chair
ROY MORILLA, KMP Public Information Officer (63-905-421- 7305)

GARB 101
Farmers gave college students a lecture on new agrarian reform bill

Some 82 college students from different state colleges and universities on Monday night got a crash course on GARB (Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill) 101, according to one of the leaders of the militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

Those who finished the crash course on GARB 101 were freshmen, sophomore and graduating students who trooped to House of the Representatives in Batasan Complex, and were joined by members of militant youth groups Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students (LFS), Student Christian Movement (SCM), the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and National Union of Students of the Philippines .

KMP spokesperson Antonio Flores and activist poet and former political detainee Axel Pinpin of Tagaytay 5 served as instructors to students from University of the Philippines- Diliman campus (UP-Diliman) , Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and University of the East-Recto, who spent over one-hour listening to the inputs of resource persons and took down notes on the lecture about GARB.

“The GARB read along project promotes the reading and discussion of GARB otherwise known as House Bill 3059 to inform the Filipino peasantry and the general public that GARB is a social justice piece of legislation, ” the KMP leader said.

Flores read that the heart and soul of GARB or HB 3059 is free land distribution to all landless, land-lacking and willing-to-till farmers all over the country. He said just compensation will be given to landowners, except those involving sullied landholdings, or land holdings acquired to fraud, deception, intimidation, or the use of force or violence, and landholdings whose landowners employ oppressive and exploitative practices on their tenants, agricultural workers or other farmers tilling the land.

The KMP leader said men and women who are willing to till land and make it productive for the common good of the Filipino people are entitled to become beneficiaries under an agrarian reform program created under GARB or HB 3059.

One of the students asked: “Are gays and lesbians will become beneficiaries too under GARB?” Flores said gays and lesbians are also beneficiaries of a land reform program under GARB provided they will till and make the land awarded to them productive for the benefit of the Filipino people.

Flores added that enlightened landlords will be allowed to maintain five hectares under GARB provided that they will till the land and will not employ and exploit landless farmers or agricultural workers.

For his part, poet Pinpin of Tagaytay 5 said the students could further appreciate GARB by integrating themselves with and learning from farmers. He said the best way to understand HB 3059 is to understand the farmers’ plight, aspiration and struggle for land, food and justice.

“This crash course and read along activity on GARB would help although to many of you this remains an abstract. To fully understand GARB, we encourage you to live with the farmers and learn from the farmers,” Pinpin added.

Pinpin, a graduate of agriculture in UP-Los Baños briefly recalled how his integration with the farmers had help him understand the peasants struggle for land and the need to change society, and how the students integration with farmers would help them not only to understand GARB or HB 3059 but to accept the social reality that century old feudal bondage and long-running problem of landlessness in the country remains a fundamental issue that needs to be addressed and resolved.

GARB, which is backed by KMP, Kasama-TK and staunch allies like Pamalakaya fishers group, the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Amihan peasant federation was authored by the late Anakpawis party list Rep. Crispin Beltran, and co-authored by Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna party list Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela party list lawmakers Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan. #

At the KMP Website, GARB 101 Farmers gave college students a lecture on new agrarian reform bill .

(Photos Courtesy of Arkibong Bayan)

Photos: Students stage protest at US embassy, hit US role in Gaza bombing and invasion

January 18, 2009

Students stage protest at US embassy,

hit US role in Gaza bombing and invasion

Manila

Video: US Congress votes to back Israel

January 11, 2009

Students hit US role in Gaza bombings; hold protest at US embassy in Manila

January 11, 2009

The League of Filipino Students (LFS) today led a protest action in
front of the US embassy in Manila calling for a stop to the “genocide
and occupation” being conducted by Israeli troops in Gaza. The
students also condemned the US for backing Israel, saying the US is
the financier and operator of the killings.

“The US-Israel child-killing, mass murder tag team in the Middle East
must be stopped. The on-going conflict in Gaza shows how merciless and
brutal the US war machine is, despite its pretensions of being
democratic and humanitarian. Israel and US must be punished as war
criminals,” says Vencer Crisostomo, LFS National Chairperson.

The US provides a large sum for Israel military funding, of up to
almost $4 billion annually.

Crisostomo said that the killing and occupation has also to do with
oil and natural resources, in which the US has big stakes.

“In part, this war is about a right-wing Zionist ideology, but also,
this is about economic interests, particularly oil and natural gas, in
the Middle East. There is natural gas in Gaza, and an oil pipeline
planned to pass through the strip. This is, like Iraq and Afghanistan,
also blood for oil,” said Crisostomo. (Reference:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11680)

Crisostomo said that they will launch an anti-war campaign in schools,
taking part in the international efforts to stop the conflict and end
the occupation.

“We are in solidarity with the protests around the globe against the
war. The students, youth and peoples of the world must unite in
stopping this monstrosity,” says Crisostomo.

Since the Israeli offensive began on December 27, at least 854 people
have been killed, including 270 children, 93 women, and 12 paramedics.

www.lfs.ph

MEDIA STATEMENT
14 January 2009
Reference: Emmi de Jesus, Secretary General, 371-2302 / 0917-221203

WOMEN UNITE AGAINST ISRAELI ATTACK
ON PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

The women of GABRIELA National Alliance of Women stand in unity with the international community in condemning the Israeli invasion of the Gaza strip.

The vision of hundreds of wounded and lifeless Palestinian children
strewn in Gaza is beyond heartbreaking. In each and every woman, the
death, destruction and overall human suffering in Gaza should stir
rage against the governments of Israeli and the United States. From
generation to generation, the Israeli government repeatedly attacks
with impunity the Palestinian people and the United States government
inspires and supports such inhuman acts of massive proportions.

The current aggression of Israeli troops in Gaza has resulted, so far,
in the death of 910 Palestinians, 292 were children and 75 were women
and the wounding of more than 4,000 others.

This unspeakable violence against the Palestinian people is not unlike
the attacks waged against peoples in the name of political and
economic control over sovereign nations. Wars of aggression, within
which the culture of violence is intricately webbed, victimize women
and children most. In the recent past it has happened in Afghanistan
and in Iraq and in Mindanao in the Philippines. Displacement,
dislocation, hunger, rape and other forms of sexual violence are
suffered most by women and children.

Filipino women must stand together with all freedom-loving people of
the world in protesting this recent violation on the lives and
sovereignty of the Palestinian people and demand for the immediate
pull out of Israeli troops in Gaza and put and end to the death,
destruction and overall human suffering Palestine.

(Photos Courtesy of ANAKBAYAN and news agencies)

Arkibong Bayan

Photos: Anakbayan and ILPS lead Free Palestine rally in San Francisco

January 17, 2009

Anakbayan and ILPS lead Free Palestine rally

in San Francisco

January 10, 2009

(Photos Courtesy of Anakbayan-East Bay)

Arkibong Bayan

Photos: Week 2: Filipinos in NYC March for a Free Palestine; Condemn Corporate Media’s Distortion of Gaza Situation

January 16, 2009

Week 2: Filipinos in NYC March for a Free Palestine;
Condemn Corporate Media’s Distortion of Gaza Situation

New York City

January 11, 2000

News Release
January 11, 2009
Reference: Christina Hilo, Northeast Coordinator, BAYAN USA, email: ny@bayanusa.org

Week 2: Filipinos in NYC March for a Free Palestine;
Condemn Corporate Media’s Distortion of Gaza Situation

New York– For the second weekend in a row, Filipinos from New York City and neighboring Jersey City, under the alliance of BAYAN USA, marched with thousands of pro-Palestinian activists from Times Square to the New York offices of CNN and Time Warner to protest the continuing Israeli military invasion of the city of Gaza. BAYAN USA members organizations Anakbayan New York/New Jersey, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), and NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), comprised a strong and indignant Filipino contingent amidst a sea of Arab and non-Arab supporters for the Palestinian people of Gaza and the cause of the Palestinian people to end the Zionist occupation of their homeland.

News reports from various media outlets tally the Palestinian casualties to more than 800 dead and 3000 wounded in Gaza City, but pro-Palestinian protesters remain critical that facts reported in mainstream news are heavily distorted, and Palestinian victims, including women and children, are possibly under-counted. Pro-Palestinian activists marched from Times Square to the offices of media giants CNN and Time Warner near Central Park to denounce strong pro-Israel bias in mainstream news coverage of the Gaza situation.

“Today, we are all Palestinians!,” shouted 20-year old Anakbayan member Yves Nibungco for BAYAN USA from the rally main stage, met with thunderous applause. “We condemn the corporate media for their distortion of the facts in Gaza and puppetry to US interests. They continue to demonize the victims and praise the murderers….. We know the violence in Gaza is not escalating because of Hamas, the violence in Gaza is escalating because of Zionism!” Nibungco stated.

According to most news reports, Hamas’ so-called “terrorist activities” are projected as the main cause of the conflict, while Israel’s invasion is justified as a matter of self-defense. But BAYAN USA and the other protesters in New York, see the conflict within the historical context of the ongoing Palestinian resistance to the violent 60+ year old Zionist occupation of their ancestral lands assisted by financial support from the US government.

As the largest recipient of US economic aid in the world, Israel enjoys a pork barrel of $15 million a day, or an annual average of $6 billion, from US tax dollars. Nibungco further stated that the US government’s large financial investment in Israel ensures US government control over the vast deposits of oil and natural gas in the region.

Last week in Washington DC, both houses of US Congress unanimously passed resolutions in full support of Israel’s continued military offensive of Gaza. As stated in Senate Resolution 10 (S.R. 10), US lawmakers united under the framework that Israel has every right to exercise “non-restraint from targeting civilians.”

“Filipinos are concerned about Gaza and the liberation of Palestine because there are similarities in Philippine history and current affairs,” stated BAYAN USA Secretary-General Berna Ellorin. “US tax dollars fund and enable the Israeli military offensive in Gaza and violent occupation Palestinian soil, just as US tax dollars fund and enable the Philippine military to commit gross human rights violations against the Filipino people at an alarming rate.”

As a former direct colony of the US, the Philippines suffered a bloody colonization from the US military that led to the massacre of millions of Filipinos at a time when the US government was a fledgling superpower at the turn of the 20th century. Today, more subtle forms of US economic and political plunder still lord over Philippine national affairs, including a push from Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for dangerous provisions to the 1987 Philippine Constitution that would allow 100% foreign ownership of the country’s vast natural resources, including oil, gold, and natural gas. Opposition to Arroyo’s Charter Change, or Cha-Cha, is another campaign of BAYAN USA.

While none from the BAYAN USA contingent was arrested, police officers brutalized protesters and arrested at least 10 from the march and rally. BAYAN USA, an overseas chapter of BAYAN Philippines and member of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS), marched closely with allies from Nodutdol, a progressive Korean community organization based in Queens.

For more information on BAYAN USA, visit http://www.bayanusa.org, or email info@bayanusa.org. ###

(Photos Courtesy of BAYAN-USA)

Arkibong Bayan

Kawagib Moro human rights group leads protest against Israeli aggression in Gaza

January 15, 2009

Kawagib Moro human rights group

leads protest against Israeli aggression in Gaza

Cotabato City

January 9, 2009

Press Release
January 09, 2009

Cotabato City- The KAWAGIB MORO HUMAN RIGHTS joins the international community in condemning the atrocious military aggression of Israel in Gaza and urges world leaders to support measure to protect and advance the basic rights of the Palestinian people.

The humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip calls for an immediate and comprehensive intervention. The entire Gaza populations are being punished for the actions of a few militants. Israel ’s military incursion has targeted Hamas but a vast majority of the victims are innocent civilians. The deadly air strikes were aimed at civilian areas. At least one aerial assault hit a U.N. school.

Israel ’s sustained and escalating military assault in Gaza has already claimed the lives of close to 700 Palestinians – about a third of whom are women and children – and injured thousands of others.

Despite mounting international pressure, Israel , with the backing of the United States (U.S.), has kept on with its military operation, which is nothing but a large-scale massacre of innocent civilians. The U.S.’ used of its veto power to oppose a draft ceasefire resolution by the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council is a clear manifestation of its support to Israel’s aggression.

We are very dismayed by the apparent impunity with which Israel with its complicit state, the U.S. , persist in their systematic oppression of the Palestinian people. Israel , with the backing of the U.S. , has been committing immense crimes against humanity despite strong condemnation of international watchdogs.

The Bangsamoro people are, to some extent, beset with similar aggression and feel for the Palestinians in their quest for the right to self-determination. The Philippine government has consistently suppressed the rights and aspirations of the Bangsamoro people and brazenly violated international humanitarian law with its all-out war policy. It has been quick to resort to military option to contain peace and security issues and puts little consideration to the number of civilian lives lost and affected in its military campaigns.

We condemn in the strongest terms Israel ’s military aggression in Gaza ; its shameless and flagrant defiance of international humanitarian law and its arrogant and appalling disregard of the unified call of the international community.

We deplore U.S. support in the armed aggression and its imperial pursuits in the Philippines and in the rest of the world.

We support the adoption of concrete measure to end the aggression and the sufferings of the Palestinian people and call an end to Israel ’s military and humanitarian siege of Gaza .

FOR REFERENCE: BAI ALI INDAYLA

(064)421-5680. Contact # 0921.906.4699

Liga ng Kabataang Moro calls for a global boycott and sanctions campaign against Israel Zionism.

Following the current massive military attack in Gaza Strip, the Liga ng Kabataang Moro (LKM) released a statement condemning the latest overkill launched yet again by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people.

The LKM joins several other progressive Moro organizations gathered today to protest the US-backed Israeli War Crimes.

“Today’s action is part of Mindanao-wide Day of Action to show solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza and to demand an immediate end to the murderous attacks carried out by the Israeli military that once again on the brink of a full-scale war,” said Yousri Usop, Chairmanperson of LKM, Notre Dame University Chapter. This escalation, he fears, can only lead to another round of bloodletting and destruction.

The group holds the Israeli government and its primary ally, the United States, responsible for the said condemnable act.

This latest phase in the long-running tragedy in the Middle East began in December 27, 2008 when Israel bombarded Gaza leading to the death of 683 innocent women, children and the elderly and more than 3,085 injured since Israel began its offensive 13 days ago. Palestinian fighters captured an Israeli soldier in exchange of some of the 10,000 Palestinian detainees held by Israel. Under international law, the soldier is a legitimate target in a legitimate resistance operation by an occupied people.

Yousri said “all hell then broke loose as Israel began an all-out military assault on Gaza.” The protesting Moro youth organization claims that it is clearly another manifestation of overkill.

It bombarded civilian infrastructure, including bridges and power stations, leaving over a million civilians without water supply and hundreds of sick people in hospitals without access to medication. Over 683 individuals have been killed and thousands have become refugees.

The grossly disproportionate use of force and the collective punishment imposed on the Palestinian people are flagrant violations of international law.

LKM related the Israeli attack to the present war in Mindanao Usop said, “This is what the US-puppet Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is doing in its present war in Mindanao against our Muslim compatriots.”

“More than 600,000 people have lost their homes and more than 200 have died since August 2008 when the full-scale war broke out. Many of the victims are women and children.”

The protest calls for a Stop to the US-Backed GMA Regime’s War in Mindanao and against the people of Gaza!”

The current condition of the refugees is not getting any better, they claimed, because for the past 18 months there is little or no medicine to treat the wounded, electricity, food or clean water for much of the population.

“We demand that Israel should immediately end its military offensive on Gaza, free all Palestinian detainees from Israeli jails, and end the occupation of Palestine and people’s right to sovereignty and self determination be respected,” the Moro youth group demanded.

“We also demand that the Philippine government recalls its ambassador from Israel and begin the process of severing all diplomatic ties with that state until it complies and take a stand in favor of international law and justice, summon the Israeli ambassador to protest, and expressly condemn Israel for its actions. In solidarity with the Palestinian and Israeli people opposed to war, we call for a global boycott and sanctions campaign against Israel.”

“In solidarity with the Palestinians and Israeli people opposed to war, we call for a global boycott and sanctions campaign against Israel.”

Reference: Yousri Usop-LKM,Chairperson, Notre Dame University-Chapter, Contact Number-09058016752

Press Statement
January 9, 2009

Liga ng Kabataang Moro calls for a global boycott and sanctions campaign against Israel Zionism.

We Liga ng Kabataang Moro joins with other progressive Moro organizations gathered today to protest the US-backed Israeli War Crimes. Today’s action is part of Mindanao-wide Day of Action to show solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza and to demand an immediate end to the murderous attacks carried out by the Israeli military that once again on the brink of a full-scale war. This escalation can only lead to another round of bloodletting and destruction.

We Liga ng Kabataang Moro, lay the responsibility behind this tragedy squarely on the Israeli state, its primary ally the United States, and all those who actively support or tacitly tolerate its actions.

This latest phase in the long-running tragedy in the Middle East began in December 27, 2008 when Israel bombarded Gaza leading to the death of 683 innocent women, children and the elderly and more than 3,085 injured since Israel began its offensive 13 days ago. Palestinian fighters then captured an Israeli soldier, demanding the release of some of the 10,000 Palestinian detainees held by Israel. Under international law, the soldier is a legitimate target in a legitimate resistance operation by an occupied people.

All hell then broke loose as Israel began an all-out military assault on Gaza. It bombarded civilian infrastructure, including bridges and power stations, leaving over a million civilians without water and hundreds of sick people in hospitals without access to medication. The grossly disproportionate use of force and the collective punishment imposed on the Palestinian people are flagrant violations of international law.

It was evidently in response to the atrocities being carried out by Israel on the people of Gaza. Over 683 been killed and thousands have become refugees. Again, Israel’s actions are brazen violations of international law. Not only do they constitute disproportionate violence but ¬ with Israel itself provoking the actions it claims to be defending itself from they are also totally unjustified.

This is what the US-puppet Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is doing in its present war in Mindanao against our Muslim compatriots. More than 600,000 people have lost their homes and more than 200 have died since August 2008 when the full-scale war broke out. Many of the victims are women and children.

Because an injury to one is an injury to all, as we say “Stop the US-Backed GMA Regime’s War in Mindanao!”, we say loudly “Stop the War against the people of Gaza!”

Because of the US-backed Israeli blockade and strangulation of the people of Gaza for the past 18 months there is little or no medicine to treat the wounded, electricity, food or clean water for much of the population. This massive international war crime perpetrated by the Israeli government and military must be stopped.

At the root of the continuing tragedy in the Middle East is the continuing occupation of Palestine by Israel. That Israel is able to continue this occupation and that it is able to bomb and kill indiscriminately without restraint points to the incapacity of the international community, including the United Nations and the world’s governments, to uphold peace and justice.

It is this unwillingness to act that will ensure that more blood and tears will flow from this escalating war. We demand that Israel should immediately end its military offensive on Gaza, free all Palestinian detainees from Israeli jails, and end the occupation of Palestine and people’s right to sovereignty and self determination be respected.

We demand that the Philippine government recalls its ambassador from Israel and begin the process of severing all diplomatic ties with that state until it complies and take a stand in favor of international law and justice, summon the Israeli ambassador to protest, and expressly condemn Israel for its actions. In solidarity with the Palestinian and Israeli people opposed to war, we call for a global boycott and sanctions campaign against Israel.

In solidarity with the Palestinians and Israeli people opposed to war, we call for a global boycott and sanctions campaign against Israel.

LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!

LONG LIVE THE PEOPLE OF PALESTINE!
FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA, PALESTINE WILL BE FREE!

Reference: Yousri Usop-LKM,Chairperson, Notre Dame University-Chapter, Contact Number-09058016752

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Israel’s Occupation of Palestine
www.bulatlat.com


Israel’s incursions into Palestine and its attacks against the Palestinian people did not begin with the founding of Hamas in 1987, during the first intifada (uprising), or its victory over Fatah during the January 2006 elections. Sadly, what is seemingly lost in news reports is the root of the Israel-Palestinian conflict: the struggle for land and self-determination of the Palestinian people.

BY BENJIE OLIVEROS
ANAYSIS
Bulatlat

The Israeli army has already killed almost 800 Palestinians, including 220 children, and has wounded around 3,1000 since it began bombarding the Gaza strip on December 27 and moving into Palestinian territory January 3. It occupied the Gaza strip purportedly to protect southern Israel from Hamas’ rocket attacks. On January 9, UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Navi Pillay called for an investigation of possible war crimes in Gaza and Israel , saying that “harm to civilians in Israel by Hamas rockets is unacceptable” and that Israel must follow international humanitarian law regardless of Hamas’ actions.

Statements from Israel and even the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights make it appear that Israel is merely retaliating against Hamas’ rocket attacks. However, Israel ’s incursions into Palestine and its attacks against the Palestinian people did not begin with the founding of Hamas in 1987, during the first intifada (uprising), or its victory over Fatah during the January 2006 elections. Sadly, what is seemingly lost in news reports is the root of the Israel-Palestinian conflict: the struggle for land and self-determination of the Palestinian people.

The struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination began after World War I, when it became clear to the Palestinians that the British had deceived them. During World War 1, the British, through its High Commissioner for Egypt Henry McMahon, convinced Husayn ibn ‘Ali, the patriarch of the Hashemite family and Ottoman governor of Mecca and Medina to revolt against the Ottoman Empire, which was aligning with Germany. The British promised that if the Arabs aligned with it in the war, it would support the establishment of an independent Arab state under Hashemite rule in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire, including Palestine .

At the same time, British Foreign Minister Lord Arthur Balfour issued a declaration in 1917 declaring Britain’s support for the establishment of a “ Jewish national home in Palestine”, which was being pushed for by the Zionist movement since its founding in Europe in 1897 by Theodor Herzl. Britain also entered into an agreement with France to divide control over the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire .

After the war, the British took control over areas, which now comprise Israel , the West Bank, Gaza strip, and Jordan , and France annexed Syria , and from it carved a separate state of Lebanon . The British also allowed the purchase of large tracts of land from absentee Arab landowners by the Jewish National Fund and the steady stream of Jewish immigration from Europe . When Arabs were evicted from lands purchased by the Jews, clashes erupted between Arabs and Jews from 1920-21. Clashes erupted anew between Muslims and Jews over the Wailing Wall from 1928-29.

The dramatic increase in European Jewish immigration in 1933 was the last straw. The Arabs revolted from 1936-39. The revolt was crushed by Britain with the help of Zionist militias and the complicity of neighboring Arab countries.

On March 22, 1946, the British relinquished its mandate over Jordan after securing their military bases and installations there. On April, it authorized the entry of 100,000 Jews into Palestine .

At the end of 1946, there were 1.3 million Arabs and 608,000 Jews in Palestine , with the latter owning 20 percent of the arable land. This was already a dramatic increase in the Jewish population in Palestine considering that during the late 19th century, Palestine , with a total land area of 10,000 sq m, used to be inhabited by 403,795 Muslims, 43,659 Christians, and only 15,011 Jews.

On Nov. 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly voted to partition Palestine into two states: one Jewish and the other Arab. The Jews were given 56 percent of the territory while 43 percent was allocated for the Arabs. Fighting between Jews and Arabs erupted within days of the announcement of the partition plan. On May 15, 1948, the British evacuated Palestine and the Zionists proclaimed the state of Israel .

Egypt, Syria , Jordan and Iraq declared war on Israel shortly thereafter. Israel ’s armed forces unleashed a brutal was causing the displacement of 700,000 Palestinian refugees. The war ended with an armistice agreement whereby Israel encompassed over 77 percent of the territory. Jordan occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank; Egypt took control of the Gaza strip. The Palestinian Arab state was never established.►

Tensions between Israel and the Arab states did not abate, but with every eruption of the conflict, Israel – which was being aided militarily by the US – was able to expand its territory. After another war in 1967, Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan , the Gaza strip and Sinai peninsula from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria .

Israel established a military administration in the Gaza strip and West Bank . Since 1967, over 300,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned without trial; over half a million have been tried by Israel ’s military courts; and torture of Palestinian prisoners was a common practice. At the same time, Israel built hundreds of settlements in the occupied territories.

Palestinian resistance

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was organized in 1964. The largest group is the Al Fatah. Other members included the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Palestine People’s Party. It established its base in Jordan before moving to Lebanon then Tunisia . In 1985, Israel bombed the PLO headquarters in Tunisia .

In December 1987, the first intifada erupted and lasted until 1991. It was a mass uprising that included demonstrations, general strikes, boycott of Israeli products and refusal to pay taxes. The intifada was brutally crushed by the Israel army, killing 1,000 Palestinians, including 200 below the age of 16.

While the intifada was led by the four PLO parties active in the occupied territories, it gave birth to Islamist groups such as Hamas. Earlier, Israel encouraged the development of Islamist groups to divide the Palestinians. When it appeared that these groups pose a greater threat to it than the PLO, Israel began talks with the latter.

On September 28, 1995 an interim agreement was signed between the Israel government and Palestine . It provided for the withdrawal of Israel from the Gaza strip and Jericho , as well as parts of the West Bank during a period of five years, and for the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) with “self-governing powers”. Yasser Arafat, head of Al Fatah, was elected president of the PA in 1996.

However, the talks were protracted. After painful negotiations, which extended till the turn of the century, the Palestinian Authority was able to fain direct or partial control of 40 percent of the West Bank and 65 percent of the Gaza strip.


All through the period of negotiations, Israel expanded its settlements and built bypass roads within the occupied territories. Thus, even as the PA gained some measure of control over certain areas of the West Bank and Gaza strip, they were surrounded by Jewish settlements with entry and exit to these areas being controlled by the Israel army.

On September 28, 2000 Ariel Sharon visited the Muslim holy shrine, Haram al-Sharif in the company of 1,000 guards, thereby provoking a second intifada. When the militant wing of Al Fatah fired on Israeli soldiers, Israel attacked PA installations with helicopter gunships, tanks and artillery fire, and missiles. It also bombarded civilian neighborhoods in the West Bank and Gaza strip.

In June 2002, Israel began construction of the West Bank barrier, which was 700-km long and five meters high. Palestinian land was confiscated to build the wall. Worse, Palestinian farmers and traders were cut off from their farms and water sources.

On September 20, 2002 Israel besieged Arafat’s headquarters in Ram Allah and confined him there for over two years up to his death in November 2004. Israel also embarked on a policy of extrajudicial assassinations and imprisonment of Palestinian leaders. One of the more prominent Palestinian leaders who was imprisoned and sentenced to five life terms is Marwan Barghouti of the Al Fatah.

On February 26, 2003, Israel made a series of re-incursions that led to the re-occupation of parts of the Gaza strip and the West Bank .

In April 2003, Mahmud Abbas was elected as Palestinian Prime Minister. On June 4, 2003 Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas met at Aqaba, Jordan to discuss the implementation of the “road map formula for peace”, which was backed by the US, Russia, the European Union, and the UN.

However, nothing came out of the negotiations. Abbas was politically humiliated.

On January 25, 2006, Palestinians voted in parliamentary elections and Hamas won 74 out of the 132 parliamentary seats. Fatah won 45 seats, and 13 seats went to other minor parties. Since then, Israel vowed to “liquidate Hamas rule in Gaza ”.

Thus, the December 2007 Israeli offensive was more than a retaliation. It is part of Israel ’s genocidal acts against the Palestinian people, much like what the British settlers did to the native American Indians. (Bulatlat.com)

(Photos Courtesy of Kawagib Moro Human Rights)

Arkibong Bayan

Photos: Hongkong multisectoral organizations condemn Israeli invasion of Gaza

January 15, 2009

Hongkong multisectoral organizations

condemn Israeli invasion of Gaza

January 8 2009

No More Bloodshed in Gaza! Stop the Invasion!
Hong Kong People Condemn Israeli Aggression, Vow More Protests
Solidarity broadened and strengthened for Palestine today.

Several organizations and individuals all over Hong Kong gathered in a picket protest today, January 8, at the Israeli Consulate General to condemn the ongoing and intensifying attacks by the Israeli Zionist government on the people of Gaza.

Led by the Asia Pacific Students and Youth Association (ASA, formerly known as the Asian Students Association), the picket gathered around 70 people from various local and regional platforms, with many of them joining the march to the U.S. Consulate.

The organizations who joined included the following: Justice and Peace Commission of Hong Kong Catholic Diocese, HK Confederation of Trade Unions, Hong Kong Federation of Students, League of Social Democrats, Refugee Action Centre, Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants, Mission For Migrant Workers (HK) Society, Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge, United Filipinos in Hong Kong, Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers in Hong Kong (ATKI-HK), Pakistani Islamic Welfare Union,

The Incorporated Trustees of The Islamic Community Fund of Hong Kong, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Hong Kong (BAYAN-HK), Asian Centre for the Progress of Peoples, International League of Peoples’ Struggle Hong Kong, Filipino Migrant Workers Union, Association for the Advancement of Feminism, Asian Human Rights Commission, Asian Monitor Resource Centre, April 5th Movement, World Student Christian Federation Asia Pacific, and Helpers for Islam.

Other known personalities present were Legislator Leung Kwok Hung (aka Long Hair), Dr. Rose Wu (former director of the HK Christian Institute), Father Franco Mella PIME, and Mufti Muhammad Arshad (Chief Imam Hong Kong).

Note-worthy are the many individuals, many of whom were students, who joined the action after learning about the invitation through SMS and Facebook.

At the Admiralty Centre

A strong sense of solidarity spirit engulfed the whole ground floor of the Admiralty Centre, the building where Israeli Consulate is situated.

Speeches were given as slogans like “No More Deaths! No More Bombings!” and “Stop the Aggression! Israel Out of Palestine Now!” were chanted right after every speech.

During the start of the program, a small delegation made up of Rey Asis (secretariat member of the ASA), Imam Arshad, Baseer Navid of AHRC, Long Hair and a representative from PIWU were planning to give the position paper signed by various groups and individuals to the Israeli Consulate.

However, they were stopped several times by the building security and finally refused entry to the lift going to the Israeli Consulate’s office. This created uproar and indignation both from the delegation and the people gathered outside the building.

Truly, such action from the Admiralty Centre security was shameful.

Marching to the US Consulate

After the program in Admiralty, the protesters marched to the US Consulate to continue the demonstration.

There, the protesters were not remiss in denouncing the US government’s continuous political and military support to the Israeli Zionist government’s invasion of Gaza and Palestine.

A moment of silence was observed towards the end of the program to remember the many women, children and innocent civilians who died from the Israeli assaults.

Solidarity was again expressed as the groups committed to follow up on the developments and take necessary actions. A solidarity network for Palestine is already in the offing.

Truly, today’s action proved that solidarity embraced all races, religions, ages and colors. It was a very meaningful and inspiring event.

Reference:
Rey Perez Asis
Secretariat Member, Asia Pacific Students and Youth Association
Contact number: (852) 9588 9491
Email: reyasis@gmail.com

HongKong Legislator Leong Kwok Hung

Immam Muhammad Arshad of AHRC

Rey Asis of ASA

Elizabeth Tang of HKCTU

xHong Kong’s Expression of Solidarity with the People of Gaza Strip
STOP THE ATTACKS!
RESIST THE ONSLAUGHT OF ISRAELI ZIONISM!

What Israel is doing is not democracy. It is genocide. It is terrorism.

This we say as we condemn in the strongest possible terms the Israeli Zionist government for intensifying its military onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

It continues to hurl bombs through aerial attacks, fire artillery shelling through naval vessels as its tanks and troops invading Palestinian territory have been strifing at civilians, homes and even medical personnel.

It has the arrogance to admit and exhibit its military prowess at the expense of the Palestinian civilians as homes, hospitals and universities, mosques and prayer halls have been targeted and obliterated.

It has not shown any compunction in blockading medical, food and other forms of humanitarian aid from getting into the borders. It kills civilians and even targets those who are helping the wounded and attending to the distressed. Is this what the Israeli government calls defending itself as they collectively punish the people of Gaza?

By using military force disproportionately, placing civilians in harm’s way by deliberately aiming bombs at their homes or hospitals they have sought refuge in, by hindering humanitarian access, the Israeli Zionist government has not only violated international conventions but committed the foulest crimes against humanity.

No remorse, no logic, no shame

It is of no remorse, of no logic, of no shame as they vehemently deny the reality of devastation in Gaza and ignore the international outcry for an immediate ceasefire.

On the part of U.S. government, it has shed off any illusion of pretense and objectivity as it condones and virtually champions the Israel’s expression of “defending itself from the attacks of Hamas.”

As outgoing president George W. Bush rashly demands the Hamas to stop “its military offense”, the U.S. government continually implores its standing relations with Israel before making any categorical position on the current Middle East crisis.

What uncouth positioning of a government with diplomatic relationships taking more precedence over the protection of lives and rights of the civilian populace!

We will not forget

We will not forget how the people of Gaza have suffered from the brutal rule of the Israeli Zionist government from the period of the latter’s occupation of Gaza (1967-1994) to the present. The independence of the Palestinian people in 1994 is almost nothing when their land, air and sea bases remain under the control of the Israelis.

In recent years, we have seen how the Israeli Zionist government has attacked Gaza and continued to advance and occupy small land portions of the Palestinian territory, as what they did this November 2008.

The people of Gaza and of Palestine have been defending themselves from Israeli invasion for the longest time. Hamas, a legitimate government elected by the people of Gaza and recognized by the U.N. and various governments, only responds to defend Gaza’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Expression of defiance, of solidarity

We welcome the strong position that United Nation General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto has taken against the Israel attacks. We welcome and embrace greatly the strong positions and solidarity actions that many people all over the world have taken against the Israel attacks.

We exert strong pressure on the various governments in the Middle East to provide space for their people to express freely their position on the issue and allow them to extend support to the people of Gaza. We denounce those governments who cheer on the Israeli government for the latter’s wanton display of brute military violence.

We likewise call for the provision of full access to all journalists to the region.

We call for more expression of this solidarity as we not only hold protest actions but gather material and medical support for the people of Gaza. In the midst of the global financial crisis, the Palestinian people, especially in the Gaza Strip, have experienced hardship, poverty and denial at the most extreme sense AND today, they need our help more than ever.

All of us undersigned express our strongest solidarity with the people of Gaza and the whole of Palestine as we call for the immediate and complete halt to these attacks as well as the withdrawal of all Israeli military personnel from the Palestinian territory.

We are one with them and the people of the Middle East as well as the international community in resisting these attacks of the US-backed Israeli Zionist government.

Signed:
Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants
Asia Pacific Students and Youth Association (ASA, formerly Asian Students Association)
Asian Centre for the Progress of Peoples
Association for the Advancement of Feminism
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Hong Kong (BAYAN HK)
Baseer Navid
Civil Human Rights Front
Hong Kong Christian Institute
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
International League of Peoples’ Struggle Hong Kong
League of Social Democrats
Leung Kwok Hung, HK Legislator
Pakistani Islamic Welfare Union
United Filipinos in Hong Kong
World Student Christian Federation-Asia Pacific
Wu Lo-sai, Rose

Reference: Rey Asis of Asia Pacific Students and Youth Association (9588 9491)

Photos: UP Community: Justice for Palestine! Lighting candles to protest the Israeli bombing and invasion of Gaza

January 15, 2009

UP Community: Justice for Palestine!

Lighting candles to protest the Israeli bombing and invasion of Gaza

UP Diliman Campus

January 8, 2009

Faculty, students and employees of UP light candles to protest the US-backed Israeli  War of Agrression on Gaza. Shown above, L-R: Dr. Noli Reyes, UP Student Regent Shahana Abdulwahid, UP Faculty Regent Prof. Judy Taguiwalo,  Prof. Epifanio San Juan of the US-based Cultural Studies Group, and Prof. Harry Roque of the UP College of Law.

UP Faculty Regent Prof. Judy Taguiwalo

UP Student Regent Shahana Abdulwahid

Streetwise By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

War of Terror in Gaza

Remember Sabra and Shatilla?

These were the two Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon where an estimated 1,700 to 3,500 civilian residents — men, women and children — were massacred in 1982 by pro-Israel Lebanese phalangist militia units with the protective shield and go-ahead of Israeli Defense Forces. IDF commander Gen Ariel Sharon was found “indirectly responsible” for the massacres and was forced to resign. But he eventually went on to be Israel Prime Minister after several years.

This long record of impunity for the Israeli government in barefaced aggression and military overkill, perpetrating gross human rights violations, war crimes and even genocide must be seen in the context of unshakeable US backing – military, economic, political and diplomatic.

With the acquiescence of the other big powers, this unstinting and continuing US support explains in large part the destructiveness, brutality and callousness exhibited by the IDF in the recent attacks on Gaza. Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Mahathir said that no matter how clever or powerful Israel was it would not be able to carry out the offensive without the US acting as a “big brother” providing the money and the weaponry for Israel’s renewed war of aggression.

Thus, the US is “much more guilty than even the Israelis” for the civilian carnage and the ratcheting up of the Israel-Palestine conflict in the Middle East. Israel remains the single biggest recipient of US aid getting a hefty US $3 billion annually.

A country of approximately 6 million people, it is currently receiving more US aid than all of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean taking out Egypt and Colombia. It has a nuclear arsenal that would be the envy of any of the countries named by US President Bush as constituting an “axis of evil”.

Despite international outcry against mounting civilian casualties and the massive humanitarian crisis the Israeli assault has given rise to, the US government is unrelenting in its support. The US sabotaged a draft UN resolution that called for a ceasefire, addressing the humanitarian crisis, as well as the resumption of peace talks. It rejected calls for Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza and attacked the proposed resolution for not condemning Hamas’ firing rockets into Southern Israel as “terrorist” acts.

In fact, it was Israel that had made a months-old truce untenable by keeping Gaza under siege. Since Hamas won a majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council in January 2006, Israel, Washington and the West have withheld recognition and all outside aid; an economic embargo and sanctions were imposed; and the legitimate government subjected to vilification and political isolation.

The Israeli government claims that Hamas initiated the hostilities by raining rockets on Israeli villages are belied by reports that IDF forces had earlier intruded into Palestinian territory purportedly to close off tunnels allegedly used by Hamas to smuggle arms and had killed six Hamas officers in the process.

Since the six-month ceasefire ended, Israeli troops have crossed the border several times, while Hamas resumed shelling nearby Israeli towns. US President Bush immediately justified Israel’s attack by demonizing the Hamas regime as a “terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria.”

US Secretary of State Rice strongly rejected outright any ceasefire that didn’t meet Israel’s conditions. President-elect Barack Obama, heretofore silent on the raging global issue, finally expressed “deep concern” for the loss of civilian life after Israeli tank shells killed at least 40 Palestinians at a UN school where civilians had taken shelter on the third day of the invasion.

The Israel-Palestine conflict is certainly not about Israel and Palestine alone. It is about oil. It is about who controls the Middle East. And it is about the US drive for world domination currently in the guise of a US-instigated “global war on terror”.

Mainstream media have always portrayed and explained the conflict in terms of the Palestinians’ struggle to return to their homeland, on one hand, and the Israeli state’s right to exist on the other. But in fact, from the very start, world powers have manipulated and even instigated the conflict according to their interests and designs, the ordinary Palestinians and Israelis be damned.

To begin with, the British government played a central role in arranging for the migration of tens of thousands of Jews to Palestine and in violently displacing the Palestinians from their lands.

Then, the US engineered the lopsided 1948 UN resolution to partition Palestine into a Jewish state and a Palestinian state. The Palestinians rejected the resolution, rightfully protesting that they were not consulted, and the partition favored the Jews heavily. The resulting armed conflict ended in the Palestinians’ defeat, mass expulsion from Palestine and their seeking refuge in neighboring Arab states.

To this date, their just struggle to return to their homeland continues. With the intensification of the Cold War after the Korean War and the rise in Arab nationalism and unity in the late 50s, the Middle East became a flashpoint with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in focus. The so-called Arab-Israel wars, ostensibly over the Palestinian issue, were in fact proxy wars by the world superpowers for control of the Middle East, with Israel serving as the US’ surrogate force against the Soviet-backed Arab states.

Since then, and especially with the emergence of the US as sole superpower, Israel has grown into a bully whose arrogance, brutality and ruthlessness is matched only by its mentor and backer, the US.

The International League for People’s Struggle in a statement condemning the invasion and the escalating massacre of the Palestinian people said, “The US has used Israel as the bridgehead of US imperialist hegemony in the Middle East and as the platform for threatening and blackmailing countries in the region, making them military and political clients and controlling the oil resources.”

One does not have to be partisan for Hamas or against the Israeli government to acknowledge the truth articulated by UN President Miguel d’Escoto Brockman on the day of the Gaza airstrikes, “The behavior by Israel in bombarding Gaza is simply the commission of wanton aggression by a very powerful state against a territory that it illegally occupies.”#

Dr. Roland Tolentino, Chair of CONTEND-UP

Prof. Harry Roque of UP College of Law

Prof. Danilo Arao of Department of Mass Communication

Prof. Epifanio San Juan, Dircetor of US-based Cultural Studies Group

UP studnets decried the destruction of school facilities in Gaza and the slaughter of children and the Israeli blockade of humanitarian and coming from all parts of the world

Dr

Dr. Epifanio San Juan, left, and Dr. Fidel Nemenzo, with Dr. Delia Aguilar

Photo by Prof. Sarah Raymundo

Tani Basman, President of the UP Muslim Students Association

January 9, 2009

Press Statement

Liga ng Kabataang Moro calls for a global boycott and sanctions campaign against Israel Zionism

Following the current massive military attack in Gaza Strip, the Liga ng Kabataang Moro (LKM) released a statement condemning the latest overkill launched yet again by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people.

The LKM joins several other progressive Moro organizations gathered today to protest the US-backed Israeli War Crimes.

“Today’s action is part of Mindanao-wide Day of Action to show solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza and to demand an immediate end to the murderous attacks carried out by the Israeli military that once again on the brink of a full-scale war,” said Yousri Usop, Chairman of LKM, Notre Dame University Chapter.

This escalation, he fears, can only lead to another round of bloodletting and destruction.

The group holds the Israeli government and its primary ally, the United States, responsible for the said condemnable act.

This latest phase in the long-running tragedy in the Middle East began in December 27, 2008 when Israel bombarded Gaza leading to the death of 683 innocent women, children and the elderly and more than 3,085 injured since Israel began its offensive 13 days ago.

Palestinian fighters captured an Israeli soldier in exchange of some of the 10,000 Palestinian detainees held by Israel. Under international law, the soldier is a legitimate target in a legitimate resistance operation by an occupied people. Yousri said “all hell then broke loose as Israel began an all-out military assault on Gaza.”

The protesting Moro youth organization claims that it is clearly another manifestation of overkill. It bombarded civilian infrastructure, including bridges and power stations, leaving over a million civilians without water supply and hundreds of sick people in hospitals without access to medication.

Over 683 individuals have been killed and thousands have become refugees. The grossly disproportionate use of force and the collective punishment imposed on the Palestinian people are flagrant violations of international law.

LKM related the Israeli attack to the present war in Mindanao Usop said, “This is what the US-puppet Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is doing in its present war in Mindanao against our Muslim compatriots.”

“More than 600,000 people have lost their homes and more than 200 have died since August 2008 when the full-scale war broke out. Many of the victims are women and children.”

The protest calls for a Stop to the US-Backed GMA Regime’s War in Mindanao and against the people of Gaza!” The current condition of the refugees is not getting any better, they claimed, because for the past 18 months there is little or no medicine to treat the wounded, electricity, food or clean water for much of the population.

“We demand that Israel should immediately end its military offensive on Gaza, free all Palestinian detainees from Israeli jails, and end the occupation of Palestine and people’s right to sovereignty and self determination be respected,” the Moro youth group demanded.

“We also demand that the Philippine government recalls its ambassador from Israel and begin the process of severing all diplomatic ties with that state until it complies and take a stand in favor of international law and justice, summon the Israeli ambassador to protest, and expressly condemn Israel for its actions. In solidarity with the Palestinian and Israeli people opposed to war, we call for a global boycott and sanctions campaign against Israel.”

“In solidarity with the Palestinians and Israeli people opposed to war, we call for a global boycott and sanctions campaign against Israel.

Reference: Marbawi Edza -LKM,Spokesperson,

Cotabato City State Polytechnic College-Chapter

09264010386

Photo by Prof. Sarah Raymundo

Photo by Prof. Sarah Raymundo

Photo by Prof. Sarah Raymundo

(Photos Courtesy of Prof. Sarah Raymundo)

Arkibong Bayan

Photos: BAYAN – USA in Los Angeles joins protest against the US-backed Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza

January 14, 2009

BAYAN – USA in Los Angeles joins protest

against the US-backed Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza

IIn front of Israeli Consulate, Los Angeles, CA, USA

January 2 , 2009

Los Angeles, CA – January 2, 2008 – BAYAN-USA, a member of the International Migrants Alliance, stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Gaza is not alone! Solidarity in Greece

On Saturday 3 January a massive and combative demonstration took place in the center of Athens and marched towards the Zionist embassy. Thousands of people responded to the call of the Palestinian Community, of the Greek Social Forum and of the Left organizations (with the exception of the “Communist Party of Greece” – KKE). With slogans against the Zionist murderers and their accomplices, the USA, the EU and the so-called “international community”, and throwing stones, the people resisted for long time the attacks of the Police Special Forces. The Police attacked with chemicals in an attempt to prevent the demonstrators from reaching the embassy.

The spirit of the demonstration, one of the biggest of the last years, was characterized by outrage for the Zionist crimes, anger for the pro-US, pro-Israel stand of the Greek government, and by resolute spirit of solidarity. The main slogans scanded also by the block of the Communist Organization of Greece were:

“Bush-Olmert murderers! Victory to the Intifada! Freedom for Palestine!”
“The people does not want them here – Throw the Zionist embassy out of Greece”
“Solidarity is the peoples’ weapon – War against the imperialist war”
“Zionist pigs murderers: Gaza is not alone”
“Bush and Olmert kill, Karamanlis and Papandreou applaude”
“USA and EU, accomplices in the crime”
“No justice, No peace – Solidarity with Palestine”
“The real terrorists are in the embassies of USA and Israel”

Similar demonstrations took place also in Thessaloniki and other Greek cities. Today Sunday 4 January in the afternoon a new demonstration is called by the Palestinian Community, the Greek Social Forum, the Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA), etc. Unfortunately, and despite the plea of the Palestinian Community to organize one common demonstration, the KKE refused and will organize its own separate “peaceful march” 1 hour earlier… The same happened in Thessaloniki.

The Communist Organization of Greece calls upon the Youth and the People of Greece to get into the streets, to take part in the mobilizations organized by the Palestinian Community and the Left, and to express their outrage for the Zionist criminal aggression and for the shameful complicity of the Greek government.

All out to the streets!
Throw out of Greece the embassy of the Zionist murderers!
Unconditional support to the Palestinian Resistance!

*****
Communist Organization of Greece / Kommounistiki Organosi Elladas (KOE)
International Relations Department

Email: laokratia@yahoo.com * aristera@tellas.com
Web: http://www.koel.gr * In English: international.koel.gr

Post address: Newspaper “Left!” * Isaia Salonon 6 * 11475 Athens, Greece
Phone: +30 210 6441745 * Fax: +30 210 6430024
*****

UN chief demands Gaza ceasefire

Ban Ki-Moon: ‘Civilians in Gaza are being subjected to massive trauma’

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for an immediate end to fighting in the Gaza Strip during a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York.

The US and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have backed a French-Egyptian ceasefire proposal.

Israel says it has agreed to set up a humanitarian corridor to allow aid into the Gaza Strip.

On the ground in Gaza, explosions were heard through the night. Israel says it carried out more than 30 air strikes.

Mr Ban criticised both Israel for its bombardment of Gaza and Hamas for firing rockets into Israel and urged Security Council members in New York to act “swiftly and decisively to put this crisis to an end”.

Map


“We need urgently to achieve Palestinian unity and the reunification of Gaza with the West Bank within the framework of the legitimate Palestinian Authority,” he added.

More than 600 Palestinians are now believed to have been killed since Israel began its offensive 11 days ago. Palestinian health ministry officials say at least 195 children are among those killed.

An Israeli attack on Tuesday on a school building, which Israel says was sheltering militants, left at least 30 people dead and 55 injured, UN officials say.

Israel, which has vowed to reduce rocket attacks from Gaza on its territory, has lost seven soldiers on the ground. Four people within Israel have been killed by rockets.

In another development, Venezuela ordered the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador in protest at the Gaza offensive and its “flagrant violations of international law”.

Support for truce

The ceasefire plan proposed jointly by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and French President Nicolas Sarkozy would bring together all the main parties and take all measures to end the conflict in Gaza.

The plan envisages the resumption of the delivery of aid to Gaza and talks with Israel on border security, a key issue for Israel as it says Hamas smuggles its rockets into Gaza via the Egyptian border.

Welcoming the proposal, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for a “ceasefire that can endure and that can bring real security”.

The contours of a possible diplomatic agreement are in place, the BBC’s Laura Trevelyan reports from the UN.

GAZA CRISIS BACKGROUND

Smoke rises over Gaza (06/01/2009)


However, if Israel continues to control the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza and can choose to stop it at any time this seems unlikely to command the support of Hamas, she notes.

Thus frenetic diplomacy in New York and in the Middle East is likely to continue.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev, did not say whether Israel would accept the proposal but said it would take it “very, very seriously”.

Israel has proposed suspending attacks in specified parts of Gaza to allow people to stock up on essential goods.

The military will open up “areas for limited periods of time, during which the population will be able to receive the aid”, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said.

Andrew Whitley of the UN relief agency told the BBC that any relief in the conditions of the people of Gaza could only be a good thing:

“People have been weakened by 18 months of blockade and siege. They’ve been getting very little food, electricity or heat for a long time, and so they are in a very weakened condition.”

School carnage

UN officials have said that the al-Fakhura school in the Jabaliya refugee camp was being used as a refuge for hundreds of people when it was hit by Israeli shell-fire.

The BBC’s Rushdi Abu Alouf reports from a UN school inside a Gaza refugee camp

The Israeli military said its soldiers had come under mortar fire from Hamas militants inside the school. A spokesman for Hamas denied there had been any hostile fire coming from the school.

In all, at least 70 Palestinians and five Israeli soldiers were killed on Tuesday.

Israel says its offensive is stopping militants firing rockets but at least five hit southern Israel on Tuesday, injuring a baby.

Casualty claims in Gaza cannot be independently verified. Israel is refusing to let international journalists into Gaza, despite a supreme court ruling to allow a limited number of reporters to enter the territory.

(Photos Courtesy of Bayan-USA)

Arkibong Bayan

Photos: Protest rally at the Israeli Embassy in Makati City condemns the massacre of Palestinian people

January 14, 2009

Protest rally at the Israeli Embassy in Makati City

condemns the massacre of Palestinian people

January 6, 2009

Bayan Chair and ILPS Officer Dr. Carol P. Araullo

Moro Representative

OFFICE OF THE CHAIRPERSON

ILPSheader

Press Statement

4 January 2009

ILPS CONDEMNS ISRAELI GROUND INVASION OF GAZA

AND THE ESCALATING MASSACRE OF PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison

Chairperson, International Coordinating Committees

International League of Peoples’ Struggle

Since December 27, 2008, the US-supported Zionist Israel has carried out a war of aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza. It has launched air strikes by F-16 jet planes and Apache helicopters and artillery shelling by naval vessels in order to massacre hundreds and injure thousands of Palestinians in Gaza and destroy their homes, mosques, schools, public buildings, oil depots, power plants, water facilities  and other infrastructure.

The massacre of the Palestinian people and the destruction of their public and private properties are being rapidly escalated with the ground invasion of Gaza by thousands of Israeli troops and tanks since evening yesterday.  The aggressors have interdicted food and medicine supplies. They have destroyed all the sources of fuel and power and have thus disabled vehicles and the hospitals.  They have killed Palestinian medical personnel and have prevented ambulances from reaching the victims of aerial bombardments, shelling by naval artillery and strafing by ground forces.

The US imperialists are hellbent on letting the Zionists wreak death and destruction on the Palestinian people without limit and with complete impunity.  They have publicly incited the Zionists to escalate their aggression and have blocked every effort in the UN Security Council to pass a ceasefire resolution and to stop the carnage.  Together with the Zionists in Israel, they want nothing less than the complete surrender and subjugation of the Palestinian people in Gaza and in the whole of Palestine.

US imperialism is being consistent and true to its evil nature. It has supplied Israel with all the military, political and economic resources to wage aggression repeatedly against the Palestinian people since 1948, occupy Palestine and drive away millions of Palestinians from their homeland.  The US has used Israel as the bridgehead of US imperialist hegemony in the Middle East and as the platform for threatening and blackmailing countries in the region, making them military and political clients and controlling the oil resources.

We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, reiterate in the strongest terms our condemnation of the US-supported war of aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza and once more declare our solidarity with and support for the entire Palestinian people in their resistance against Zionist Israel and its US imperialist master.

In this regard, we also criticize and condemn those governments in the Middle East that collaborate with the US in supporting Israel directly and indirectly, delivering the oil resources of the region to the US oil giants and suppressing the resistance of the Palestinian, Arab and other peoples in the Middle East. It is a shame that the overwhelming number of Arab people are prevented by their governments from extending the most effective support to the Palestinian people.

We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, stand in solidarity with the Palestinian, Arab and other peoples of the world in the struggle against US imperialism and Israeli Zionism.  Once more we call on all member-organizations and allies of the ILPS to initiate as well as join protest mass actions and other activities that express and gather militant support for the resistance of the Palestinian and Arab peoples against US imperialism and Israeli Zionism. ###

Press Statement
December 29, 2008

ILPS CONDEMNS ISRAELI ATTACKS
ON THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE IN GAZA

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle condemns the murderous and cowardly air strikes and artillery fire unleashed by Israel on the Palestinian people in Gaza. These have already resulted in the indiscriminate killing of more than 300 people and the wounding of more than a thousand people and the destruction of office and apartment buildings, mosques, school buildings, and infrastructure. The attacks are still being escalated and the Israeli military forces have been ordered to mobilize for a fullscale invasion and reoccupation of Gaza.

The ILPS likewise condemns the US in the strongest terms for justifying and encouraging the Zionist acts of terrorism and for blaming the Palestinian people for the barbaric crimes committed by Israel against them. US imperialism has long propped up Zionist Israel, supplied to it the most powerful weapons and enabled it to commit acts of aggression, occupy Palestine for so many decades and deprive the Palestinian people of their homeland and squeeze them in a small piece of land like Gaza, which is now walled in on all sides.

It is utter mendacity and hypocrisy worthy of war criminals and mega-terrorists for both the US and Israel to put the blame on Palestine and the Palestinian people for the ongoing large-scale crimes of aggression and oppression committed by Israel against them and for the impending Israeli invasion and reoccupation of Gaza. The current call of Israel for all-out war reminds us all of the Israeli aggression against Lebanon in recent times and how far Israel can go in committing crimes against humanity with complete impunity with the encouragement and support of the US imperialists and the acquiescence of the other imperialist powers.

The ILPS stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for national salvation and independence and for the defense of all their human and democratic rights against the onslaughts of the US-backed Israeli aggressors. We join the Palestinian and Arab people and the entire humankind in condemning the US-supported crimes of aggression of Israel and in demanding that Israel stop its scheme of all-out war of aggression.

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle therefore calls on all its member-organizations and all its allies throughout the world to carry out mass campaigns to condemn the US-Israeli collusion in the war of aggression against Palestine and the Palestinian people, to demand the end of such horrible war and to discourage and prevent Israel from using its military might to slaughter the Palestinian people. ###

Press Statement
January 6, 2009

BAYAN Statement for the Protest Action Condemning Israel’s Siege of Gaza

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan joins the people of the world in condemning the brutal armed aggression of Israel against the Palestinian people in the Gaza. The 8-day airstrikes followed by the ground invasion of Gaza is the latest in the long list of atrocities committed by Israel against the Palestinians under the Occupation.

Israel justifies its armed aggression by saying it is a response to the rocket attacks of Hamas on Israel. This view is also supported by Israel’s # 1 ally, the United States. What Israel refuses to acknowledge is the broader context wherein this violence is happening. The actions of Hamas should be seen in the context of the brutal, more than half-century occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel. In the case of Gaza, while Israel has pulled out its troops and settlements over the past three years, Israel has effectively set up an economic blockade that systematically and collectively punishes, starves and kills the Palestinian people.

The residents of Gaza have been denied any meaningful economic activity as a result of the blockade. For months now, Israel has prevented food, medicine, and fuel from reaching Gazans. Even during the time of the airstrikes, Israel has prevented humanitarian aid from reaching Gaza as it has prevented Gazans from seeking refuge and hospital treatment outside.

It is the brutal occupation which has pushed the Palestinian people to armed resistance. It is the occupation that is the main stumbling block to a meaningful peace. It is Israel’s refusal to recognize the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and the establishment of a Palestinian State which is the root cause of violence in that region.

In light of the historical circumstances of Israeli occupation, the current offensive against the Palestinian people can never be justified.

We condemn in the strongest terms the US government for its political and military support for Israel. For decades now, US government has encouraged and supported Israel’s occupation of Palestine and its armed aggression against the Palestinian people. The US government not only provides billions of dollars of military aid to Israel, it also uses its veto power in the United Nations to support the cause of Israel. Recently, the US government rejected a UN Security Council ceasefire resolution, a clear indication that the US supports the attacks on Gaza.

We call for an end to the siege of Gaza and for immediate relief for the Palestinian people ravaged by the Israeli armed offensives. We call for an end to the inhumane blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza and for allowing much-needed aid to be brought to Gazans.

We call for an end to the Israeli occupation as the only long-term and viable path to peace. We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their fight of genuine self-determination and freedom from oppression.

STOP THE SIEGE! STOP US-ISRAELI AGGRESSION AND TERRORISM!
END THE OCCUPATION! FREE PALESTINE!

5 JANUARY 2009
PRESS RELEASE
Reference: Garry Martinez, Chairperson
Mobile: 0921-7229740

MIGRANTE condemns Israel’s attack on Gaza

As Israeli forces rolled their tanks inside Palestinian territories in the Gaza strip after more than a week of continuous aerial bombardment that left hundreds of innocent civilians killed, an alliance of overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) groups denounced the attacks as “barbaric” and called for the immediate end to Israel’s bloody campaign against the Palestinian people.

“Migrante International joins peace loving peoples throughout the world in condemning US-Israel’s ongoing military assault on Gaza. At the same time, we join the Palestinian people in demanding justice for those killed, hurt and displaced in the attacks. The attacks are undoubtedly fuelled by US imperialism’s intent to lord over the entire Middle East and corner its abundant oil resources,” says Garry Martinez, Chairperson of Migrante International. “We fear that this attack is merely a prelude to more acts of military aggression as the US seeks to recover from the worst financial crisis it has ever faced.”

The group asserted that the US’ role in the ongoing military aggression couldn’t be overly emphasized. They said since the end of World War II, Israel has been the largest recipient of US’ direct military aid. This vicious attack, they said, is proof that the US considers Israel as its jumping board to assert its hegemony over the Middle East.

As of this writing, over 500 Palestinians have been killed and almost 3,000 have been critically wounded inside the 25 mile Gaza strip. The Israeli Defense Force has also mobilized more than 10,000 of its armed reservists to carry out Israel’s biggest military campaign since the 2006 Lebanon war.

Migrante also slammed the Philippine government “for turning a blind eye to the US-Israeli led massacre of the Palestinian people,” and challenged the Arroyo regime to make a categorical stand in denouncing the attacks.

“We have 120 Filipinos inside strife-torn Gaza and more than 30,000 inside Israel. We believe these are enough reasons for this regime to join the chorus of nations in denouncing US-Israel’s attack on Gaza. This is the best contingency plan that the Arroyo regime can undertake if only to ensure the lives of our kababayans who will surely be caught in the crossfire,” says Martinez, whose wife is currently an OFW in Israel. ###

06 January 2009
His Excellency Zvi AVINER-VAPNI, AEP
Ambassador
Israel Embassy
23rd Floor, Trafalgar Plaza 105 H.V. dela Costa Street,
Salcedo Village, Makati City

Dear Ambassador VAPNI,

Shalom! The SALINLAHI Alliance for Children’s Concerns, a nationwide alliance of children’s organizations and child rights-based institutions here in the Philippines, strongly condemns and protests the aerial attacks of Israeli army to Gaza’s civilian populated areas that started last December 27, 2008. It is sad to see hundreds of civilians, mostly children, killed with Israeli aerial bombing strikes while thousands more were injured.

The subsequent ground operations conducted by your government’s troops last January 3 which continues to date showed the true objectives of your government’s intention in Palestine occupied territories, which is to annihilate the Palestinian people, and illegally deny them of their homeland.

We are witness to the long struggle of Palestinian people against Zionism, racism and human rights violations committed by Israel’s army with the support of the United States. Worst, the current Israeli’s invasion of Gaza deprives hundreds if not thousands of children their right to life, protection and development.

The recent occupation of Israel’s forces in Gaza, is a violation of existing international laws. The wanton destruction of civilian property, killing and maiming of children and minors further aggravates the violation of Israel to the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child wherein Israel is a signatory. It is clearly stated in UNCRC that every child should be protected at all times most especially during war. The fact that airstrikes by the Israeli army and the subsequent ground assaults which victimized children, including very young children, makes your government liable of genocide and infanticide.

We appeal to you to immediately call for a stop to the attacks against the Palestinian people in Gaza, and give the Palestinian people especially the children, their dignity to live peacefully as one country… Palestine.

Stop killing Palestinian children!

Stop US-Israel Aggression against Palestine!
Stop Israeli Attacks on Gaza! Stop the siege of Gaza!
Israeli Troops Out of Gaza Now!
End the Occupation! FREE Palestine!

(sgd)
Mr. Alphonse Rivera
Officer in charge

Bayan Muna condemns the US-backed Israeli invasion of Gaza; calls for an end to the war against the Palestinian people

Bayan Muna strongly condemns the US-backed Israel war of aggression and calls for an immediate pullout of its troops in Gaza. We support all international diplomatic efforts to put a stop to the war that can slaughter more of the 1.5 million Palestinian people, including women, children and elderly. The Palestinian people must be given justice. Their right to exist and to remain in their homeland must be respected.

Since December 27, 2008 Israeli government air bombardment, artillery shelling and the ongoing ground invasion have massacred hundreds and injured thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Homes, places of worship, hospitals, schools, government offices, oil depots, fishing ports, power plants, water facilities and other infrastructure are systematically being destroyed. Food, medicine, and medical personnel are being blocked by Israeli troops.

We likewise denounce the US government’s full support to the Israeli Zionist aggression versus the Palestinian people. It has stymied every effort in the United Nations Security Council to pass an urgent ceasefire resolution to stop the carnage. It continues to supply Israel with military

and economic aid to starve, subjugate, and evict the Palestinian people from their homeland since 1948. The US has also used Israel as an effective springboard for controlling oil resources in the Middle East, with most governments in the region rendered servile to US hegemonic interests.

We also decry the Macapagal-Arroyo government for its deafening silence when a growing number of the world’s peoples and leaders are calling for a stop to the carnage in Gaza. We urge the Philippine government to condemn the Israeli invasion of the battered Palestinian enclave that has also put in grave danger the lives and livelihood of Filipino expatriates working in Gaza. The Philippine government should support mounting calls for the pullout of Israeli forces in the Gaza strip.

The international community of nations and peoples must work for an immediate ceasefire so urgent humanitarian concerns can be addressed. We join all governments, parliamentarians, peoples’ organizations and agencies that have criticized, protested and condemned the US-backed Israeli war against Palestine and call for an immediate end of hostilities in the Gaza Strip to stop the loss of life and property there. #

News Release
06 January 2008

ANAKPAWIS ASKS PHIL. GOVERNMENT TO DENOUNCE US-BACKED ISRAELI INVASION IN GAZA

THE MILITANT Anakpawis party-list condemned the escalating Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip and asked the Philippine government to denounce the US-backed attack.

“The military offensive has already killed more than 500 Palestines including civilians since the air attacks started last December 27 and escalated into the current ground assault. We ask the Philippine government to denounce the invasion and call for an immediate truce to stop the slaughter. The Hamas rocket attacks are but pinpricks on Israel compared to the sledgehammer pounding of Israel on the 1.4-million Palestines in the Gaza Strip,” Anakpawis secretarty-general Cherry Clemente said.

Anakpawis is set to file a House Resolution on the issue but the 14th Congress is still in recess and has yet to resume session till January 19. It has however joined other militant activists in a protest action today at the Israeli embassy in Makati.

“We likewise denounce the inaction of the US at the UN Security Council on the Arab proposals for an immediate truce. There is outright support of the Bush government for the Israeli military attack. Blaming the duly-elected Hamas government in Gaza solely for the turmoil in the region is grossly unjust. The US-backed war will only worsen the local situation and is sure to aggravate the global crisis that the US war on terror has created,” Clemente said.

“The Philippine government shouldn’t reduce the issue on the mere evacuation of Filipino overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and expatriates. Just as the Israeli attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 endangared Filipino lives, the on-going attack on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, while involving lesser number of Filipinos, once again exposed our compatriots to the horrors of an unjust war. The Philippine government should do all it can in the diplomatic community to stop this atrocity and not confine itself to self-seving interests for OFW remittance senders,” Clemente added.

“Failure by the Manila government to denounce the Israeli attack would only show the utter puppetry of Macapagal-Arroyo to the US and her fascist support for the US-led war on terror and Zionist expansion,” Clemente said.

###

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Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy

Itigil ang mga atake sa Gaza! Itigil ang agresyon at terorismo ng US-Israel!
Enero 6, 2009

Kami, sa Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND) ay mariing kumukundena sa walang habas na pagpaslang, pambobomba at pagyurak sa karapatang pantao ng sambayanang Palestino sa kamay ng imperyalismong Estados Unidos at ng mga papet na mga pamahalaan katulad ng Israel.

Batayang karapatang pantao na kinikilala ng United Nations ang karapatan ng mga bayang itakda ang kanilang pagsasarili. Sa mahabang kasaysayan ng pakikibaka ng mga bayan para sa pambansang kalayaan, parati nang sumasagabal dito ang mga reaksyonaryong pwersa ng imperyalismo at mga lokal na pamahalaang papet na kakuntsaba nito. Pilit na sinusupil ng mga ito ang karapatan ng mga tao sa pagsasarili sa kadahilanang mawawalan sila ng kontrol hindi lamang sa mga estratehikong likas yaman kundi pati na rin sa mga geo-estratehikal na posisyon ng pagpapalawak pangmilitar.

Muli na namang pinatunayan ito sa kasalukuyang nagaganap na pagpapatindi ngkarahasan laban sa mga mamamayang Palestino. Nagbunga ang walang patid na pambobomba at pag-atake sa mga pamayanan sa daan-daang bilang ng mga nasawi,libo- libong nasugatan, at mahahalagang pasilidad pambayan na nasalanta. Lalo pang pinatindi ang pagdurusa ng mga mamamayan sa pagtanggi ng agresibong pamahalaang Israel na makapasok ang mga lehitimong tulong panghumanitarian para maampat ang pagdurusa ng sambayanang sinasakop.

Sa kaso ng Palestina, nagkukubli ang Israel sa lambong ng kunwang pakikibaka nito laban sa terorismo upang siya mismong maglunsad ng teroristang pag-atake sa mga pamayanang Palestino.Pinalala pa ito ng matagalang blockade na pumigil sa pagpasok kahit ng mga batayang pangangailangan gaya ng suplay ng gamot, pagkain,inumin, at gamit sa ospital at kabahayan na inilunsad ng Israel ilang buwan na ang nakakaraan. Ang pagpayag at pagdepensa ng Estados Unidos bilang amo ng Israel sa nagaganap na karahasan ng kanyang kliyenteng estado, at ang patuloy napagsuporta nito sa mga teroristang pag-atake ng Israel sa mga karatig-bayan ang patunay ng sabwatang nagaganap at ang pag-uugat ng suliranin sa pusod ng imperyalistang bayan. Higit na nakababahala, binabaog ng Estados Unidos at Israel ang maraming resolusyon ng United Nations na kumikilala sa karapatan ng mga Palestinong magsarili at pumupula sa agresyong isinasakatuparan ng magkakuntsabang Estados Unidos-Israel.

Hindi mapipigilang maiugnay ito sa nagaganap na isa pang sentro ng tunggalian sa Middle East. Sa kalagayan ng Iraq, ang di matapos-tapos na karahasan laban sa mga pamayanan ng Iraqi matapos ang ilang taon ng pananakop ng Estados Unidos ang siyang nagdudulot ng lubusang paghihirap sa mga pamayanang Iraqi. Muli, sa lambong ng pagtugis sa terorismo, patuloy ang pag-atake sa mga sibilyan at mga pamayanan na sa bandang huli ay siyang magtitiyak sa geo-estratehikal naposisyon ng Estados Unidos sa pagkontrol sa likas-yaman ng Middle East.

Sa gitna na pandaigdigang krisis ng kapitalismo na sila rin ang may Kagagawan,isinasaka tuparan ng mga imperyalistang bayan ang pagpapatindi ng pakikidigma upang maisalba ang kanilang naghihingalong interes militar at industriyal. Isinasakatuparan ito kahit na magdulot ng pananakop at pagsasamantala sa mga inaaping bayan.

Sa diwa ng pandaigdigang kapatiran at pakikiisa ng mga inaaping sambayanan,naglalaa ng tinig ang CONTEND sa pandaigdigang pagkundena sa terorismong inilulunsad ng Israel at Estados Unidos laban sa mga mamamayang Palestino.

Itigil ang mga atake sa Gaza! Itigil ang agresyon at terorismo ng US-Israel!
Katarungan para sa mga biktimang Palestino ng mga atake ng US-Israel!
Igiit ang kasarinlan ng bayang Palestine!
Mabuhay ang pandaigdigang anti-imperyalistang prente!

From the blog of Prof. Sarah Raymundo, CONTEND’s Secretary General and ACT National Treasurer

Gaza Gazing
January 3, 2009

The spilling of Palestinian blood in Gaza Strip as Israeli bombardment continues (now on its 8th day) demonstrates that this is a one-sided war.

Of course, George Bush blames it on the “terrorist organization” Hamas because, as everybody knows, he is a big fat stupid fly. Meanhwile, Obama’s excuse for his silence is the “fact” that he is not yet president. As though one needs the highest position on earth to take a stand against human slaughter. President Gloria Arroyo must have heard of this yet another barbaric attack on human rights and is by now probably guessing how to milk big bucks from what she probably imagines as one of 2009’s opening salvo.

The historian Khaled Hroub claims that the Hamas is hardly an organization that has a “strong hold” on Gaza Strip. Rather, it is a deeply rooted ideology among the Palestinians in and of the Gaza Strip. But what we can know for sure is this: That at stake in this attack on Gaza is Israel’s interest of turning every space into a West Bank territory where household demolitions have become a normalized feature of everyday life. And the only reason why people from the West Bank have not for the past years been the subjects of Israeli air strikes is because they are “well behaved.” No screwy Hamas to complain nor to challenge Israeli occupation.

So far, we have heard three things from the Israeli Government: 1) that it demands permanent peace in Gaza; 2)that it did not start the fire; 3)that no significant invasion is under way.

But the ferocity of the strikes, the death toll (423 in the past 8 days and 10 more in the past hour), that thick cloud of white smoke that has drenched the northern part of Gaza made apparent yet hyperreal by television, the absolute terror of the Palestinians who barely survive as we speak should all lead us to the conclusion that Israel is not merely exercising its “right to defend itself.”

In one of his more forceful essays (Adrift in Similarity*), Edward Said speaks of an article that “was intended to supply Americans with an original thesis about the “new phase” in world politics after the end of the cold war…(119:2004).” Samuel Huntington (and may he rest in peace despite himself) was banking on a very slick notion of “civilization identity and the interactions among seven or eight [sic] major civilizations, of which the conflict between two of them, Islam and the West, gets the lion’s share of his attention” (Said, 2004:119). After an extended discussion that projects civilization and identity in the most static and essentialist way possible, Huntington argues that the “challenge for Western-policy makers…is to make sure that the West gets stronger and fends off all others, Islam in particular (2004:120).”

The U.S-backed Israeli war on Palestine is none other but the politics of the so-called post-political era of global capitalism. This era is by no means post-political. It is writ with the most hostile of conflicts that are pushed to their extremes by war investors such as Bush and his ilk, and their wager for a thriving military industrial complex through military keynesianism. This context belies the slogan “war solves nothing” because it does save the imperialist economy from total breakdown by creating a particular enemy-terrorist groups-and by subsequently vowing to annihilate them in an atrocious parade of war artillery. Indeed, not only the terrible fraud that was Oslo and Arafat are to be lambasted during these times of stressful spectatorship.

Contrary to its claim as a war against terror,– one that targets particular terrorist groups–this imperialist-led killing is patently racist and colonial. The sustained shelling in Gaza Strip even shows that it cannot target its true enemy, “the terrorists.” There is nothing surgical about the strikes that have affected the non-Jewish general population, 80% of whom are by now incapable of defending themselves; 250,000 of whom are left in the dark on account of busted electrical connection; and 500 people have just turned into refugees who mourn the death of their loved ones as they confront the terror of their own survival.

Tonight as I blog away, food shortage is all over Gaza Strip. And as I respectfully urge all of you to join the indignation protest on Tuesday at the Embassy of Israel in the district of acceptable greed called Makati, the Palestinians of the Strip have nowhere to go since Gaza has been sealed off on all three sides by the Israeli army. It’s a state of war for the people of Gaza. Yet, it is not a war between two equal armies. This leaves us with no reason not to fight on their side.

*in From Oslo to Iraq And the Road Map (2004). New York: Pantheon Books.

The Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy or CONTEND is a progressive organization of academics based in the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

www.freeweb.com/upcontend/

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KMU slams imperialist instigation of Gaza war
Submitted by KMU on Tue, 2009-01-06 11:25. :: English News

Kilusang Mayo Uno joins the international community today in strongly denouncing the latest war of aggression brutally unleashed by the US-Zionist Israeli regime in Gaza.

“Fireworks from tanks, F16s, Apache helicopters and the latest weaponry tainted Gaza’s new year. Imperialist aggression has again demonstrated how it can ruthlessly destroy lives, properties and livelihoods just to preserve itself in power,” said KMU Chairperson Elmer Labog.

Labog claimed that the real culprit can never be clearer, as the US supplies more than US$3 billion of aid, war artillery and vehicles to Israel every year.

“The US resorts to its terrorist-tagging schemes to pin down Palestinians and blame them for starting the chaos. But the Palestinians’ fight for their right to life, liberty, and sovereignty – honed by thousands of years of struggle – are valid and just. They are victims of imperialist interests, just like the rest of the oppressed peoples of the world.”

“The US has all the motives to back Israel, as the renewed attacks can pave the way for their greater control of the Middle East’s natural resources and territory – its precious oil reserves most especially.

“Amid the financial crisis, the US is now more than ever struggling to get hold of the world’s wealth. Wars of aggression such as this serve to suppress the imperialist’s convulsions from the crisis.

“This is no different from the US’ backing up of the war against the MILF and the Moro people in our homeland. In the guise of anti-terrorism, they are threatening to wipe out the strong resistance of the Moro people and use Mindanao in acquiring economic and political hegemony in Asia.

“We warn Gloria Arroyo, one of Uncle Sam’s most favorite puppets, not to deliver support again to this latest war of aggression,” Labog added.

“We are all victims of one war criminal, so we are all called on to partake in this struggle for the liberty and vindication of all. We call on all peace loving people of the world to strongly condemn the US-Zionist Israel war of aggression against the Palestinian people, to call for the immediate end to the Israeli raids and ground assaults in the Gaza strip, and to demand the immediate withdrawal of the Israeli military forces in Palestine.” Labog ended. ###

As of Friday morning, more than 360,000 petitions have been sent!
Please add your voice to the thousands who are demanding: Stop the massacre in Gaza!

Please help get the word out – pass this message along, post it on local bulleting boards & Indymedia,

Sign the Petition Online Now – http://www.iacenter .org/gazapetitio n

Join the ONLINE PETITION initiated by Ramsey Clark – sign on and send the message to President Bush, President-Elect Obama, VP Cheney, VP-Elect Biden, Secretary of State Rice, Secretary of State designate Clinton, Congressional leaders, the U.N. Secretary General, Security Council, the Israeli President, Prime Minister and cabinet, and members of the world media appealing for Israel to Immediately Cease Its Murderous Bombing, Siege and Threatened Invasion of Palestinian Gaza



Urgent Appeal for Israel to Immediately Cease Its Murderous Bombing, Siege and Threatened Invasion of Palestinian Gaza!

To: President George W. Bush, President-Elect Barack Obama, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of State Designate Hillary Clinton, Vice President Richard Cheney, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, Congressional leaders, U.N. Secretary General Ban, U.N. General Assembly President d’Escoto-Brockmann, members of the U.N. Security Council, U.N. member states, the President, Prime Minister, Cabinet and Opposition leader of Israel, and Major media representatives:

For 60 years, Israel has persecuted the Palestinian people with impunity in defiance of United Nations General Assembly and United Nations Security Council Resolutions, orders of the International Court of Justice, International Law and fundamental human rights.

Throughout the years, Israel has proclaimed itself the victim as it grew richer, more powerful and more violent, while

URGENT!

The International Action Center is mobilizing for demonstrations across the U.S. to stop the attack on Gaza, and we are networking with activists across the globe who are taking to the streets against U.S./Israeli war crimes. To view a roundup of the growing number of international actions, see: http://www.iacenter .org/palestine/ gazademos123108.

Please consider making an emergency donation at http://www.iacenter .org/donate
to help with the costs of organizing and mobilizing.

NYC: Gaza Massacre: Emergency Demonstration – Sat. Jan. 3, 1 pm, Times Square

Emergency Demo in Boston, Sat, Jan 3: Stop the US/Israeli Attack on Gaza!

LA event Friday at 4:30 pm at the Israeli Consulate at 6380 Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles

Solidarity with heroic Gaza: Statement from the International Action Center – Dec. 27, 2008 / also en Español

Video: Support for Gaza!
http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=E4hejAqOUMY&feature=channel_ page

Palestinians were abused, impoverished, divided and demeaned.

A consistent tactic of Israel through all the years has been to divide Palestinians against their most effective organizations. Through most of the recent years Israel has attacked Fatah. Now it is Hamas that Israel attacks. But there is only one Palestinian people and there can be only one Palestinian State. This has been the guiding principle of the PLO. Israel’s policy has always been to destroy the possibility of a Palestinian State. Its criminal assault on Hamas is in truth Israel’s continuing assault on the possibility of a Palestinian State: divide and conquer.

Now in the waning days of the disastrous Bush Administration, the government of Israel with its Prime Minister under criminal indictment, is testing whether world opinion will permit it to escalate its isolation and impoverishment of Palestine and selective and systematic assassination of Palestinian leadership in Gaza to a genocidal, indiscriminate assault and invasion of Palestinian Gaza, knowing full well its acts will inflame passions throughout the Middle East and Arab and Muslim worlds risking conflict of disastrous magnitude in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, even between India and Pakistan.

Beyond crushing Gaza’s capacity to resist and imposing its final solution on Palestinians, Israel is seeking confrontation that will lead to war with the U.S., the European Union, and NATO fighting for Israel against Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan and Afghanistan to impair their ability to prevent expansion of Israel’s domination of the region while the “only one President at a time” the U.S. has, George W. Bush, will support Israel, finding all fault with Gaza.

In these dangerous and difficult days and hours the undersigned call upon the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, NATO members, and European countries independently, the governments of Asia, foremost China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan, the nations of Africa, and the Americas to demand an immediate ceasefire throughout Israel and Palestine and the assurance of peace. All borders to Gaza, Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea, must be opened for humanitarian relief and a complete arms and trade embargo on Israel until it fully complies with all the requirements of permanent peace.

We call upon all the people, the ultimate power in every nation when organized and energized, to take to the streets where they live and demand that their governments do all in their power to cause Israel to stop its war of aggression against Palestine and for all parties to pursue peace and for Israel, the U.S. and other nations who have provided material support for Israel’s aggression to be held accountable for the deaths, injuries and damage Israel has inflicted.

We call upon governments and humanitarian agencies to provide all needed emergency relief to Palestine – medical care, food, humanitarian supplies, shelter; and on all the media that truly seeks peace, justice and respect for the equal dignity of every child, woman and man on earth to headline the demand that Israel stop its aggression immediately. All parties must engage in continuous negotiation with all Palestinians until a one state solution is agreed or the state of Palestine as mandated not later than October 1948 in UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (1947) is created, fully implemented, and Palestine thrives.

Sincerely,

Initiated and signed by
Ramsey Clark, winner, 2008 U.N.Human Rights Award and Founder, International Action Center

Add your signature to this letter now – go to http://www.iacenter .org/gazapetitio n

Photos: BAYAN-Canada in Toronto Denounces Israel’s Bombing of Gaza

January 13, 2009

BAYAN-Canada in Toronto
Denounces Israel’s Bombing of Gaza

Toronto, Canada

Janaury 3, 2009

More than 380 people were indiscriminately killed by cowardly air strikes and artillery fire unleashed by Israel on the Palestinian people in Gaza. Many of the victims are children, women and elderly. The targets have included hospitals, mosques, the Islamic university and other social institutions of the Palestinian people. People in Toronto respond to the international condemnation of this act by the state of Israel to the Palestinian people.

BAYAN-Canada in Toronto
Denounces Israel’s Bombing of Gaza

BAYAN-Toronto, the Toronto section of BAYAN-Philippines, the legal alliance of progressive Filipino organizations, condemns the state of Israel for its bombing and shelling of the Palestinian people in Gaza. As of this writing, 380 people have been killed, including many women and children, over 1000 injured and numerous properties destroyed. This outrage was preceded by many months of siege by Israel to deprive the Palestinian people of necessities like food and medicines in order to try to overthrow the legitimately elected government of Palestine. Its background has been almost 60 years of outrage by Israel against the Palestinian people: ethnic cleansing through wholesale terrorism, illegitimate seizure of Palestinian farms, homes and other properties, daily humiliations, state sponsored torture, collective punishment, racism and systemic discrimination against Arabs and other people of colour, and the turning of what little is left of the Palestinian homeland into a giant prison camp divided into apartheid style reserves or bantustans.

This horror has only been possible because the state of Israel has received yearly, without fail, billions of dollars of economic and military aid from the United States, and unfailing political support from the same and its co-imperialist allies. To its great shame, Canada has not been lacking in its support of Israel’s horrors against the Palestinian people. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon has put the blame for the Israeli aggressions against the Palestinian people on the victims themselves. Shame!

Let us be crystal clear on the character of Israel. Israel is a settler colonial state imposed by European Zionists against the native people of Palestine through deprivation of Palestinian freedom, rights, property, peace, justice, institutions, safely and lives. Israel is a racist state that treats its Arab minority as second class and even mistreats coloured Jews. Israel is a theocracy that discriminates against people on the basis of religion. Israel is a fascist state that engages in systemic torture and collective punishment. This is a society that regularly contemplates in its mass media the utter liquidation of the Palestinian nation as a nation and its effacement from its homeland.

Those who call, therefore, for Israel’s right to self-defence are defending ethnic cleansing, state sponsored terrorism, collective punishment, state use of torture, harassment and humiliation, bulldozing of homes and people, the shooting of women and children, the destruction of infrastructure and all institutions required by the Palestinian people to exist. Shame on Cannon! Shame on Harper and the Conservatives! Shame on the Canadian government! Shame on the Canadian state!

We, Filipinos, are in profound solidarity with the Palestinian people. Though Palestine and the Philippines are on opposite sides of Asia, we have many things in common. Like the Palestinian people, millions of Filipinos are regularly deprived of decent wages, basic rights, and a humane livelihood: collective punishment, torture, imprisonment, exile from our homes, destruction of our economy, destruction of our culture, ethnic cleansing, etc. Some more in Palestine, others more in the Philippines! Though different in specifics, we are both oppressed nations under the boot of US imperialism, and its allies like Canadian imperialism. Whereas the US acts through a proxy settler state against the Palestinian people, its acts through a neocolonial state against the Filipino people. That is all. Now, our Filipino migrant workers in the West Bank too experience daily the racism of their Israeli bosses and other Israelis, on the one hand, and the friendship of Palestinians among whom Filipino migrant workers live, on the other hand.

STOP THE ATTACKS ON GAZA!
JUSTICE FOR THE PALESTINIAN VICTIMS OF THE US-ISRAELI ATTACKS!
WITHDRAW US ECONOMIC, POLITICAL AND MILITARY AID TO ISRAEL AND THE PHILIPPINES!
LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!

3 January 2009

(Photo Courtesy: Al Calara and Jonathan Canchela)

Arkibong Bayan

The war isn’t over, but Israel has lost

January 13, 2009

Written by Tony Karon
Friday, 09 January 2009
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I. The Last Waltz?
Repeating behaviors that have produced catastrophic failures and expecting a different result is insane; and when a person’s psychotic behavior puts himself and those around him in immediate physical danger, the responsibility of those who claim to be his friends is to restrain him. But even as Waltz With Bashir shows in multiplexes across the world as a grim reminder of the precedent for Israel’s brutal march of folly in Gaza, the US (and the editors of the New York Times and Washington Post) insist that there is a sanity and rationality to sending one of the world’s most powerful armies into a giant refugee camp to rend the flesh and crush the bones of those who stand in its way — whether in defiance or by being unlucky enough to have been born of the wrong tribe and be huddling in the wrong place. By fighting its way to their citadel, they would have us believe, Israel can destroy Hamas and usher in a golden age of peace. Or, to borrow from the casual callousness of Condi Rice during the last such display of futile brutality, we are witnessing, again, the “birth pangs of a new Middle East.” Israel failed in 2006, just as in 2002 and 1982. This time, they tell us, will be different.

And then the horror unfolds, as it always does — the hundreds of civilians accidentally massacred as they cowered in what they were told were places of safety, mocking Israel’s torrent of self congratulation over its restraint and its brilliant intelligence — and the hopelessly out-gunned enemy manages to survive, as he does every time. And by surviving, grows stronger politically. No matter how many are killed, the leaders targeted by Israel’s military are endlessly regenerated in the fertile soil of grievance and resentment born of the circumstances Israel has created. Circumstances it has created, but which it, and its most fervent backers refuse to acknowledge, much less redress.

Arafat is dead and gone. So are Sheikh Yassin, and Rantissi. And Abbas al-Musawi, and Imad Mughniyeh. Israel’s ruthless efficiency at killing the leaders of Palestinian and Lebanese resistance groups is second to none, and yet, no matter who it kills, there are always thousands more, ready to declare, “I am Spartacus”. That’s because those who step up to lead these organizations are acting not out of personal ambition — leadership in Hamas is a death sentence. The endless stream of Palestinians willing to sacrifice themselves in the role, then, is a symptom of the condition of their people. And Israel’s leaders know this. Asked when running for Prime Minister a decade ago what he’d have done if he’d been born Palestinian, Ehud Barak — the man directing the current operation in Gaza — answered bluntly, “I’d have joined a terror organization.”

By the logic of his own instinct on the campaign trail in 1999, Ehud Barak should know that Operation Cast Lead in Gaza cannot succeed, except, perhaps, in reviving his own political prospects. No matter how many leaders, militants and ordinary civilians Israel kills in Gaza, Hamas — or something like it — will survive.

Waltz With Bashir — a movie that had to be made in Israel, I venture, because questioning Israeli militarism would have been deemed “anti-Semitic” in Hollywood — reminds us that, in 1982, Ariel Sharon led an invasion of Lebanon supposedly aimed at stopping attacks on northern Israel, advancing all the way to Beirut in order to crush the PLO. Sure, the PLO was driven out of Beirut and exiled to Tunisia, but the Israelis were forced within six years to begin negotiating with it because of the uprising of the youth of the West Bank and Gaza. Lebanon in 1982 was a brutal and ultimately futile campaign that delivered only the brutal images of the massacres at Sabra and Shatila around which the movie centers.

Since 1982, of course, Israel has laid siege to and bombed nearly every major Palestinian city, killing and imprisoning thousands of Palestinians, blundering into Lebanon again in 2006 and killing another thousand Lebanese, repeatedly bombed Gaza and choked off its economy for much of the past three years, and yet, nothing has changed: They have killed some 700 in Gaza now, and still the rockets come; regardless of the state of its structures, Hamas is politically stronger on the Palestinian street, while those Palestinian leaders who have cooperated with Israel and the US are weaker and more discredited than ever. The Israelis — and their backers in the American political establishment — appear incapable of grasping that which is empirically obvious: Hamas and its ilk grow stronger every time Israel seeks to eliminate them by force.

II. Dangerous Illusions and a War of Choice

“But what choice did Israel have?” say those in its amen corner in the US. “No normal society would tolerate rocket fire on its territory. Hamas left it no option.”

Well, actually, as Jimmy Carter explains from first-hand experience, Israel had plenty of alternatives and chose to ignore them, because it remains locked into the failed US-backed policy of trying to overturn the democratic verdict of the 2006 Palestinian election that made Hamas the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority. The primary Israeli-US-European strategy here (tacitly backed by Arab autocrats from Mubarak to Mahmoud Abbas) has been to apply increasingly strict economic sanctions, in the hope that choking off the chances of a decent life for the 1.5 million people of Gaza would somehow force them to reverse their political choice. Collective punishment, in other words. So, even when Hamas observed a cease-fire between June and November, Israel refused to open the border crossings. When the exchange of fire began again on November 5 when Israel raided what it said was a Hamas tunnel, Hamas escalated its rocket fire but made clear that it would restore and extend the cease-fire if Israel agreed to open the border crossings. Israel’s answer, Carter explains, was if Hamas ceased firing, Israel would allow 15% of the normal traffic of goods into Gaza. And it’s any surprise that Hamas was not prepared to settle for just a 15% loosening of the economic stranglehold?

Hamas appeared to believe that creating a crisis would force Israel to agree to new terms. Whether this was a mistaken belief or not actually remains to be seen: If the truce that ends Israel’s Operation Cast Lead leaves Hamas intact and includes the lifting of the siege, it will claim vindication. Even now, Israeli leaders continue to insist, idiotically, that Hamas cannot be allowed to achieve any diplomatic gains as a result of any truce that must, of necessity, require its diplomatic cooperation. Just as in 2006, the Israelis have achieved the exact opposite political result to what they intended: They have made it abundantly obvious, even to the incoming US administration, that the policy of trying to isolate Hamas is spectacularly dysfunctional, and will have to be abandoned as a matter of urgency.

Even as the realization begins to dawn that their adversary, once again, will emerge politically stronger from a military pummeling, the Israelis contemplate one last bloody foray into the heart of Gaza City, hoping that military action can weaken Hamas and force it to surrender to Israel’s terms. Some American policymakers even cling to the fantasy that they can reimpose the regime of the pliant Mahmoud Abbas on Gaza — a pathetic fantasy, to be sure, because close observers of Palestinian politics know that the only thing keeping Abbas in charge of the West Bank, right now, is the presence of the Israeli Defense Force, and it’s willingness to lock up his opponents. Conveniently, for example, Abbas doesn’t have to deal with his own legislature, which is dominated by Hamas, because Israel has locked up most of the legislators. Mahmoud Abbas has allowed himself to be turned into a Palestinian Petain, and even much of the rank and file of his own Fatah party has turned against him. Not even the Israelis believe he could control Gaza without them, and they are not inclined to stay.

If Hamas is not allowed to govern in Gaza, chances are that nobody will govern in Gaza. It will look more like Mogadishu than like the West Bank — a chaotic cauldron run by rival warlords, with Hamas — no longer responsible for governance — the most powerful political-military presence (although al-Qaeda will fancy its chances of setting up shop if the Hamas government is overthrown — Hamas is the greatest bulwark against Bin Laden’s crowd gaining a foothold in Gaza).

III. Palestinian Sovereignty

The other trope being desperately worked by Israel’s cheering section is the idea that this is simply another episode of a regional conflict between Israel and its mortal foe, Iran. Hamas, we are told, by many media outlets that ought to know better, is a “proxy of Iran”. This is simply not the case, and sober regional analysts know it: Hamas is certainly dependent on Iranian cash in Gaza, although those Western and Israeli strategic geniuses who deprived it of all other sources of funding ought not be surprised that Hamas turned for funds to those who would offer them. No doubt it will take whatever military assistance it was offered, too. But Hamas shares neither ideology nor the kind of political relationship with Iran that Hizballah does, in Lebanon. Hamas was the creation of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, originally, and its political decision making is entirely independent of Iran. Syria is more politically influential over Hamas, of course, and Syria is hardly a proxy of Iran despite their alliance — if it was, why would the US be working so hard on a diplomatic strategy to break that alliance? Moreover, the idea of Iran on some sort of path of confrontation with Israel is something of a phantom. Sure, Ahmadinejad loves to warn that Israel will disappear, but he, and his superior, have long made clear that Iran has no intention of attacking Israel. And you’d think that those who insist that Iran’s mullahs exist in order to destroy Israel, even at the cost of their own survival (you know, the argument that the iranians are so ideologically committed to Israel’s destruction that normal deterrence policies won’t restrain them) might want to answer this question: Why has Hizballah refrained from firing its massive arsenal of rockets at Israel as it butchers Palestinians in Gaza? Israel tells us they have the means, and there’s no doubt they have the implacable rage. Could the answer be that this Iranian proxy is being restrained by the pragmatic concern for its own survival and progress in Lebanon? And if so, what does this tell us about Iran? Then again, Iran is not especially relevant to the conflict in Gaza.

Nor was the crisis there created by the militancy of Hamas; instead, it’s the final bloody chapter in the failed Bush Administration-Israeli strategy to overthrow Hamas. The alternative to war, ignored by Israel but patently obvious, is simple: It will have to negotiate with Hamas. (And spare me the “but Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist” argument: No Palestinian leader would, if offered the chance to reverse history, allow Israel to have come into existence, for the simple reason that Israel’s emergence was the Palestinian Nakbah, the catastrophe that dispossessed them and made them refugees. Israel started talking to the PLO long before its charter was revised to allow for recognizing Israel; its leaders realized that Israel could not be militarily defeated. Many in Hamas have come to the same conclusion; Efraim Halevy, the former head of Mossad, argues that Hamas is moving towards acceptance of a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders. The Americans are simply going to have to let go of the idea that they’re going to negotiate with a Palestinian leadership that answers to them, as Mahmoud Abbas does, rather than one that answers to the Palestinian public.)

As Oxford-based Israeli historian Avi Shlaim writes:

Israel likes to portray itself as an island of democracy in a sea of authoritarianism. Yet Israel has never in its entire history done anything to promote democracy on the Arab side and has done a great deal to undermine it. Israel has a long history of secret collaboration with reactionary Arab regimes to suppress Palestinian nationalism. Despite all the handicaps, the Palestinian people succeeded in building the only genuine democracy in the Arab world with the possible exception of Lebanon. In January 2006, free and fair elections for the Legislative Council of the Palestinian Authority brought to power a Hamas-led government. Israel, however, refused to recognise the democratically elected government, claiming that Hamas is purely and simply a terrorist organisation.

America and the EU shamelessly joined Israel in ostracising and demonising the Hamas government and in trying to bring it down by withholding tax revenues and foreign aid. A surreal situation thus developed with a significant part of the international community imposing economic sanctions not against the occupier but against the occupied, not against the oppressor but against the oppressed.

As so often in the tragic history of Palestine, the victims were blamed for their own misfortunes. Israel’s propaganda machine persistently purveyed the notion that the Palestinians are terrorists, that they reject coexistence with the Jewish state, that their nationalism is little more than antisemitism, that Hamas is just a bunch of religious fanatics and that Islam is incompatible with democracy. But the simple truth is that the Palestinian people are a normal people with normal aspirations. They are no better but they are no worse than any other national group. What they aspire to, above all, is a piece of land to call their own on which to live in freedom and dignity.

Like other radical movements, Hamas began to moderate its political programme following its rise to power. From the ideological rejectionism of its charter, it began to move towards pragmatic accommodation of a two-state solution. In March 2007, Hamas and Fatah formed a national unity government that was ready to negotiate a long-term ceasefire with Israel. Israel, however, refused to negotiate with a government that included Hamas.

It continued to play the old game of divide and rule between rival Palestinian factions. In the late 1980s, Israel had supported the nascent Hamas in order to weaken Fatah, the secular nationalist movement led by Yasser Arafat. Now Israel began to encourage the corrupt and pliant Fatah leaders to overthrow their religious political rivals and recapture power. Aggressive American neoconservatives participated in the sinister plot to instigate a Palestinian civil war. Their meddling was a major factor in the collapse of the national unity government and in driving Hamas to seize power in Gaza in June 2007 to pre-empt a Fatah coup.

The war unleashed by Israel on Gaza on 27 December was the culmination of a series of clashes and confrontations with the Hamas government. In a broader sense, however, it is a war between Israel and the Palestinian people, because the people had elected the party to power. The declared aim of the war is to weaken Hamas and to intensify the pressure until its leaders agree to a new ceasefire on Israel’s terms. The undeclared aim is to ensure that the Palestinians in Gaza are seen by the world simply as a humanitarian problem and thus to derail their struggle for independence and statehood.

Shlaim introduces us to the deeper flaw in the “no normal society would tolerate rocket fire” reasoning: Israel, quite simply, is not a normal society. It is a country without fixed legal borders, and the disputes over where those borders should be drawn — the basic conflict not over religion or ideology, but over land and power — is at the very epicenter of the current clash in Gaza, and of Israel’s never-ending series of wars with those around it.

One can only hope, with great fervor, that Barak Obama has heeded the wisdom of his foreign policy tutor Brent Scowcroft, whose observations about the folly of the Bush Administration backing Israel’s 2006 campaign against Hizballah apply as much to today’s offensive in Gaza: “Hezbollah is not the source of the problem,” Scowcroft wrote in the Washington Post. “It is a derivative of the cause, which is the tragic conflict over Palestine that began in 1948. The eastern shore of the Mediterranean is in turmoil from end to end, a repetition of continuing conflicts in one part or another since the abortive attempts of the United Nations to create separate Israeli and Palestinian states in 1948.”

If that were true in Lebanon, it’s even more so in Gaza. To understand everything from why Hamas refuses to recognize the State of Israel; why it fights by means both fair and terribly foul; and why it won Gaza by a landslide in the 2006 election; a good starting point is the demographic composition of the strip — 80% of today’s Gazans are refugee families, who were driven out of homes and off land they owned inside what is now Israel in 1948, and forbidden by one of the founding laws of the State of Israel from ever returning. Is it any surprise then that the basic default position of Palestinian politics has always been to refrain from “recognizing” Israel in the sense of simply abandoning their own claims to homes and land stolen from them by Israel’s very creation. Sure, Israel can say it won the war of 1948, and to the victor the spoils. But what would Ehud Barak do if it had been his father or grandfather who’d been forced off a farm in Ashkelon and now found himself in the hellhole of Gaza? You already know his answer.

And that answer will remain the same (even if Barak would never dream of admitting it any longer) as long as justice and dignity is denied to the community that gave rise to Hamas.

What Operation Cast Lead has revealed in stark and brutal terms, is that Israel’s leadership is incapable of transcending the dysfunctional patterns that lock it into a morbid cycle that precludes Middle East stability. Israel is moving steadily to the right politically — even when the center-left was in power and negotiating with the Palestinians, settlements on occupied land expanded at a steady clip; no Israeli government for the foreseeable future is going to withdraw from the West Bank to the Green Line. So, if the madness is to be stopped, Israel and the Palestinians will have to be told where their borders are, as part of an internationally enforced, fair settlement that gives the parties no choice, and provides the Turkish troops to enforce it. But hey, I’m not holding my breath.

[Source: Rootless Cosmopolitan.]

In Montreal Canada: Candlelight vigil in solidarity with the people of Gaza

January 13, 2009

In Montreal Canada:

Candlelight vigil in solidarity with the people of Gaza

January 1, 2009

Participants in the candlelight vigit reiterated a call put out by over 170 Palestinian organizations calling for a comprehemsive campaign of boycott, sanctions and divestment in Israel.

The action was organized by the Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) and Tadamon! Montréal and supported by many groups including the International League of Peoples’ Struggle – Canada (ILPS – Canada)

New Year’s Eve candlelight vigil in solidarity with Gaza held in Montreal, Canada

Montreal, Canada 31-12-08 — Demonstrators braved freezing cold weather here on on New Year’s Eve to commemorate the Palestinian victims of the Israeli massacre in Gaza.

As 2009 began, “Solidarity with Gaza” demanded an immediate end to the Israeli assault and addressed the Canadian government’s total support to Israel which incudes increased biliateral military, political and economic ties and a refusal to denounce this further Israeli aggression.

Gaza is now on the verge of a humanitarian crisis triggered by severely reduced access to energy, food and medicines since it is essentially the world’s largest open air prison.

Participants reiterated a call put out by over 170 Palestinian organizations calling for a comprehemsive campaign of boycot, canctions and divestment in Israel. Twenty years ago such a campaign put pressure on another apartheid regime, South Africa, and led to its eventual demise.

The action was organized by the Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) http://www.sphr.org and Tadamon! Montréal http://www.tadamon.ca and supported by many groups including the International League of Peoples’ Struggle – Canada (ILPS – Canada) http://ilps-canada.typepad.com/.

Malcolm Guy

+++++

CAP-CPC demands an end to the Israeli massacre in Gaza
Montréal, Québec (1-1-09) — The Centre d’appui aux Philippines / Center for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC) condemns in no uncertain terms the Israeli regime for its barbaric act of massacre against the people in the Gaza. The CAP-CPC joins millions in demanding an immediate end to this crime against humanity.

The massacre in the last few days has resulted in three people killed and 14 wounded each hour. And there is no plan to stop the killing but instead the Israeli military forces armed with US weapons are being amassed along the walled borders ready for the signal to go into the Gaza for re-occupation and carnage. This is totally unacceptable. The United States has encouraged the Israeli regime to continue its aggression and President elect Barrack Obama has maintained a deafening silence. The Canadian government has tacitly approved of this action by its refusal to condemn the Israeli aggression. Once again the war on terror is being used in order to perpetrate genocide on people who have been cornered and walled in for the last three generations.

The CAP-CPC sends this message to all peace-loving Israelis: STOP your Zionist regime from committing continued acts of outright murder against the people in the Gaza. Let not your hands and the generations to come be soiled with the blood of old people, men, women, youth, children and infants because of the Israeli government.

It is utter hypocrisy for both the US and Israel to put the blame on Palestine and the Palestinian people for the ongoing large-scale crimes of aggression and oppression committed by Israel against them and for the impending Israeli invasion. This is not a war against Hamas, the elected government in Gaza, but a well-coordinated war of annihilation against the Palestinian people. There can only be peace if there is justice in Palestine.

The current call of Israel for all-out war reminds us all of the Israeli aggression against Lebanon in recent times and how far Israel can go in committing crimes against humanity with complete impunity with the encouragement and support of the US imperialists and the acquiescence of the other imperialist powers like Canada.

The CAP-CPC stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for national salvation and independence and for the defence of all their human and democratic rights against the onslaughts of the US-backed Israeli aggressors. We join the Palestinian and Arab people and the entire humankind in condemning the US-supported crimes of aggression of Israel and in demanding that the Israeli regime stop its all-out war of aggression.

There can only be peace in Palestine if it is accompanied by justice and an end to 60 years of occupation and exploitation. The CAP-CPC supports the call for a comprehensive campaign of boycott, sanctions and divestment against Israel. Such a campaign eventually helped bring down a similar apartheid regime in South Africa.

The Centre d’appui aux Philippines / Center for Philippine Concerns is an organization of Filipinos and non-Filipinos in Montreal, Canada. It advocates for the promotion of and respect for human rights in the Philippines and around the globe and supports the people’s struggles for fundamental social, political and economic rights.

— HR Desk of the Centre d’appui aux Philippines / Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC Montréal)
see http://cap-cpc.blogspot.com/

Press Statement
December 29, 2008

ILPS CONDEMNS ISRAELI ATTACKS
ON THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE IN GAZA
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle condemns the murderous and cowardly air strikes and artillery fire unleashed by Israel on the Palestinian people in Gaza. These have already resulted in the indiscriminate killing of more than 300 people and the wounding of more than a thousand people and the destruction of office and apartment buildings, mosques, school buildings, and infrastructure. The attacks are still being escalated and the Israeli military forces have been ordered to mobilize for a fullscale invasion and reoccupation of Gaza.

The ILPS likewise condemns the US in the strongest terms for justifying and encouraging the Zionist acts of terrorism and for blaming the Palestinian people for the barbaric crimes committed by Israel against them. US imperialism has long propped up Zionist Israel, supplied to it the most powerful weapons and enabled it to commit acts of aggression, occupy Palestine for so many decades and deprive the Palestinian people of their homeland and squeeze them in a small piece of land like Gaza, which is now walled in on all sides.

It is utter mendacity and hypocrisy worthy of war criminals and mega-terrorists for both the US and Israel to put the blame on Palestine and the Palestinian people for the ongoing large-scale crimes of aggression and oppression committed by Israel against them and for the impending Israeli invasion and reoccupation of Gaza. The current call of Israel for all-out war reminds us all of the Israeli aggression against Lebanon in recent times and how far Israel can go in committing crimes against humanity with complete impunity with the encouragement and support of the US imperialists and the acquiescence of the other imperialist powers.

The ILPS stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for national salvation and independence and for the defense of all their human and democratic rights against the onslaughts of the US-backed Israeli aggressors. We join the Palestinian and Arab people and the entire humankind in condemning the US-supported crimes of aggression of Israel and in demanding that Israel stop its scheme of all-out war of aggression.

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle therefore calls on all its member-organizations and all its allies throughout the world to carry out mass campaigns to condemn the US-Israeli collusion in the war of aggression against Palestine and the Palestinian people, to demand the end of such horrible war and to discourage and prevent Israel from using its military might to slaughter the Palestinian people. ###

Photos: Filipinos in Amsterdam join demo vs. Israeli attacks on Gaza

January 13, 2009

Filipinos in Amsterdam join demo vs. Israeli attacks on Gaza

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Janaury 3, 2009

Filipinos in Amsterdam join demo vs. Israeli attacks on Gaza

Several representatives of Filipino organizations based in the Netherlands joined the big demonstration in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, last Jan. 3, 2009, to condemn the latest Israeli attack on Gaza.

They joined some 5,000 mostly Palestinians, and peoples from the Middle East together with leaders of Dutch support groups for Palestine. They denounced the latest Israeli attacks and invasion of Gaza that has already cost the lives of hundreds of Palestinians, mostly civilians, women and children.

The Filipino activists distributed statements of the ILPS and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) condemning the Israeli attacks.

The protesters, who came from all walks of life and included some prominent Dutch politicians, marched along the city center of Amsterdam.

The Filipino activists carried two big murals that depicted the persevering struggle of the Palestinian people for a free homeland.

The demonstration in Amsterdam was a reply to a worldwide call to express support for the people of Palestine. Other big demonstrations were held in France, the UK, Belgium, Germany, and Italy. #

Press Statement
4 January 2009

ILPS CONDEMNS ISRAELI GROUND INVASION OF GAZA
AND THE ESCALATING MASSACRE OF PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committees
International League of Peoples’ Struggle

Since December 27, 2008, the US-supported Zionist Israel has carried out a war of aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza. It has launched air strikes by F-16 jet planes and Apache helicopters and artillery shelling by naval vessels in order to massacre hundreds and injure thousands of Palestinians in Gaza and destroy their homes, mosques, schools, public buildings, oil depots, power plants, water facilities and other infrastructure.

The massacre of the Palestinian people and the destruction of their public and private properties are being rapidly escalated with the ground invasion of Gaza by thousands of Israeli troops and tanks since evening yesterday. The aggressors have interdicted food and medicine supplies. They have destroyed all the sources of fuel and power and have thus disabled vehicles and the hospitals. They have killed Palestinian medical personnel and have prevented ambulances from reaching the victims of aerial bombardments, shelling by naval artillery and strafing by ground forces.

The US imperialists are hellbent on letting the Zionists wreak death and destruction on the Palestinian people without limit and with complete impunity. They have publicly incited the Zionists to escalate their aggression and have blocked every effort in the UN Security Council to pass a ceasefire resolution and to stop the carnage. Together with the Zionists in Israel, they want nothing less than the complete surrender and subjugation of the Palestinian people in Gaza and in the whole of Palestine.

US imperialism is being consistent and true to its evil nature. It has supplied Israel with all the military, political and economic resources to wage aggression repeatedly against the Palestinian people since 1948, occupy Palestine and drive away millions of Palestinians from their homeland. The US has used Israel as the bridgehead of US imperialist hegemony in the Middle East and as the platform for threatening and blackmailing countries in the region, making them military and political clients and controlling the oil resources.

We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, reiterate in the strongest terms our condemnation of the US-supported war of aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza and once more declare our solidarity with and support for the entire Palestinian people in their resistance against Zionist Israel and its US imperialist master.

In this regard, we also criticize and condemn those governments in the Middle East that collaborate with the US in supporting Israel directly and indirectly, delivering the oil resources of the region to the US oil giants and suppressing the resistance of the Palestinian, Arab and other peoples in the Middle East. It is a shame that the overwhelming number of Arab people are prevented by their governments from extending the most effective support to the Palestinian people.

We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, stand in solidarity with the Palestinian, Arab and other peoples of the world in the struggle against US imperialism and Israeli Zionism. Once more we call on all member-organizations and allies of the ILPS to initiate as well as join protest mass actions and other activities that express and gather militant support for the resistance of the Palestinian and Arab peoples against US imperialism and Israeli Zionism. ###

Photos: Filipinos in NYC March for a Free Palestine New York City Janaury 4, 2009

January 13, 2009

Filipinos in NYC March for a Free Palestine

New York City

Janaury 4, 2009

News Release
January 4, 2009
Reference: Christina Hilo, BAYAN USA Northeast Coordinator, email: ny@bayanusa.org

Filipinos in NYC March for a Free Palestine

Filipinos in New York City yesterday joined thousands in a long march from Times Square to the Israeli Consulate on Second Avenue in opposition to the continuing military offensives of the Israeli government on the city of Gaza, already claiming over 400 lives and wounding thousands more Palestinians, including women and children. Under the banner of the Filipino-American alliance known as BAYAN USA, members from Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), Anakbayan New York/New Jersey, and the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) expressed solidarity for the Palestinian people’s 6-decade long struggle against the Zionist occupation of their ancestral land, otherwise known as the state of “Israel”.

“The Filipino people are in complete and unconditional solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle for national liberation,” stated BAYAN USA Secretary-General Berna Ellorin from the rally stage in Times Square, in front of four packed city blocks of protesters, many of whom were Palestinian immigrants, who cheered in response. “In Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, the Israeli embassy is already the site of massive protests of Filipinos against the US-Israeli attacks on Gaza.”

Ellorin also expressed the alliance’s respect for the Palestinian people’s right to choose any form of struggle to defeat their oppressors, including armed struggle. “The massacre of the Palestinian people by the US-Israeli pact is historical and systemic. The Palestinian people not only have every right to defend themselves, but to assert their claim over their occupied homeland,” she also exclaimed from the loud speakers.

During the rally and march to the Israeli Consulate, BAYAN USA members painted “Free Palestine!” on their faces and learned pro-Palestinian chants in Arabic from Palestinian youth. They also drew connections between the Palestinian people’s struggle and the Filipino people’s continuing struggle for genuine nationalism and democracy in the Philippines, free from US government intervention in economic and political affairs through US-puppet Philippine governments such as that of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Protesters also sharply criticized US President-Elect Barack Obama’s silence and inaction on the Gaza attacks. Meanwhile, Israel remains the largest annual recipient of US economic aid in the world, billions of which are used to supply the weaponry, ammunition, and technological capabilities being employed in the Israeli military offensive on the Palestinians. US foreign aid is funneled from US tax dollars.

January 3rd marked a national day of protest across the United States against the continuing US-Israeli attacks in Gaza that began as air strikes and have now evolved into ground attacks.

BAYAN USA is an overseas chapter of BAYAN Philippines. For more information on BAYAN USA, contact info@bayanusa.org or visit http://www.bayanusa.org. To view pictures from BAYAN USA’s participation in the rally in New York City, visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33986988@N07/sets/72157612153269952/ . ###

Statement of the President of the 63rd Session

of the United Nations General Assembly


On Gaza airstrikes

UN Headquarters , New York, 27 December 2008

The behavior by Israel in bombarding Gaza is simply the commission of wanton aggression by a very powerful state against a territory that it illegally occupies.

Time has come to take firm action if the United Nations does not want to be rightly accused of complicity by omission.

The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war.

Those violations include:

Collective punishment – the entire 1.5 million people who live in the crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants.

Targeting civilians – the airstrikes were aimed at civilian areas in one of the most crowded stretches of land in the world, certainly the most densely populated area of the Middle East.

Disproportionate military response – the airstrikes have not only destroyed every police and security office of Gaza’s elected government, but have killed and injured hundreds of civilians; at least one strike reportedly hit groups of students attempting to find transportation home from the university.

I remind all member states of the United Nations that the UN continues to be bound to an independent obligation to protect any civilian population facing massive violations of international humanitarian law – regardless of what country may be responsible for those violations. I call on all Member States, as well as officials and every relevant organ of the United Nations system, to move expeditiously not only to condemn Israel’s serious violations, but to develop new approaches to providing real protection for the Palestinian people.

http://www.un.org/ga/president/63/statements/ongaza271208.shtml

The Israeli military is doing the US government’s dirty work! Stop the ongoing massacres in Gaza now! (Updated)
December 29th, 2008

Contact: Berna Ellorin
Secretary-General, BAYAN USA
secgen@bayanusa.org

The US Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or BAYAN USA, an alliance of 12 Filipino organizations in the US, vehemently condemns the US government-sponsored bloodshed that is currently ongoing in the city of Gaza, in the Palestinian territories. As of the writing of this statement, the Israeli military air strikes in Gaza have killed over 300 Palestinians, and nearly 1000 more are critically wounded, including women and children. The death toll from the last 72 hours alone in Gaza marks the highest in the decades-long so-called “Israeli-Palestinian conflict”. Israeli state officials claim the siege on Gaza is a response to the Hamas government’s continued “violent retaliation” in the form of rocket barrages.

To understand the so-called “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” more comprehensively, one must see it in the context of US imperialism’s role in dividing and plundering the Middle East to serve its economic and political interests. The state of “Israel” still serves as a strategic access point for US-imperialism to plunder the entire region’s most profitable resources– black gold and oil.The state of “Israel” is a US surrogate state that has long been funded by Washington DC to do its dirty work and uphold its interests in the region. This includes the ethnic cleansing of millions of Palestinian families who were violently forced to flee from their ancestral lands beginning in 1948 with the forceful and violent Zionist occupation of Palestine and the establishment of the state of “Israel”. The establishment of Israel and its systemic massacre and displacement of the Palestinian people is one of the greatest offensives of the US government in the Middle East, that duly serves the interests of US imperialism to control the region.

Israel-US government relations remain tight and intimate in this campaign. Israel is the largest recipient of direct economic and military aid from the US government since World War II. This means the Israeli military’s continuing offensives on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are made possible with generous funding from the US government. The hard-earned tax dollars of the people of the US are fueling these continuing attacks of the US surrogate government of Israel against the Palestinian people. At the same time, the global economic crisis is hitting the people of the US hard with massive job lay-offs, foreclosures, evictions, and budget cuts to health care and education.

In light of their historical oppression, the oppressed Palestinian people have every right to resist and determine their form of resistance in the interest of their national liberation. It is understandable that this heroic resistance includes armed struggle. The Palestinian people have suffered the most horrific crimes of war and massacre from US imperialism at the hands of the Israeli government.

In the same light, the Filipino people are suffering from attacks from the same enemy. If the state of “Israel” is considered US-imperialism’s front door to the rest of the Middle East and Asia, then the Philippines would be the back door. For almost 110 years, the US has forcefully imposed its control over the Philippines, directly and indirectly, for the sake of maintaining this strategic geo-political and economic post in the Asia Pacific region. One of the first colonies of US-imperialism at the turn of the 20th century, the Filipino people suffered great losses. More than one-sixth of the Filipino people were massacred with the first few years of US occupation.

Like the US surrogate government in Israel, the US surrogate government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is also performing the same dirty work in the Philippines to advance US imperialism’s control over the country. While Israel is the largest annual recipient of US economic and military aid in the world, the Philippines is the largest recipient in Asia. But US economic aid to the Philippine government is not used for economic development of a very poor nation. Instead the Arroyo administration directs US economic aid towards beefing up the Philippine military, which has been responsible for the gravest human rights crisis in the country since the period of the US-backed Marcos dictatorship, and deepening corruption by buying the loyalty of corrupt Philippine politicians. The Philippine military is also responsible for the massive displacement of millions of Filipinos from their lands, especially the Muslim and indigenous communities.

Here in the United States, oppressed and working people have the responsibility to cripple the state terrorist machinaries of the Israeli and Philippine governments by demanding the withdrawal of US direct economic and military aid to both countries. As the global economic crisis continues to awaken the people in the US to the rotten character of US imperialism, we must strengthen our solidarity ties to national liberation struggles abroad, including Palestine and the Philippines. By intensifying our struggles and resistance against US imperialism in all parts of the globe, we can weaken our common enemy.

Furthermore, President-Elect Barack Obama’s swift appointment of Rahm Emanuel as his Chief-of-Staff foreshadows continued Zionist oppression of the Palestinian people. His father, Benjamin Emanuel, is an ardent Zionist militant who has been infamously quoted as bragging that his son will ensure the incoming Obama administration’s pro-Israel agenda, and offensively remarked that Arabs in the White House are usually relegated to cleaning floors. We must therefore remain vigilant and maintain no illusion that the incoming US presidential administration can effectively or even has the intention to restore peace in the region.

In condemning the attacks on Gaza, we demand justice for the Palestinian people. This means we demand the US-Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people’s ancestral land end, and that the right of the Palestinian people to return to their homeland be globally respected and recognized. Without justice, neither peace nor democracy can be realized or practiced in the Middle East or the Philippines.

STOP THE ATTACKS ON GAZA!
JUSTICE FOR THE PALESTINIAN VICTIMS OF THE US-ISRAELI ATTACKS!
FREE PALESTINE!
WITHDRAW US ECONOMIC AID TO ISRAEL!
WITHDRAW US ECONOMIC AID TO THE PHILIPPINES!
LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!

Photos: HK people express solidarity for the people of Palestine, condemn Gaza attacks

January 13, 2009

HK people express solidarity for the people of Palestine,

condemn Gaza attacks

Hongkong

December 30, 2008

Two events happened on December 30: one was a picket protest at the Israeli Consulate led by HK Legislator Leung Kwok Hung, and the other was the candle-light vigil at Chater Garden led by the Asia Pacific Students and Youth Association (ASA).

HK People Expressed Solidarity for the People of Palestine, Condemned Gaza Attacks

Solidarity shone brightest in Hong Kong this December 30.

With the continuous attacks that the Israeli government is launching against the people of Palestine in the Gaza Strip, international outrage poured and the Hong Kong people joined in this condemnation.

Two events happened today: one was a picket protest at the Israeli Consulate led by HK Legislator Leung Kwok Hung, and the other was the candle-light vigil at Chater Garden led by the Asia Pacific Students and Youth Association (ASA).

Picket at Admiralty

The ASA joined Leung Kwok Hung, also known as Long Hair, in the condemnation picket the latter held at the Israeli Consulate this afternoon.

The building security, however, was quick to stop us. But the stopping turned out for the good.

The picket was staged at the ground floor of the building where many fast food chains and shops were located. The whole duration of the program then drew crowds and onlookers, with a few even taking photos and even stopping by to listen.

Around 15 people were in the rally, including Eman Villanueva of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (a Filipino migrant organization in Hong Kong) and Jackie Hung of the Justice and Peace Commission of the HK Catholic Diocese.

Long Hair condemned the Israeli government for intensifying its attacks on Gaza with the aim of taking over the strip of Palestinian land. He likewise condemned the US government for condoning this action while urging the Chinese government to take a stand.

The program was concluded with the burning of the Israeli flag and a face of outgoing US president George W. Bush.

Candle-Light Vigil at Chater Garden

The holiday rush did not stop people from all sectors and groups to join in the candle-light vigil tonight.

More than 30 people from various local and regional organizations in Hong Kong gathered at the Chater Garden to express their solidarity with the Palestinian people against the Israeli government’s brutal attacks.

Among those present were Elizabeth Tang of the HK Confederation of Trade Unions, Rose Wu formerly with the HK Christian Institute, Sunita Suna of the World Student Christian Federation Asia Pacific and Long Hair. Other groups present were the Asian Centre for Progress of Peoples, Migrante International, Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants and Mission For Migrant Workers (HK) Society, International League of Peoples’ Struggle Hong Kong (ILPS-HK), UNIFIL-HK, Filipino Migrant Workers Union and several Filipino migrant organizations, HKJP and HK Catholic Students Union as well as the activist group 8th Floor .

Several speakers expressed their indignation, one of whom was Chuiyung, a HK journalist who went to Gaza a few years ago. She explained that the bombings made by Israel were nothing new. She expressed her anger over the inhuman way Israel is treating the Palestinians and its ultimate plan to occupy the Gaza Strip.

Other speakers included Elizabeth Tang, Linda Noche of the ACPP, Long Hair and Eman Villanueva.

Elizabeth Tang expressed the HK people’s continued solidarity with the Palestinian people and their outrage at the renewed attacks by Israel. Eman Villanueva likened the Gaza situation to that of Philippines that have struggled against many colonizers and countries who aimed to control the said country.

Long Hair once again condemned the bombings and said that this is an issue of occupation that the US-backed Israeli Zionists have been doing for the longest time. Jun Tellez of Migrante International read the ILPS statement on the said issue.

There was a vow among the many individuals and groups present in both programs to mount more actions and bring more people to express their solidarity with the Palestinian people as well as the intensification of the campaign against the atrocious attacks and planned invasion by Israel over Gaza.

Truly, solidarity brought people together. And Palestinian people will never be alone in their fight.

Download statement of  the Asian Students Association

A moment of silence was observed for all those who have been killed, injured and left devastated by the Israeli government’s attacks. The song “We Shall Overcome” was sung to close the program.

(Photo Courtesy: Asian Students Association)

Arkibong Bayan

No regrets for militant solons on EDSA 2

December 24, 2008

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 14:43:00 12/23/2008

Filed Under: Politics

MANILA, Philippines — Unlike former president Corazon Aquino, militant leaders who played key roles in the ouster of president Joseph Estrada are standing by the military-backed popular uprising in 2001.

EDSA 2, which the event came to be known, was the correct response to the situation; it was Estrada’s successor, then Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who bungled it, partylist Representatives Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna and Liza Maza of Gabriela said.

“I stand by EDSA 2, the problem is that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did not learn the lessons of both EDSA 1 and 2,” Maza said in a text message, adding that Arroyo’s “corruption-ridden and repressive regime betrayed the causes that people power stood for.”

Ocampo said he believed that the uprising was an “apt popular response” to the turn of events following the impeachment proceedings against Estrada at the Senate.

“The future, not the present events, will show whether EDSA 2 was correct or not,” he said.

The two lawmakers hobnobbed with Estrada on Monday at the launch of “Global Filipino,” a biography of former Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr.

Estrada was one of the main guests along, with Aquino and another former president, Fidel Ramos.

In a brief speech, Aquino apologized to Estrada for taking part in ousting him in 2001. Her spokesperson Deedee Siytangco, however, said the statement was said in jest.

Ocampo said Aquino’s apology to Estrada was understandable “in the light of the huge public disappointment turned into outrage” over the Arroyo administration.

Speaker Prospero Nograles said the apology might have come too late.

“Personally, I feel that the mea culpa statements or a realization of the same were much too late, the event having occurred in early 2001 and we are soon entering 2009,” he said.