WBAI Rundown – July 20, 2009
While hoping to deliver humanitarian supplies, a Free Gaza Delegation boat was stopped in International waters by the Israeli Navy earlier this month. Among the nearly 100 U.S. peace activists was former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Irish peace activist and Nobel laureate Mairead Maguire. McKinney and others had been in custody since Tuesday of last week, but could have been released earlier if they signed a document admitting they violated Israel’s blockade. McKinney – “It’s quite unusual for anyone to get a glimpse inside an Israeli prison.”
- There were 21 of us on the Free Gaza Boat, they were also bringing boats for Palestinian fisherman in Gaza.
- We embarked on our journey on the Spirit of Humanity boat. You can tell the folks put a lot of love in re-furbishing the boat, with the paint and making it a livable place for a 30 hour journey.
- That boat was destroyed by the Israeli military. They took some kind of huge magnetic item that held the boat suspended and shook it violently.
- It was an unusually calm day, it was absolutely beautiful. But it was 37 hours on the boat including the Israeli Navy intercept. It was nighttime, we were still in International waters and the Israelis threatened us.
- Remember I was on the Dignity when the Israelis rammed it.
- This time, they disabled the GPS, they tried to provide an escort to push us into Israeli waters.
- That tactic didn’t work. They also utilized, something I haven’t seen before, a “wave making machine,” because they shook us up and down.
- The GPS was turned off, communications were disrupted ( small EMP weapon?) I think they were trying to get us into Israeli waters, to make it look like we were off course.
- That did not happen, and they regrouped, and waited for us to enter Gaza territorial waters. That’s when these four speed boats came very quickly. Eight soldiers dressed like ninjas with the ski-mask, they commandeered the boat. Ejected the captain, and took over the steering.
- They put into one room on the boat, told us to sit down and shut up. We were forced to leave the boat with our hands in the air, some were handcuffed.
- The Israeli soldiers were rough with Maguier, she saw them take down one of the women, and she protested, and the soldiers roughed her up with bad language, it was a scene, and the men came to her rescue and those men got handcuffed.
- We got a full body search, we were held by the military for several hours, they transferred us to a detention facility, then to a full prison.Romley Prison. We were mixed in with the prison population. It was amazing, where we were there were young women of African and Asian descent.
- The Israelis actively blocked our effort to meet with our attorneys. We were deported from a country we didn’t intend to enter. The Free Gaza Movement has no intention of stopping.
Guest – former United States Representative and was the 2008 Green Party nominee for President of the United States. McKinney has served as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993–2003 and 2005–2007, first representing Georgia’s 11th Congressional District and then Georgia’s 4th Congressional District. She is the first African-American woman to have represented Georgia in the House.
A French multinational company, Veolia Transport, contracted to build a light rail tramway system linking west Jerusalem to illegal Jewish settlements has abandoned the project. The rail system would have grouped more Jewish settlements into the State of Israel and help annex the Palestinian territory of east Jerusalem. The victory came about from years of coordination by the French, Dutch and British groups, as well as the Palestinian BDS National Committee.
- Israel has not found an effective weapon to counter the civil non-violent weapon of the Palestinians.
- BDS is a movement based on Palestinian rights, to live without occupation, without colonization, without apartheid and the system of discrimination.
- A colony is a base for settlers who have are aggressive / military and confiscate more Palestinian land. Stealing more land, stealing water, cutting Palestinian trees, doing very nasty colonial acts.
- Boycott Divest and Sanction / BDS movement – Motorola / Israeli fruit and vegetables in Europe
- Divest, is when you pressure a university like Hampshire College to divest from companies profiting from the occupation. Also churches and unions can be pressured and levied. Sanction is a boycott by state. A decision by sovereign governments to isolate another government. Sanctions take a long time to get going.
- Veolia is part of a consortium that is contracted to build a light rail to connect illegal Israeli colonies with Jerusalem.
- International support for the Derail Veolia campaign came from Australia, Sweden, Britain, France and Tehran.
- Veolia lost 8 billion in contracts mainly due to the boycott movement.
- Veolia has not withdrawn yet, its a very technical process requiring Israeli approval. But Veolia has said it can’t sustain the losses and has considered withdrawing.
- This victory told us that you can’t censor yourself. Veolia says it will sell its 5 percent share in the consortium light rail.
- The project is illegal, that’s why people didn’t have to think twice to stop it. Israel’s reaction to Veolia withdrawal and BDS movement, very hush hush, which was intentional.
- The boycott campaign is impacting Israeli produce. Israeli barcodes begin with “729.” The BDS movement is growing in Indonesia, Brazil, Venezuela.
Guest – Omar Barghouti, founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Omar is a Palestinian political analyst and doctoral student of philosophy (ethics) at Tel Aviv University. His articles have appeared in the Al-Ahram Weekly, Z-Magazine, and Counterpunch.