April 26, 2011

ISM COMMITTED TO STAYING IN GAZA

Posted in ISM Updates tagged , , at 3:29 pm by Alexia

PRESS RELEASE: ISM COMMITTED TO STAYING IN GAZA

ISM GAZA

Following the murder of our comrade and friend Vittorio, we, activists
of the International Solidarity Movement, reiterate our commitment to
remaining in Gaza.  We will continue to work with and live among the
Palestinian population as we continue the work to which Vik was so
committed.

In these days of mourning, Palestinians have organized numerous
memorials for Vik; they constantly remind us how sorry they are to
have lost him, of how they loved him, his closeness, his affection,
and his indignation at what is happening here in Gaza.  We know that
the group that perpetrated this horrible crime does not in any way
represent Palestinian society.  The Palestinians of Gaza are our
friends, our colleagues, and our reason for being here; we will
continue to stand by their side.

As we had done when Vittorio was with us, we will continue to stand
alongside the Palestinian people, we will continue to struggle against
the occupation, we will continue to accompany farmers to their lands
along the border, we will continue to participate in demonstrations,
and we will continue to tell the world what happens here in the Gaza
Strip, Palestine.  We think that Vik would agree with Che Guevara when
he said, “Don’t cry for me if I die, do what I was doing and I will
live on in you.”  The best way to honor Vik is to continue the work
that he was doing.  In particular we will soon begin crewing a boat
whose mission is to monitor the violation of human rights in
Palestinian waters.  This boat will have its maiden voyage on April
20: Vik had strongly backed this project and he had enthusiastically
participated in its realization.

Vik has been an inspiration to all of us, we all hope to live up to
his example.  In a documentary about him, Vik said he would have liked
to be remembered by Nelson Mandela’s quote; “A victor is merely a
dreamer who never stops dreaming.”  Your dreams are our dreams; we
will never forget you, Vik.

 

 


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April 15, 2011

ISM Activist Killed

Posted in ISM Updates tagged , , , at 1:34 pm by Alexia

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/15/italian-peace-activist-murdered-gaza

Arrigoni’s death comes just over a week after a gunman shot dead Juliano Mer-Khamis, an Israeli actor who ran a theatre in the West Bank city of Jenin. It is not clear why Mer-Khamis was shot but his views about freedom of expression had generated some opposition in Jenin.

Arrigoni, known as Vik, lived in an apartment that he rented separately from his fellow volunteers for the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). The first anyone knew of his abduction was when video was posted on YouTube in which Arrigoni appeared blindfolded with a bruised face.

The accompanying Arabic text said: “The Italian hostage entered our land only to spread corruption.” It described Italy as “the infidel state”.

On the day he was abducted, Arrigoni had written three posts on his Guerilla Radio blog: a report on the deaths of four men in the south of Gaza in a collapsed tunnel and comments on Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, and Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president.

He was last seen at a Gaza City gym on Wednesday and from there he ordered food by telephone but never arrived at the restaurant to pick it up.

Nathan Stuckey, a volunteer from the United States, said Arrigoni spent most of his time working as a journalist but was also involved in promoting the rights of Gazan fishermen to fish freely without hindrance from the Israeli navy.

“At the moment, he was particularly focused on the launch of our new boat, which we will use to monitor the navy’s violations of the rights of the fishermen. He often said that he now felt more at home in Gaza than in Italy and he was strongly committed to the Palestinian cause,” Stuckey said.

Foreigners and outsiders are normally warmly welcomed in Palestinian communities, who regard them as allies against Israel. Previously the greatest risk for foreigners was seen to be from the Israeli army. Rachel Corrie from the US and Tom Hurndall from London were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza in 2003 and 2004 while volunteering for the ISM.

Here’s a video report.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2011/apr/15/italian-activist-vittorio-arrigoni-gaza-video

My thoughts are with his family and all those who are affected by this.

April 2, 2011

ISM calling for experienced activists to come to Gaza

Posted in ISM Updates tagged , , , , , at 12:12 am by Alexia

**please circulate widely**

The International Solidarity Movement is appealing for activists to join our team in the besieged Gaza Strip.

In recent months numerous people have managed to cross into Gaza through Egypt, so at present, there is a small window of opportunity to enter. ISM Gaza was reinstated in August 2008, when volunteers traveled aboard the historic, siege-breaking voyage of the first FreeGaza Movement boat. ISM has maintained a constant presence in Gaza since that time, for over two years of Israel’s crippling siege. ISM volunteers refused to leave when Israel began bombing Gaza in December 2009. During the devastating 23-day assault, activists accompanied ambulances and provided vital testimony to the international media.

Daily life in Gaza is a harrowing struggle. Israel’s siege has made rebuilding bombed structures virtually impossible, and thousands of Gazans continue to live in tents. The siege deeply restricts Gaza’s food supply, but Israel also prohibits Gazans from producing their own food. In stark violation of international law, Israel enforces a three-nautical-mile fishing blockade. The Israeli-imposed ‘buffer zone’ swallows up a third of Gaza’s farmland, which lies along the Israeli border. Farmers are routinely shot and killed simply for working their land well inside Gaza’s borders.

ISM Gaza volunteers accompany farmers and demonstrators in the ‘buffer zone’, as well as working to strengthen the link between Gazan students and the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Visit http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/category/gaza/  to watch videos and read reports by ISM Gaza. As the international community becomes more critical of Israel’s policies, it is vital to have individuals on the ground that can attest to the conditions inside the open-air prison of Gaza. Their voices lend strength to efforts abroad, as BDS campaigns gain momentum and freedom flotillas become pandemic.

Those interested in joining the ISM Gaza team are required to attend a preliminary training in their home country and have communicate with the volunteers in Gaza prior to arrival. Entering Gaza is an arduous process that requires some time to be spent in Egypt.

Also recommended:

– Previous experience with organizing/ activism, preferably in the Middle-East

– A historical understanding of the Palestine and some knowledge of the current political situation

– Arabic language skills – respect for Palestinian traditions and values

– Ability to stay in Gaza for an extended period of time (over a month)

For more information about where to attend a preliminary training or other questions, please email gazaism@gmail.com

PLEASE FORWARD THIS UPDATE WIDELY

DONATE @ http://palsolidarity.org/donate

WEBSITE: http://palsolidarity.org

YOUTUBE: http://youtube.com/user/ISMPalestine

TWITTER: http://twitter.com/ismpalestine

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/pages/International-Solidarity-Movement/56674479144