Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Criminalizing Palestinian Solidarity

As the passengers of the US Boat to Gaza return home and Palestine solidarity activism continues to grow in the United States, the threat of U.S. government and FBI backlash remains strong.


By Maureen Murphy on AlJazeera.net
June 27, 2011

The United States government has criminalized the Palestinian people, and now it is increasingly treating US citizens who stand in solidarity with Palestine as criminals as well - including those courageously putting their lives on the line to break the siege on Gaza.

I am a Palestine solidarity activist in the US, and one of 23 US citizens who have been issued with a subpoena to appear before a federal grand jury as part of what the government has said is an investigation into violations of the laws banning material support to foreign "terrorist organisations".

None of us have given money or weapons to any group on the State Department's foreign terrorist organisation list. But what many of us have done is participate in or help organise educational trips to meet with Palestinians and Colombians resisting the US-funded military regimes they live under.

The goal of these trips is to learn about the human rights violations happening in these places and to bring those stories back home to the US, to educate people and to organise to change US foreign policy for the better.

...


Siege-breaking activists may be next

It is US policy to block Palestinians from all avenues to justice at the UN level, by foiling the Goldstone report on war crimes in the Gaza Strip or preventing any censure of Israel for last year's massacre of flotilla activists. But this week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has given Israel the green light to attack the second Gaza Freedom Flotilla.
Gallo/Getty Images
The State Department also issued a statement on the second flotilla- which will include approximately fifty Americans - in which it warned that "delivering or attempting or conspiring to deliver material support or other resources to, or for the benefit of, a designated foreign terrorist organisation, such as Hamas, could violate US civil and criminal statutes and could lead to fines and incarceration".

Hamas, which is the ruling party in the Gaza Strip and which won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in 2006, is on the US State Department's unilateral foreign terrorist organisation list - along with every other major Palestinian political party besides Fatah (though its armed wing is on the list). This means that the US has essentially criminalised the entire Palestinian people and the parties which represent them - except for those that collude with the Israeli occupation.


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