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John Passant

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September 2009



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



The Palestinians need our solidarity

Join the demonstrations on 25 September around Australia for Justice for Palestine to help stop Israel’s creeping genocide, writes Vashti Kenway in this month’s Socialist Alternative.

In 2002 the former chief of staff of the Israel Defence Force Moshe Ya’alon said: “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”

Looking at the situation for Palestinians today it is clear that there is continuity in the aspirations of Israel Defence Force chiefs.

Such aspirations were behind the bombing campaign Israel launched against Gaza earlier this year.

Such desires were behind the use on civilians of the deadly chemical white phosphorous, which burns through flesh and bone.

Such aspirations were behind the shelling of clearly-marked UN compounds housing hundreds of families who had gathered for shelter and safety only to find death and destruction.

The defeat of the Palestinian people, the breaking of their spirit and will to endure and resist, is the ultimate project of an Israeli state which wants unfettered expansion across the whole of what was previously known as Palestine and political and military dominance in the region.

The history of Palestine, particularly since the establishment of Israel in 1948, is filled with violence, brutality and everyday humiliation.

The oppression of the Palestinians has been part of the imperial project of control and domination by Israel and the US in the Middle East.

To the extent that the Palestinians get in the way of this project, all the major capitalist powers are prepared to endorse, condone, and even encourage the crushing of the Palestinians.

Any cursory glance at the life of Palestinians today, in Gaza, the West Bank and within Israel, reveals that their situation is worse than ever.

Since Israel’s bombing of Gaza earlier this year, which killed 1500 Palestinians, Israel has continued its strangulation of the territory.

The war left over 50,000 Gazans homeless and 400,000 without running water and regular electricity, a desperate situation exacerbated by an Israeli siege on basic goods.

The siege was begun in 2007 when Israel declared Gaza a “hostile entity”.

“Hostile” because the Gazans had the temerity to vote for a government Israel and the US did not approve of.

In 2008 Oxfam released a report which found that 80 per cent of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents were dependent on international food aid as a result of the siege. Journalist John Pilger has described this situation as “creeping genocide.”

But while the siege was bad enough before Israel’s bombing campaign, it has since become even more deadly.

The bombing almost totally destroyed Gaza’s basic infrastructure, but Israel has banned any construction material from entering the Strip. So rubble that was hospitals, homes, schools, sewage plants, factories and universities, remains rubble.

More than this however, Israel has banned the following goods in the name of “security”: canned goods, tinned meat, tomato paste, tea, coffee, milk products in large packages, apricots, sausages, semolina, sesame seeds, plums, grapes, avocados, chocolate, animals (i.e. cows and sheep), clothing, shoes, notebooks, toys, crayons, fabrics, candles, light bulbs… the list goes on and on.

Clearly Israeli policy towards Gaza is one of systematic, sadistic collective punishment.

In East Jerusalem, historically a Palestinian enclave inside the 1948 borders of Israel, hundreds of Palestinian families are being unceremoniously kicked from their homes by court orders which deem their ownership null and void.

In their place, the government is moving in right-wing Zionist settlers.

Demolitions of Palestinian homes are also widespread; at least 20,000 demolition orders are currently in place, and once Palestinian homes are bulldozed, more Zionist settlements will be built. Such settlements now cover 35 per cent of the eastern city.

The situation is similar in the West Bank, where Israel is building a vast system of highways and by-passes designed to link Zionist settlements and create barriers between Palestinian areas: all with the aim of ultimately incorporating the West Bank into Israel proper.

Israel describes this process as “creating facts on the ground” and clearly the fact they want to create is total Zionist dominance over Palestinian land.

We, on the other hand, should call it what it is: the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

The Israeli state, backed by the US and our own government, is in the process of attempting to shore up its own power in the region, and to deal a serious body blow to any Palestinian aspirations for land and justice.

Fortunately this goal is being resisted, both by the Palestinians themselves and by millions across the world who perceive the injustice of the situation.

Since Israel’s war on Lebanon in 2006 there has been something of a sea-change in Australian attitudes to Israel, with more and more people recognising the brutality of the Israeli state.

The Gaza war produced an outpouring of solidarity with and sympathy for the Palestinian people across the world. In Australia too, people took to the streets to express their outrage at Israel’s bombing. Since then, a core has continued the campaign.

The Students for Palestine have kept the issue alive on the university campuses. We have refused to accept Israel’s and the US’s claims that some just peace is being reached.

We have argued that although the bombs have largely stopped dropping, Gazans continue to be starved and Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem continue to be dispossessed.

We have pointed out that Obama, while criticising the encroachment of Zionist settlements, has increased military aid to Israel. We have argued that although the media ignores them, the Palestinians continue to need international support and solidarity.

We have also argued that nothing good and right has ever been won by passive sentiment.

Voting rights for women or Aborigines in Australia, the ending of South African apartheid or the halting of the Vietnam war – none of these things were achieved by outrage alone.

Sitting at home fuming about the latest Israeli atrocity is pointless.

The Rudd government is one of the key backers of the Israeli state; Julia Gillard has even been awarded for her steadfast commitment to Israel.

In Australia we have an opportunity to try to break this connection. We have an opportunity to bring to light the horror of the situation for Palestinians.

We have an opportunity to tarnish the image that Israel likes to present to the world, as the bringer of civilisation to an uncivilised region.

We have an opportunity to show that Israel is enforcing a system of apartheid on the Palestinians and is continuing a process of ethnic cleansing that they started in 1948.

This opportunity presents itself on the streets of Australia on Friday September 25, in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and elsewhere.


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