Tuesday, July 15, 2008

'On whose back are we fighting terror?'

"Another Zakat [alms to the poor] official in Bethlehem, who wouldn't give his name for security reasons, urged Muslims to bypass government control mechanisms and help the Palestinians face 'this criminal and cruel seige by the enemies of Islam. Please, send your charity money and donations to your brothers and sisters in Palestine. Don't wait for your governments' approval because your governments are likely to be mere puppets of the United States and Israel. We must never reach a situation where we need permission from the Americans to practice our religion. If helping a starving child in Rafah or Nablus is terror, then let all of us be terrorists." (Bleak Ramadan in Palestine, Khalid Amayreh, Live from Palestine, 7/10/06)

"Maria Aman, a 6 year-old Palestinian child, paralyzed from the neck down during an Israeli strike in Gaza in 2006, is now in a battle with the Israeli authorities who are trying to avoid providing her with rehabilitation and treatment in Israel by moving her to Abu Raya Rehabilitation Center in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The... child does not know her condition is permanent. Her father cannot find the words to tell her that this is her condition from now until the end of her life. Maria can only move around with a wheelchair which she controls by a joystick guided by her chin. Her doctors in Israel said that she will face life-threatening conditions if she is moved to the Rehabilitation Center in Ramallah. Yet, the so-called Israeli Defence Ministry is working hard to... transfer her to Ramallah." (Israel attempting to nix its responsibility for treating a child its army paralyzed in 2006, International Middle East Media Center, 8/7/08)

"For Hamas and Hezbollah, every dead Israeli child is a victory and a cause for celebration. For Israel, every dead Palestinian child is a tragedy and a mistake." (Mark Leibler)

"For Israel, the costs of endless war are high." (From a typically clueless SMH editorial, 23/6/08)

While 80% of Israeli-blockaded Gazan and 49% of Israeli-occupied West Bank families now live below the poverty line, according to the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics, a Sydney charity, Muslim Aid Australia (MAA), which distributes aid to such families, is now under investigation by charity sector regulator The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and the NSW Government's Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing. Yes, and the Department of Foreign Affairs is reportedly* considering whether to refer MAA to the Australian Federal Police, the folks who gave us L'Affaire Haneef.

[*In his third and latest report on the MAA (AFP probes Sydney charity's 'terror' link, 8/7/08), The Australian's dog whistling Richard Kerbaj, who broke the story on 2/7/08, doesn't seem too sure, beginning with the full throttle "The Australian Federal Police is investigating a Sydney charity..," then dropping back to "The AFP is understood to have stepped in..," before coming to a grinding halt with "The AFP yesterday refused to confirm or deny that it was investigating MAA."]

Heaven forbid that in order to get food and medicines to the malnourished & maimed of Gaza through an Israeli blockade one might have to cooperate with UN agencies and other NGOs, or even with the democratically elected Hamas government of occupied Palestine!

MAA's alleged crime is to have distributed aid to Gaza through UK charity Interpal (Palestinian Relief & Development Fund), an alleged Hamas front. According to Kerbaj, Interpal was "proscribed by former foreign minister Alexander Downer [See my last post on this Nasty], some 3 months after it was "declared a 'specially designated global terrorist' by US President George W Bush in 2003." (Charity used 'terror' group to distribute aid in Gaza, 2/7/08) Being proscribed by Bummer of Baghdad (who could not be swayed by the fact that Interpal had twice been investigated and cleared of "terror links" by the British Charity Commission) means that "it is a criminal offence* under the Charter of the United Nations Act for Australian individuals or organisations to deal with groups identified by DFAT's Consolidated List, which names banned groups and people."

[*10 years in prison & fines of $275,000 for individuals/$11 million for organizations]

Another wonderful legacy of Bummer and the Howard years. Thank God Dicky Kerbaj and The Australian are there to uphold it in the Krudd interregnum.

Would it come as any surprise to know that Interpal is just one of 36 NGOs outlawed by Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, allegedly for raising money for Hamas? To know that West Bank shopping malls, schools, medical centres, charities, orphanages and soup kitchens are being raided and closed by the Israeli military as 'Hamas infrastructure'? As Haaretz's Gideon Levy writes: "Residents of the West Bank cannot be simultaneously imprisoned, prohibited from earning a living and offered no social welfare assistance while we strike at those who are trying to do so, whatever their motives. If Israel wants to fight the charitable associations, it must at least offer alternative services. On whose back are we fighting terror? Widows? Orphans? It's shameful." (Israel targets Hamas orphanages, Peter Hirschberg, IPS, 15/7/08)

Is Dicky flying a kite here? Have the Israelis and their conduits down under been putting the hard word on the Australian government to fall in line with this latest Israeli turn of the screw on Palestine's Wretched of the Earth? And if MAA is banned, who's next?

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