Starting to record the song i wrote in Brazil for the MST today. We are going to put video footage to it when its done, a mixture of the footage shot in Rio, and libary stuff of MST rallies and marches.
This following was sent to me today by Chrisitian Aid. By William Bell DURING the past week I have received hundreds of e-mails from Christian Aid’s contacts in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem. They come from the humanitarian partner organisations we fund, both Palestinian and Israeli, and they are full of desperation and fear. They tell the story of occupying soldiers taking over homes, schools and offices, of Israeli snipers shooting Palestinians who dare venture outside their front door, of civilians being marched in front of Israeli tanks as human shields while hospitals and hotels are burned down. They tell of a state of siege where electricity has been cut and where food and water are running out. But most of all, they ask, why is the international community allowing all this to happen? The need for international intervention is now critical on purely humanitarian grounds. Among the many requests for help we have received in the past few days is one for funds to provide food packages for 10,000 stranded families urgently in need of supplies. We will do what we can to provide these, but a robust international response is needed if these, and other basic aid like tents and blankets, are to be delivered. The Israeli government, of course, seeks to justify the re-occupation of the West Bank as a response to the campaign of suicide bombing by Palestinian militants which has wreaked such devastation on the Israeli civilian population. Christian Aid unreservedly condemns Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians as much as that meted out by Israeli forces. One thing is for certain, however. The harder the Israeli military clampdown on the illegally Occupied Territories, the more violent will be the backlash. Ariel Sharon’s policy of bombing, shooting and starving Palestinians is not working – and never will. As John Dugard, the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestinian Territories said in his 26 March 2002 report: “…it is important not to ignore the main explanation for the acts of terror committed by Palestinians against Israelis – opposition to the military occupation.” B`Tselem is a highly respected Israeli human rights organisation. Jessica Montell, its director, disowned the policy of her own government. “I would say to Israelis and to friends of Israel abroad that this action is not in our interests,” she said. “It is supposedly being taken on behalf of my family`s security. I have a two-year-old daughter and I am terrified for her safety now and in the future. People who love Israel cannot sit by and watch this happen.” At Christian Aid we believe the source of the current crisis is Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory. Israel must withdraw its troops now. Christian Aid also calls for immediate international intervention. Until that happens, violence will increase within Israel and the Occupied Territories and this violence may draw in other countries in the Middle East – including perhaps Iraq. The tools are already in place – there are a clutch of UN resolutions stating that Israel must withdraw its troops from the occupied Territories and there is a compelling prima facie evidence that Israel is grossly and continually violating the Geneva Convention. Let us not shrink for this truth – in any other country in the world we would be talking of grave breaches of international law. The Geneva Convention states: “In order to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objects and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objects.” Even before the West Bank was re-occupied, the situation was already getting worse by the day. Palestinians have been becoming poorer and more marginalised happening ever since the beginning of the peace process in 1993. And the situation has spiralled downwards in the past 18 months since Israel imposed the economic and security blockade on the occupied territories. Christian Aid’s mandate is to speak up for the poor across the world and we have been trying to get this message heard for some time. Some 100,000 Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank worked in neighbouring Israel. Now, because of the closure, they are banned from crossing into Israel and most are out of work. The impact of this on the Gazan and West Bank economies has meant another 76,000 in the two territories have lost their jobs. This has had many negative effects – particularly on health. For example, in Gaza where more than three in five of the workforce are unemployed, Christian Aid estimates that child malnutrition rose 125 per cent last year compared with 2000. In a recent report, the World Bank said: “ Poverty is deepening, particularly in isolated communities. Serious health and environmental problems are emerging and helplessness, deprivation and hatred are increasing.” The international community must intervene to allow essential humanitarian work to take place – and to stop the killing. People need food, water, shelter and medical supplies. And they need it now