On the killing of Vik Vittorio Arrigoni


*(photo from 2011) monument to “Vik” Vittorio Arrigoni, Italian justice and peace activist. Jaber and Leila, farmers Vik worked with in the border region east of Khan Younis, were also close friends. They erected the monument as a humble tribute to him
Although he was killed a year and a half ago, in April 2011, only recently has the verdict been issued in the trial for the killers of “Vik” (Vittorio) Arrigoni, an Italian long-time justice and peace activist.
After his murder last year, I wrote about my friend and colleague Vik, as did an overwhelming number of Palestinians from Gaza, from all over occupied Palestine, and friends and supporters around the world.

Adie, who attended the trial on September 17, 2012 in Gaza City, wrote:

We waited for 2 hours outside the court, some of that time filled with our stories of Vittorio, the fond memories and a laugh or two.

Then finally the judge Ata Mansour called everybody in for the sentence for at least some of the people who conspired to kill Vittorio. Life imprisonment (25 years) and 10 years hard labour for Salfiti Mahmoud (b 1988) and Hasasna Tamer (b 1966) – guilty of kidnap and murder. 10 years hard labour for Jrem Khader (b 1984) found guilty of participating in the kidnapping. Ahmed abu Ghoula was given one year sentence already served for helping the murderers to escape and find refuge in his house in Nuseirat. Abdel Rahman Breizat the leader who had entered from Jordan a year before and Bilal El Omari were killed by the security forces during the pursuit soon after Vittorio’s death.
We still will not get the full story of Breizat’s origins and intentions.

The sentences are probably just, the mother of Vittorio sent a letter asking to not give the death sentence because Vittorio did not believe in it. Vittorio only believed in doing as much as he can to raise the lives of people who’ve had it rough, and fight with courage against those brutally denying people the most basic of freedoms, most recently here in the Gaza Strip.

Although some closure has come, these prison sentences will not bring back the person we know and love.

But the power of his message, the humanity of his actions, the strength of his heart and that huge great spirit and warmth will live on and on inside all of us lucky enough to have come into contact and been great friends with him.

Stay Human

Khalil Shaheen, from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, spoke of the verdict:

PCHR press release on the court verdict here:

On Monday morning, 17 September 2012, the Permanent Military Court is Gaza issued its judgment in the case of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni’s murder. The Court convicted the first defendant (M.S.) and second defendant (T.H.) of premeditated killing and kidnapping for the purpose of killing. They were each sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor and 10 years of imprisonment with hard labor; the more severe of the two punishments will be applied.

The court also sentenced the third defendant (K.E.) to 10 years of imprisonment with hard labor, after convicting him of kidnapping for the purpose of killing. The fourth defendant (A.G.) was convicted of harboring fugitives and sentenced to one year of imprisonment.
PCHR lawyers attended today’s hearing in their capacity as the legal representatives of the Arrigoni family. They have also attended all hearings for the case since the court began considerations on 11 August 2011. PCHR has also followed all of the developments of the case and provided the court’s panel with letters from the Arrigoni family.

The Italian activist, Vittorio Arrigoni, was killed,after being kidnapped in the evening of 14 April 2011, by a group that called itself the “A-Hammam Mohammed Bin Maslama Group.” The Palestinian police found his body 15 April 2011 in a house in the ‘Amer housing project west of Jabalya, located in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

In light of the judgment issued in the case of Arrigoni’s murder, PCHR would like to draw attention to the following:

– 3 of the persons who were involved in kidnapping and murdering the Italian activist were subsequently killed in armed clashes between them and Palestinian security forces that besieged the house where they werehiding in al-Nussairat refugee camp in the central part of the Gaza Strip.
–PCHR officially demanded the court’s panel, in writing, to abstain from applying the death penalty to the defendants if they are convicted, based on its position rejecting the death penalty and in response to the Arrigoni family’s wish, which they expressed in a letter dated 16 December 2011. The family wanted a fair trial for the defendants in accordance with the requirements of the international law and called for the death penalty to not be applied against the defendants if they were convicted.
–PCHR, like the Arrigoni family, is satisfied by the sentences issued by the Court, which can be described, under the circumstances surrounding the case, as fair and legitimate, and considers that the murderers of Arrigoni have been effectively tried.
–PCHR has followed this case in honor of Vittorio Arrigoni’s soul and out of its moral commitment towards international solidarity activists, who may lose their lives because of their support for the rights of Palestinian people, like what happened to Arrigoni and the American activist Rachel Corrie.

Al Akhbar news reported on the verdict, highlighting the secrecy and unknown origins and funding of Salafis in Gaza:

Jihadi Salafi groups, linked to the international networks led by al-Qaeda, and calling for an Islamic caliphate and jihad against pagans, only emerged in Gaza a few years ago. Their number is unknown. Some Gazans believe there are dozens of such groups, though there are probably far fewer. Their members are mostly former members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or the Salaheddin Brigades. While not numerous, their activities are shrouded in secrecy. Nobody knows where their funding comes from, the names of their leaders, or where they train their fighters.
Hamas has had a frequently fraught relationship with the Salafis since it took over in the Gaza Strip. After it assumed control in 2007, jihadi Salafi leader Abdul-Latif Moussa proclaimed from Rafah the establishment of an Islamic state. Armed clashes ensued between Hamas security forces and Moussa’s supporters, leading to his death along with a number of his followers inside the mosque where he preached.
Hamas later launched an extensive campaign of arrests targeting Salafis, declaring it would not tolerate illegal activities in the name of religion.
Tensions flared again in April 2011 when an Italian solidarity activist, Vittorio Arrigoni, was kidnapped and murdered by a group of Salafis demanding the release of their leader from detention by Hamas security forces. This triggered a fresh showdown, which ended three days later after Hamas located and raided the kidnappers’ hideout, leading to the death of one and the suicide of another before he could be captured.

Tributes to Vik:
Various tributes and reports on Vik here
Ramzy Baroud’s tribute here
Palestinian youth from Gaza tribute here


*Jaber and Leila’s tribute to Vik


*graffiti for Vik found throughout Gaza

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Tribute to my brother Vittorio (Vik) Arrigoni – by Ken

By Ken o’keefe

There simply cannot be enough praise for brother Vik, he was a man who exemplified what it is to be human, to be a loving, courageous, full fledged human being. I am blessed till the end of time for knowing him; I will love him to the day I die. And the greatest way to honour Vik is to never give up, to never abandon Palestine, to seek truth and justice at every turn, to shed the fear and never accept the unacceptable.

On this one-year anniversary of his murder I say to his family, thank you so much for producing this warrior for justice, this brother to humanity. He is with us always; he is among the greatest Palestinians who have ever lived. TJP – Stay Human

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Memorial held for Arrigoni turns into demonstration of support for Palestine

[ 29/04/2011 – 09:48 PM ]
MANCHESTER, (PIC)– A memorial held in the city of Manchester in north England to honour Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni, who was murdered in Gaza, turned into a demonstration of support for the Palestinian cause with ISM activist chanting for the freedom of Palestine, the end of the siege and the continuation with humanitarian convoys to the Gaza Strip.
Participants stressed the need for continuing with sending convoys to the Gaza Strip to break the siege and condemned the crime of murdering Vittorio “the Palestinian people’s friend.”
Speakers stressed that solidarity with the Palestinian people will not stop “despite the crime of killing Vittorio.”
The Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB) had organised the event which was attended by representatives of pro-Palestinian organisations and in which a video depicting the life and work of activist Vittorio Arrigoni and the role he played in informing the world of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip especially after the Israeli aggression on Gaza at the end of 2008.
Dr. Tareq Tahboub, representing the PFB said that Vittorio recognised the fact that the problem of Palestinians was freedom and not food despite the siege and that during his years in the Gaza Strip he showed great courage in expressing solidarity with the people of Gaza and defending their rights despite being detained and injured by the Israelis.
Dr. Tahboub accused the Israeli occupation of being behind the murder of Vittorio stressing that the occupation is the only party that benefits from such a crime.
For his part British activist Ibrahim al-Majrisi said that dying while fighting for a worthwhile cause is better than living without a cause or a value, adding that he participated in ships to break the siege on Gaza and called for the continuation of solidarity with the Palestinian people.
While activist and close friend of Vittorio, Ken O’Keefe, said that Palestinians had no interest in the death of Arrigoni and that he suspected people connected with Israel behind the gruesome murder.
Norma Turner from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), who visited the Gaza Strip and saw for herself the suffering of the people because of the siege, agreed with O’Keefe and said that solidarity with the Palestinian people will increase and that new activists are preparing themselves to actively participating in breaking the siege on Gaza.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Italian researcher in Gaza: Arrigoni murder will not effect Palestinian support

[ 25/04/2011 – 07:01 PM ]
GAZA, (PIC)– Italian researcher Dr. Paola Manduca, who is currently visiting the Gaza Strip, has said that the murder of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni will not effect the solidarity the Italians and world peace activists have with the Palestinians.
The statement came during a meeting with Palestinian Health Minister Bassem Naim, after the latter sent the condolences of those working in the ministry and Palestinian government to Arrigoni’s family.

He emphasized that everyone who loves Palestine condemns the Arrigoni murder, which he said conflicts with Palestinian customs and traditions.

Naim met with Manduca while she was on a mission to the Strip to research congenital malformations in the Gaza Strip due to chemical weapons used in Israeli aggression.

The meeting was also attended by Dr. Mohammed al-Kashif, director-general of the international cooperation board, and Eng. Awni Naim, vice-president of the environmental quality authority.

They discussed the environmental impacts of internationally banned weapons Israeli used during attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Dr. Manduca expressed her willingness to aid the health ministry.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Funeral of Vittorio Arrigoni | Funerali di Vik – video

April 24, 2011 by occupiedpalestine

جنازة فيتوريو اريغوني في إيطاليا
https://www.facebook.com/Vittorio.gaza


Source

Related

For all posts about Vittorio, letters of solidarity and mourning, statements of his beloved mother and friends, pictures, video’s and related news, please go to:

Vera Macht: Vik, You Are missed

Sunday, April 24, 2011 at 9:08AM Gilad Atzmon
You are missed with such an intensity that makes you even more present. In all of our minds, in all of our hearts. It’s your absence that makes your strength, your kindness and your impressive dedication to people and to humanity so incredibly present.

You are missed as a symbol of the struggle for justice, and for the value of each individual, the value of especially those people who seem to have been forgotten.

You are missed in this world. Vik, I miss you in my world. I miss you as my best friend, as the one who was always there in the last year, in good and bad times. You once told me I should smile, because my smile would light you. But Vik, it was you who made me laugh. Not only by your great sense of humor, but through your unique way to make the world around you a little brighter, just by being there. Everybody who knew you knows that, even those who met you even just once.

You cast a spell on people, through your charisma, through your personality, through your warmth. The world has become a bit darker without you, and it is also my own little world that has become a bit darker through your absence.

And Gaza of course, which I can’t imagine without you, probably no one here can imagine it without you yet. Your Arabic vocabulary of: Mushkile? Leeesh? Mish Mushkile! Yallah! was completely enough to brighten up the people around you, and to make everyone in Gaza your rafiq and your rafiqa.

And people in Gaza have loved you and appreciated you, you knew that and you would never have thought anything else. We were all touched and overwhelmed by the grief and sympathy your death has caused. A compassion that has helped all of us to overcome our initial shock, I want to heartily thank you all for that.
Adie, my friend and ISM colleague once said, being as ISM in Gaza doesn’t only mean to support the people here, but to be a bit of a Palestinian yourself, and to join carrying the burden for a little way. To not only feel with the pain of others, but to feel for yourself what it means to lose a loved one. Because being Palestinian means losing people you love.

Whoever is behind this senseless, cruel murder, he reached exactly the opposite of what he intended. Vik, through your death, we all have become Palestinians. We are more determined than ever. We will go on, and we will continue to fight, in the spirit of your humanity and with the strength and steadfastness of the Palestinians.

Not only because you would have wanted us to, but because we couldn’t do anything else. Not the people out there that you have inspired and woken up, and not us here, being united in the same dream, in the same goal for which we fight: a free Gaza, a free Palestine.

I remember one morning in autumn. The day before had been a black day for Gaza, and so we were all together the whole night, sitting in the ISM office and writing. Vik and I left at dawn. And just as we had walked a few steps, it started to rain. The first rain of the year. And we stood in the middle of the road, feeling the rain pouring down upon us, and laughed, and suddenly it was as if the whole sadness of the last hours was washed away. As if it was a new beginning, in which the world was pure and innocent and full of hope.

I will not grieve because I know that where you went, there was such a morning waiting for you. I will not grieve, in gratitude of having gotten to know you. Because people like you show us that also for our humanity there could be such a morning waiting for us.”

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

To: Helen Thomas CC: MSM, US-Israeli Government Subject: AIPAC, Vanunu, Arrigoni

April 23, 2011 posted by Eileen Fleming


by Eileen Fleming
Dear Helen Thomas,

I am the founder of one of 100 organizations who have endorsed Move Over AIPAC, but I didn’t commit to attend until I learned you were going to be speaking and I began to dream of 15 minutes with you.
However, my dream died when I learned that Ms. Thomas has now declined to take part in the Move Over AIPAC conference fearing she was becoming the focus and said “I am delighted that people are coming together for this gathering and I want to make sure that the focus stays on AIPAC and U.S. policy, not me.”
OK, I understand but I am disappointed because I wanted to tell you that when I was a child in the sixties, my DREAM was to grow up and be Brenda Starr, the red headed, ace investigative journalist and star reporter for the metropolitan daily, The Flash. Brenda boldly traveled the world searching for unusual and usually dangerous stories and she always knew when somebody was not telling the truth. Brenda also never backed down from setting the record straight.

After high school I was a copy girl in a Gannett affiliate but for lots of reasons, I changed my major from journalism to nursing and quickly forgot about my childish dream. That is, until June 2005, during my first of 7 trips to Israel Palestine. I was writing my first novel at the time, but I returned home determined to follow in the footsteps of Dorothy Day, who became a voice for the marginalized and oppressed and agitated church, state and the media in her publication, The Catholic Worker, which persists today.

But on 9 February 2009, I knew I wanted to be Helen Thomas because of this: Helen Thomas on her one question for Obama

And here is HOW and WHY I have tried:
On 21 April 2011, the USA MSM was once again deafeningly silent regarding the ongoing saga of Israel’s Nuclear Whistle Blower and this day in history in 2004.

A “Vanunu” Google News search turned up only two mentions of it; a letter published in the UK, Vanunu still not free The Guardian.

And my article: SECURITY’S Vendetta Against Vanunu Mordechai and This Day in History
Salem-News.Com

I also wanted to THANK Ms. Thomas for speaking up about the fact that any Jew without any historical connection to Israel is encouraged to settle-as in colonize-upon legally owned Palestinian land.
I have tried since I went online in July 2005 to wake up clueless US Christians about the true facts on the ground in the so called Holy Land, which any one with eyes to see can see is in pieces:

I learned about, Aliyah, which means ‘going up,’ during my first of seven trips to Israel and occupied Palestine in June 2005 from an American Jewess who had taken the deal and she informed me:

I get fifteen hundred shekels or about thirty-six hundred dollars a year in increments to help with my expenses. I can apply for unemployment benefits after seven months, as long as I look for a job. I just completed Ulpan, which was five hundred hours of Hebrew language immersion studies that took five months, five hours a day, for five weeks. I get subsidized rent and just moved out of the Absorption Center Projects. All the new immigrants get room, utilities, and three meals a day for the first five months in Israel. We also receive free medical care and all the doctors here are dedicated. We can go to the university with 100 percent of the tuition paid by the government. College is much cheaper here; it’s about three thousand to four thousand dollars a year. Until I am thirty years old, I can receive up to three years of education for my master’s degree.

She was clueless as to the Palestinian side of the story just as most Americans are, and also clueless regarding these facts courtesy of http://ifamericansknew.org/

Statistics Last Updated: February 2, 2011

Israeli and Palestinian Children Killed September 29, 2000 – Present
124 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians and 1,452 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis since September 29, 2000. (View Sources & More Information)

Israelis and Palestinians Killed
Israelis and Palestinians Injured September 29, 2000 – Present
9,226 Israelis and 45,041 Palestinians have been injured since September 29, 2000. (View Sources & More Information.)

Daily U.S. Military Aid to Israel and the Palestinians Fiscal Year 2009

During Fiscal Year 2009, the U.S. is providing Israel with at least $8.2 million per day in military aid and $0 in military aid to the Palestinians. (View Sources & More Information)
UN Resolutions Targeting Israel and the Palestinians 1955 – 1992
Israel has been targeted by at least 65 UN resolutions and the Palestinians have been targeted by none. (View Sources & More Information)
Current Number of Political Prisoners and Detainees
1 Israeli is being held prisoner by Palestinians, while 5,935 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel. (View Sources & More Information)
Demolitions of Israeli and Palestinian Homes 196 7 – Present
0 Israeli homes have been demolished by Palestinians and 24,813 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since 1967. (View Sources & More Information)
Israeli and Palestinian Unemployment Rates
The Israeli unemployment rate is 6.4%, while the Palestinian unemployment in the West Bank is 16.5% and 40% in Gaza. (View Sources & More Information)

Current Illegal Settlements on the Other’s Land
Israel currently has 236 Jewish-only settlements and ‘outposts’ built on confiscated Palestinian land. Palestinians do not have any settlements on Israeli land. (View Sources & More Information)

During the same week that I dreamed I would get to meet Helen Thomas, I also was grieving the loss of Vittorio Arrigoni, a winner
I am sad that my brief dream of meeting Helen Thomas is now a ghost, but I also follow in the spirit of Vik/Vittorio Arrigoni who always said, “STAY HUMAN” and he wanted to be [and is] remembered as “a Dreamer who Never Gives Up.”

While I will miss Helen in D.C., I will persist to do all I can to help Move Over AIPAC and work to change US foreign policy, because I also dream of a world where human rights are for all people and International Law is understood and honored.

But that would require a Media to report on what we the people need to know and then we the people would have to take our responsibilities as American citizens seriously and seize our RIGHTS:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all [people] are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights…that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among [people], deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; and, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the RIGHT of the people to alter or to abolish it.” The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

Learn More: www.moveoveraipac.org

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

letter by egidia beretta arrigoni, mother of vittorio arrigoni

Resistence = المقاومة

One has to die to become a hero, to hit the headlines and to have TV crews around the house, but does one have to die to stay human?
I recall Vittorio in the Christmas of 2005, detained and incarcerated in the Ben Gurion Airport, the scars left by the handcuffs that cut his wrists, the denial of any contact with the consulate, the farcical process. And I recall Easter that same year, when just across the Allenby Bridge at the Jordanian border the Israeli police blocked his entrance in the country, put him on a bus and, seven against one (one of the seven was a policewoman), they beat him up “with skill”, without leaving any external marks, like the real professionals they are, then hurling him to the ground and throwing at his face, as a last scar to add to the others, the hair they had ripped off him with their machines.

Vittorio was unwanted in Israel. Too subversive, for having joined his friend Gabriele one year earlier and demonstrated along with the women and men of the village of Budrus against the Wall of Shame, teaching them the lyrics and singing together our most beautiful partisan song ‘O bella ciao, ciao…’.

Back then no TV crew came by, not even when in the Fall of 2008 a commando attacked in Palestinian waters off Rafah the fishing boat he had boarded. Vittorio was incarcerated in Ramle and soon after sent back home with nothing but the clothes on his body. Nevertheless, I cannot but be thankful to the press and television that have approached us with composure, that have ‘besieged’ our home with restraint, without excesses and that have given me the chance to talk about Vittorio and about his ideals and the choices he made.

This lost child of mine is more alive than ever before, like the grain that has fallen to the ground and died to bring forth a plentiful harvest. I see it and hear it already in the words of his friends, above all the younger among them, some closer, some from afar. Through Vittorio, they have known and understood, and now even more, how one can give ‘Utopia’ a meaning, like the thirst for justice and peace, how fraternity and solidarity still stand and how, as Vittorio used to say, ‘Palestine can also be found at your doorsteps’. We were a long way from Vittorio, but now we are closer than ever, with his living presence magnified at every passing hour, like a wind from Gaza, from his beloved Mediterranean, blowing fierily to deliver the message of his hope and of his love for those without a voice, for the weak and the oppressed, passing the baton.

Stay human.

restiamo umani.

Posted by nahida the Exiled Palestinian at 2:07:00 AM

Ken O’Keefe: Thoughts on Vittorio Arrigoni & Surfing in Gaza

Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 9:28AM Gilad Atzmon

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Agron Belica: End of the Road

Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 9:15AM Gilad Atzmon
Dedicated to Gaza Activist Vittorio Arrigoni

http://salem-news.com/articles/april202011/vik-arrigoni-tk-sk-ag.php

Tim King:  New song and music video celebrate life of Vik Arrigoni of ISM, the International Solidarity Movement.

ittorio Arrigoni's image on the separation wall in Gaza
Vittorio Arrigoni’s image on the separation wall in Gaza

 – While producing the music video for this new Vittorio Arrignoi tribute song by Agron Belica, with my son Sean, it occurred to me how lucky I am to have my children, and how Vittorio or Vik, as he was known to his friends, won’t get to become my age, or experience things that I and so many extremely fortunate western people do each day.

Had Vik been allowed to reach his real potential, he would have moved mountains.

As it is, only he and a handful of others have been carrying the load for world humanity in Gaza, and that is tragic like his death, and also the point of this important tribute by our good friend and fellow Salem-News.com writer Agron Belica, who in addition to his role as a singer/songwriter, is author of The Crucifixion: Mistaken Identity? John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ.
A bright light faded with Vik’s passing, but his legacy is and will absolutely continue to charge and enlighten this movement of people who refuse to let the intense suffering of the walled in sniper tower-laden Gaza Strip in wallow in silence.

As both Egidia Beretta Arrigoni, Mother of Vittorio Arrigoni, and Ken O’Keefe, our fellow writer and close friend of Vik’s in Gaza, said: he is not dead. No such person ever truly goes away; Vik Arrigoni’s legacy is here to stay.

Story and pre-production by Tim King, Video post-production by Sean King.

When it comes down to what I’m doin’, What I’m doin’,
What I’m doin’ at the end of the road:
Pride in my words, and passion in my heart.
And ain’t a place that I’d rather start.
And if it comes down to what I’m doin’, What I’m doin’,
What I’m doin’, at the end of the road.
This path I chose you don’t see it, but believe it!
Just know that I’mma have a place to go, at the end of the road.
(Hook-Marka)
Life is sacred; it came from heaven up above;
A blessing from the Lord to be shared by everyone!
Freedom is God-given, something that we come to love;
It’s in the blood to defend it, yes! Our strongest passion!
The message goin’ out to those who transgress and violate,
When we’re overwhelmed, the Lord shakes the earth awake.
Everyone suffers; count the losses, check the death rate!
The ignorant surprised, as they watch the newsbreak.
The tears shed, man. for the ones that are sufferin’—
For the ones captive or dyin’ in the millions;
This one goes out to all my people in captivity:
Everyday we pray the Lord gives you all security!
Free you from the devil’s hand, those who oppress thee;
So you can enjoy your sacred life in the world free!
No one has the right to dictate your future, see?
The message goes out: mercy extends universally!
When it comes down to what I’m doin’, What I’m doin’,
What I’m doin’ at the end of the road:
Pride in my words, and passion in my heart.
And ain’t a place that I’d rather start.
And if it comes down to what I’m doin’,
What I’m doin’, What I’m doin’, at the end of the road.
This path I chose you don’t see it, but believe it!
Just know that I’mma have a place to go, at the end of the road.
(Hook-Marka)
____________________________________________
Most of us don’t want to take responsibility
Save a few brave hearts, inspired God-consciously
Not afraid to parade the doorsteps of authority;
Demand justice be served for the sake of humanity!
Going out to all the brave men and woman activists,
Who put their lives on the line to expose injustice;
Who exert their energy to see we live with dignity—
Your mission and your efforts are recorded in our history!
For all those who enjoin the good and forbid the evil:
Men, women, and children—everyone that is able;
Give a lending hand to stop all that are sinful;
Only with unity can we achieve and become forceful!
Those who left us never will be forgotten;
In our hearts you all will remain with lots of lovin’;
A place for you is set at the end of the road!
May the Lord give you peace and a heavenly abode!
When it comes down to what I’m doin’, What I’m doin’,
What I’m doin’ at the end of the road:
Pride in my words, and passion in my heart.
And ain’t a place that I’d rather start.
And if it comes down to what I’m doin’,
What I’m doin’, What I’m doin’, at the end of the road.
This path I chose you don’t see it, but believe it!
Just know that I’mma have a place to go, at the end of the road.
(Hook-Marka)

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Mossad suspected: In the Dark Over Murder of Peace Activists

RAMALLAH, Apr 19, 2011 (IPS) – Palestinians are reeling from the double-murder of two pro-Palestinian peace activists over the last few weeks, one in the West Bank and one in Gaza, with many believing that Israeli intelligence had a hand in the grisly killings, even if indirectly.

While ubiquitous conspiracy theories regularly circulate in the Mideast, political duplicity and dirty- dealings by intelligence agencies and governments are par for the course in the region. Furthermore, a significant number of conspiracy theories have eventually been backed up by concrete facts.

Israel’s Mossad has a history of dirty tricks in its bag and is known to be one of the more “sophisticated” intelligence agencies.

The organisation is widely believed to be behind the killing of a leading Hamas activist in Dubai last year. Israeli-affiliated organisations were behind the murders of anti-Zionists Lord Moyne in Cairo in 1944 and UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte during the partition of Palestine in 1947.

Mossad is also believed to be behind the murder of several scientists, both Arab and foreign, who were helping develop Mideast nuclear programmes.

Last week Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian activist with the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement (ISM), was found by Hamas security men hanged in a house allegedly belonging to an Al-Qaeda inspired Salafist Group.

Hamas police had rushed to the location after a video of Arrigoni blindfolded and beaten was released showing the captors threatening to kill him unless the Hamas authorities released imprisoned Salafist leaders.
Arrigoni had been based in Gaza since 2008 after sailing in on a Free Gaza boat which succeeded in temporarily breaking the Israeli siege of Gaza. He wrote regular reports on Israeli human rights abuses, particularly the targeting of Palestinian ambulances by the Israeli military during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead 2008-2009.

Several weeks earlier, across the geographical and political chasm which divides the Palestinians, another internationally renowned and respected pro-Palestinian activist was murdered.

Juliano Mer Khamis, an Israeli-Arab with a Jewish Israeli mother and a Christian Palestinian father, was gunned down in a hail of bullets as he left the Freedom Theatre in Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank.

Mer Khamis had left a lucrative acting career in Israel to move to and live in the squalid refugee camp which was razed by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) in 2002. He wanted to continue running the theatre established by his late mother.

At the Freedom Theatre young Palestinians, including former Palestinian resistance fighters, were given acting lessons and helped produce plays.

“I could have continued living a comfortable life in Israel but I wanted to pour my energy into something I strongly believed in, and that is showing Palestinians a side of life other than the misery they have endured under occupation,” Khamis told IPS during an interview several years ago.

The Freedom Theatre produced controversial plays that mocked both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Israeli occupation. The plays, with their gender-mixing and Western-leanings, also outraged some Islamic fundamentalists in Jenin. The theatre was burnt down and attacked several times. Khamis was also subjected to several death threats.

The double-murders have sparked outrage amongst Palestinians and their Israeli and international supporters. Debate is raging as to who could have committed the murders, and especially why.

“It is difficult to know who exactly is behind Arrigoni’s murder. We are all in a state of shock and struggling to understand and digest this awful incident,” Karl Schembri, an aid worker in Gaza and a friend of the Italian told IPS.

Dr Ahmed Youssef, a political advisor to Gaza-based Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, said the Israelis had the most to gain from the murder of Arrigoni.

“They are trying to frighten international solidarity supporters from coming to Gaza. The next Free Gaza flotilla is due to arrive next month and Israel has upped the pressure to prevent it arriving and giving the country bad publicity like last year’s flotilla did,” Youssef told IPS.

Israeli commandos shot dead nine activists last year in disputed circumstances which provoked an international outcry at Israel’s deadly use of excessive force.

Dr Samir Awad from Birzeit University, near Ramallah, who supports neither Palestinian faction, agrees with Youssef’s assessment.

“The Salafist groups accused of murdering Arrigoni have stated they had nothing to do with the murder,” Awad told IPS.

“However, it is quite possible that Israeli intelligence has infiltrated the Salafist groups without their knowledge. Some of the members naively believe they are carrying out Jihad missions on behalf of shadowy Al-Qaeda groups.

“They are unaware that their actions actually support Israeli goals of aggravating relations between Hamas and the smaller Gaza resistance groups, creating chaos in Gaza and painting all Islamists with the same extremist brush.”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority has failed to arrest any perpetrators for the murder of Khamis even though his babysitter, who was in the car when he was shot, identified one person in several lineups.
Unusually the Israelis have chosen not to get involved in the murder investigation of an Israeli citizen regarded as Jewish by the state. Some are speculating that PA intelligence is under pressure from Israel.

But radical Islamists and disaffected elements associated with the PA (which often violently oppresses critics) could also be contenders.

Men Die, Lions Rise

Via MCS

– 20. Apr, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Men Die, Lions Rise

By Jonathan Azaziah

Illustration : Brilliant Carlos Latuff
Is the sky falling, are there pigs flying…
I mean, is this still the same doomed reality…
Yes, because there’s still Iraqi, Afghani, Somali, Pakistani and Palestinian kids dying…
And yes, your eyes are truthful about this cruel brutality…
Peering through the fallacy…
They’ve put a mask on it, so its easier to consume the savagery…
Why they’d take him, he was a brother of peace, like harmonious music and love…
They are the sons of the beast, executioners and Lucifer’s thugs…
Vittorio Arrigoni, it’s so hard to grasp that you are gone…
But you left here as something different than what you were when you were born…
At birth you were a man, but in death you became a lion…
A martyr, a hero who in life gave a voice to those living in pain and silence…
A beacon of courage who gave everything to expose how deep the occupation’s reign of crime is…
You sought to have truth rain on the baneful tyrants…
We know that they hated you, we know that you were a target of heavy hate…
We know that they watched you, moving and marking your every place…
Now they want to convince us that your Palestinian family murdered you with their own hands…
Like we aren’t familiar with the usurping entity’s cold plans…
As if the ritualistic and brutal way you were murdered didn’t give all of the clues…
As if we would let justice slip away, as if we would be okay with them slaughtering you…
If so, they were dead wrong, we would never believe the liar’s wisdom…
We know damn well that Vittorio Arrigoni is a violent victim of Zionism…
He joins the martyrs of the Freedom Flotilla, murdered on the vibrant seas…
Murdered in cold blood for striving to break the occupier’s siege…
He joins Rachel Corrie, when monsters bulldozed her, humanity wept…
She was the definition of a pure soul, her passing made us all wonder how much of the world’s sanity’s left…
He joins Juliano Mer-Khamis, who fought for Palestine’s struggle via film…
Jenin went black when he was killed…
Masked militants, please, your stories are old…
We refuse to let your vicious hasbara taint the memory of Vittorio’s soul…
We know that IOF trains special units to pose as terrorists…
You can bulldoze our sister but you cannot bulldoze her memory or bulldoze our reverence…
Bassem Abu Rahma, and his sister Jawaher…
Heroes murdered by Israeli tear gas, stood up to vile tyrants with not a drop of fear…
These are the lions that Vittorio rose up to join…
Their martyrdom and bravery is the cure to the Zionist entity’s colonial poison…
He was a lion who stayed with Gaza during Cast Lead…
A lion who pitied IOF, showing them their humanity was past dead…
A lion who was tasered and imprisoned but remained in the Strip…
Remained to expose Zionist crimes and to show Israeli democracy is a dangerous myth…
A lion who protected children as phosphorus fell…
A lion who walked through Israel’s tanks, bombs, rockets and shells…
To defend the Palestinian babies of Gaza, now I want the media to say again…
That Palestinians murdered a man they considered their own, what a lie, a falsehood, a dose of propaganda from hellacious men…
They can print their lies Vittorio, through their TV shows and Zionazi papers…
But the truth will emerge, for al-Haqq is a force that cannot be vanquished…
And when it does, the world will see…
That you lost your life at the hands of men who hated you most, Israel is on an international murder spree…
Your mother is coming to Gaza, we will pray for her…
And when we will see her beautiful face, this is what we will say to her…
Your precious son didn’t meet death, you see he is still alive…
And when the tears fill her eyes…
We will ball too, right next to her, kneel and cry…
Umm Vittorio, men die but lions roar and rise…
And your child was a lion in every sense, you can see his face shining in Gaza’s gorgeous skies…
Your child fought for us, and for him, we will never lose hope or flee…
Umm Vittorio, you’re not alone in burying your son because so did we…
Humanity was the language Vittorio spoke to his last breath, he stayed fluent…
He taught us that division was nothing more than a strained illusion…
Rest in peace brother, we know that you will eternally “Stay Human…”
“Al-Shaheed Vittorio!” shakes Gaza as the battlecry…
The spirit of a lion, forever wrapped in the flag of Palestine…
~ The End ~

by Jonathan Azaziah

Source: Mask of Zion
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Interior ministry: Two killers of Arrigoni die in a house raid

[ 20/04/2011 – 08:39 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)– The Palestinian ministry of interior said the police attack on Tuesday on the whereabouts of the three men accused of killing an Italian activist was an important lesson for everyone tempted to tamper with the security and stability in Gaza.

In a news conference yesterday, spokesman for the ministry Ihab Al-Ghussein explained that a force of policemen in Annuseirat refugee camp found and encircled on Tuesday afternoon the hideout of the three fugitives wanted for murdering Vittorio Arrigoni.

Spokesman Ghussein affirmed the policemen acted wisely and responsibly and demanded the suspects to surrender themselves and show no resistance, but they refused to comply and started to open fire at the police force wounding three of its members.

Despite what happened the police force showed restraint and brought mediators to the scene including families of the fugitives in order to convince them to surrender and avoid bloodshed, but they, especially Abdulrahman Al-Berizat declined all mediatory efforts and insisted on dying instead of turning themselves in, the spokesman elaborated.

He noted that Berizat fired one shot beside one of the fugitives’ father, but he did not hurt him.

After the failure of all mediations that lasted over six hours, the police force moved to control the house in an attempt to arrest the suspects and as two policemen climbed on the roof, Berizat spotted them and threw a grenade causing them to sustain moderate injuries.

He also threw another grenade in the second floor killing one of his accomplices, Bilal Al-Omari and wounding Mahmoud Al-Salfiti before shooting himself dead, the spokesman added.

A reporter for the Palestinian information center (PIC) had said earlier that the Palestinian security leadership issued orders to policemen to necessarily arrest the wanted men alive so as to interrogate them and find out more about the crime and its motives.

At an early hour last Friday, the police found Arrigoni dead in an abandoned house north of Gaza just hours after he was kidnapped by a group declared itself as Salafi.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Gaza protests murder of Italian activist

18 April 2011
Palestinians in Gaza have taken to the streets to show their solidarity with slain activist Vittorio Arrigoni. (Rami Almeghari)
Palestinians in Gaza have reacted to the kidnapping and murder of Vittorio Arrigoni, a prominent Italian solidarity activist who was found dead on 15 April in Gaza City, with profound sadness.

Those who committed this heinous crime must be brought to justice soon,” Huda Elian, a member of the Palestinian Democratic Union, told The Electronic Intifada as she demonstrated last Friday outside the United Nations offices in Gaza City. “Arrigoni has been a hero in Gaza, a hero who has always put himself into risk at border lines, [on board vessels off of the] besieged Gaza shores and many other occasions or destinations, in defiance of the Israeli occupation. [Vittorio’s] blood is as precious as any Palestinian blood.”
Elian and hundreds of other Palestinians in Gaza, both men and women, expressed their outrage for the atrocious crime that claimed the life the 36-year-old activist. Arrigoni was found dead in an abandoned apartment hours after a video of him blindfolded and apparently beaten had surfaced on the Internet. In the video, the captors threaten to execute Arrigoni unless the Hamas government in Gaza released the little-known group’s imprisoned leader. But Arrigoni’s life was taken before the 30-hour deadline given by his captors had expired.
Mahmoud Mohammad, 24, soberly stood with his arms handcuffed together amongst the crowd on Friday. “I am here today to express solidarity with brother Arrigoni, who has sacrificed his life in solidarity with Gaza. I know Arrigoni and I took pictures with him as well. Arrigoni took part in Gaza demos on several occasions. May God let him rest in peace and discover the perpetrators for the sake of justice,” he said.
Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesperson for the ruling Hamas party, condemned the murder of Arrigoni. “We do condemn, in the strongest terms, the killing of Arrogoni and we have called for severely punishing those who committed this hideous crime,” he told The Electronic Intifada at the protest.
Some of Hamas’ top leaders also participated in the demonstration against the activist’s murder. On the sideline of the protest, Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar, the former foreign minister of Hamas, told The Electronic Intifada “Such a crime is inconsistent with our religion, customs and traditions, and we are determined to bring to justice those behind it, whatever their background is.”
Asked whether this event would overshadow preparations underway in Europe for more ships to break the siege on Gaza, al-Zahar added “I have no doubt that this event can be used as an argument by the Israeli occupation to deter those wishing to come in solidarity soon, [to say] that Gaza is not a safe place. Nevertheless, we call on those intending to visit Gaza to show further solidarity with the besieged people of the Gaza Strip.”
Gaza’s main religious institution, the Palestinian Association of Islamic Scholars, decried the murder in the strongest terms. During a press conference held on Saturday in Gaza City, some of the association’s leading members said that the killing of Arrigoni is a crime against the teachings of Islam. They cited verses in the Quran, and spoke of examples of the Prophet Mohammad’s tradition that prohibit harming non-combatants and non-Muslims.
A statement by the association read: “Those who killed Arrigoni are considered outlawed and do not necessarily belong to Islam.”
In a tribute to Arrigoni, the Gaza-based transportation minister, Dr. Usama al-Eisawi, spoke in Italian during a joint press conference along with Hamas’ cabinet secretary general, Mohammad Awad, and deputy-foreign minister, Ghazi Hammad. The press conference was held on Monday morning at the cabinet premises.
The minister announced that his government has named a Gaza street after Arrigoni, while Hammad said that investigations into the killing are underway. He added that the government has increased security along Gaza’s boundaries so that the perpetrators cannot flee. The three Hamas officials promised reporters that results of the probe will be made public very soon.
Many other Gaza-based civil society organizations, including human rights and cultural groups, have expressed outrage and condemnation over Arrigoni’s murder. Some of theses institutions have held special gatherings to commemorate the “victim of solidarity,” as Arrigoni has been named by people in the Gaza Strip.
Well-known Salafi groups in the Gaza Strip have also condemned the crime and disassociated themselves from it outright.
Rami Almeghari is a journalist and university lecturer based in the Gaza Strip.

Arrigoni killer pursuit ends after suspect takes life

[ 19/04/2011 – 05:32 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)– The Gaza Ministry of Interior and National Security has confirmed that the pursuit of dangerous suspects wanted for the murder of Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni in Gaza ended after one of the men threw a grenade injuring both of his accomplices.
The suspect Abdurrahman al-Bureizat, a Jordanian citizen, then opened fire on himself taking his own life.
Three Gaza security service men were moderately injured in the operation.

Palestinian police had demanded that the suspects surrender as they had surrounded the Abu Ghoula residence where the men were taking cover, a PIC correspondent reported. They had declared that they wanted to take them into custody alive.

The suspects were identified as Mahmoud al-Salfiti, Bilal al-Omari, and Abdurrahman al-Bureizat, also known as Mohammed Hassan. Faris Abu Ghoula, one of the residents, had joined the men as they took refuge in the home west of the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza Strip, our correspondent said.

Gun shots echoed at the scene as the Ministry of Interior and National Security declared the area a closed security zone, the correspondent added.

He said the suspects did not obey orders by the security forces to surrender themselves, but instead fired at police injuring a policeman. One of the men fired at his father who was present to coax his son into surrender. He was however uninjured.

Sources in the Interior Ministry said the men’s families were summoned in an effort to convince them to turn themselves in to the authorities, but they had not responded.

Those sources told our correspondent that security chiefs ordered that the men be taken alive in order to investigate mysteries left unanswered in the crime, including who was behind it and his motives.


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

I Do Not Believe That A Palestinian Killed Vittorio Arrigoni

Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 7:45AM Gilad Atzmon
We should bear in mind that Israel is horrified by the tidal wave of Palestinian solidarity. It is aware of the 40 countries strong ‘breaking the siege Flotilla’ that is planned to embark soon.

Israel is desperate to intimidate us all.

But we are determined. We will keep fighting. We will expose Israeli crimes and ‘tricks’.  We will bring this murderous racist state down.

Remembering Vittorio Arrigoni

April 18, 2011 by occupiedpalestine
by Stephen Lendman | April 18th, 2011 | Dissident Voice
On April 15, International Solidarity Movement (ISM) members grieved for one of their own, their press release headlining, “Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank unite in mourning of slain activist Vittorio Arrigoni,” saying: “People will gather in Al Manara square in Ramallah and at Al Jundi al Majhull, (Gaza’s) unknown soldier park,” honoring the death of their comrade, slain and abandoned in a house north of Gaza. More on his death below.
Other events took place throughout Palestine, including protests following Friday’s prayers across from the UN’s Gaza headquarters. Bil’in and Al Masara also dedicated their weekly demonstrations to Vittorio, Vic to his friends.
On Saturday, the Popular Committee in Nablus held a commemoration with political parties in Nablus center, celebrating his work and condemning his killing.
ISM explained his activism for Palestinian liberation and justice for almost 10 years, including the past two and a half years in Gaza with ISM:
– monitoring Israeli human rights violations;
– supporting Palestinian resistance against occupation, and siege; and
– daily violations of international law and democratic values.
Moreover, as a journalist, he wrote for the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto and Peacereporter, providing information about Gaza to a worldwide audience. The next Freedom Flotilla was renamed “Stay Human,” honoring him and his book titled, Gaza Stay Human.
Weeks earlier, he wrote comments like:
The mighty flow of blood and hope from Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Algeria and Libya also washed over young Palestinian minds in Gaza. What started as a stream has become a torrent and will soon spill its banks…. Palestinians are working hard to mobilize thousands of people (on March 15) to the squares of Ramallah and Gaza on the day (now) named “The Day of Reconciliation” rather than “The Day of Anger.”
He also participated in the Free Gaza Movement’s August 2008 siege-breaking flotilla. Established that month, it visited Gaza nine times by sea “to break Israel’s illegal stranglehold on 1.5 million Palestinian civilians,” suffocating under siege.
However, it never was clear sailing. In 2008, Free Gaza succeeded five times, but were “violently intercepted on the(ir) past four voyages,” including the lethal May 31 massacre, killing nine or more activists and injuring many more.
Free Gaza and its coalition partners are the only organizations “sen(ding) boats directly to Gaza in defiance of Israel’s criminal” blockade. They “sail as an expression of citizen nonviolent, direct action, confronting” Israeli lawlessness, together with:
– the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza;
– IHH – the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights;
– Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief;
– the International Committee to End the Siege on Gaza;
– Ship to Gaza Sweden; and
– Ship to Gaza Greece.
Ahead, missions from growing numbers of countries plan to deliver vitally needed aid, sending a message that Israeli lawlessness won’t stand.
During Cast Lead, Arrigoni helped medics and reported on IDF attacks to a worldwide audience. As a result, Israeli forces arrested him many times for his writing, activism, and support for Palestinian liberation and justice. His last arrest and deportation came after he reported on Israel’s lawless confiscation of Gazan fishing vessels in Palestinian waters, one of many other times they’ve done it.
On April 15, a Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) press release headlined, “With Great Shock and Sorrow, PCHR Condemns the Murder of Italian Activist, Vittorio Arrigoni,” saying: That day his “body was found in an abandoned house in the north of the Gaza Strip, following his murder at the hands of kidnappers.”
According to its own investigation, extremists called “Group of the Companion Mohammed Bin Maslamah” announced his kidnapping on April 14, demanding the release of its detained members affiliated with the so-called “Salafist Jihadist Group.” If authorities didn’t release them within 30 hours, they threatened to kill him, a threat fulfilled as broadcast on You Tube.
His face showed clear signs of beating, as well as handcuffs and strangulation marks on his neck. A Gaza Ministry of Interior press release condemned the crime, announcing the arrest of two of the group’s members, as well as efforts to find the others.
On April 15, London Guardian writer Conal Urquhart headlined, “Palestinians rally to mourn kidnapped Italian activist murdered by extremists,” saying:
He was abducted to force authorities to release Sheikh Abu Walid-al-Maqdas. The New York Times named Hisham Saidani as their imprisoned Tawhid and Jihad (TJ) leader, saying “details of the crime remain muddled,” especially with TJ denying responsibility.
Luigi Ripamonti, deputy mayor of his hometown of Bulciago, told Italy’s Sky 24 Television: “Today we los(t) an Italian citizen, a citizen of Bulciago, and also a Palestinian citizen, because he married a Palestinian.”
Egidia Beretta, Bulciago’s mayor and Arrigoni’s mother said he first arrived in The Territories in 2002, where “(h)e was taken with Palestine and Palestine took to him.”
At first Hamas was reluctant to accuse anyone of the crime, suggesting possible Israeli involvement, spokesman Mahmoud Zahar saying:
“We cannot deny the relation between this incident and an international campaign by the Zionist enemy to restrict the arrival of pro-Palestinian activists. This crime is not in line with our norms as Muslims and Palestinians.”
He added that “(s)uch an awful crime cannot take place without arrangements between all the parties concerned to keep the blockade imposed.”
In Rome, the Italian Foreign Ministry said the killing was a “barbaric murder and vile and irrational gesture of violence on the part of extremists indifferent to the value of a human life.”
Haaretz said a group calling itself Monotheism and Holy War released a video showing Arrigoni blindfolded with cuts on his face. It demanded authorities free its leaders and two others or they’d kill him. Despite the video, the group denied responsibility, raising suspicions of its origin.
The Guardian said a fellow US activist, Nathan Stuckey, said he spent most of his time as a journalist, but was involved in promoting the rights of Gaza fishermen to work freely in their own waters, adding: “At the moment, he was particularly focused on the launch of our new boat, which we will use to monitor (Israel’s navy) violation 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.”
Arrigoni’s death comes days after a gunman killed Juliano Mer-Khamis, an Israeli actor who ran a Jenin refugee camp theater. He also supported Palestinian liberation and justice. His mother, Arna Mer, was a Jewish activist for Palestinian rights. His father, Saliba Khamis, was born and raised in Nazareth.
In 2006, he opened the Jenin Freedom Theater with Zakariya Zubeidi, former local Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades military leader. He was threatened numerous times, and his theater was torched twice previously. Jenin’s Governor Qadura Moussa called him a great Palestinian supporter.
Haaretz‘s senior editor and theater critic called him a “great actor and extraordinary human being whose life-story is part of the tragic reality of this country,” who in death, became “another tragic victim of life in the Middle East.”
Shot dead on April 4, he’s remembered as one of the best along with Arrigoni and Rachael Corrie, a 23-year old American peace activist, murdered in Gaza on March 16, 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer operator when she tried to stop it from demolishing a Rafah refugee camp home.
According to witnesses, she climbed up on it, spoke to the driver, climbed down, knelt 10-20 meters in front in clear view, blocking its path with her body. With activists there screaming for it to stop, the soldier-operator crushed her to death deliberately by running her over twice to be sure.

For many years, Israel killed numerous other peace activists, including Tom Hurndall, a 21-year old photojournalist shot in the head by an Israeli sniper in April 2003, trying to rescue Palestinian children under fire. He clung to life in a vegetative state until succumbing on January 13, 2004, another victim of Israeli barbarity and contempt for human life, a testimony to an out-of-control rogue state.
Like Arrigoni, Corrie and Hurndell were also ISM members, heroic peace activists for Palestinian liberation and justice.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. Contact him at: lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM-1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening. Read other articles by Stephen.
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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Hero of Gaza: Vittorio Arrigoni, Kidnapped and Murdered

Tim King and Bonnie King Salem-News.com
“I have seen my brother Vik’s body and his death certificate, but Vik is not dead.” -Ken O’Keefe

All photos of Vittorio Arrigoni provided by Ken O’Keefe

(SALEM / GAZA) – Italian Journalist Vittorio Arrigoni’s body has reportedly been found in Gaza. He was killed by a small faction of religious radicals according to reports.

Gaza Youth Breaks Out (GYBO) wrote: “While Hamas forces were intensely searching Doghmosh area to find them, abductors tried to leave, when two of them were caught by Hamas. A third, who was with Vittorio, was given a signal to kill him. We lost a brother.”
Al Jazeera reports that Hamas police stormed an apartment in Gaza City belonging to a member of the group that released a video of the activist. A police officer said four people were arrested in another location, in connection with the abduction.

Those on the ground in this embattled region of Palestine had held out hope along with the rest of us, that he would be returned alive.

The Hamas government had earlier made statements that led supporters to believe that Vik Arrigoni would be returned alive.

People in Gaza have a voice because of hard working dedicated peace activists like Vik Arrigoni. Beyond the overly religious fanatical Salafist radicals, the only detractors this man had were Israeli Zionists who wished for his death for years.

This a statement issued by the Ministry of Interior and National Security with the Palestinian National Authority:

Explanatory statement issued by the Ministry of Interior on the circumstances of the “kidnapping and killing of Italian Solidarity Activist”
(Roughly translated from Arabic)
The Ministry of Interior said that since the arrival of the news of the abduction of Italian Solidarity Activist Vittorio, the security agency Balastnfar launched a full search and investigation.

This resulted in contact with one member of the group who disclosed the location where Vittorio was being held. She led the security services toward the place where he was being held where they found that the victim, Vittorio, had “been killed hours ago in an ugly way” (according to the forensic report).

Faced with this situation, we affirmed the following:
First: the Palestinian government condemns the heinous crime that does not reflect our values, our religion and our customs and traditions, and confirms that it will hunt down the rest of the members of the group and will implement the law against them.
Secondly: We emphasize that this crime does not reflect the true state of the atmosphere of security and order in the Gaza Strip, does not imply a retreat, and will remain the Government is keen to promote stability, security and safety as this incident is the first of its kind in years.
Third: The initial data indicate the intention of the kidnappers was Murder. As he was murdered shortly after he was kidnapped.
Four: The motives behind this crime, though it seems intellectually certain, but it demonstrates the hands are still plotting against the Palestinian people in Gaza, and want to undermine the security and steadfastness, and achieve a state of terror for the movement of people of the world’s solidarity with the Gaza Strip, especially the enemy Zionist looking at ways to prevent the fleet of freedom that was after the second campaign of international solidarity and the impact of a role in loosening the embargo imposed five years ago.
Fifth: The Ministry emphasizes the brothers in the media must pay attention to any rumor or news that is not accurate with respect to this crime, and to rely on official information from the Ministry.

Ken O’Keefe and Vittorio Arrigoni in Gaza

You will note in the video below that Ken O’Keefe, our writer and diehard activist friend in Gaza, does not believe or at least did not, that any Palestinian could be responsible for Vik’s death.
Indeed, it is hard to imagine anyone doing this to a man who was so well loved and respected. It is exceedingly clear that everything is out of sync.
Juliano Mer-Khamis
The perpetrators of this crime Ken suggests, were Zionist agents of Israel. This is the obvious relentless enemy of the Palestinian people, with frequent strikes on civilian targets in Gaza from U.S. made fighter jets and drones.
Just a few days ago, on 4 April 2011, Filmmaker Juliano Mer-Khamis was Murdered in Jenin, the scene of severe fighting during the Second Intifada.
Juilano’s mother Arna had famously provided a haven for the Palestinian youth in Jenin. She was Jewish, her husband, Juliano’s father, was a Palestinian Christian.

Juliano was murdered in front of his wife by masked men who were immediately assumed to be Palestinian.
In the bigger picture, nothing was gained for Palestinians in any way by either man’s death.

Legacy for Palestine

VIDEO BY KEN O’KEEFE, IN RESPONSE:

His life’s work is his legacy. It surpassed all boundaries. Vittorio Arrigoni has helped an endless list of Palestinian people over the years and his work has led to a great deal of exposure of the treatment of Palestinians under the Israeli occupation.
As the world moves toward a real understanding of the reality of Gaza; Israeli snipers, constant fear and attacks on civilians from the Israeli military, Vittorio Arrigoni was a bright light. He was close to our friend and fellow writer Ken O’Keefe, and loved by thousands, perhaps millions. The idea that he was taken by a radical faction and killed in Gaza, if this is true, is simply horrifying. Never has a more grave mistake been made.

He was there when the first Freedom Flotilla boat reached Gaza. He has been an ally and key friend of the most successful humanitarian activists and his beliefs and words in action inspired many to become involved with the International Solidarity Movement which he started.

According to the Free Gaza Movement,

“He was aboard the siege-breaking voyage in 2008 with the Free Gaza Movement and was incarcerated in Israeli prisons several times. He was in Gaza throughout Israel’s brutal assault (Operation Cast Lead), assisting medics and reporting to the world what Israel was doing to the Palestinian people. He has been arrested numerous times by Israeli forces for his participation in Palestinian non-violent resistance in the West Bank and Gaza. His last arrest and deportation from the area was a result of the Israeli confiscation of Palestinian fishing vessels in Gazan territorial waters.”

An earlier report from al-Arabiya stated that Vittorio’s body was found in the al-Saftwai area.
Around 4:30 p.m. west coast time, it was tweeted that Vittorio in the al-Dughmoush family block in Gaza, and the Hamas police were surrounding the area. Several members of the al-Dughmoush family are said to be associated with Salafist.

This is a group that reportedly looks down on Hamas for not being sufficiently religious and they are known for a rejection of western influence. What they have done if this is true, is robbed the life of one of the greatest people dedicating his life to seeing Gaza become free.

I was in contact with a person who worked closely with Vittorio today and she told me the only word is ‘anguish’. The only hope now is that people become all the more familiar with this great man who did so much for so many.

The world lost a great spokesman and activist today, but his message is not lost.

Vittorio Arrigoni – Humanitarian – Palestinian – Hero – Martyr – 1975-2011 RIP

Produced by Ken O’Keefe 14/4/11

Articles by Vittorio on Salem-News.com:

Mar-23-2011: Israel’s Attack on Civilians: Two Children Killed – Vittorio Arrigoni Special to Salem-News.com
Mar-18-2011: Gaza’s Youth: Hopes Broken at 15 March End Of Division Demonstration – By Vittorio Arrigoni for Salem-News.com
Mar-04-2011: 15 March Palestine: End of Division – Vittorio Arrigoni for Salem-News.com
Nov-10-2010: The First Targeted US Killing in Gaza – Vittorio Arrigoni for Salem-News.com

Also:

Nov-30-2010: Israeli Soldiers Fire at Road to Hope Convoy Members – Tim King Salem-News.com

_________________________________
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com’s Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com

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Staying human: The legacy of Vittorio Arrigoni

By Ramzy Baroud

“Dear Mary,” wrote Italian justice activist Vittorio Arrigoni to a friend. “Do you [know who] will be on the boats?… I’m still in Gaza, waiting for you. I will be at the boat to greet you. Stay human. Vik.”

“Mary” is Mary Hughes Thompson, a dedicated activist who braved the high seas to break the Israeli siege on Gaza in 2008.

Vittorio Arrigoni, or Vik, was reportedly murdered by a fundamentalist group in Gaza a few hours after he was kidnapped on Thursday, April 14. The killing was supposedly in retaliation for Hamas’ crackdown on this group’s members. All who knew Vik will attest to the fact that he was an extraordinary person, a model of compassion, solidarity and humanity.

Arrigoni’s body was discovered in an abandoned house hours after he was kidnapped. His murderers didn’t honor their own deadline of 30 hours. The group, known as the Tawhid and Jihad, is one of the fringe groups known in Gaza as the Salafis. They resurface under different names and manifestations, for specific – and often bloody – purposes.

“The killing prompted grief in Gaza, but also despair,” read an op-ed in the UK Independent on April 16. “Not only was Arrigoni well known and well liked there, but it escaped no one that this kidnapping was the first since that of the BBC journalist Alan Johnson in 2007.”

However, Johnson’s kidnappers, the so-called Army of Islam (a small group of fanatics affiliated with a large Gaza clan) held their hostage for 114 days. There was plenty of time to organize and pressure the criminals to release him. In Arrigoni’s case, merely a few hours stood between the release of a horrifying video showing a blindfolded and bruised activist and the finding of his motionless body. The forensic report said that he was strangled. His friends said that he was tortured.

Vittorio Arrigoni’s murder was an opportunity for Israel’s supporters. Daniel Pipes wrote, in a brief entry in the National Review Online: “Note the pattern of Palestinians who murder the groupies and apologists who join them to aid in their dream of eliminating Israel.” Pipes named three individuals, including the Palestinian-Israeli filmmaker, Juliano Mer-Khamis, and Arrigoni himself, and then proceeded to invite readers to “send in further examples that I may have missed”.

Pipes’ list, however, will have no space for such names as Rachel Corrie, Tom Hurndall and James Miller, for these individuals were all murdered by Israeli forces. Pipes will also fail to mention the nine Turkish activists murdered aboard the Mavi Marmara ship on its way to break the siege on Gaza in May 2010, and the nine activists abroad Irene (the Jewish Boat to Gaza) who were intercepted, kidnapped and humiliated by Israeli troops before being deported outside the country in September 2010. The 82-year-old Reuben Moscowitz, a Holocaust survivor, was one of the activists aboard the Irene, as was Lillian Rosengarten, an American “who fled the Nazis as a child in Frankfurt,” according to a New York Times blog.

The people Pipes failed to mention truly represent a rainbow of humanity. Men and women of all ages, races and nationalities have stood and will continue to stand on the side of the Palestinians. But this story has selectively ignored pseudo-intellectuals intent on dismissing humanity to uphold Israel. They refuse to see the patterns in front of them, as they are too busy concocting their own.

Writing in the UK Guardian from Rome, on April 15, John Hooper said, “Arrigoni’s life was anything but safe. In September 2008 he was injured (by Israeli troops) accompanying Palestinian fishermen at sea. Two years ago he received a death threat from a US far-right website that provided any would-be killers with a photo and details of distinguishing physical traits, such as a tattoo on his shoulder.”

The group that murdered Arrigoni, like others of its kind, existed for one specific, violent episode before disappearing altogether. The mission in this case was to kill an International Solidarity Mission (ISM) activist who dedicated years of his life to Palestine. Shortly before he was kidnapped, he wrote in this website of the “criminal” Israeli siege on Gaza. He also mourned the four impoverished Palestinians who died in a tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt boarder while hauling food and other goods.

Before his murder, Arrigoni was anticipating the arrival of another flotilla – carrying activists from 25 countries boarding 15 ships – that is scheduled to sail to Gaza in May. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adamantly called on European Union countries to prevent their nationals from jointing the boats. “I think it’s in your and our common interest… that this flotilla must be stopped,” he told European representatives in Jerusalem, according to an AFP report on April 11.

Israeli officials are angry at the internationals who are “de-legitimizing” the state of Israel by standing in solidarity with the Palestinians. Arrigoni has done so much to harm the carefully fabricated image of Israel as an island of democracy and progress. Along with other activists, he has shattered this myth through simple means of communication.

Vik signed his messages with “Stay human”. His book, detailing his experiences in Gaza, was entitled Restiamo Umani (Let Us Remain Human). Mary Hughes Thompson shared with me some the emails Arrigoni sent her. “I can hardly bear to read them again,” she wrote. This is an extract from one of them:

“No matter how (we) will finish the mission… it will be a victory. For human rights, for freedom. If the siege will not (be) physically broken, it will break the siege of the indifference, the abandonment. And you know very well what this gesture is important for the people of Gaza. That said, obviously we are waiting at the port! With hundreds of Palestinians and ISM comrades we will come to meet you sailing, as was the first time, remember? All available boats will sail to Gaza to greet you. Sorry for my bad English… big hug… Stay Human. Yours, Vik”

Vik’s killers failed to see his humanity. But many of us will always remember, and we will continue trying to “stay human”.

Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London), available on Amazon.com.
(Copyright Ramzy Baroud, 2011)

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

Lauren Booth: Vittorio and Israel’s attack on the Intellectual Intifada

By: Lauren Booth
Additional Material; C Grayson
The killing of Vittorio (Vik) Arrigoni in Gaza this weeks follows (too) closely, the murder of pro-Palestinian peace activist Juliano Mer Khamis in the West Bank. Juliano, 52, was shot dead outside the Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp on the West Bank on the 4th April. His documentary Arnas’s Children detailed the work of his mother in helping Palestinian children deal with the trauma of living under Occupation through the use of drama and self – expression.
Juliano was untimely, bloody, end was one he had predicted three years ago on Israeli television.
Vittorio Arrigoni was found, this week, hung, by armed ‘fanatics’ in an apartment in Gaza. An end he would never, ever, have predicted.
There was worldwide condemnation for the killing of both men.
For friends of Vik, touched forever by his deep, smile filled voice, the pain of loss is made more acute by two factors. The first is the brutal manner of his death. For, Vik, was a gentle giant. A Samson in size and appearance, black curly hair about his rugged face. HIs arm muscles, there to scoop up a passing child, or wave the Palestinian flag at a moments notice, in the face of Israeli sniper fire, aimed at farmers attempting to harvest crops, or at fishing the coastal Gazan waters.
That a man dedicated to non violent resistance should die in violence is bad enough.
Worse, far worse is this; That his avowed enemies the ‘Fascisti’ in Israel (as he would call the government there) seek to make political gains from a life lived in direct challenge to them. This, as much as the sight of that last, dreadful film showing his eyes taped and his face bruised, is a knife in the heart of all who loved or knew of him.
The headline ‘Italian peace activist killed by Palestinian extremists’ is an Israeli propagandists wet dream. A gift as potentially large in its political implications as the now inevitable retraction by the UN of the Goldstone report.
Why?
Two reasons. firstly, if nothing is done, and fast, Israel will use the momentum of these two machinated events, as an excuse to re invade the Gaza Strip under the auspices of ‘terrorism and security’ issues.
Secondly, Israeli is seeking to end the growing momentum of the siege breaking movement and the increasing appeal of the ISM (International Solidarity Movement).
Which brings us to timing of both Juliano and Vittorio’s murders. Both men were respected for their creative work. Juliano, for inspiring a new generation of actors and writers in Jenin and for his film making on the subject of life under Occupation.
Vik for his award winning writings and broadcasts, on the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza.
Both men were part of a new uprising, arguably, the most successful yet. The uprising that hurts Israel where it hurts most – in the TV studios of Europe and the US, right in the intelligentsia. Their impact on the Israel ‘fascisti’ machine was a phenomenon in the expanding worlds of twitter and facebook. They had voices like no others in this movement.
More though. Vik was pivotal in the reformation of the ISM Gaza Group, the non violent resistance team, put on hold after the murders of two of its members by Israeli forces ; Tom Hurndall and Rachel Corrie. After it became clear that Israel’s leaders had taken the decision not only not to ignore the human rights of internationals in the West Bank and Gaza (thus putting them on a par with Palestinians), but to actively target them. The ISM in Gaza took time to consider whether it could encourage, young activists to join them on the ever increasingly mission to accompany Gazans about their daily business. Human shield work. Tom Hurndall and Rachel Corrie’s deaths were part of a dedicated attack by Israel on the work of the increasingly effective ISM.
More recently, IOF commanders have been focusing their attention on the Freegaza Movements efforts to break the siege of Gaza by sea.
It is no coincidence then that both Juliano and Vittorio should die within two weeks. Both, at the hands of unknown Palestinian ‘cells.’ As they say on children’s TV – tell us boys and girls what’s wrong with this picture?
Israel’s supporters will doubtless feel affronted at the assertion that Vittorio was murdered by those almost certainly in the pay of the Jewish State. But they can’t have their dark ops cake and eat it too. Not this time. Too many of us have our eyes open to the filthy tactics employed by Israel every time they come under intellectual attack. And there is no doubt that Israeli Apartheid is losing traction by the day.
Still unsure who was behind Vittorio’s murder? Well, how often have the Israeli press lauded and applauded ‘covert ops’ in the Occupied Territories? Want some examples?
Fine. In 1952, Shin Bet agents were sent undercover to spy inside Palestinian villages. Ten Jewish men assimilated into Arab communities in the early 1950s, marrying local women and starting families with them, were, all the while serving in the Shin Bet as “mistaarvim,” literally- masqueraders. The men learned the Palestinian dialect, studied the Quran and espionage techniques in an Intelligence Corps base near Ramla. With a detailed cover story, they were sent into Palestinian villages and cities pretending to be refugees from the Nakba returning home.

Just this year, Israel has carried out an assassination in Dubai of a Hamas member (or as it was known in the British media – the ‘passports scandal’). Mossad operatives have kidnapped a Palestinian engineer from the Ukraine, who is now, illegally held in an Israeli prison.
And what of the sadistic coercion that Palestinians with chronic illnesses have been subjected to by Shin Bet? Known in Gaza as treachery for treatment?
A Palestinian patient requests a permit from the Israeli- Palestinian Civil Liaisons Department to be allowed to travel from Gaza to the West Bank or Israel for an operation. After exhausting efforts, patients receive permits and go to Erez. Prominent human rights centres report that Shin Bet officers,then attempt to coerce and entrap patients, to do dirty work for them in their home towns and villages in return for rapid and/or ongoing medial treatment.
Yes folks, spies-for-health.
Israel then, ‘has form’ when it comes to lying, murdering, and coercion, for its own ends.
As Hamas rounds up the perpetrators of this most recent, deadly crime, the Gaza grapevine is buzzing with the news that they will indeed be found to be, (as suspected from the get-go), Israeli collaborators.
Statements of denial from the ‘Salafis’ accused of the murder have already been issued. Despite the fact the Western media is still running with the story of their guilt.
There were statements from Tawid wal – Jihad and Ma’sadat al- Mujahedin  An excerpt from a statement read,  “we strongly deny any responsibility for or connection to the kidnapping of the Italian (Vittorio Arrigoni)… Our statements are distributed exclusively through Shoumouk al – Islam, Attahadi Network and the Ansar al-Mujahideen Network…Any statement attributed to us that are not released through these channels, have nothing to do with us, even if they are published on Jihadi websites…”
So, who benefits from the killing of Vittorio Arrigoni? And what is the significance of the timing of his murder?
Well, if it smells like s***t and looks like s**t it almost certainly is – Israel.
Sure, the kidnappers’ video looked genuine at first. It had all the customary layout of the kind of ‘Jihadi’ videos that the tabloid press loves: the black flag of Islam, the Quranic verse in the introduction, footage of the kidnapped victim. But a small detail on the black flag, underneath the precious, Islamically untouchable phrase ‘There is No God, but God’ raises questions about the authenticity of the groups grasp on Islam. The extra words read something like “the Brigades of Muhammad Ibn Maslama.” This has been hard for experts to verify because the video is being systematically pulled off YouTube. But one thing is certain; ‘Jihadis’ never write ANYTHING on the flag besides La Ilaha Ila Allah.

Also unusual, was the lack of customary logos of the Jihadi media distribution channels: Shoumoukh al-Islam, Ansar al-Mujahideen, Global Islamic Media Front, etc. (See the statement of denial above).

You know what, right now, who cares?
Vik; friend, solidarity activist, hero, author, is dead and his enemy is making gains from his life. A life dedicated to the opposition of Israeli Fascism.
So what can, what should be done, must be the focus now, not only of his friends, but of all those who support the cause of Palestinian justice.
It was in 2008, as a passenger of the Freegaza, that Vittorio arrived in Gaza for the first time. I had the pleasure of being one of the activists arriving, alongside him on that day. During the weeks preceding the successful crossing all of the passengers had considered Israel’s possible tactics for stopping a sea channel from effectively opening up. Two options seemed most likely.
A massively violent boarding of the ships, incurring several deaths, that would act as a warning to other potential voyagers not to sail
The option, I feared most. The use of on-the-ground collaborators to do Israel’s dirty work for them. A network of paid for ‘cells’ who would pick off activists one by one in the Gaza strip. Thus, both terrifying the solidarity movement AND providing Israel with some much needed beneficial headlines of the kind we have seen since Vik’s death.

We know all to well, the bloody massacre that took place last year on the Mavi Marmara, committed by Israeli forces.

Now, as the second Armada plans to chart the same course on or near the anniversary of that sailing, Israel is pulling out all the stops, in its efforts to stop, frighten, threaten and deter, hundreds more activists from taking action against their Apartheid state.
Israel’s ambassador to Turkey, Gaby Levy, has just asked the Turkish government to help halt the flotilla movement saying their sailing would be a “provocation.” Asked about the pressure, a Turkish foreign ministry official told Reuters: “We listened to the message given by the Israeli side and told them this is an initiative by civil society.”
The official did not elaborate.
Strike one, for Israel.
But the efforts continued.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on EU ambassadors in Jerusalem saying “This flotilla must be stopped.”
And there’s more. On April 1, Netahyahu’s office asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to stop the flotilla setting sail.
Netanyahu told Ban Ki-moon that the mission of ships was being organized by (guess who folks?) “Islamic extremist elements” intent on bringing about “a flare-up.”
Then, on Wednesday, the morally bankrupt, Silvio Berlusconi, told Israel Radio, that he would work to prevent the next flotilla bound for Gaza, from sailing.
Berlusconi said that a peaceful Middle East is farther from reality now than it ever has been before, adding that Israel has no viable peace partner. He even asserted that Israel is the only Middle Eastern country that the West can trust, and that Israel should join the European Union.
The next day, Vik was kidnapped.
The same night, before any realistic negotiations could take place for his release, Vik was murdered.
Feeling sick yet? Yeah, me too.
Because this was a hit. A hit carried out to intimidate, to frighten off those who have already signed up for the next flotilla to Gaza and may be traveling there for the first time, Those unsure of the exceptional good will and generosity of the people there. A good will Vik would tell you about.
If he were still here.
We mustn’t let the Israeli ‘fascisti’ succeed in their latest terror tactic. Early signs are that for all the pain Vik’s death has caused, all the tears that have flowed. that we, in the solidarity movement will only grow more determined, in light of this crime.
Since his death the ISM has reported a sharp rise in people wanting to go to Palestine.
Meanwhile,a Freegagza Movement contact, tells me that no one from the next convoy expected to include Turkish, Algerian, Scottish, Spanish, Dutch, Irish, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Jordanian, Malaysian, Indonesian, Swiss, US, Canadian, British and French nationals, has pulled out as a result of Vik’s murder.
And now, the incredible news comes; That Vik’s own mother will sail to Gaza on the next flotilla.
Agidea Prata told Italian news sources yesterday; “I want to see (the) Gaza that my son loved and sacrificed for, I want to meet the good people living there that my son Vik always talked about”.
Vittorio’s mother knew about the death threats Vittorio received from a right wing American group on their website. She also knew that he loved the people of Gaza with every ounce of his formidable strength, with his every smile, and his every waking moment.
Yesterday, organizers of the  Free Gaza flotilla announced that the coming voyage to Gaza will be named “ Freedom Flotilla – Stay Human” in honor of our fallen friend, Vittorio Arrigoni.
Now it’s time for the Palestinian leaders to pay a decent tribute to this great man. No. Scratch that. As Vik himself would say; it’s time for them to pay a decent tribute to ALL the fallen Palestinian martyrs.
What a great day it will be if in June, Agidea Prata, Vittorio’s mother, sails to Gaza to be met by a single, united, government.
Imagine it Vik. Abbas and Haniyeh side by side. One Palestine, one voice. One government able to stop Israel from infiltrating their midsts and murdering those who come in hope and solidarity.
As my dear, wonderful, strong, funny, friend, Vik would say
‘Come ON!’
ENDS
Posted by Lauren Booth at 02:36

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

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