Sonja Karkar

Boycott, divestment and sanctions in Australia, five years on

In Australia, with a supine government and a media unwilling to investigate Israel’s criminal acts, getting the Palestine message out to the public has been a real challenge. However, Australian unions look like they might be changing that. Sonja Karkar comments on the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement in Australia on the anniversary of the historic Palestinian call for such tactics. 

Talking Palestine to power

It is indeed possible for all of us to “squeeze out of reality some of its potentialities,” the reality that University of Melbourne Professor Ghassan Hage has said is found in those utopic moments that come from challenging our own thoughts, fears and biases. In that space lies the untapped power we seek, to speak the truth without fear or favor. Sonja Karkar comments. 

Australia hosts war criminal Ehud Olmert

The news that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was in Australia and was welcomed by the honorable members of our parliament came as somewhat of a shock. It is one thing to have allowed a man charged with corruption and suspected of war crimes into Australia at all; it is another thing that he was listed as a distinguished guest in Hansard — the official record of parliamentary proceedings — and received a resounding “hear, hear” from our elected representatives. Sonja Karkar comments. 

Gaza's death throes, and no one's listening

The slow death that is being visited on the Palestinians in Gaza is finding its first victims in more than 400 critically ill patients who are being prevented from leaving Gaza for urgent medical attention in Israeli or Arab hospitals. Thousands of other patients are being turned away from hospitals suffering from a severe shortage of 300 different kinds of medicines. Sonja Karkar comments. 

The pauperization of Palestine

Prevented from producing and competing with Israel’s economy, the Palestinians became forced consumers and this is perpetuated by foreign aid. Effectively international donors foot the bill while Israeli companies profit from the desperate need of an entire population under Israel’s occupation. Foreign aid has done nothing to revitalize the economy, and has only made the Palestinians one of the most aid-dependent populations in the world. Sonja Karkar comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

The ANZAC-Palestine connection

ANZACS BACK AGAIN” was the front-page headline of Jerusalem’s Palestine Post on 13 February 1940. The ANZAC reputation for courage and daring was legendary after their victory at Beersheba in 1917. That was the Palestine Campaign that saw the celebrated charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade on the unsuspecting Turks. It was a battle that turned the tide of that campaign and led to the subsequent end of Ottoman rule in Palestine. EI contributor Sonja Karkar comments. 

Australian government continues its love affair with Israel

So much for the new Australian government taking an even-handed position on Israel-Palestine. Before our politicians even warmed their seats in the new parliamentary sittings, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced that he will lead a parliamentary motion to honor Israel on 12 March acknowledging Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. The opposition leader will second the motion. Then, celebrations will take place at a reception in the Mural Hall of Parliament House. EI contributor Sonja Karkar comments. 

Gaza's last gasp

Israel might find that giving the Palestinians their freedom and allowing them the dignity of self-determination in their own land might be far more effective in bringing about a peaceful solution than all this bloodshed and misery. Fifty years have passed since Israeli Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan said, “How can we complain about Gaza’s hatred towards us? For eight years, they have been sitting in refugee camps while right in front of them, we are turning the land and villages of their forefathers into our home.” Sonja Karkar comments. 

In the same prison together

The tranquil Christmas nativity scene so familiar to us is not at all evident in Bethlehem today. Bethlehem does not lie still, and peace on earth and goodwill towards all is as elusive as ever. The tyranny of Israel’s occupation and its colonial expansionism is crippling the lives of both Palestinian Christians and Muslims alike. Yet, many Christians will again ignore the misery suffered by the Palestinians in the Holy Land and will celebrate Christmas without remembering that it was amongst this people and in their land that Jesus was born. Sonja Karkar comments for EI