I was all set to shunt Palestine into a mental siding because leadership is still lacking and so much time and effort is misdirected, unco-ordinated and wasted.

Find something else to get angry about, I was telling myself.

Stuart Littlewood for VT

Yes, I was all set to shunt Palestine into a mental siding because leadership is still lacking and so much time and effort is misdirected, unco-ordinated and wasted.

Most importantly of all, there’s no overall strategic plan for meaningful action and communication, although individual groups are doing amazing work in their efforts to break the Gaza blockade.

Then somebody – Debbie Menon – said: “You gotta listen to this Press TV interview, it’s fantastic. Ken fills my heart with pride.”

She was talking about Ken O-Keefe.

After watching his high-octane performance, which hit so many right notes, I’m beginning to think that here’s a man who could take the shambling and ineffectual Palestinian “campaign” (wrong word really) by the scruff of the neck and knock it into shape.

Some of my friends are convinced he’s a plant, or an agent provocateur. It would be hugely disappointing if that turned out to be true. In the meantime he seems to be doing Israeli gangsterdom a lot of damage.

In the interview he proceeded to give the Israeli government a good tongue-lashing calling it “not only racist but crazy, insane, psychotic and capable of anything”. He also flayed the EU government for doing 25 billion euros of trade with Israel while spouting “pretty words that have no substance at all”. If the EU wanted to stop the settlement building, he said, it could end its relationship with Israel, which would “cripple the Israeli economy”.

Correct. Since the EU trade agreement calls for suspension if Israel breaches its terms (which it does continuously), many others have made the same point but to no avail, which shows how corrupt the EU is.

And O’Keefe roundly condemned his own government, the US, for its $3 billion a year aid “to the richest country in the Middle East”, and called for general strikes and for people to unite across the spectrum in the Palestinian cause because governments and the UN are doing nothing.

He wanted to ask the Jews of the world if Israel really represented them… was Israel synonymous with Judaism? Because if so, “you as a people are a threat to everyone and every ounce of decency and humanity that exists”. He called on them to speak up and condemn the acts of racism and mass murder.

Towards the end of the interview he spoke mysteriously of a Big Plan he was working on, which would “shatter” the blockade of Gaza.

All this lifted the gloom somewhat. Up to that moment the New Year chatter on the BBC had been of a fresh war in the Middle East – a Cast Lead mark 2.

I had already come to the conclusion that the Palestinians need and deserve much more than the good wishes of people like me living comfortably in the UK. They need nothing less than a political upheaval, levered by an angry civil society worldwide, to force implementation of international law and justice. Will they get it in 2011? Fat chance, because those civil societies are not yet well enough organized or angry enough, and Palestinian leaders have zero appeal and are continually playing the fool.

Their embassy (actually a General Delegation) here in London is a joke. Visit its website and you’ll find little that’s useful. The last update was 8 months ago… yes, it’s.EIGHT MONTHS out of date. That’s how committed Fatah, the Palestinian Authority and their staff are to the Palestinian cause. Their failure to make an effort effectively sabotages the work of campaigners and activists.

How fair is that on the sick and homeless and hungry in Gaza and those under the jackboot (of Israeli storm-troopers and Fatah’s quislings) in the West Bank?

So whom should we help? The legitimate authority is Hamas, democratically elected in 2006. Fatah were sore losers and wouldn’t accept the people’s verdict. Neither would the half-baked politicians of the US, Britain and the EU – or their manipulators in Tel Aviv. Such people do not respect democracy.

Hamas is inaccessible but in serious need of a marketing makeover to transform its prospects. Let’s hope it soon takes the trouble to have its spokespeople properly trained in media skills – something Fatah never bothered to do, to the permanent detriment of the whole Palestinian nation.

Negotiations with Israel? What is there to negotiate? Focus must be on what has already been ruled under international law, humanitarian law and a whole raft of UN resolutions. Until these are implemented resistance is surely the correct route and should command worldwide backing. Besides, who authorized here-today-and-gone-tomorrow politicians such as Obama,Clinton and Blair to ignore international law for the benefit of Israeli ambition?

As must be painfully obvious by now, a continuing problem for the Palestinian movement outside as well as inside the Occupied Territories is its failure to engage with the media. The superb George Galloway pops up occasionally but that is not enough. The campaign, if it’s to become a true campaign, needs first-rate spokespeople available in an instant. Straight-talking O’Keefe is articulate and interesting enough, with just the right degree of scariness, to fascinate western audiences. In the Press TV interview he was ably flanked by the lovely Nada Hashwi and Sameh Habeeb. I’d say Hashwi also has the power to wow the west and ought to be pushed forward much more.

Meanwhile O’Keefe’s concept of people-power, “fully exerted and acting in unison, intelligently”, sounds promising. That’s what is needed, if only the threads can be pulled together. It’s a mighty task because the battleground extends to every country in the West paralyzed by Zionist infiltration. That’s most of them.

In the meantime I’m itching to know what Ken O’Keefe’s “shattering” Big Plan is…

Copyright @ Stuart Littlewood

Related post:

ED NOTE:  For those who might have missed the PRESS TV interview, here it is again.

Kenneth O’Keefe a former US marine turned soldier of peace, witnessed firsthand the Israeli attack, in the international waters, on the flagship of Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, killing 9 Peace Activists, one of them American born 19 year old Furqan Dogan, who was kicked, shot in the face, chest and the back of the head at point blank range, several times by Israeli commandos.

Ken O’ Keefe talks to PRESS TV from Gaza.

Lets be clear,  he is not the story here,  he is a compassionate messenger, calling on civil society to unite and  exert its power to liberate Palestine from its psychotic oppressors, because the governments aren’t doing it.


PressTV: In regard to the destruction of the Shepherd hotel in Jerusalem al Qods, symbolic for its heritage value of pre-dating the creation of Israel and demolished for the purpose of building Jewish-only apartments, some are saying that this is part of Israel’s ethnic cleansing policy against Palestinians. What are your thoughts about this?

Ken O’Keefe: I think we’ve reached a point long ago where it is impossible to deny the fact that the Israeli government is not only racist, but literally crazy, insane, psychotic and capable of anything.

As I sit here today in Gaza I can tell you a 65-year-old farmer was shot dead tending to his crops on his land next to the wall in which people are shot on a regular basis.

We have very serious rumblings from the Israeli government about continuing operation Cast Lead and actually launching a second attack.

This is very, very serious and I think we’ve reached a point now – How much more attention are we going to pay to what Israel is doing while letting our governments — the governments I feel the most disgust and shame for; the EU governments, the American government, all the western governments…

Let us talk about the 25 billion Euros a year in trade that the EU continues to do with Israel while it spouts pretty words that have no substance at all.

If the EU wanted to stop the settlement building, it could stop its relationship with Israel and it would cripple the Israeli economy; same goes for the American people.

What are we doing? We talk a lot, but what are we doing? Our government continues to ‘give’ over 3 billion dollars worth of aid to the richest country in the Middle East; arming that nation – a racist apartheid vicious nasty psychotic nation with the weapons that it uses to do things that … for instance, the Awajah family that I visited this week — the Awajah family that lost six members of their family all in one day because a white phosphorus bomb blew up in their home. One of their daughters, a four year old, turned into a big piece of charcoal – in an instant!

A father was killed; lives were destroyed; families destroyed – this happens on a regular basis and what does the EU do? It talks and it does nothing. The United States, what does it do? It hardly talks, but it certainly doesn’t do anything but arm Israel.

I’m sick and tired of people accepting this. It’s time for general strikes; it’s time for all unions, everyone, to stand with the Palestinian people.

Your cause is their cause and vice versa. It’s time for us to unite across the spectrum because the governments and the UN do nothing.

PressTV: You talked about how the EU should stop doing business with Israel and the billions of dollars that they do. Have there been any strikes taken in regards to the boycott divestment and sanction movements in terms of not having money going into Israel’s pocket? Have there been any advances here?

Ken O’Keefe: There’s no question that that has had some impact, but when you’ve got the US taxpayers flipping the bill for the Israelis every year to the tune of 3 billion plus dollars; when you’ve got the EU doing what they’re doing, it’s hard to compete with that.

There is also a blood diamond trade that continues in Israel – massive amounts of money being made by the blood of Africans who are continuing to pull diamonds out of the ground so that the Israeli state, the criminal state that it is, can continue to make ungodly amounts of money and all of this is very difficult to compete with in terms of boycott divestment – It’s just not doing enough to stop what’s happening here on a regular basis.

And that leads me to my next issue which is, let us lay blame and responsibility accordingly here, I want to ask all the Jewish people of this world, I want to ask you: Does Israel represent you?

Is Israel synonymous with Judaism? Because if Israel is synonymous with Judaism, then you as a people are a threat to every ounce of decency and humanity that exists…

Just like the so-called decent Germans who did not speak out and do what they needed to do to prevent the rise of Hitler. It is now on you, the Jewish people of the world to speak up now and condemn all of these acts of racism, of mass murder that the Israeli state that purports to represent you to speak out now. You have a special burden.

PressTV: The Russell Tribunal on Palestine had some very good topics that are covered and reference of course to the companies that do business with Israel, which you also talked about under the EU trade dealings. How can that be stopped, since the only negotiating power seems to be that of the bulldozers when that steel comes down and breaks buildings such as it did with the Shepherd hotel?

Ken O’Keefe: I believe that the only way to solve this problem is when the power of people is fully exerted and that those of us with conscious actually act in unison, intelligently, and fearlessly.

We had some example of that back in May of last year on the Mavi Marmara. The people on that ship exhibited the greatest of strength and quality, which I think are the example of what we need to be.

We have every right to defend ourselves on that ship as we would defend our own children. And the children of Gaza, 800,000 plus of them are being violated in the most obscene of ways every single day.

I want every American and every European to think about the bombs dropping here and think your child wetting themselves uncontrollable, screaming in terror and running underneath the bed, crying and absolutely helpless with no thoughts of the future .

I want you to think of your child that way because there are literally hundreds of thousands of children that way here and it’s you who is paying for it so those of us who actually have a conscience and still have a brain that we can use. We need to act in unison.

In parting I’ll say that I think we are our own worst enemies so often in the anti-war movement and what not.

We have so many games, and so much politics and so much stuff that we’re playing, it really is tragic. I hope that we do finally unite. I’m working on a plan with a fantastic group of people and that plan will be announced in the next month. And in life or death I want to see this plan happen because I know that if we carry out this plan we will shatter the blockade of Gaza. It will be over — one way or the other.

And we will liberate Palestine, if we as people exert our power. But that’s the real question: Are we going to do it or not?



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Stuart Littlewood worked on jet fighters in the RAF then pursued a career in industrial marketing. More recently he worked as a freelance and with innovation consultancies. Psychology degree Exeter University, Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Served as a Cambridgeshire county councilor 1993-97 and on the Police Authority. Associate of the Royal Photographic Society. Since retiring has been a newspaper columnist and produced two photo-documentary books. He is a regular contributor to a number of internet news magazines. Stuart’s book Radio Free Palestine, with Foreword by Jeff Halper, tells the plight of the Palestinians under brutal occupation. It can now be read on the internet by visiting