Saturday, 28 February 2009

Swedes prepare to protest Israeli tennis team

Scandinavia has a long tradition of supporting the Palestinian people. Norway probably witnessed the largest demonstrations of any country in the world, measured as a proportion of the population, against the Israeli massacres in Gaza.

Now the Swedes are preparing to protest against the visit of the Israeli Davis Cup tennis team due to play in Sweden next Saturday. Viva Malmo!
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Around 1,000 police officers will be on duty at the Baltic Hall in Malmo when Sweden host Israel in next week's Davis Cup first round tie, Swedish police said on Thursday.

The March 6-8 tie is being held behind closed doors due to security concerns .

Police said between 8,000 to 12,000 people are expected to hold a demonstration next Saturday against Israel's participation in the men's team competition...

...Last week Shahar Peer was denied entry into the UAE, which has no diplomatic ties with Israel, for a women's tournament in Dubai. After worldwide condemnation, the Gulf state was forced to change its policy of barring Israeli athletes and said a special permit would be issued to competitors who had qualified for a tournament in its territory.

The Israeli Davis Cup team will arrive in Sweden with several security guards of their own, two of which had asked for permission to be armed. However, that request was turned down. more

Huge welcome for Viva Palestina convoy in Libya

5 days of hospitality in Libya

According to the newspaper Libya Elyoum, the program for the Gaza convoy is as follows:

Saturday 29-02-09
Welcome and reception at border point of Ras Ajdir
Head for the Scout' training centre in Joddaim.

Sunday 01-03-09
Leave for public rally in centre of Tripoli
Here a local convoy will be joining ours.
Press conference
Short stop at Khoms
Rally at Masrata and the inauguration of GAZA STREET.

Monday 02-03-09

Leave Masrata in the morning
Pass through Surt and Guardabia
Stop at Ras Lanouf for the night

Tuesday 03-03-09
Leave then stop at Akila
Rest at Barika for lunch
Public rally at Ajdabia next to Sport City
Arrival at Bengazi-Accomodation at the Touristic Village

Wednesday 04-03-09
Press conference
Local convoy joins ours
Rally and rest at the city of Marj
Rally at Al Bayda city and stop for the night

Thursday 05-03-09
Head for the town of Derna via Shahat Soussa
Pulic rally at Derna
Leave for the city of Tobruk
Public rally at Tobruk and overnight stay

Friday 06-03-09
Leave for the area of Amsaada
Ceremony and departure of convoy

Prepared and translated by Farid Arada

From the Tripoli Post
Libyans at the public and official levels are preparing to welcome the convoy with cheers and support for their noble undertaking that is devote to lift some of the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza caused by continuous Israeli crimes against humanity.

The convoy is expected to take the span of four days to cross Libyan territories and drive over 1,900 kms, in order to reach Imsa'id's border post with Egypt on Saturday 28 February. more

Viva Palestina convoy entes Libya

[UPDATE - 12.05 GMT - A welcoming reception for the convoy at the Libyan border. On the road to Tripoli - the desert awaits!about 1 hour ago from web -]

On Friday the Viva Palestina convoy was reported to be on the Libyan border following a rapturous reception from the people of Tunisia. But the police don't seem to have over come their paranoia. This from Farid Arada posted at
The police are having a job on their hands trying to contain the jubilation and excitement of the crowds and are even thinking of moving the convoy to the border crossing point of Ras Ajdir about 30km away (18 miles).
And that is indeed what they did with the convoy volunteers having to spend the night in their vehicles before crossing the border.

It seems, not surprisingly, that the convoy leaders have had to tread a delicate path in their journey through north Africa - something of a balancing act between securing safe passage and rousing the local populations' pro-Palestinian fervour. This is the only way to explain how it was that George Galloway could on the one hand be meeting with the Tunisian prime minister Mohammed Ghannouchi one day, while the next people are being arrested in what Greg Cullen, a playwright from Wales, described as 'a terrifying experience.

This balancing act can only become more precarious when the convoy enters Egypt as Greg rightly points out in his interview with the South Wales Echo, posted at Wales Online.
Greg said: “Who knows what will happen in Libya but the country we’re really frightened about is Egypt.

“They have a massive security force and a peace accord with Israel.”
You can follow Greg's journey on his Hamas has been following the progress of the convoy and the first report has gone up at the Palestine Information Center.
Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Ghannoshi welcomed Galawi [Galloway], who underlined, "We were shocked with what had happened to the Palestinian people [at the hand of the Israelis], and here we are now coming to extend a helping hand to those oppressed people".

"The convoy reflects the feelings of the people of the countries it passes through as we are always warmly welcomed in every place we pass", the lawmaker stressed.

Why Gaza plays take a stand for justice

Andrew Haydon has written an amazingly foolish piece at the Guardian Theatre blog on the recent crop of Gaza plays showing in the UK. The 10-minute Seven Jewish Children by Caryl Churchill and now Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea by Justin Butcher and Ahmed Masoud (described as a multimedia verbatim testimony) both make no bones about highlighting the injustices - and death - being heaped on the people of Gaza by the Israelis.

But Haydon thinks it is 'worrying' that Churchill's play portrays 'the Jews (at least in part) as victim-turned-persecutor' and castigates Go to Gaza for presenting a 'parade of blameless innocents'. He concludes that both plays risk 'demonising a whole country - if not every single Jew on the planet'.

The problem with people like Haydon, who is quick to criticise the lack of social context in the plays, is there ignorance and reluctance to face the truth and the social context. So he finds the description of Hamas as the resistance troublesome. But don't Palestinian's have the right to resist occupation? He speaks of the 'suffering directly inflicted by Hamas' on the people of Gaza with reference to recent alleged kneecappings and extrajudicial killings of collaborators. But isn't high treason punishable by death in most countries? And what about the context - after all wasn't it the US and Fatah that launched a coup, that failed, against Hamas in 2006 in total disregard for the will of the people?

In fact Haydon lets the cat out of the bag when he reaches the end of his diatribe. He tells us that he basically doesn't like political theatre. But worse he claims the plays end up being an attack 'on every single Jew'. What he can't get his head around is the fact that not all Jews support Israel. Attacking Israel and zionism is not an attack on Jewish people as a whole. He pleads for playwrights to look 'at the situation properly'. But by 'properly' he means to look at it in a way that sees the victims as being equally to blame for their predicament as the real oppressor - Israel.

Haydon's review in TimeOut says Go to Gaza is 'moving on loss of life in Gaza. But I felt that it was also propaganda and specious justification for Islamist terrorism' because it concludes with one man joining the resistance. His view that Hamas is a terrorist organisation because it resists Israeli aggression is outrageous - by killing three Israelis as against at least 1,300 Palestinians - but is of course in keeping with the hypocritical foreign policy of western governments that fails to recognise the legitimacy of the Hamas election victory, described as the freest in the region by ex US president Jimmy Carter and the other observers on the ground at the time.

Does this man not know the real 'social context' of the Palestinian struggle to reclaim their homeland - that there used to be a place called Palestine upon which the Israeli state was built through a campaign of terror and ethnic cleansing?

Also see Caryl Churchill's Gaza play is anti-war not anti-semitic

Friday, 27 February 2009

Byam Shaw occupation wins with charter for Art

In the wake of the wave of occupations for Gaza, Byam Shaw Art College occupiers win their demands. More soon at the Byam Shaw People's University blog
The Charter
1. Workshops

The University will make every effort to find staff to enable a return to 5 day access; the Digital Workshop will be opened 5 days a week from 10am till 5pm and cover will be found to enable access to the Printmaking workshop on Mondays in addition to its current opening. This is to be implemented by 20th April 2009.

2. 2 Elthorne Road

Studio opening times will be reviewed to provide appropriate equitable access.

In practice this means 9am - 8pm on Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs and 9am - 6pm Friday.

On occasions when ‘Byam Bar’ takes place on a Thursday in 2 Elthorne Road, and all BA Fine Art students attend, Elthorne Studios will close by 6pm. This is to be implemented by 20th April 2009.

3. Communication between CSM and Students at Byam Shaw

Better communication at College and local level will be provided. The Head of College will attend an all student meeting before the 20th March 2009 to discuss the ‘vision’ for the future and explain the overall budget and the budget setting process.

4. Revalidation of courses

Byam Shaw Alumni and Student Representatives will be involved in the revalidation consultation of the BA Fine Art course from this point onwards. At University-wide level, at the summer term meeting of the Arts London Academic Standards and Development Committee (ASDC) decisions will be taken with input from the Students’ Union and their Representatives on the best way to extend students’ opportunities to participate in the development of courses and their documents in a timely fashion – through informal discussion and formal structures for course development.

5. Changes in course provision from handbook materials

The University will introduce an earlier cycle of budget building and dissemination to Colleges and Courses, with the target that this year, budget transmission to CSM (and other Colleges) will take place 2-3 weeks earlier in spring/summer 2009 than in past years. This will enable any proposed changes in course resourcing to be considered well before implementation by the appropriate committees, with student representatives present and able to respond with their views and input to decisions. The Students’ Union will channel any complaints from Representatives who do not feel properly engaged in this process directly to senior staff at the University, who will commit to acting swiftly to rebalance the debates at course level.

6. The provision of cleaning and estates services at Byam Shaw

The University of the Arts London/Central Saint Martins will ensure students receive outstanding payment for cleaning services as soon as possible (based on students’ submission of information to the Principal of Byam Shaw), this is to be finalised by 20th March 2009.

The University will provide, by the 20th March 2009, any and all information available on the costs of Byam Shaw maintenance and cleaning before and after ring-fencing.

Student Representatives’ feedback and involvement will be prioritised, and influence the final decision in the estates in-house model evaluation process which is due by April 2009. The return to an in-house facilities model. will not be excluded from the possible future provision at Byam Shaw.

The opportunities for students to work within the University of the Arts London, including Byam Shaw students involvement with any cleaning contractor will be championed.

7. Shortfall in tutorial hours for existing Byam Shaw students

Based on a suggested stimulus ‘package’ to be assembled by the Byam Shaw Student Representatives in the following days, the University will provide support in terms of contact hours leading up to degree shows as a compromise/injection to cope with cuts in teaching budget and hours. This ‘package’ will be assembled and agreed between the school principal and the group, its financial elements confirmed before 20th March 2009, and will not have to be refunded at a later date.

8. Ensuring the strength of the Student Voice/Student Representatives

The Students’ Union in partnership with the University will pilot a project in the academic year 2009/2010 working on increasing participation and democratic management of its committees. The resources for this will be built into the University’s 2009/10 funding arrangement for the SU and a project which Arts London Deans are also mounting in this area, and any pre-agreed expenses incurred by the SU in progressing this project will be separately funded. The emphasis will be on moving towards the scenario of providing Student Representatives with the equivalent of a “vote, but not a veto”.

9. Senior Staff and high level finance for the University

The Students’ Union will analyse financial data publicly available on senior management pay – as published in the University’s Annual Accounts – and will consider its wider relevance. If there is difficulty in interpreting this data, the University’s Finance Department will be available to provide officers of the SU with appropriate support and guidance.

10. “Byam Shaw School of Art”

Throughout the revalidation process, maintaining the distinctiveness of Fine Art provision at Byam Shaw will be fully addressed. The name of the “Byam Shaw School of Art” and the association of the School name with relevant courses here, the site in Archway and its characteristic student population, a range of programmes in Fine Art, the leading role that practicing staff play, the workshops and other learning facilities offering students continued engagement, are key characteristics that all contribute to the identity of Byam Shaw School of Art, which will continue to be core provision of courses here. The results of the revalidation process will reinforce the future direction of fine art education within Byam Shaw School of Art.

11. Student Representation

In line with the Students’ Union Governance review, local Byam Shaw representative elections will be held as soon as possible, and the input of the representatives formally recognised by the Students’ Union structures.

The results of the revalidation processes should ensure the distinct provision of Fine Art at Byam Shaw, including the maintenance of the main Byam Shaw School of Art, the site at Archway and its Fine Art community.


Alister Warman, Principal of Byam Shaw School of Art

Will Bridge, Deputy Rector, On Behalf of the University of the Arts London

Jane Rapley, Head of College, CSM, On behalf of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design

Kit Friend, Campaigns & Communication, Officer On behalf of the Students’ Union of the University of the Arts London

Tarek Salhany & Laura Lenander, Elected Representatives of the Occupation, On behalf of the Students of Byam Shaw

Convoy driver speaks out over Tunisia arrests

It appears the Tunisian police were caught off guard by the local support the convoy received and being in the habit of making journalists and human rights workers 'disappear' thought they might they try the same trick with the convoy.

The powers higher up in Tunisia had the good sense to realise that they risked creating not only a massive diplomatic incident but of enraging their own population.

According to the Viva Palestina website the government was organising a support rally and further assistance to the convoy as it moves on to cross the Libyan border. But Greg Cullen, a convoy driver told Wales Online that the rally was cancelled and the convoy is being prevented from interacting with the population.

Visit Greg's blog

From Wales Online
A TRUCK driver taking aid to Gaza has been subjected to a frightening arrest ordeal as his convoy passed through Tunisia.

Greg Cullen, 54, of Cardiff, said he was stopped and ordered to remain in the cab of his vehicle for 10 hours after police became concerned about his team’s rapturous public reception.

The playwright and former creative director for the National Youth Theatre of Wales, who lives in Cathays, is helping to drive a seven-tonne truck to Gaza as part of an aid convoy of more than 100 vehicles, called Viva Palestina.

Speaking to the Echo from North Africa yesterday, he said: “We’ve been arrested in the last 24 hours but we’re moving again now. We’ve had incredibly supportive receptions wherever we’ve been, but in Tunisia the number of people on the streets supporting us was much greater.

The police seemed to think the convoy was tapping a nerve within people and it’s caused us a huge amount of problems.

“We are now under heavily armed police escort. We’re not allowed to stop or talk to anyone, they’re just driving us to the Libyan border...

“Tunisia is a country where lots of British people go on holiday but for us it’s been the most frightening place so far.”

Viva Palestina Tunisian arrests update

Confusion still surrounds the reported detention of seven convoy members in Tunisia. According to the Viva Palestina website all is now well. Two vehicles had become 'detached' from the convoy and 'the two women and the men who were also in the two vehicles are now in Libya'. Muslim News concurs, reporting on Thursday that the convoy volunteers are now safe and in Libya.

Muslim News also points out that the convoy organisers have not lodged a protest with the Tunisian authorities which fits with the statement on the Viva Palestina website: 'we hope that this incident has now been resolved...that the convoy would like to stay out of any local politics and just highlight the plight of the Palestinian people'.

On Thursday the British Foreign Office told Muslim News they did not know about the incident but later confirmed with Gaza Solidarity that seven British citizens were being detained and consular assistance was being provided.

The Tunisian Embassy today denied that there had been any arrests. The spokesman said some vehicles had got lost and everything was okay now. The Foreign Office was still trying to establish with the British Consulate in Tunisia exactly what had taken place in the incident.

Mahnaz Bahaji, 53, one of the detained sent a text message to Ahmed Versi, the editor of The Muslim News, at the time of the incident, triggering the subsequent alarm. It read: “We have been kidnapped by the police. We don’t know where we are going. Pray for us please.” Thankfully it now appears that they have now been released along with the men who were traveling with them.

UAL ends occupation after rector's statement

From UAL occupation blog
1. 'Condemnation of bombings of educational institutions in GAZA'.
The Rector will release the following statement through communication channels of the University.
"The University of Arts London deplores violence wherever it occurs and considers access to education, freedom of expression and the role of international law for the people of GAZA and Israel to be of fundamental importance".

2. 'Links to educational institutions in GAZA'
The University will consider a request from an educational institution in GAZA. This will be subject to the normal processes of scrutiny undertaken by the University with regards to all partnerships and collaboration.

3. 'Scholarships'
The University will explore establishing an 'international humanitarian' scholarship.

4. 'Events and Exhibition'
The University will support activities, including the use of appropriate space and promotion, for fundraising and exhibitions to aid humanitarian relief efforts in GAZA.

Cardiff occupiers win - university divests from BAe

From the Cardiff uni occupation blog
Cardiff Students Against War is ENDING OUR OCCUPATION of the Large Shandon lecture theatre, Cardiff University Main Building! We're about to leave, march around campus to declare our victory, and make our continued presence known to the university community. Banners and megaphones, BOOKS not BOMBS!

Following the open letter to Vice Chancellor David Grant, the BOOKS not BOMBS demonstration outside the Student Union and the subsequent occupation of the Large Shandon, Cardiff University has divested all shares from BAe Systems and the aerospace arm of General Electric! They have instructed their external fund managers to avoid future investments in the arms trade, and have promised to raise the issue of an ethical investment policy at the next Council Meeting on May 18th. They are also willing to discuss the provision of surplus computers and resources to institutions in Gaza.

European initiative to recognise Hamas launched

From PIC
PARIS, (PIC)-- A group of French anti-racism activists have started a campaign to collect signatures demanding the European Union to immediately recognize Hamas Movement as a legitimate Movement, and to remove it from the EU list of terrorist organizations.

According to the activists, Hamas was duly and democratically elected by the Palestinian people in transparent and honest elections in 2006, and thus, they added, the international community must respect the democratic choice of the Palestinian people.

The campaign, the organizers explained, was targeting candidates of the next EU parliament who would contest the elections in June this year.

High-profile International and European personalities, including Franswa Hotarat, professor emeritus from the Catholic Lovan University, and the Irish Noble Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire among other famous figures across Europe have put their signature to the campaign that also bore hundreds of signatures from different European countries, including Germany, Belgium, Austria, Spain, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Holland, Portugal, Romania, UK, Sweden, USA, Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, South Africa, Syria, Lebanon, Morocco, and Libya.

Article doesn't include link to camapaign but will post a soon as we get it.

here it is :

Thursday, 26 February 2009

British government admits it helped to 'render' for US

From the Guardian
The government admitted today that British troops in Iraq handed over terror suspects to the US, which then secretly rendered them to a prison in Afghanistan.

Breaking news: Foreign office confirms seven Viva Palestina people detained by Tunisia

Gaza Solidarity has heard from the Foreign Office. Seven British citizens are being detained by the Tunisian authorities. As yet they have not been charged. The FO has not protested to the Tunisian government but is 'seeking immediate access' to the detained. Normal consular assistance is being provided but the FO is not releasing the names of the detained. The seven are being held at Sfax and the rest of the convoy has continued on to Gabes.

The Foreign Office spokewoman did not appear to be very well briefed on the situation in Tunisia. Firstly she spoke of 'several' persons being detained and only after further questioning did she reveal the number to be seven. When asked where the seven were being detained she replied: "good question" and after a few moments was able to provide the location. Unfortunately there is no information on the Viva Palestina website about the arrests and George Galloway has not communicated through his Twitter feed.

Still haven't heard from the Tunisian Embassy in London and that will be our next phone call.[17:39 GMT - can't get hold of anyone, apart from the caretaker, at the Tunisian embassy]

When the Viva Palestina convoy entered Tunisia at the border town of Gafsa the authorities were caught unprepared by the popular support for the convoy and according to some on the convoy they may have feared 'a riot'.

Patient dies after Israel bars transfer from strip

From the International Middle East Media Center
Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that a Palestinian patient died on Thursday at a Gaza hospital after the Israeli occupation barred him from leaving the Gaza Strip for medical treatment abroad.

The patient was identified as Husam Mohammad Hallas, 30, from Al Shujaeyya neighborhood east of Gaza City. He suffered from a heart disease while the Israeli siege left Gaza hospitals unable to treat the patients as most of their equipment are out of service and their medicine stores ran out of basic supplies.

Hallas had all needed papers and transfer documents but Israel still bared his transfer. more

Tunisia allows Viva Palestina convoy to proceed, two women taken by security forces

What the hell is the Tunisian state up to?

Protest to the Tunisian Embassy:
29 Prince’s Gate,
SW7 1QG.
Tel: 020 7584 8117

And why has there been no protest from the British government over the roadside arrest of 300 British citizens?

UPDATE: Gaza Solidarity has spoken to both the Tunisian Embassy and the Foreign Office concerning the reported arrests. Mohamed at the Tunisian Embassy in London said: "I have no information and will check" while the spokesman at the Foreign Office knows about the convoy but "is not aware of the details" we imparted to him concerning the roadside arrests and the disturbing disappearance of the two women. Both the embassy and the Foreign Office are trying to get more information and promise to get back to us. More as soon as we get it.

From Press TV
The Gaza-bound aid convoy 'Viva Palestina', which was stopped by the police in Tunisia, is granted permission to continue its journey.

The aid convoy was stopped upon arrival in Tunisia from Algeria on late Wednesday, said Press TV's Yvonne Ridley who is accompanying 'Viva Palestina' on its journey to Gaza.

Following the incident, two human rights activists traveling with the convoy were arrested by Tunisian police. The fate of the two remains clouded.

From Birmingham Mail
A BIRMINGHAM city councillor spoke today of his “terrifying ordeal” after being detained by armed police in North Africa.

Mohammed Ishtiaq was one of 300 British citizens subjected to roadside arrest as they tried to drive through Tunisia.

Coun Ishtiaq was helping drive a convoy of 100 aid lorries to war-torn Gaza.

Speaking from the town of Hafsa in Tunisia, Coun Ishtiaq said he was mystified at the behaviour of the authorities....

...He claimed two British women were “kidnapped” by the Tunisian security services when they tried to escape and driven off to an unknown destination.

Tunisian police stop convoy and arrest Viva Palestina activists

From Press TV
Tunisian police have stopped 'Viva Palestina', a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid convoy, arresting two human rights activists without charges.

The incident came upon the aid convoy's arrival in Tunisia from Algeria on late Wednesday, said Press TV's Yvonne Ridley who is accompanying 'Viva Palestina' on its journey to Gaza.

East Dulwich fund-raiser for Gaza - 7 March

East Dulwich Stop the War Group presents
An Evening for Palestine

7 March The Ivy House, 40 Stuart Road, Nunhead SE15 3BE 7.30pm


* John Hegley
wondrous word-wild music man

* The Boycott Coca-Cola Experience
haltingly beautiful agit-prop blues

* The SOAS Middle Eastern Music Ensemble
Arab, Persian and Turkish sounds

* Something in the Water
spiked serenaders with a sting in their tales

* Martin Soan
‘Tommy Copper on acid’

plus The Palestine Film Makers' Collective

all proceeds to Medical Aid for Palestinians UK

* stalls
* cakes
* Palestinian produce

£6/£4 in advance from Health Matters, 47 Lordship Lane , SE22
£7/£5 on the door

Contact East Dulwich Stop the War Group at

Access: all on one floor, ramp at rear of building. No wheelchair accessible toilet, sorry


John Hegley
John is one of the UK 's best known and most innovative comic poets. He is a regular sell-out at the Edinburgh Festival. He has performed at the Montreal Comedy Festival, the USA Comedy Festival in Aspen , with Ulrika Jonsson & Anita Dobson in The Pyjama Game and on BBC R4's Hearing With Hegley.

The Boycott Coca-Cola Experience
Tim Siddall aka The Boycott Coca-Cola Experience sings very funny agit-prop blues about the environment, food, love and gas. Blessed with a flair for the obscure view-point and a haltingly beautiful guitar style, BCCE is a huge talent evolving at high speed.

The SOAS Middle Eastern Music Ensemble
A multicultural, multinational group sensation, emerging from the UK ’s centre for Arabic culture and study. The Ensemble will make your body quiver and your heart sing with their Arab, Persian and Turkish sounds.

Something in the Water
Joe Murphy (from Sergeant Buzfuz) and Polly MacLean (from Kinkajou) join forces with a strange gleam in their eyes to bring you back-alley ballads and dark duets. They will be joined by violinist Thom Alder from David Cronenberg's Wife.

Martin Soan
Dubbed ‘Tommy Copper on acid’ and ‘a virtuoso of silliness’, Martin is a well-loved regular at The Ivy House and on the comedy circuit. Martin’s television appearances include: Chris Tarrant's OTT, Game for a Laugh, Blackadder, Cilla Black's Surprise! Surprise!, Jools Holland's The Tube, Breakfast with Frost and Jonathan Ross's The Last Resort.

East Dulwich Stop the War Group
...was founded in 2002 to campaign against the occupation of Afghanistan and the war on Iraq . We are affiliated to the national Stop the War Coalition. We need all sort of help with creating a website, publicity, running stalls, organising meetings, making a banner… and whatever else you can think of!
Please get in touch by emailing

Why we are raising money
The Israeli Defence Force massacred 1500 men, women and children and injured over 5000 in the attacks on Gaza in December and January. The people of Gaza are now continuing to suffer and die for want of water, food, shelter and medical supplies. Both Egypt and Israel are hindering aid reaching people in desperate need in the Gaza strip. Israel is backed militarily and politically by the US and Britain . For more info visit and

Support the boycott
Check that what you are buying in the supermarket doesn’t come from Israel . There are many British and US companies that sponsor the Israeli state and its campaign of terror against the Palestinians. The main ones are:

1. CATerpillar
2. Starbucks
3. McDonald’s
4. Estée Lauder
5. L Oréal
6. Marks & Spencer
7. Sara Lee
8. Coca-Cola
9. Intel

For more info, visit

This event is supported by:

Health Matters
Award-winning health store in the heart of East Dulwich

Steam Control


15Hz Studio

Special thanks to Lizzie Shirley

Poll: 68% of Turkish people back Hamas

From the Palestine Information Center
ANKARA, (PIC)-- An opinion poll aired Monday on a Turkish TV show attended by Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, revealed that 68 percent of the Turkish people support the Hamas Movement opposed to 32 percent for the Israeli occupation.

During the show, Dr. Abu Zuhri briefed the Turkish viewers on the reality of the Israeli war on Gaza and the crimes committed against children, women and civilians. He also talked about the steadfastness and fortitude demonstrated by the Gaza people during the war.

Turkish media sources told the PIC reporter that there is a growing awareness among the Turkish people of the dimensions of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip and an understanding of the fact that Hamas is a resistance faction defending the Palestinian people and its democratically-elected government is the legitimate representative of the Palestinians.

The sources pointed out that the Turkish support for Hamas increasingly grows despite the wide presence of the Zionist lobby which influences a large number of media outlets in Turkey.

Building student links in Palestine

Palestine: Students under Occupation feat interview with Mordechai Vanunu 2003

Made by Stewart and Patrick. Two students members of Stop the War Coalition visit occupied Palestine to interview and build links with students resisting the occupation. Featuring interviews with Mordechai Vanunu (lifted the lid on Israel's Nukes stockpile in the 70s and kidnapped and imprisoned as a result) and Arun Gandhi.

Thanks to Leninism 2.0

Coventry restaurant raises £30,000 for Gaza

From the Coventry Telegraph
Radford restaurant raises £30k for Gaza victims

A COVENTRY restaurant owner enjoyed tea with the Lord Mayor as a thank-you for his efforts in organising a charity auction for Gaza victims.

Ahbab Hussain, aged 28, of Radford, helped raise £30,000 after inviting local business people to donate an auction item.

Items under the hammer at Zeenat Restaurant, in Stoney Stanton Road, included paintings and fitted double glazing.

The owner of Aqua Food and Mood, in Far Gosford Street, was delighted to meet the Lord Mayor. He had tea and biscuits before being given a tour of the council house. The cash has been sent to Interpal, a charity which provides basic amenities including food and shelter to Palestinians in need.

Viva Palestina convoy in Tunisia

George G is not doing much twittering at the moment but here is the latest
From vivapalestina
Also see Gaza Convoy
Convoy Update
22 .00 (GMT) Wednesday 25th February 2009

Early this evening the convoy crossed into Tunisia to the tears and cheers of the massive Algerian crowds who waived them off at the border crossing. The Algerian consul as well as some officials wished them all the best for the remainder of their long journey. by Farid Arada
video of convoy in Algeria

Worcester twins with Gaza City

Viva Worcester!
Viva Palestina

From the Berrows & Worcester Journal
CITY councillors have backed a motion which could lead to Worcester being twinned with Gaza City in the Middle East.

A notice of motion put forward by Alan Amos, Warndon city councillor, was passed after a carefully worded amendment tabled by David Tibbutt, councillor for Battenhall, was accepted.

The amended motion read: "The city of Worcester invite the Twinning Association to consider twinning Worcester with Gaza City."

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Ottawa and Carleton University administations ban pro-Palestine poster

University of Ottawa and University of Carleton bans anti-Israel poster in 'Israel Apartheid Week'. Also, the main campus trade union (CUPE) in Canada recently passed a resolution to boycott Israel. See the brilliant video for the Israel Apartheid Week below.

From Israeli National News (Arutz Sheva)
Anti-Israeli groups are publicizing Israel’s war on terror as evidence to gain an audience for the fifth annual “Israel Apartheid Week" to be held next week.

The promotional material has thrust two Canadian colleges into a controversy after administration official banned a poster that depicts Israeli planes attacking an Arab boy in Gaza. Pro-Arab activists are outraged for interference in what they call freedom of expression.

However, the University of Ottawa allowed a milder poster to be displayed after stating that the offending picture was “capable of inciting confrontation.” The Carleton University in Ontario also prohibited displaying the poster because it might violate Ontario’s human rights code.

Jessica Carpinone of the Students Against Israeli Apartheid organization argued that Carleton officials have given “no valid reason for banning the poster other than that it’s a controversial issue.”

Israel lets in some aid

Thanks a lot Israel for not letting the Palestinians starve to death too quickly - just string it along instead.

GAZA, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Israel on Wednesday opened commercial crossings with Gaza Strip to allow aid trucks and fuel into the territory.

Ra'ed Fatouh, head of private sector coordination committee, said that 110 trucks will make their way through Kerem Shalom crossing in southeast Gaza Strip.

Most of these truckloads will go to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the largest aid organization operating in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Israel hits Rafah tunnels - no casualties

GAZA, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Israeli F-16 war jets carried out two separate airstrikes on the borderline between southern Gaza Strip and Egypt, no injuries were reported, Palestinian witnesses said.

The witnesses said that Israeli warplanes carried out two separate airstrikes on the borderline area between southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah and Egypt, adding that two successive explosions wrecked the Rafah area.

Transport workers union sending more aid to Gaza

picture is of the third and latest aid consignment setting off for Gaza

picture is of the first air assignment

Thanks to Sam Dawson of the International Transport Workers Union for supplying the pics. Contact him if you need hi res images for printing

From the International Transport Workers' Federation
A third aid shipment from global union federation the ITF will leave Jordan tomorrow morning bound for Gaza. Unlike the previous two ITF cargoes, which were airlifted in specially chartered planes, this one will go by road, as part of a Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization aid convoy.

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) load will include tents, blankets and hospital cots for newborn babies. Bilal Malkawi, ITF Representative for the Arab World, commented: “All the supplies are those that medics in Gaza say they need most, and we aim to get everything they have requested in one lorryload, which will leave Amman tomorrow and cross into Gaza at Karam Abu Salem.” more

Contact the union at Email:

The destruction of the village of Juhr el-Dik

Hans Nyberg sent Gaza Solidarity a link to his panoramic photographic work at the village of Juhr el-Dik which was totally destroyed by the criminal IDF. The Israelis told everyone to leave the village situated on high ground near Gaza City and then destroyed every single building and surrounding olive groves that will take 30 years to bear fruit again. The war crimes are just unbelievable...
Hans said: "I have posted a 360 degree panorama from Juhr el-Dik the farming village in Gaza destroyed by the IDF."
Flash required

"Why did Israel destroy a Gaza Farming Village including Olive Trees which were the living of these innocent farmers?"

Quote from New York Times: JUHR EL DIK, Gaza — When the Assi brothers returned to their village, most of it was missing. Their house was flattened, and their olive groves crushed. The only thing left standing was a single almond tree.

Of all the areas hit in Israel’s military campaign, Juhr el Dik, a farming village on Gaza’s eastern border, had more than its share of loss. In its center is now a giant swath of destruction where about 40 houses once stood.

“It’s an earthquake,” said Salim Abu Ayadah, the mayor of the town, whose house was among those destroyed. “When I saw it, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t walk.”

Lifted by Gaza protest success, students march against fees

From the Guardian
Buoyed by their recent action on Gaza, thousands of students are set to march through central London today demanding the abolition of tuition fees for university and college education...

..."The NUS has abdicated its responsibility to members by giving up on mass campaigning."

...Wes Streeting, the president of the NUS, has faced criticism from campaigners over his refusal to back the campaign and his condemnation of the recent Gaza protests.

watch video at solomonsmindfield

Cardiff University in occupation

We almost missed this one - Wales has joined the movement with Cardiff uni going into occupation for Gaza yesterday. see their first-day statement and demands below:

email messages of support:
cc in David Grant, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff Uni via PA: (please be polite :).

Day two highlights

At 2pm we have a live link-up with students from Gaza, everyone’s welcome along so please get yourselves down to the Shandon Lecture Theatre, main building.

Lots of messages of support came in overnight – including from several other student occupations – Sheffield Hallam, St Andrew Sussex and Queen Mary’s. Media coverage has spread as far afield as Russia and Croatia, but the local media has also given us attention with students being interviewed live on local radio last night.


Dear all,

First, a massive thank you to everyone who has been involved in Disarm Cardiff University up to this point. Cardiff Students Against War are now occupying the Shandon Large Lecture in the Main Building! There have already been preliminary negotiations with Director of Strategic Development Louise Casella who has guaranteed that no repercussions will be taken against students and staff for taking part in the occupation, so anyone who wants to find out more or get involved please feel free to pay us a visit (however long) :D Non-students are also welcome but strictly as guests.

We have already received many messages of support from individuals and institutions, including statements from: Alan Thomson of UNISON Ymlaen Branch; Leanne Wood AC/AM (Plaid Cymru); Anne Greagsby (from the campaign against military training at St Athan); CND Cyrmu; and John Rees, co-founder of Stop the War Coalition. Thank you all so much for your solidarity with our action and our message!

The demonstration earlier outside the Student Union was a big success and generated widespread support and interest from passing students, staff and strangers, many of whom joined in spontaneously. Rest assured that Cardiff Students Against War will be organising all manner of events in and around the occupation. Expect teach-ins, guest lecturers, live music and hosting of the live video linkup with Gazan students, organised by Federation of Student Islamic Societies. We are aiming to create a positive, fun educational space dedicated to raising awareness of the effects of the arms trade, and the dire situation in Gaza.

Our demands to the university are as follows:

1. No repercussions for students involved in the occupation. (This demand has been met).

2. Cardiff University to divest all shares, direct or indirect, from arms manufacturers and aerospace companies.

3. Cardiff University to adopt an ethical investment policy that excludes the arms trade. This process is to be mediated by external ethical auditors based on responses of Cardiff University students and staff. The ethical investment policy to be freely available to all students and staff.

4. Cardiff University to be twinned with a Gazan university, to show support for the Gazan people at this desperate time.

The twinning is to involve:

a) Scholarships for at least 5 Gazan students to study in Cardiff, and for Cardiff University to help facilitate their travel.

b) Surplus books, computers and other educational materials to be sent to the twinned university.

5. Cardiff University to release a statement in condemnation of Israel's bombing and the blockade of Gaza, and in condemnation of the UK government's use of British armed forces as part of this blockade.

6. An official day of solidarity with Gaza supported by Cardiff University.

7. Cardiff University to issue a statement of support for Saudi ex-BAE trade unionist Yahya Al Faifi, who is currently fighting deportation from the UK.
8. No Israeli products to be sold in university shops.

9. Cardiff University to actively promote the Disaster Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza, including a banner on the website, and to issue a statement condemning the BBC and Sky News for not running the DEC Gaza appeal advert.

Legal update on UK's imprisoned weapons decommissioners


Elija Smith has been moved to Horfield prison in Bristol, he would appreciate visitors, please contact Di on 0117 9426904 who will co-ordinate prison visits. This makes it easier to maximise the allocated times. Robert remains on remand in Lewes prison.

Please write to them using the following:
Robert Alford VP 7552 HMP Lewes , 1 Brighton Rd, Lewes, Sussex, BN7 1EA
Elija Smith VP 7551 HMP Bristol, 19 Cambridge Rd, Horfield, BS7 8PS

On the day: We all crowded into the public gallery (loads of folk from Brighton) and viewed on video link to the prison at Lewes the review of bail conditions for Elija and Robert Alford AKA Tin-Tin. The folks from Brighton had put a lot of effort into arranging an address and surety for Tin-Tin but to no avail as the magistrates rejected the efforts to get him released on medical grounds. This was very disappointing to all in attendance.

The afternoon was taken up by hanging around in the dock awaiting the magistrates and the subsequent requests for changes to bail conditions.

The prosecuting solicitor began to reveal the line they will take in the trial. He introduced EDO/ITT as company producing civilian and military products!

He was also allowed to reveal snippets of evidence by the Police.
Nine of us have been charged with the same offences, the burglary charge has not been dropped but the prosecution are not presenting any evidence, so that is good news. A campaign friend who was involved in the Fairford trial is sure you cannot plead unlawful excuse for a burglary charge! Unless you nick some bombs I suppose!!
However, the charge of conspiracy was added.

The bad news is that changes to Legal Aid means we are allocated 5000 pounds for the preparation of a defence and trial for all of us.

Lydia who is our defence solicitor has found a volunteer, who spent time in Guantanimo Bay and is very willing to do research. A fundamental aspect of pleading lawful excuse and preventing a greater crime is the state of mind of the defendants. So it becomes important to verify what was in the media during the period leading up to the decommissioning and was influencing our thinking.

Another hurdle is the fact that the trial judge may reject the defence of lawful excuse if there are not sufficient grounds! This happens before the trial so nothing is foregone conclusion.

Anyway we are in good spirits, with no regrets, although Elija and Tin –Tin remain in prison.


Previous report at Gaza Solidarity here

Miliband, Hutton & Mandelson to face historic Gaza legal challenge

Miliband, Hutton & Mandelson to face historic Gaza legal challenge for breaking international law brought to court by Palestinian NGOs

As many of you will be aware, the Gaza Legal Aid Fund, to be administered by the Human Rights Legal Aid Trust, was launched at the City Circle on 23 January. Its function is to provide financial support to Palestinian civilians seeking legal redress from alleged human rights violations by the Israeli government and alleged British government complicity.

Al-Haq, an independent Palestinian non-governmental organisation on Tuesday 24 February 2009, began historical legal proceedings against the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband, Defence Secretary John Hutton, and Trade & Industry Secretary (now the Secretary of State for Business Enterprise, and Regulatory Reform) Peter Mandelson.

Al Haq are making an application for judicial review of a policy decision, made by the three Secretaries of State, stating that they will not change their position with respect to the UK's relations with Israel, in order for the UK Government to be fully compliant with international law.

The UK's obligations under international law insofar as the attacks on civilians in Gaza are concerned, include; not rendering aid or assistance to Israel, and not recognising the illegal situation it has created in Gaza. They should co-operate with other states using all lawful means to bring the situation to an end.

As far as the UK's obligation not to render aid or assistance is concerned, it should be noted that in the first quarter of 2008 there was a huge increase in the amount of arms related products to Israel approved through the UK arms export licensing system. The amount approved was £20m. By way of comparison, the amount approved for the whole of 2004 was £12m.

The papers on an application for judicial review are being lodged on Tuesday 24 February in the High Court of Justice by Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers, prior to the press conference being held that morning at 11.00am.

You are urged to attend the press conference from 10:50am to 11:20am, Tuesday 24 February outside The High Court (Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London, WC2A 2LL)

For more information or to register your support please contact 07970 557 304 or email

Join the new Facebook Group

Donate to the Gaza Legal Aid Fund via Paypal on

Shawan Jabarin, General Director of Al-Haq, which works to protect human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories says: "Considering the UK's historical role in the region and its continued arms sales to Israel, Al-Haq has come to the UK with the belief that the judicial system of the UK will provide, at the very least, hope for the Palestinian people and again provide meaning to the principle of justice and international law. The time for hiding behind words has ended."

Phil Shiner (Public Interest Lawyers) who is leading the case on behalf of Al-Haq says:
"The UK has clear international law obligations to do something effective to stop Israel's attacks on Palestinian civilians. It must cooperate with other states using all lawful means to bring the situation to an end and it must stop giving aid and assistance to Israel. This means that the UK's continuing policy of arms trading with Israel is completely out of bounds, as is our role in continuing with the EU preferential trading agreement. The point of this case is to make the Government focus on what it is legally obliged to do, beyond ineffective hand-wringing pleas for Israel to behave properly, which, to date, have fallen on deaf ears."

Mary Nazzal-Batayneh, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Human Rights Legal Aid Trust says: "We have been very encouraged by the global support for the Gaza Legal Aid Fund which seeks to provide Palestinians with the much needed financial assistance to be able to access international courts of justice. Israel and its allies must be sent a clear message that they are not above the law; that they are not immune; and that they will be held accountable."

For more information please contact Rashad Yaqoob or Ruben Wilberg on 07970 557 304, or email

The Guardian has published an article today on the legal moves - here

Egyptian activists call for 'March to Gaza'

In commemoration of the breaching of the Rafah border between Gaza and Egypt one year ago on January 23rd, 2008 the Egyptian Popular Committee in Solidarity with The Palestinian People is calling for a MARCH TO GAZA.

On December 27th, 2008 Israel launched a horrific bloodbath in Gaza eventually killing over 1300 Palestinians - including over 400 children - and injuring thousands. The ensuing military onslaught destroyed homes, schools, places of worship, and essential infrastructure, leading to a humanitarian catastrophe. The destruction wreaked by these attacks is exacerbated by Israel’s ongoing siege, which has left the Palestinians in Gaza prisoners within Israeli-created borders and dependent on the meagre trickle of supplies their occupier allows in.

The Call:
End the Siege on Gaza.

The Vision:
We hope for the call to spread organically and to look different in different places around the world. Whether a defined or indefinite distance is walked, by a specific group or individually; whether calling for boycott or the indictment of Israel for war crimes we are hoping that such efforts will pick up momentum and spread.

Though the vicious Israeli assault on Gaza has, for the time being, halted, this catastrophe has not been solved. Let us seize this time of urgency to act and call for an end to the siege on Gaza. Our resistance is ignored and obscured by the hypocrisy of our respective governments and so we, the multitude, have no choice but to take to the streets in a collective global expression of condemnation of Israel’s actions.

The Egypt group started stage one of the march on Feb the 6th and the next march will be on Saturday 28-2-2009.

Follow all events at:


Aid worker back in UK after 12-day imprisonment

We reported on the 'Brotherhood' aid ship from Lebanon here. Members of the mission were beaten up by Israeli soldiers before being detained.

From the Scotsman

Gunpoint arrest ordeal won't stop my return to Gaza

AN aid worker today vowed to return to Gaza after being stopped at gunpoint from delivering medical supplies and food.
Theresa McDermott, 42, is back at home in Pilrig after being released from 12 days in prison in Israel following her arrest off the Gaza coast.

She was one of nine passengers – along with an archbishop, an 80-year-old professor and four journalists – aboard a cargo ship which was trying to deliver 60 tonnes of aid.

Israel is blocking supplies being delivered to Gaza following mortar attacks on its territories.

Canadian union passes Israel boycott resolution

pictured:Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario
Canada's largest campus trade union has passed a resolution to boycott of Israel - well done, although they are getting a lot of flak from Canada's right-wing media. The Canadian Union of Public Employees conference of university locals voted in favour of a boycott of Israeli universities.

From CTV
OTTAWA — The Harper government is accusing one of Ontario's biggest unions of taking an "intolerant" stance against Israel.

Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney says a CUPE Ontario resolution urging a boycott of Israeli universities is intolerant and contributes to a bad atmosphere on Canadian campuses.

He acknowledges there's nothing illegal about the resolution, but claims it's part of a growing wave "singling out and targeting the Jewish democratic state of Israel for opprobrium."

A meeting of the public-sector union in Windsor on the weekend approved the resolution as a response to the recent Israeli assault on Gaza.

Zionists vandalise black flags exhibit at Cornell University

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Dozens of students gathered on campus at Cornell University Monday. The demonstration comes after two weeks of discord between pro-Isreali and pro-Palestinian student groups.

"We had very good dialogue in the past. Unfortunately, they erected an exhibit on one of the quads on the campus without letting us know before they put it up. And we felt that wasn't quite the proper way to go about it," said rally organizer Shai Akabas.

The exhibit organized by the Islamic Alliance for Justice featured 1,300 black flags representing the lives lost on both sides, as well as posters detailing the conflict. The display was vandalized shortly after it was put in place, with signs torn down and the flags rearranged into a Star of David.

"Instead of opening up a discussion, I think it really shows a lot that instead of discussing it, it spoke to the need to just squash it and silence it and destroy it," said Brooke Reynolds, a pro-Palestine activist.

World War One Gaza war cemetery extensively damaged by Israel

From the BBC - If you live in the UK you can watch the report online on BBC iPlayer
Few people know that thousands of Commonwealth war graves lie in the battlegrounds of the Gaza strip. BBC reporter Mark Urban's great uncle is buried there and he has made a personal pilgramage.

During the recent campaign, the main Gaza War Cemetery suffered extensive damage as Israeli troops and Hamas militants fought nearby.

Now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is seeking compensation from Israel, the BBC has learned.

The organisation estimates the cost of repairing or replacing the 363 headstones damaged by recent Israeli shelling at £95,000.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

What has Israel got to hide?

From the International Middle East Media Center
Human Rights Watch issued a report on Sunday calling for an end to Israel's ban of international human rights groups in Gaza. The group stated that such a ban raises concerns that Israel has something to hide in regards to its military operations in Gaza.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement to the media “Israel's refusal to allow human rights groups access to Gaza raises a strong suspicion that there are things it doesn't want us to see or the world to know about its military operation there. If Israel has nothing to hide, why is it refusing to allow us in?”

Hamas slams Amnesty's moral blindness

From the Palestine Information Center
Hamas slams amnesty for equating criminal with victim

GAZA, (PIC)-- The Hamas Movement strongly denounced Amnesty International for demanding the UN to impose a ban on sending weapons to the Palestinian resistance factions, saying that this demand is unbalanced and unfair because it equates the criminal with the victim.

In a press statement, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum underlined that there not a single country exporting arms to the Movement, while weapons are being exported to Israel in abundance from powerful countries and arms deals are publicly concluded with Israel by these countries.

Barhoum added that Israel uses its deadly weapons of mass destruction against the Palestinian people who in turn use simple weapons only to defend themselves as a legitimate right guaranteed by all international laws

The spokesman expressed his Movement's concern that the statement of AI could mislead the public opinion and be used as a pretext by Israel to escalate its aggression and siege on the Palestinian people in Gaza.

He urged AI to reconsider its unbalanced stands which lay the blame unjustly on the Palestinian people.

Barhoum noted that this international organization was supposed to contribute to gathering evidence for the prosecution of Israeli war criminals as many international organizations and parties do instead of equating the criminal with its victim.

Israel shoots on farmers and rights workers... again

Olive tree pic from the Palestinian Farmers Union

From the International Solidarity Movement
9am, 24th February 2009, Khoza’a, Khan Younis , Gaza Strip: Palestinian farmers, accompanied by international Human Rights Workers (HRWs), were fired upon by Israeli forces in the village of Khoza’a, near Khan Younis, this morning. The farmers and HRWs were attempting to work on land around 300m from the ‘Green Line’.

"We were accompanying farmers to gather peas from their lands. The farmers, for the most part, were elderly men and women with their sons. There were many farmers spread out over a large area. We were only in the fields for about five minutes before the IDF began firing. I believe the firing was coming from four army jeeps and a hummer. The shots were coming very close, and were sniper-type of shots.

One old woman was so paralyzed by fear that she couldn’t move off of the ground before we were finally able to accompany her out of the fields. While the majority of the farmers left the area, some say they must return to work the land later on in the day. There is great concern that the Israeli army will continue their targeting of these farmers". - Eva Bartlett (Canada) - International Solidarity Movement

"I have two children. I must go back to my fields to work there today. This is our life, what can we do?" - Mohammad Abu Jela, Farmer from Khoza’a.

Donate to the ISM here
More details at Moments of Gaza

Fairtrade launched Palestinan Olive Oil in the UK yesterday - more here

Farmer Voice newsletter of the Palestinian Farmers Union (pages 17 onwards are in English)

Viva Palestina convoy nears Algiers

more pics here

Plus from Press TV - Yvonne Ridley reports

more at the Viva Palestina website

UAL occupies for Gaza

University of the Arts London went into occupation yesterday (Mon Feb 23) early evening after a Stop the War meeting.
UAL Palestine Solidarity Campaign Occupation blog
On Monday 23rd February at 5:00pm students and staff from across the University of the Arts London (UAL) attended a rally with speakers; Tony Benn, Chris Nineham (STWC), Mark Howell (Alumni) and Frank McGuiness (LSE student activist). This was met by an overwhelmingly positive response from the majority of those present. At the end of the meeting a vote was cast regarding both support for demands and further action. Approximately 90-95% of those in attendance were in support of the demands and a great deal expressed an active interest to participate in further action.

Subsequently, a number of members have decided to go into immediate occupation of one of the UAL's lecture theaters. The occupied space is based at the LCC campus. Our occupation stems from our sympathy towards the victims of the conflict and in particular fellow students within Gaza. The action to occupy has arisen from the written response from the rector of UAL, Nigel Carrington, that ignored and disregarded our demands. (Please find attached).

Throughout the occupation we will make our presence within the university felt, however we wish to stress our emphasis on the promotion of education and not disruption. We have organised a number of events including speakers, screenings and workshops open to all.

Regards UALPSC

The Demands

UAL must issue a full public statement condemning the bombings of educational institutions in Gaza. This statement must be official and formal in its entirety.
UAL must agree to break all corporate links with Israel to add pressure on its denial of Palestinians human rights. Including the ending of contracts with DGMARKET.
UAL must survey its resources with the aim of donating any unused or out of date books, computers, furniture or other teaching resources with an educational institute within Gaza. A link should be established between the two academic institutions and sustained support should be maintained for a minimum of 5 years.
UAL must provide 10 fully-funded scholarships to Palestinian students affected by the recent conflict.
UAL with the support of the UALPSC, must organise a one-day intercollegiate charity event to raise funds for humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.
UAL must agree to hold an exhibition curated in-part by the UALPSC. Artworks exhibited to focus on the conflict and humanitarian crisis. shown in one of the University's spaces of the UAL PSC's choice.

Head of BBC Trust defends Gaza bias

So the BBC was right not to give into 'external pressure' says Sir Micheal. But it's alright to ingratiate, and fatten, yourself with a bunch of businessmen in Cardiff is it? Someone should remind this knight of the realm that those 40,000 people who brought external pressure to bear by complaining are the people that pay his salary. Sir Michael, I'm sure a university somewhere in the country would be only too happy to invite you to come and have lunch and explain your decision to a more representative gathering of citizens.

From the Telegraph
Sir Michael Lyons told businessmen and women that the BBC faced "undue external pressure" over its refusal to show the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal.

Speaking to the Cardiff Business Club, he said he had supported director-general Mark Thompson's decision despite "intense controversy".

Plymouth University joins the occupation movement

A small group of students start a sit-in at Plymouth Uni yesterday at 5.00pm. They are targeting BAe and have done their research: "Both BAE Systems Land Systems and BAE Systems Airbus are listed as clients of the University of Plymouth - as well as Rolls Royce plc, QinetiQ and Siemens."

Mail messages of support to

From Plymouth Uni blog
We are a group of students concerned about the university's continuing support for Israel's actions in Gaza and the West Bank, indicated by the university's investments with BAE Systems who have sold 236 F-16 fighter planes to the Israeli state, and its silence over the recent atrocities and human rights abuses perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

As a result we have occupied room 202 in the Smeaton Building in solidarity with the people of Palestine and to directly protest against the university's complicity in Israeli war crimes. We are issuing the following demands to the university and we are willing to continue the occupation until they are met.

We demand:
1. That the University of Plymouth issue a statement condemning the recent and continuing atrocities perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza strip. The University should officially denounce the attacks on civilians, the systematic obstruction of humanitarian aid and the targeting of academic institutions, hospitals, places of worship and international peace keeping facilities.
2. That the University of Plymouth cease to invest directly or indirectly in companies complicit in human rights abuses in the Gaza strip and internationally.
3. That no Israeli goods or goods produced by companies that have directly funded the State of Israel be sold on campus.
4. That the University of Plymouth provide complete financial scholarships for six students from Gaza University which has been bombed by the Israeli military.
5. That any surplus educational resources available to the University of Plymouth are provided to Gaza University and that the shipping of these resources be fully paid for by the University of Plymouth.
6. That there be no legal, financial, or academic measures taken against anyone involved in or supporting the occupation. All those involved will be guaranteed free movement in and out of the occupied space, with open access to electricity and internet.
We await your response to organise a formal meeting between delegates of our occupation and with university management to negotiate these demands.

The occupying students of the University of Plymouth

Facebook group

Plymouth University Occupy

From Bradford blog. Plymouth in occupation. More soon.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Israeli officer 'shoed' in Netherlands protest

Throwing shoes at war criminals is now a permanent feature of the arsenal of the pro-Palestinian and anti-war movements.

From ynetnews
Holland: Shoes thrown at IDF officer during speech

Captain (Res.) Ron Edelheit asked to speak to members of Jewish community on situation in Israel and Gaza, gets four shoes hurled at him by three pro-Palestinian protestors before even opening his mouth. Suspects detained; Edelheit tells Ynet, 'Slander is just words – here they crossed the line'

Binyam Mohamed back in UK today says UK intelligence directed torture

Can't wait to hear how UK foreign secretary Miliband tries to explain this one.

From the Guardian
Binyam Mohamed, a former UK resident who is flying home after four years of incarceration at Guantánamo Bay, today accused Britain of involvement in his alleged torture.

"I have to say, more in sadness than in anger, that many have been complicit in my own horrors over the past seven years," he said in a statement his lawyers released shortly before the chartered plane bringing him back from the US detention camp in Cuba was due to land at RAF Northolt, near London.

"For myself, the very worst moment came when I realised in Morocco that the people who were torturing me were receiving questions and materials from British intelligence," he said.

"I have met with British intelligence in Pakistan. I had been open with them. Yet the very people who I had hoped would come to my rescue I later realised had allied themselves with my abusers.

"I am not asking for vengeance, only that the truth should be made known so that nobody in the future should have to endure what I have endured."

Again from the Guardian - His Moroccan experience included the torturers lascerateing his testicles
The full horror of Gitmo inmate's beatings
During medical examinations last week, doctors discovered injuries and ailments resulting from apparently brutal treatment in detention.

Mohamed was found to be suffering from bruising, organ damage, stomach complaints, malnutrition, sores to feet and hands, severe damage to ligaments as well as profound emotional and psychological problems which have been exacerbated by the refusal of Guantánamo's guards to give him counselling.


I think it's important to recognise that, not just Binyam, but also the former Guantanamo detainees who were British citizens have a case against the British government for the illegal detention and complicity in that for false imprisonment, and for the torture that took place of British citizens with the knowledge of the British intelligence services so as I say, watch this space. This case will become bigger as more is brought to light.

Byam Shaw brings some creativity to the party

Byam Shaw are doing it in style over in Archway, north London. I love art schools. They have now taken over the entire building but are not disrupting classes. And they use computers from GazaSolidarity's favourite US corporation, if one can have such a thing - Apple Inc (Steve Jobs is adopted but his birth-father is Syrian).

From Aerobics to artful posters - and some good-looking food, it's all there. This occupation goes directly to matters concerning how the college is run. They have taken their inspiration from the Gaza student occupations.

Lets hope other unis/colleges in turn take their cue from Byam Shaw and start extending demands to the whole gamut of how higher education is run in the UK, which is increasingly as a business. Byam Shaw students are putting a spoke in that wheel.