Thursday, 19 February 2009

Viva Palestina convoy trio released with no charges

From the BBC
Three men, aged 26, 29 and 36, were released without charge after extended questioning by officers.

They were among nine arrested - the other six were released at the weekend.

Security 'priority'

Several homes in Burnley were searched as part of what police said was an "intelligence-led operation".

All the police succeeded in doing was spreading fear and stopping humanitarian aid getting to where it is desperately needed.

Release the convoy detainees now - police have until 9.00pm to hold them

Gaza Solidarity has confirmed with 'corporate communications' at Lancashire Police that they have until 9.00pm today to hold the three persons still in detention after the nine arrests on Friday last week.

A statement from the police will be released later this afternoon or into the early evening. The vehicles they were searching have all been cleared and nothing has been disclosed to the press on the house searches that were conducted in Burnley.

Apparently no one has the slightest inkling what's going on, or rather, in the case of the authorities, what the story is going to be. In fact the Lancashire police spokeswoman says there is a meeting going on right now, with her boss and others, presumably to work out the plot line.

Suffice to say, if the counter-terrorism unit thought they had something it would have been leaked to their friends in the gutter press by now.

This whole episode has been yet another blatant attempt to scare people in the Muslim community away from becoming politically active. The message is: if you donate and actively support a humanitarian convoy for Palestine you could end being a 'terror suspect'.

The best answer to this state repression is to become even more active and organised - it's the best form of defence. The drivers should be released immediately to rejoin the humanitarian aid convoy (now in Morocco) for Gaza.

Hamas sends a letter to Obama

The UN says Hamas has left a letter for US President Barack Obama at the gatehouse of one of its facilities. US senator John Kerry is currently visiting Gaza along with two other members of the US congress.

Egyptian Rafah crossing sit-in by local and foreign activists

From 3arabawy - no English-language links yet
# Jaiku | نشطاء وفنانين اردينين يبدأون بعد قليل اعتصام علي معب رفح بعد منع السلطات المصرية دخولهم - Jordanian artists to start a sit in by the Rafah crossing..
# Jaiku | Local&foreign activists r staging sit-in at Egyptian Rafah crossing,protesting the Gaza siege - Local&foreign activists r staging sit-in at Egyptian Rafah crossing,protesting the Gaza siege
# اعتصام لمجموعة من النشطاء المصريين والأجانب عند معبر رفح - I still don’t have details, but a group of Egyptian and foreign activists are staging a sit-in on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing, protesting the blockade imposed by the Egyptian authorities on the aid destined to Gaza…
# «الحرّة» في عيدها الخامس: «يا خبيبي» على الموضوعية! | جريدة الأخبار - LOOOOL! Fuck Al-Horra indeed..!

UEL, UWE, St Andrews, Byam Shaw and Manchester occupations keep up the pressure for Gaza

University of East London (negotiations have started already), St Andrews in Scotland and Bryan Shaw, part of St Martins, are all now in occupation. VC Alan Gilbert is still refusing to negotiate at Manchester University where students are occupying the John Owen's Building for the 15th day - see their upcoming activities below. At the Universtiy of East Anglia where the occupation has ended the management has kept to its promise and is opening negotiations over the occupiers' demands. And of course, UWE has gone into occupation.
We have had an encouraging wave of support, not only from UEL students and lecturers, but also from members of the Stop the War Society and other universities that have been or still are under occupation for the same cause.

Currently, more than 30 people are in the lecture theatre and we are busy preparing for tomorrow. We are looking to organise film screenings, talks and discussions every day to raise awareness on the issue of Palestine and actively promote our goals. more

As of 12:10PM on Wednesday, the 18th of February, the students of the St Andrews Solidarity with Palestine Campaign occupied Lower College Hall in St Salvator’s Quad in solidarity with the people of Gaza. Our demands are listed below… please come by and sign the petition! more

Byam Shaw Peoples University
We are writing to inform you that as of 16:00 on Wednesday, 18th February, we have been in occupation of the main building at the Byam Shaw School of Art, 2 Elthorne Road. We presented the Principal Mr Alister Warman with a list of demands regarding the service provided within the establishment. more

From Manchester Uni Facebook site
Illan Pappe, Food, and the students' occupation...

Hello everyone.

I'm sure that by now you are all aware that students have been occupying parts of the campus for 15 days now...

-Tomorrow we are helping to organise a meeting with the world renowned Israeli historian Illan Pappe. His books ('the ethnic cleansing of Palestine' being the most famous) are a must read for Palestinian activists. Because of his support for the Palestinians he has decided to leave Israel, and now lectures in England. Tomorrow we get the chance to hear him speak. Don't miss out and come to Roscoe tomorrow at 7.30!

-The apologists for Israel have demanded of the University that we have their security in this meeting. They say there will be anti Semitic speeches happening. This is clearly untrue, and is an attempt to intimidate student activism on campus. Lets make sure that we get as many people as possible to come and hear a passionate pro Palestinain speaker and say that anti-zionism is hear to stay!

Secondly, our occupation needs a little help from all those out there who support Gaza. Our food supplies are a little low at the moment- if people can search in their cupboards and find any food that they can donate it would be great. If you are coming to the Illan Pappe meeting perhaps we could collect it then...thanks.

Anyway, pop around to our stalls outside the union between 11-2, or into the occupation for a catch up if you can :)

Viva Viva Palestina!


Israel abducts villagers - this is what zionism looks like

From ISM
Israeli forces abduct residents of Jayyous during blockade of village

18th February 2009, Jayyous, Qalqilya region: Four international Human Rights Activists from the USA, Sweden and Germany are currently inside the Israeli blockade in the West Bank village of Jayyous, near Qalqilya.

Israeli forces have launched a large-scale military invasion of the village following a series of demonstrations by the village against the Israel’s annexation wall.

"We went to the school just after the Israeli forces had left. Around 90 residents had been taken there, mostly young men. A few were released, but most have been taken somewhere else, no one knows where." more

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Invade Jayyus and attack residents and Internationals, Feb 13 2009. Posted by the International Solidarity Movement

Australian and South African dockers boycott Israel

Sign the petition here:

Workers from the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) in Durban, and Western Australian dock worker members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), are refusing to handle Israeli cargo.

This is a brave and principled response to the Israeli massacre in Gaza, and I would urge you to sign the petition, and get others to do so as well.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has called on "other workers and unions to follow suit and to do all that is necessary to ensure that they boycott all goods to and from Israel until Palestine is free.”

This is an issue that we should all raise in our union branches, and any other area to push for a concerted working class response to imperialist aggression.

From Tottenham SWP

Sign the petition here (Labor For Palestine) as well

New York University occupied as issues spread beyond Gaza

Live video feed from the occupation below:

Live TV by UstreamFrom TakeBackNYU
After a two-year campaign of letter-writing, tabling, flyering, educational events, and even electing a member onto the Student Senate, Take Back NYU! decided to occupy the Marketplace at Kimmel.

Demands as follows:

1. Amnesty for all parties involved.
2. Full compensation for all employees whose jobs were disrupted during the course of the occupation.
3. Public release of NYU’s annual budget and endowment.
4. Allow student workers (including T.A.’s) to collectively bargain.
5. A fair labor contract for all NYU employees at home and abroad.
6. A Socially Responsible Finance Committee that will immediately investigate war profiteers and the lifting of the Coke ban.
7. Annual scholarships be provided for thirteen Palestinian students.
8. That the university donates all excess supplies and materials in an effort to rebuild the University of Gaza.
9. Tuition stabilization for all students, beginning with the class of 2012. Tuition rates for each successive year will not exceed the rate of inflation. The university shall meet 100% of government-calculated student financial need.
10. That student groups have priority when reserving space in the buildings owned or leased by New York University, including, and especially, the Kimmel Center.
11. That the general public have access to Bobst Library.

See Charlie Eisenhood's blog

From the New York Times Live on the web: the NYU occupation

Moroccan people line the streets for Viva Palestina convoy

[22:30 GMT 18 Feb - En route to Fes, in Morocco. Will spend time there waiting for vehicles to catch up. - A great day. Local kids gave us Moroccan flags with messages for Palestinian children. Had meals with the locals in Rabbat]

[A great day. Local kids gave us Moroccan flags with messages for Palestinian children. Had meals with the locals in Rabbat.]

[19:00 GMT People have been donating money in the street; please join them - go to and click "donate" now!]

The Moroccan government has put people up in hotels and provided a police escort as the convoy make its way to Fez. The drivers wrongly arrested by the police in Britian are trying to catch up.

University of the West of England students vote to occupy for Gaza
UWE Students' demands

We demand that the University break all links with companies which supply arms and other services to the Israeli state and IDAF. In order to do this the university should:
Issue a statement condemning the presence of Raytheon on Bristol Business Park, a university joint venture
Conduct a joint audit with the Students Union to identify all investments and business link s and agree a strategy for disinvestment.

In view of the difficulty faced by students in both Gaza and the West Bank, we as students in the UK demand that the university takes steps to provide scholarships to Palestinian students and Israeli students victimised for concentious objection by not joining the IDF as a gesture of solidarity and goodwill. An ongoing commitment should be made to facilitate the higher education of the Palestinian people.

We demand that the management of the university should issue a statement condemning the Israeli bombing of Gaza educational establishments.

University to publicise DEC advert in any way possible (including banner on the website) and put pressure on the BBC and sky to show the DEC advert.

· Support a day of fundraising across campus with the proceeds going to the DEC Gaza appeal.

Immediate boycott and halt to buying any university supplies & equipment from Israeli companies.

To send a public message of solidarity to the Islamic University in Gaza, whose campus has been virtually destroyed, and publish it on the university website and distribute it to the university wide e-mail addresses.

No victimisation for those taking part in the Occupation, and free movement in and out of the occupied spaced.

More pics at Bristol Indymedia

Israeli soldiers cross into Gaza - Palestinians hit back

From AFP
JERUSALEM (AFP) — Palestinian militants on Thursday fired rockets and mortars at southern Israel, the Israeli army said just hours after troops reportedly were involved in a firefight when they briefly entered Gaza.