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 plymouthunioccupation@gmail.com

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.