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.

From chinanews.cn
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

From chinanews.cn
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: mail@itf.org.uk
Web: www.itfglobal.org

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."

http://www.panoramas.dk/2009/gaza-war.html
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:

occupiedcardiff.blogspot.com

email messages of support: cardiffstudentsagainstwar@gmail.com
cc in David Grant, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff Uni via PA: FarnhamS@Cardiff.ac.uk (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.

OCCUPATION NEWS - day one

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

UPDATE ON LEGAL CASE

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.

MANY THANKS TO THE SEED SWAP ORGANISORS IN BRIZ FOR DONATING THEIR TAKINGS FROM THE FOOD. BRISTOL ABC DESERVE SPECIAL APPRECIATION FOR SHARING HALF THE MONEY FROM THE GIG AT THE PLOUGH WITH US AND GREEK PRISONERS. A BRILLIANT EVENING GUYS.

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 info@hrlegalaid.com

Join the new Facebook Group

Donate to the Gaza Legal Aid Fund via Paypal on www.hrlegalaid.com

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 info@hrlegalaid.com

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: www.togaza.net

Email: info@togaza.net

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.