Sunday, 17 May 2009

Commemorating the Nakba

Stop the Wall Campaign's weekly newsletter:

from the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
Newsletter 6 - May 17th, 2009

The Nakba at 61

Remembering 61 years of Nakba
On May 15, Palestinians officially commemorated 61 years of the Nakba. From May 14 – 16, activities and demonstrations were organized across historic Palestine. This photo story features images from the '48 and the West Bank, including the central demonstrations, anti-Wall protests, and other activities. [MORE]

Remembering Basem Abu Rahma

Friday protests and a Saturday funeral
This Friday, Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahma was martyred in Bil’in, where he was shot during a protest. Soldiers also attacked several other anti-Wall demonstrations in the West Bank, wounding scores of people. In these past months, the deaths of Abu Rahma, along with Arafat Khawaja, Mohammed Khawaja, Ahmed Mousa and Youssef Amirah are not isolated examples of “unauthorized fire” or protocol breach, but rather reflect a violent, institutionalized military policy. [MORE]

Young man martyred in Bil'in
Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahma was martyred this afternoon in Bil’in when he was shot at close range by a high velocity tear gas canister at the weekly demonstration against the Wall. This is the second time soldiers have fired on unarmed demonstrators from a lethal range in the past two months. [MORE]

37 injured in protests following the killing of Abu Rahma

Anti-Wall demonstrations this week commemorated the life of Basem Abu Rahma, who was killed last week in Bil’in. Several were detained and at least 37 were wounded in Ni’lin, Bil’in, Jayyus and al-Ma’sara. 25 of the wounded are residents of Bil’in, where a memorial was set up on Friday for Abu Rahma. Youth in Jayyus have also reported that soldiers have started using only live ammunition against village demonstrations. [MORE]

Basem Abu Rahma
Abdullah Abu Rahma, coordinator for the popular committee in Bil’in, recently spoke to us about Basem Abu Rahma. Basem had participated in actions against the Wall since they began in the village in 2005 until 17 April, 2009, when he was martyred at age 31 during his last protest in Bil’in. Abdullah described Basem's life in the village and detailed the day he was killed. [MORE]

Canadian demonstration for Abu Rahma
On May 8, activist groups in Montreal organized a demonstration to commemorate Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahma, and to express continued solidarity with the struggle against the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank. [MORE]

Free the Ma'sara prisoners!

Four al-Ma’sara popular committee members arrested
This week, anti-Wall demonstrations held to commemorate the first of May were met with violence and organizers arrested. Occupation forces attacked a May Day festival and demonstration in al-Ma’sara, injuring nine people and arresting the village popular committee. Soldiers also fired upon residents in Bi’lin and tried to break the protest in Ni’lin, where they occupied homes in the early morning. [MORE]

Protests for the Ma’sara prisoners
Nearly 20 people were injured in protests against the Wall this Friday, several of which were held in solidarity for the five activists who were arrested in al-Ma’sara last week. In addition to a large demonstration in the Bethlehem area, the demonstrations in Ni’lin and Bil’in also called for their release. The people of Bi’lin themed the weekly action around “Occupation Flu”, and a demonstration was also held in Jayyus. [MORE]

Release the Palestinian Activists Arrested in al-Ma’sara!
After arrests and injuries on Workers Day, the Bethlehem branch of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) and the popular committees against the Apartheid Wall in al Ma'sara and the district call on trade unions around the globe to increase solidarity and join the BDS call. [MORE]

Fighting the Wall in Jayyus

The struggle for land in Jayyus
The Wall has had a devastating effect on the 4,000 residents of Jayyus, separating the farmers from 75 percent of their agricultural land. Villagers describe the permit system, the rerouting of the Wall, attempts at forcing local youth to act as collaboraters, and the ongoing Friday demonstrations. [MORE]

The village of Jayyus asks Norway to divest from Lev Leviev’s Companies
"Leviev is destroying the olive groves and farms that have sustained Jayyus and other Palestinian villages for centuries, profiting from human rights abuses and violating international law. We call on the government and people of Norway to end Norway’s relationship with Leviev’s companies due to their construction of Israeli settlements." [MORE]

Youth break through the Wall in Jayyus
Last night youth from the village of Jayyus broke through the Wall in the village. A small group then proceeded to the site where the new path is being constructed, destroying and setting fire to building materials. Occupation forces responded by raiding the village, where they remained into the early hours of the morning. [MORE]

Checkpoints tighten throughout the West Bank

Checkpoint assaults in Jenin, Qalqilya
In separate incidents last week, soldiers in isolated ghettos in Jenin and Qalqilya assaulted Palestinians passing through checkpoints. These attacks reflect a wide-spread practice of harassment, itself part of a broader strategy aimed at furthering silent transfer and cleansing particular areas of their Palestinian populations. [MORE]

Checkpoints along the Wall to be computerized
Earlier this week, Occupation authorities announced their intentions to computerize the permit system that controls West Bank Palestinians’ access to ’48 Palestine. This move increases the control exercised over the Palestinian population, adding to the hardships faced by workers and further sealing off Jerusalem. These high-tech additions also create space for the growth of particular sectors of Israeli industry, in turn increasing their strength in the international defense and homeland security markets. [MORE]

New checkpoint another obstacle for isolated residents in ‘Azzun 'Atma
The siege on 75 isolated villagers of ‘Azzun 'Atma has tightened in the past weeks, and permit restrictions continue to make life difficult for children, business owners and workers. Occupation forces appear to be expanding the checkpoint that the isolated residents must pass through to reach their village, indicating that movement restrictions will tighten further. [MORE]

More news:
Hundreds to be affected in Hebron demolitions
This month in Jerusalem
Two shot and hospitalized on Friday
‘Azzun fence destroys trees, isolates land
Student shot with live bullets at Land Day protest

Two new BDS resources

Two separate briefings have been released addressing the Norwegian Pension Fund’s investment in Israeli companies. One looks at IEC, Nesher, and Emblaze, while the second is a detailed report about on Israeli arms supplier Elbit Systems. Both demonstrate that the actions of the above firms run contrary to the Fund’s ethical guidelines and demand divestment. [MORE]

Worldwide Activism

Legal activism in Europe
A growing number of lawyers and activists are utilizing European courts to prosecute Occupation military figures for war crimes. In Spain, an older case is moving forward, while in Norway a new war crimes investigation is beginning. UK lawyers have also expressed interest in pursuing this track, despite efforts by the British government to dissuade them from doing so. This legal activism is being utilized not only to prosecute war criminals, but also to push forward divestment by targeting companies like Veolia and Alstom which are engaged in violations of international law. [MORE]

South-south solidarity grows in Latin America
Throughout Latin America, activists, civil society groups, and community organizers came together on March 30th to commemorate Land Day and to participate in the first annual Global BDS Day of Action. From north to south, the entire continent was involved in launching boycott campaigns, lobbying governments and the UN, and engaging in wide-scale awareness raising activities. These actions continue Latin America’s strong trend of solidarity with the Palestinian people, which has become especially visible in the past several months. [MORE]

Protesting the arms trade in Brazil

Merchants of war visiting Brazil for the Latin American Aerospace and Defense (LAAD) Trade Show were met with a noisy protest made up of social movements, unions, student organizations, left parties and other popular organizations. The LAAD Fair showcased some of the biggest global names in war profiteering from across the world, including Elbit Systems, Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI), Rafael Advance Defense Systems, and Israel Military Industries (IMI). [MORE]

Building the boycott of Veolia/Connex and Motorola
On March 30, local boycotts against Connex and Motorola were launched respectively in Melbourne and New York City, building on larger, established campaigns. The boycott of Connex and Veolia for their roles in the Jerusalem light rail has achieved a series of victories in Europe, while the Motorala boycott is a nation-wide initiative of the US Campaign to End the Occupation. The expansion of the two into local contexts not only serves to expand the reach and awareness of the BDS movement, but also has the potential for concrete victories. [MORE]

Italy rallies for BDS

The first annual Global BDS Day of Action, which coincided with Land Day on 30 March, was a major success in Italy, where several campaigns and initiatives were launched and awareness-raising activities took place throughout the country. This has been the largest mobilization in Italy to date, marking a milestone for BDS in the country [MORE]

More WWA:
BDS Newsletter #14 - April 2009
BDS Newsletter #13 - March 2009
Major Canadian retailer to consider boycott motion
Scottish trade union federation backs BDS
Visit the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign web site.

Israel's collective punishment only allows import of 30 to 40 commercial items

Israel allows only food, medicine and detergent into the Gaza Strip. Thousands of items, including vital products for everyday activity, are forbidden.

Altogether only 30 to 40 select commercial items are now allowed into the Gaza Strip, compared to 4,000 that had been approved before the closure Israel imposed on Gaza following the abduction of Gilad Shalit, according to merchants and human rights activists.

The number of items changes according to what is determined by The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. COGAT has refused the PA representative's request for an updated list of the items permitted into Gaza in writing, and passes the information only via the telephone.

Gaza merchants are forbidden to import canned goods, plastic sheeting, toys and books, although the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and other aid organizations are permitted to bring them into the strip.