Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Defence campaign for jailed Gaza protesters galvanising support

Meeting to build support for Gaza activists

by Siân Ruddick

Over 100 people met last Tuesday to build solidarity for people jailed after protesting at Israel’s assault on Gaza last year.

Anti-war and Palestine campaigners joined representatives from community groups and families of some of the defendants.

Some of the accused have been sentenced to two and a half years.

Joanna Gilmore, a researcher who has been following the cases, said, “These are harsh sentences, and are designed to intimidate protesters.”

Campaigning lawyer Imran Khan pledged to organise appeals for all those who want them.

He said, “We have to organise the appeals properly like we did after the Bradford riots. We have to pick the strongest cases first and fight with them.”

The meeting demanded immediate release for all those imprisoned, for the complaints against the police to be upheld and for all those facing trial to have the charges against them dropped.

Imran Khan has organised a meeting for families and lawyers on Wednesday of this week.

Thanks to Socialist Worker (UK)

Rachel Corrie trial opens today as Israeli defence ministry starts to feel the heat

The Rachel Corrie trial opens today with the Israeli defence ministry in the dock.
A 23-year-old American activist stands in front of an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza. The bulldozer drives over her, crushing her to death. These are the facts.

Rachel Corrie, along with colleagues from the International Solidarity Movement, was trying to prevent Israel from bulldozing homes in Rafah, close to the Egyptian border. Her activism cost her her life in March 2003.

A colleague said at the time, "Many times the bulldozer came up to us and buried us with dirt, but they always stopped."

Corrie's parents want to know the truth about their daughter's death, whether the killing was intentional and who is accountable.


Israel apologises to Biden and US for timing, not intent, of settlement expansion annoucement

Of course it's the Palestinian people Israel should be apologising to for continuing to steal their land. Is the Israeli ruling class divided among itself as this seems to be the only way to explain the ineptness of the announcement yesterday of more land grabbing which seemed designed to embarass its most powerful ally - the US?They do have a lot on their plaate to be worryng about - from Iran to Rachel Corrie.
Israel apologised to Joe Biden today for announcing a plan to build 1,600 homes on occupied Palestinian land during his visit, after the US vice-president launched a strongly worded attack on the planned construction in an East Jerusalem settlement.

An Israeli cabinet minister apologised for the timing of the announcement but not for its substance. "This should not have happened during a visit by the US vice-president," the welfare minister, Isaac Herzog, told Army Radio. "This is a real embarrassment and now we have to express our apologies for this serious blunder."


Israel backs down and will let EU's Ashton and UN's Ban into Gaza

Israel backs down and says it will allow EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and UN gen sec Ban into Gaza.
Israel will allow two senior international visitors to enter the blockaded Gaza Strip, in a rare departure from policy, during their upcoming visits to the region, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

Israel has denied almost all international guests entry from its territory to the Hamas-controlled enclave since its offensive there last year in order to isolate the Palestinian Islamist group that calls for the Jewish state's destruction.

The ministry said in a statement that the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, who will visit next week, and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who visits in a few weeks, will be able to go to Gaza.

"In response to the special requests ... Israel has decided to facilitate their entry to the Gaza Strip in order to allow them to get a first hand impression of humanitarian activities taking place in that area," the statement said.