Sunday, 24 August 2014

Palestine supporters block Israeli ships in Washington and Los Angeles


Following a four-day long port blockade action in Oakland, California, in which activists delayed and blocked an Israeli ship from unloading its goods, Palestine supporters in Tacoma, Washington and Los Angeles, California have continued the action on Friday and Saturday by blocking two ships from the Israeli Zim line.

The activists are following a call from hundreds of Palestinian civil society groups to boycott Israeli goods, as part of a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions aimed at pressuring Israel through economic means to comply with its obligations under international law, and end its attacks and discrimination against the Palestinian people.

Protesters coordinated their actions with the start and stop times of the shifts of dockworkers, most of whom are unionized with the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse workers Union). They hoped that, by forming a picket line in front of the port entrances, they would be able to create a situation in which the unionized workers would be able to say that crossing the picket could endanger their safety. If that condition exists, the union workers are permitted to go home without carrying out the work of unloading the ship.

This happened on a number of the shifts during the four-day long blockade in Oakland and, apparently, occurred for several of the shifts at the port of Los Angeles and the Port of Tacoma as well. The ships only have a few days in which they can remain in port in order to keep their schedule, so, there is a good possibility that, because of the delays and ‘health and safety’ issues, many of the goods on the ships were not unloaded at all.

Among those participating in the port blockade in Tacoma, Washington are the parents of the late Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003, at the age of 23, while standing in front of a Palestinian doctor’s home to try to stop the Israeli military from demolishing it. more

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