Saturday, 9 August 2014

London sees biggest ever protest in support of Palestinians, 200,000 march in South Africa

More than 150,000 people marched through London today, Saturday, in Britain’s biggest protest ever against Israel’s oppression of Gaza. They came on coaches, trains and minibuses from round the country. The march gathered outside the BBC, angry at the appalling coverage of Israel’s massacre of nearly 2,000 Palestinians.

It finished with a mass rally in Hyde Park. The march took an hour and three quarters to arrive. The park was a sea of Palestinian flags.

More than 3,000 also protested in Edinburgh. They marched to Bute House, the first minister’s residence. For two hours they held a sit-down protest blocking the city’s main shopping street, Princes Street.

Today has been called a Day of Rage for Gaza across the world. Up to 200,000 also marched in Cape Town, South Africa, drawing parallels between Israel and the apartheid regime. Demonstrators also marched in Delhi.

Safia Hibah from Isleworth, west London, was on the London march. She told Socialist Worker, “The story the news is telling us is different to the reality of little kids being bombed. Is the government blind to what is going on? Why do they keep arming Israel?”

There were banners from Palestine Solidarity groups and Stop the War groups. Trade union banners and flags mixed with football fans waving “Gooners” and Everton banners. Demonstrators ranged from elderly marchers leaning on sticks to children whose faces were painted with the colours of the Palestinian flag.

Ferrial Abu-rabi is half-Palestinian. She told Socialist Worker, “I’ve been going on Palestine demos for many years. But the quantity and the diversity of people make this completely different. People who didn’t even know Palestine existed are speaking out.”

Some placards simply stated the name and age of a child killed by the Israeli bombardment. Many protesters raised support for the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to isolate Israel internationally.

Philipa Harvey from the National Union of Teachers spoke to the crowd as the march assembled outside the BBC. She promised the union will “stand with the people of Palestine. Schools in Gaza must become safe places again.”

Other speakers brought solidarity from unions including Unite, Unison and Aslef.

Daud Abdullah from the British Muslim Initiative said, “The resistance is alive, it’s healthy and it’s stronger than ever. more

3 Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli airstrikes killed three Palestinians in the Gaza Strip late Saturday, a health ministry spokesman said.

Ashraf al-Qidra said warplanes targeted a group of people in Deir al-Balah, killing 37-year-old Mahmoud Muhammad al-Jourani.

Earlier, an airstrike hit a civilian car in the al-Barazil neighborhood in eastern Rafah, killing Said Atif Tamraz, 26, and Muhammad Adil al-Ayidi, 28.

Eight Palestinians have been killed by Israeli attacks on Saturday, as warplanes continue to target various sites across Gaza.

The latest deaths bring the number of Palestinians killed in Israel's 33-day offensive on Gaza to 1,914. Some 9,861 Palestinians have been injured throughout the assault, according to the Ministry of Health.

The United Nations says at least 1,354 of the dead were civilians, including 447 children. more

Another casualty of Israeli war: Palestinian right to education

By Al-Shabaka
Al-Shabaka is an independent non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and foster public debate on Palestinian human rights and self-determination within the framework of international law.

This policy brief is authored by Aimee Shalan and Samer Abdelnour. Aimee Shalan is the director of the Friends of Birzeit University, a UK-based charity that supports the right to education and its role in the wider development of Palestinian society, and Samer Abdelnour is an assistant professor at the Rotterdam School of Management.

All eyes are on the terrible toll of dead and injured and the extensive destruction -- as well as the dire humanitarian situation of the population under siege in Gaza.

But less attention is being paid to the longer-term damage caused by the current Israeli crackdown throughout the occupied Palestinian Territory that is having far-reaching and detrimental consequences for the development of Palestinian society as a whole.

Israeli attacks on Palestinian universities and other educational institutions are a case in point. They have greatly increased since the military crackdown began in June. The already scant and biased Western media coverage of this crackdown, however, has meant that these attacks, which have also targeted students and faculty, have gone largely unreported with little effort to hold Israel accountable for its violations of Palestinians' right to education.

The Palestinian Education Ministry condemned Israel's repeated bombing of educational institutions after 10 schools sustained damage during air raids on Gaza in June. Weeks later, the United Nations reported 90 schools damaged and in need of repairs due to the bombardment. A technical college was also one of the many civilian institutions targeted in Gaza by the Israeli military, despite international appeals for a cease-fire. more

Shoppers use app to boycott Israel in grocery store aisles - download now!

From Forbes - When young California-based developer Ivan Pardo launched smartphone app Buycott last year, users at first seized upon its technology to avoid putting coins in the coffers of the conservative billionaire Koch brothers.

Everyday shoppers using iPhones or Android devices could scan the barcode of, say, Brawny paper towel or Dixie cups and trace the corporate ownership of both kitchen cupboard staples to Koch Industries , the conglomerate run by the politically active (and thereby controversial) industrialists Charles and David Koch.

Other popular user-generated Buycott campaigns at the time of its launch included Demand GMO Labeling, allowing shoppers to scan a box of cereal and instantly see if it was made by one of 36 corporations that donated more than $150,000 to oppose the mandatory labeling of genetically modified food.

Today, more than a year since the app first gained ground, Buycott’s fastest-growing campaigns are those allowing shoppers to avoid products deemed to support Israel. (app link)

As the Israel-Gaza conflict has intensified in recent days, Buycott has seen a surge in users joining groups with names like ‘Avoid Israeli Settlement Products’ and ‘Long Live Palestine Boycott Israel.’

The latter was created in April by a British teenager, but floundered with a few hundred members through mid-July. It now counts over 220,000 shoppers as users, with its numbers climbing daily. By way of contrast, a user-created campaign to boycott Nestle for alleged human rights abuses has 57,000 members. more

Arms factory occupation and Palestine protests heap pressure on Cameron

From Socialist Worker (UK) - The occupation of an Israeli-owned drone factory in Staffordshire came to an end last night as police scaled the roof to arrest the protesters.

The occupation began around 5am on Tuesday morning when a group of campaigners from London Palestine Action descended on UAV Engines Limited. UAV builds engines for drones and is a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest arms company.

The protesters chained the factory gates closed and occupied the roof, unfurling a “UK: Stop Arming Israel” banner. They demanded the factory was closed down and all military aid to Israel stopped immediately.

The protesters remained defiant until the end chanting “brick by brick, wall by wall, Israeli apartheid’s gonna fall” as they were arrested and taken from the roof.

The police cordoned off the area around the factory. But on Tuesday and Wednesday people from the surrounding area came to show solidarity with the occupation.

Local activists protested outside Stafford Police station today, Thursday, demanding the release of the occupiers.

The occupation came in the midst of protests across Britain this week building up to major demonstrations this Saturday in London and Edinburgh.

Vigils were held in Lancaster, Barnstaple and Dudley attracting up to 300 people. A protest outside the BBC in Belfast was boosted by the appearance of hip hop group Public Enemy.


The strength of the solidarity movement has forced a number of councils around Britain to agree to fly the Palestinian flag over their council chambers – the latest being Glasgow City Council who will raise the flag tomorrow, Friday.

On Monday a Jewish woman burned her Israeli passport outside Downing Street in an emotional protest against Israel’s massacre in Gaza.

Other activists have organised mass leafleting of train stations, workplaces and mosques around Britain to build the biggest demonstrations possible and fill local transport.

Saturday’s demonstrations have the potential to heap further pressure on the British government. Tory prime minister David Cameron is looking more isolated on this issue. more

Gaza Calling: All out on Saturday 9 August Day of Rage

Gaza Calling: All out on Saturday 9 August Day of Rage

Join the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Movement today. Demand Sanctions on Israel Now.

As we face the full might of Israel’s military arsenal, funded and supplied by the United States and European Union, we call on civil society and people of conscience throughout the world to pressure governments to sanction Israel and implement a comprehensive arms embargo immediately.

Take to the streets on Saturday 9 August with a united demand for sanctions on Israel.

From Gaza under invasion, bombardment, and continuing siege, the horror is beyond words. Medical supplies are exhausted. The death toll has reached 1813 killed (398 children, 207 women, 74 elderly) and 9370 injured (2744 children, 1750 women, 343 elderly). Our hospitals, ambulances, and medical staff are all under attack while on duty. Doctors and paramedics are being killed while evacuating the dead. Our dead are not numbers and statistics to be recounted; they are loved ones, family and friends.

While we have to survive this onslaught, you certainly have the power to help end it the same way you helped overcome Apartheid and other crimes against humanity. Israel is only able to carry out this attack with the unwavering support of governments – this support must end. This is our third massacre in six years. When not being slaughtered, we remain under siege, an illegal collective punishment of the entire population. Fishermen are shot and killed if they stray beyond a 3 km limit imposed unilaterally by Israel. Farmers are shot harvesting their crops within a border area imposed unilaterally by Israel. Gaza has become the largest open-air prison, a concentration camp since 2006. This time, we want an end to this unprecedented crime against humanity committed with the complicity and support of your own governments! We are not asking for charity. We are demanding solidarity, because we know that until Israel is isolated and sanctioned, these horrors will be repeated.

Email us your pictures and action details to more

Israeli soldiers kill another unarmed Palestinian protester in Hebron

Palestinian medical sources in Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, have reported that a young Palestinian man died Saturday, at dawn, of a serious injury suffered Friday, after Israeli soldiers opened fire at local protesters in the city.

The slain Palestinian, Nader Mohammad Edrees, 40, was shot by a live round to the heart.

The sources said the soldiers fired rounds of live ammunition, gas bombs and concussion grenades at scores of protesters in the Bab az-Zaweya area, in the center of the city, causing dozens of injuries, including 25 shot and injured by rounds of live ammunition.

Doctors at the al-Mezan Medical Center in Hebron, performed a heart surgery in an attempt to save the live of Edrees, and administered 40 units of blood, but he succumbed to his serious wounds around 2 after midnight.

Prayers and the burial ceremony will be held Saturday, in Hebron.

Edrees was shot during a massive nonviolent protest against Israel's aggression against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and it's ongoing violations in the West Bank.

At least forty Palestinians were injured in the Israeli military attack, some by live rounds and, the rest, by rubber-coated metal bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades. more

Renewed Israeli bombardment kills 5 in Gaza Saturday morning

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip early Saturday left at five Palestinians dead and dozens injured, as a series of strikes overnight hit homes, mosques, and a sports club on the second day after the end of a 72-hour ceasefire.

The strikes, which come on the 33rd day of a massive Israeli assault that has left more than 1,890 Palestinians dead and more than 9,837 injured, come as negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli delegations stalled, despite reports Friday that both side were close to an agreement.

Egypt, which is mediating between Israelis and Palestinians, insisted negotiations were making progress and urged a new truce but Israel recalled its delegation and warned it would not negotiate under fire.

The head of the Palestinian delegation in Cairo said they were committed to achieving a truce.

"We told the Egyptians (mediators) we are sitting here to achieve a final agreement that restores the rights" of Palestinians, Azzam al-Ahmed told reporters.

Hamas and the Islamic Jihad group had rejected another 72-hour truce, accusing Israel of stalling. more