Saturday, 13 December 2014

BDS Victory! United Auto Workers Local 2865 Supports Divestment

Historic: UAW 2865, UC student-worker union, becomes first major American labour union to support divestment from Israel by membership vote. In solidarity with Palestinian workers and students, voting members approve call for divestment by 65 percent; 52 percent pledged to support academic boycott.

“This is a decisive victory for justice for Palestinians. After months of campaigning, we are inspired that so many members participated in this vote and made their voices heard. This is a testament to our membership’s engagement with matters of social justice. This vote was a first step in our commitment to solidarity with Palestinians under occupation and facing discriminatory laws, and we will continue to take steps to make that solidarity concrete as part of our involvement in anti-racist and anti-colonial struggles broadly.” –Kumars Salehi, member

“We are committed to linking student and labor movements in the United States to student and labor movements in other parts of the world, including Palestine. As student-workers fighting the attacks on education here in California as well as the decades-long crackdown on labor in the U.S. generally, we know that international labor solidarity makes us stronger and we support Palestinian students, workers and broader society in their decades-long struggle against dispossession, occupation and apartheid.” –Loubna Qutami, member

UAW 2865, a labor union representing over 13,000 teaching assistants, tutors, and other student-workers at the University of California, has become the first major U.S. labor union to hold a membership vote responding to the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli occupation and in solidarity with Palestinian self-determination. The vote passed, with 65% (almost 2/3) of voting members in support. Over 2100 members voted, a testament to union democracy.

The measure calls on

1) the University of California to divest from companies involved in Israeli occupation and apartheid;

2) the UAW International to divest from these same entities;

3) the US government to end military aid to Israel.

4) 52 % of voting members also pledged not to “take part in any research, conferences, events, exchange programs, or other activities that are sponsored by Israeli universities complicit in the occupation of Palestine and the settler-colonial policies of the state of Israel” until such time as these universities take steps to end complicity with dispossession, occupation, and apartheid. more

UN: Circumstances of Palestinian official's death 'disturbing'

GENEVA (AFP) -- The UN's human rights chief on Friday said the circumstances of the death of a senior Palestinian official while manhandled by Israeli soldiers this week were "disturbing" and called for a timely and impartial investigation.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein welcomed an investigation launched by the Israeli military into the death of Ziad Abu Ein in the West Bank on Wednesday.

He said the probe needed to be "quick and utterly transparent if people are to have faith in its findings."

"Peaceful protest is a human right and security forces must exercise appropriate restraint when policing protests in accordance with international standards," he added.

"Because of the well-established illegal nature of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, such protests will inevitably continue."

Abu Ein was pronounced dead after the confrontation with Israeli soldiers, which occurred during a march against settlements by about 300 Palestinians who intended to plant olive trees as a symbolic act.

The Palestinian leadership blamed Israel for "killing" the 55-year-old, while Israeli authorities said an investigation had been launched and called for calm.

The UN rights chief also urged a "proper" investigation into the shooting on Wednesday by Israeli troops of a 14-year-old Palestinian boy during a clash at the Jelazoun refugee camp in the West Bank. more

Explosion near French center in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian was injured late Friday in an explosion that occurred near the French Cultural Center in western Gaza City.

Gaza police spokesman Ayman al-Batneiji told Ma'an that the explosion injured one Palestinian.

Al-Batneiji added that the Gaza police, explosives engineering and the criminal investigations department arrived to the area and opened an investigation into the incident.

It was the second explosion that occurred at the same site in less than a month.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the attack, saying that "the side responsible for such a criminal action does not belong to Palestinians as culture is a major part of the Palestinian identity."

The statement added that those responsible for the explosions are "ignorant and do not appreciate the role of culture in the Palestinian national fight." more