Sunday, 17 May 2015

Freedom Theatre UK tour kicks off despite right-wing media attacks

A UK tour by Palestine’s Freedom Theatre started successfully in Manchester last night, despite scurrilous attacks from right-wing British newspapers.

According to a spokesperson for the tour’s support group in Manchester, around 600 tickets had been sold for the two nights The Siege, a production by the Jenin-based drama group, is running there.

And although the Manchester venue allowed Zionist Federation members to hand out leaflets after the play, no attempts were made to disrupt it.

Further performances are scheduled for Colchester, London, Leeds, Hastings, Frome, Birmingham, Nottingham, Halesworth and Glasgow.

The Siege is based on interviews with Palestinians who took refuge in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem during Israel’s spring 2002 invasion, and who were besieged there for six weeks.

The Daily Mail, a right-wing paper with a long history of both anti-Semitic and anti-Palestinian slurs, launched an attack on the tour under the headline: “UK taxpayers fund ‘pro-terrorist’ play: £15,000 of public money given to show based on the words of Hamas killers.”

The article calls the play “unashamedly one-sided” and quotes unsubstantiated claims by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, a standard voice in attempts to silence Palestinian narratives. more

Israeli forces chase 5-year-old with 'skunk water'

QALQILIYA (Ma'an) -- Amateur photographer Ahmad Nazzal captured Israeli forces spraying 'skunk water' at a Palestinian child during the Kafr Qaddum weekly march in the occupied West Bank on Friday.

Five-year-old Muhammad Riyad appears standing in front of Israeli forces wearing a Palestinian Keffiyeh before the forces begin chasing him with skunk water, the boy eventually falling to the ground.

The foul-smelling liquid has been used by the Israeli military as a form of non-lethal crowd control since at least 2008 and can leave individuals and homes smelling like feces and garbage for weeks.

Skunk water was developed by Israeli company Odortec Ltd. in conjunction with the Israel policeand is generally sprayed from specially designed trucks up to a range of 30-40 meters, according to Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem.

Israeli army spokesperson has reported that skunk contains "organic material and has been approved for use by the Israeli Ministry of the Environment and the Chief IDF Medical Officer," although the exact contents of the rancid liquid have been contested, B'Tselem says.

The rights group documented regular use of skunk water by Israeli forces, and has accused the forces of using the substance for collective punishment, citing instances of Israeli security forces driving skunk trucks down the streets of villages known for active demonstrations and spraying the substance into residents' homes. more