Posts Tagged ‘palestine’
We are asking everyone to get involved in lobbying their MPs. There are 650 MPs and we want as many of them as possible to be lobbied directly by their constituents. Let’s make sure they know that Palestine is one of the biggest issues for our Government and Parliament.
This lobby will focus on the need for UK and EU policy to support the implementation of international law by:
- Ending UK support for the occupation and settlements: the UK and EU have failed to stop settlements from benefiting from EU benefits. The EU also funds Palestinian welfare because of the impact of the occupation; these costs should be borne by the occupier. The government should be implementing policies which will lead to the dismantling of all Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
- Action against Israel’s forced expulsions of Palestinians from their lands and homes: The UK and EU must develop robust policies in response to breaches of international law and human rights, to ensure Israel stops committing further violations.
- Insisting on the rights of all Palestinian prisoners under international law.
- Action to protect child prisoners: the UK Government must press Israel to meet its international obligations on the treatment of Palestinian children.
Action not words
As more and more of us become aware of the injustices against Palestinians denied their basic rights, the situation is becoming even more desperate on the ground.
It has never been more important for us to make our elected representatives aware of the growing and unstoppable pressure for peace and justice.
Our government should be playing a leading role in implementing policies to ensure that Israel ends its illegal occupation and respect Palestinian human rights and international law.
The Palestinian foreign ministry has announced that in the coming months, Chile and Paraguay will join the growing number of countries in Latin America recognizing a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Ecuador and Venezuela have all announced support for a Palestinian state in rapid succession in the last month. The LA Times’ Daniel Hernandez writes:
On Saturday, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera met one-on-one with Abbas in Brazil during the inauguration of Dilma Rousseff as Brazil’s first female president. Abbas attended the inauguration in Brasilia to “thank the presidents” that have recognized the Palestinian state, reported the Chilean daily La Tercera.
Chile is home to a significant population of about 350,000 mostly Christian Palestinians. Like many of its neighbors, Chile also has a large Jewish community. A Jewish leader in Chile called the decisions to recognize a Palestinian state “imprudent”.
The declarations have confounded Israel, as none of the South American countries have been directly involved in U.S.-led peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Those negotiations remain deadlocked.
The Palestinian Authority also plans to open an embassy in Ecuador soon, and Pinera plans to visit the West Bank in three months.
Gareth Epps‘, 2010 Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Reading East and new member of the Liberal Democrat Federal Policy Committee, recent post on his blog:
Now, he’s making speeches saying he got it wrong on Israel, speaking to pro-Israeli audiences while giving Palestinian campaigners the cold shoulder (see http://www.ldfp.eu/2010/11/15/mr-clegg-the-lib-dems-and-the-small-case-of-international-law/) and is about to author a change in the Universal Jurisdiction law to protect human rights abusers including representatives of the Israeli regime from attempts to bring them to justice.
I have raised at senior level the dangers of this stance, which runs the risk of unpicking years of carefully balanced and thought-out statements on Israel/Palestine (which in my view and that of many others could have gone a lot further in criticising discrimination and flagrant breaches of international law by successive Israeli governments, which have pandered to and increasingly contain people with outrageous extremist views).
We know that the Conservatives of the major political parties have the most one-dimensional view of this conflict, and will take the side of Israel. That does not legitimise the stance the Coalition government is taking on a fundamental issue of human rights. Rather than believe the spin that the change is ‘technical’, as I have been told by senior Liberal Democrats, I think it’s right to go public on this. Call it Conservative influence in Government, call it what you want, but Universal Jurisdiction is supposed to ensure that there is no hiding place for war criminals. The change of law has been condemned by a cluster of human rights groups including Amnesty who say it “will undermine the capacity of victims of serious international crimes to hold accountable alleged perpetrators who come within the UK’s jurisdiction by making all arrest decisions in such cases subject to political considerations rather than being based on the legal merits. Suspects may therefore find a safe haven in the UK, and the already considerable barriers to bringing such suspects to justice will be heightened.
“Instead of making it more difficult to arrest with a view to prosecuting such suspects, the UK should be seeking to enhance its capacity to do so, and mooted legislative changes are a step entirely in the wrong direction.”
There is no political sense in Nick Clegg pandering to the friends of the Israeli regime. These are people who are not Liberals and who would never consider voting for a party that gives the other side the time of day. He will gain no votes. Indeed, he will lose credibility among the many people such as myself who believe that the Palestinian people are long overdue justice, not collective punishment.
Oh, and Nick? If you’re really serious about being even-handed, then maybe you could answer positively to requests to speak to Lib Dem Friends of Palestine. It’s only fair.
from AJE’s Inside Story:
William Hague, the British foreign minister, has pledged that the UK will quickly amend a law that has allowed pro-Palestinian activists to request arrest warrants for visiting Israeli officials over alleged war crimes.
Activists in Britain have sought the arrest of Israeli officials in the past under the principle of “universal jurisdiction”, which allows courts to prosecute alleged war crimes from elsewhere in the world.
The reassurance came after Israel suspended ‘special strategic dialogue’ with the UK in protest over the law.
But what message is the UK sending to the rest of the world?
Joining Inside Story to discuss this are: Jeremy Corbyn, a member of the British parliament and a founding member of the Stop the War Coalition; Mark Taylor, an international legal analyst; and Dan Schueftan, the director of national security studies at the University of Haifa.
sify.com editor, Ramananda Sengupta, writes in Al Jazeera’s Focus:
“We do have a defence relationship with India, which is no secret. On the other hand, what is a secret is what is the defence relationship. And with all due respect, the secret part of it will remain secret.” – Mark Sofer, Israel’s ambassador to India, in a recent interview given to OutlookIndia.com.
India and Israel were born within months of each other. While the former became an independent state on August 15, 1947, the latter was born on May 14, 1948, following the decision of the United Nations to partition British Mandate Palestine.
India, which had opposed this partition, remained officially cold to the Jewish state. In May 1949, it voted (in vain) against the admission of Israel into the UN. In early 1950, after recognising the state of Israel, a visibly reluctant New Delhi allowed it to set up an “immigration office” in the port city of Mumbai. This eventually morphed into a “trade office” and then into a consulate.
But New Delhi dithered over according full diplomatic recognition to Israel until early 1992, when the two nations formally opened their respective embassies in Tel Aviv and New Delhi.
July 23rd, 2010 • Events, News
Tags: amos trust, baptist, caversham, Centre, checkpoints, church, education, palestine, People, Perspectives, Places, Rev Jeremy Tear, sterile streets, west bank, Wi'am
We’d like to thank Rev Jeremy Tear for holding his talk “People, Places, Perspectives” on Wednesday in Caversham.
Rev Tear is the new Community Priest in Caversham and he recently visited West Bank and Jerusalem as part of an Amos Trust tour. The talk included a slideshow of maps and photos from his trip followed by a lively discussion where both sides were discussed. The event was well attended by parishioners from a number of local churches, Follow the Women and members of Reading PSC.
It’s always interesting to hear the firsthand experience of visitors to Israel/Palestine, you always hear something new. A few standout points from Jeremy’s talk:
- Checkpoints – The checkpoint that he went through looked like a “ferry terminal” where some 5,000 people pass through each morning. Members of his group saw Palestinians from the West Bank starting to queue at 01:00hrs, and though the checkpoint was meant to open at 05:00hrs, it often did not. It took him over an hour to make his way through the checkpoint and said that that was not the ‘rush hour’ when Palestinian men struggled to get through in time to get to work – thus the queuing at 01:00hrs. Jeremy likened the checkpoints to having Reading and Caversham bridge cut off and being forced to queue for hours to get into Reading.
- Zoughbi Zoughbi – a Palestinian Christian who operates the Wi’am Centre (conflict resolution center) in Bethlehem.
- Sterile Streets – Jeremy showed us photographs of “sterile streets” he saw. A “Sterile street” can be created by the Israeli military who can block off any street they choose using metal gates and barbed wire in order to stop people traveling through it. Obviously, if you live on that street you are suddenly unable to enter your own home through the front door and Jeremy showed us the picture of an aged Palestinian woman he met who could only get into her house by climbing a ladder in her neighbour’s back garden.
We had trouble believing this, but here’s an article from February 2010 in which a Rabbi explains that on his visit to Hebron: “The Israeli military had designated the street we were walking a “sterile street,” a street on which only Jews can walk! The Palestinians who lived on the street could not leave their homes through their front doors which were also bolted by the Israeli military.”
- Shunned – Jeremy also informed us that he was guided on his tour by a Jewish lady who had refused to serve in the Israeli military as a conscientious objector. This action had specifically limited her job prospects – it is hard to get a good job in Israel if you have not served in the IDF – and had caused her many in her family and Jewish community to shun her.
- Education – Israeli Jews have a separate education curriculum from non-Jewish Israeli citizens. So Jewish Israeli have one Biology lesson, and non-Jewish Israelis have a different lesson. Even the marking system is different, a Jewish Israeli receives 300 points for writing their name on an exam paper, whereas the non-Jewish Israeli receives on 200.
We hope to organise more events like this in future. If you know of venues or would just like to express you thank to Rev Tear, please make a comment below.
[Updated with corrections from Rev Tear]
Nicholas D. Kristof in the New York Times:
BILIN, West Bank – Despite being stoned and tear-gassed on this trip, I find a reed of hope here. It’s that some Palestinians are dabbling in a strategy of nonviolent resistance that just might be a game-changer.
The organizers hail the methods of Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., recognizing that nonviolent resistance could be a more powerful tool to achieve a Palestinian state than rockets and missiles. Bilin is one of several West Bank villages experimenting with these methods, so I followed protesters here as they marched to the Israeli security fence.
Most of the marchers were Palestinians, but some were also Israeli Jews and foreigners who support the Palestinian cause. They chanted slogans and waved placards as photographers snapped photos. At first the mood was festive and peaceful, and you could glimpse the potential of this approach.
But then a group of Palestinian youths began to throw rocks at Israeli troops. That’s the biggest challenge: many Palestinians define “nonviolence” to include stone-throwing.
Soon after, the Israeli forces fired volleys of tear gas at us, and then charged. The protesters fled, some throwing rocks backward as they ran. It’s a far cry from the heroism of Gandhi’s followers, who refused even to raise their arms to ward off blows as they were clubbed.
(I brought my family with me on this trip, and my kids experienced the gamut: we were stoned by Palestinian kids in East Jerusalem, and tear-gassed by Israeli security forces in the West Bank.)
Another problem with these protests, aside from the fact that they aren’t truly nonviolent, is they typically don’t much confound the occupation authorities.
But imagine if Palestinians stopped the rock-throwing and put female pacifists in the lead. What if 1,000 women sat down peacefully on a road to block access to an illegal Jewish settlement built on Palestinian farmland? What if the women allowed themselves to be tear-gassed, beaten and arrested without a single rock being thrown? Those images would be on televisions around the world — particularly if hundreds more women marched in to replace those hauled away.
“With nonviolent struggle, we can win the media battle,” Mr. Morrar told me, speaking in English. “They always used to say that Palestinians are killers. With nonviolence, we can show that we are victims, that we are not against Jews but are against occupation.”
Mr. Morrar spent six years in Israeli prisons but seems devoid of bitterness. He says that Israel has a right to protect itself by building a fence — but on its own land, not on the West Bank.
Most Palestinian demonstrations are overwhelmingly male, but in Budrus women played a central role. They were led by Mr. Morrar’s quite amazing daughter, Iltezam Morrar. Then 15, she once blocked an Israeli bulldozer by diving in front of it (the bulldozer retreated, and she was unhurt).
Israeli security forces knew how to deal with bombers but were flummoxed by peaceful Palestinian women. Even when beaten and fired on with rubber bullets, the women persevered. Finally, Israel gave up. It rerouted the security fence to bypass nearly all of Budrus.
The saga is chronicled in this year’s must-see documentary “Budrus,” a riveting window into what might be possible if Palestinians adopted civil disobedience on a huge scale. In a sign of interest in nonviolent strategies, the documentary is scheduled to play in dozens of West Bank villages in the coming months, as well as at international film festivals.
I don’t know whether Palestinians can create a peaceful mass movement that might change history, and their first challenge will be to suppress the stone-throwers and bring women into the forefront. But this grass-roots movement offers a ray of hope for less violence and more change.
Read the accompanying blog entry: Palestinian Civil Disobedience
Related: Times of India: Shades of Gandhi in Palestinian movement
Gandhi spoke at length about Palestine, this piece published in 1938:
The Jews In Palestine
By Mahatma Gandhi – Published in the Harijan – 26-11-1938.
Several letters have been received by me, asking me to declare my views about the Arab-Jew question in Palestine and the persecution of the Jews in Germany. It is not without hesitation that I venture to offer my views on this very difficult question.
My sympathies are all with the Jews. I have known them intimately in South Africa. Some of them became lifelong companions. Through these friends I came to learn much of their age long persecution. They have been the untouchables of Christianity. The parallel between their treatment by Christians and the treatment of untouchables by Hindus is very close.
Religious sanction has been invoked in both cases for the justification of the inhuman treatment meted out to them. Apart from the friendships, therefore, there is the more common universal reason for my sympathy for the Jews. But my sympathy does not blind me to the requirements of justice.
The cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me. The sanction for it is sought in the Bible and the tenacity with which the Jews have hankered after return to Palestine.
Why should they not, like other peoples of the earth, make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood?
Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war.
Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home. The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of the Jews wherever they are born and bred. The Jews born in France are French in precisely the same sense that Christians born in France are French.
Gandhiserve.org has a full archive of his words on Palestine here…
Don’t forget the old joke:
Palestinian Joke #134
Question: Where can Israel find the Palestinian Gandhi?
Answer: Exactly where they put him, in administrative detention. (ie. Prison)
Terry Crawford-Browne on Sabbah Report recalls the banking sanctions against apartheid South Africa:
The international banking sanctions campaign in New York against apartheid South Africa during the 1980s is regarded as the most effective strategy in bringing about a nonviolent end to the country’s apartheid system.
The campaign culminated in President FW de Klerk’s announcement in February 1990, releasing Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, and the beginning of constitutional negotiations towards a non-racial and democratic society.
If international civil society is serious about urgently ending Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, including ending the occupation, then suspension of SWIFT transactions to and from Israeli banks offers an instrument to help bring about a peaceful resolution of an intractable conflict. With computerization, international banking technology has advanced dramatically in the subsequent 20 years since the South African anti-apartheid campaign.
Although access to New York banks remains essential for foreign exchange transactions because of the role of the dollar, interbank transfer instructions are conducted through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), which is based in Belgium. So, instead of New York — as in the period when sanctions were applied on South Africa– Belgium is now the pressure point.
Reverend Jeremy Tear will be speaking about his recent trip to Palestine:
I have recently returned from a 10 day study tour to Israel/Palestine with the Amos Trust meeting Christians, Muslims and Jews working for justice and peace including visits to the Holy Land Trust, ICAHD and Sabeel. I will be speaking about my trip at St.John’s Church in Caversham.
Where? St John’s Church, Gosbrook Road, Caversham [map]
When? 7.45 pm Wednesday 21st July, 2010
Read about Rev Tear’s previous visit in November 2006 here…
A new feature with excerpts from a Diary by “Ted from Liverpool”.
Day 8 – Dead Sea to Tel Aviv Airport
This is about travel – we 4 men in a Ford Transit bus – the colour of licence plates identify the nationality of the driver, blue for Israeli, yellow or white for Palestinians. This makes all vehicles readily identifiable to the police and army. When we were nearing the Dead Sea, 400 metres below sea level, we were overtaken by an unmarked car, executive class, something like a Vauxhall Omega. This car pulled in, in front of us, and we then proceeded at a more leisurely pace behind the car and a large goods vehicle in front of that. We were late and our driver saw an opportunity to overtake and did so – we could see it was a bit dodgy as the road unaccountably narrowed just then – but he did it. The driver of the unmarked car, which turned out to be an Israeli policeman, overtook us and flagged us down. Our driver got out and having spoken to the policeman was fined 500 shekels.
This apparently is a routine procedure, not performed upon Israelis, perhaps part of the morale sapping routine – and the creation of income. Abed later asked for a whip round for the driver and we having put up 450 shekels suggested that the driver should pay something as he had been over-ambitious. Abed replied that the driver could ill afford even that and that his brother had been killed by the Israelis – so we put up the full amount, the equivalent of about £90 for a bit of dodgy overtaking.
The day was very warm, something like 350, and we much enjoyed our soak in the Dead Sea. Like an idiot Ted plunged into the sea and swallowed some water and got some in his eyes. I had never tasted anything quite so salty and the salt in my eyes was akin to teargas. Beth was kind enough to pour water from her bottle onto my forehead and this washed out the salt. The women had caked themselves in the mud from the sea bottom and they looked gorgeous – when I got the salt out of my eyes.
Back at Friendship House we were told to be ready to leave at 3.30 although the coach driver had wanted to leave for Tel Aviv at 3pm and was very restive, if not angry. It was clear why when we got to the town of Aizaria where the traffic snarl-up was horrendous – the result of a lack of traffic lights or any traffic control was very clear. However, with great skill, our driver who was also an ambulance driver (he also had been in prison) weaved his way through the traffic and across traffic lanes to find a quiet route and we arrived at Ben Gurion airport in good time.
It was fortunate that we were in good time as our passage through immigration was tortuously slow. In the initial queue we were each asked where we had been and where we had stayed and our passports temporarily taken away – our bags were then given a sticker. On arrival at the usual belt-drive through a scanner our bags went through and we followed them to a rectangular area of desks, inside which were an array of x-ray and other machines, with their operatives. Rob, who is tall and lean and 29 years old was told to put his bags on the desks when a lengthy period of taking out all his clothes, cameras and laptop followed. Ted put his bags on the desk but was told, ‘no need’. Apparently our stickers showed a number – in Ted’s case ‘2’ and in Rob’s case ‘6’. A minute search of all of Rob’s belongings ensued, followed by his being taken away for a strip search – down to his underpants – it took 2 hours from entry into the first queue to our sitting down to a coffee inside the airport. The women of our party fared even worse, all 14 of them – their ages ranging from 22 to 65 – were put through the same rigorous procedure as Rob, but in their case taking 2¾ hours; we later found they all had a ‘6’ sticker on their bags.
Why the rigour – in the case of Ted who got away scott-free, it may have been his age of 74 – in the case of Rob, well he was of an age and strength to be a terrorist? But was anyone less likely to be so than our group of women – they did go through as a group who had attended a Women’s Conference on the West Bank and this was perhaps their undoing. We two men had been told to have no connection with the women at the airport and had been careful not to claim to have stayed in the West Bank.
It was good to get on a BMI flight home and return to Heathrow with no fuss or harassment – but what an adventure.