Posts Tagged ‘peace’

Peace Campaigner Brian Haw: 1949-2011

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Brian Haw, 1949-2011

Brian’s family announced that he died on June 18, after a long hard fight against lung cancer, while receiving treatment in Germany, aged 62.

Many of us have seen and met Brian at his Parliament Square Peace Campaign, which started on June 2 2001, a continuous round-the-clock demonstration opposite the Houses of Parliament against the UK’s policy in Iraq and elsewhere.

It was only after Boris Johnson obtained a high court order in March this year that Haw was moved on, ending a near-ten year vigil.

MP Jeremy Corbyn released a statement today:

He stood and camped in Parliament Square for ten years, challenged law and above all reminded MPs daily of the consequences of their decisions, easily made in the warm glow of moral superiority and jingoism, have consequences for our civil liberties and the lives of thousands of innocent people and generations that follow.

A statement on Brian’s website,, said:

Brian showed great determination and courage during the many long hard years he led his Peace Campaign in Parliament Square, during which it is well documented that he was relentlessly persecuted by the authorities which eventually took its toll on his health.

Brian showed the same courage and determination in his battle with cancer.He was keenly aware of and deeply concerned that so many civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine did not have access to the same treatments that were made available to him.

Parliament, the police, and courts etc, should forever be ashamed of their disgraceful behaviour towards Brian.

News reports:

Brian was voted Most Inspiring Political Figure at the 2007 Channel 4 Political Awards:

Reading International Festival 2010 Recap

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We’d like to thank all those that came  to our Reading International Festival events making them such a great success. We hope to see you at our next meeting:

  • Thu 18th November, 8pm: Monthly Branch Meeting
  • Sat 20th November, 12.30pm: Broad Street Stall
  • Thu 16th December, 8pm: READING PSC XMAS PARTY

We hope you consider joining PSC and attending our future events.

If you’d like to share the films and information from these two events with your friends, you’ll find them below. Share this link:

A Steadfast Hope – The Palestinian Quest for Just Peace (27/10/10)

A Steadfast Hope [Youtube link]

Films mentioned/shown in “A Steadfast Hope”:

Interviewees and Organisations:

Mentioned in the Q&A session after the film:

Breaking the Gaza Blockade (21/10/10)

Many thanks to Chris for the informative talk and slideshow about his recent trip to the West Bank. Chris’ talk followed these two films:

Short Film: No Way Through (shown at the London Palestine Film Festival 2010)

Gaza Flotilla Attack: The Truth: [Youtube link]

We hope you enjoyed the events and will share the stories with your friends and family.

Contact us if you have any questions or suggestions…

Power of Women Protest Movements

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In a piece on female protest movements, BBC Radio 4’s ‘Point of View’ mentions the all-woman humanitarian aid ship, the Mariam, heading for Gaza:

True equality will only have been achieved when women are punished as harshly as men for their misdemeanours, says Lisa Jardine in her Point of View column.

(Partial Transcript)

A ship carrying humanitarian aid, “manned” entirely by women, is ready to leave Lebanon on the first leg of its journey to Gaza in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade. Named the Mariam (the Aramaic version of Mary), it has a multi-faith international passenger list, including doctors, lawyers and a group of American nuns.

History is full of unexpected precedents where human behaviour is concerned. Although the Mariam initiative has been dubbed by some a publicity stunt, the historian of 16th and 17th-Century Europe encounters groups of ordinary working women acting in a disorderly manner surprisingly often.


As for their contemporary counterpart – the women sailing on the Mariam – I have little doubt that their intention is to show the world that their attempt to help the beleaguered residents of Gaza is solely humanitarian.

They presumably anticipate a less hostile response from the crews of the Israeli ships sent to intercept them en route than that meted out to their male counterparts. Perhaps we should consider whether we might only have arrived at real equality when women are no longer accorded their traditional licence occasionally to misbehave with impunity.

Read the full transcript at the BBC website… (including a number of comments from listeners/readers)

Netanyahu: I “stopped” Oslo Peace Process

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from the Institute for Middle East Understanding‘s Youtube channel:

In this video, leaked and aired on Channel 10 News in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen speaking candidly back in 2001 at a constituent’s home about the Oslo Accords, the peace process, Bill Clinton, and the United States.

The embedded video starts at 2m15s with English subtitles (the earlier portion is not subtitled in English) – Netanyahu’s “stopped the peace process” line is at 6m09s.

(Thanks to Elly for the link)

A Partner for Peace?

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AJE’s Riz Khan speaks with Uri Davis, the first Israeli Jew to become a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, and Gil Hoffman, the chief political correspondent and analyst for The Jerusalem Post.

The dilemma over settlements in East Jerusalem has created a stalemate in the Middle East peace process, further straining the relationship between Israel and its closest ally, the US.

The Obama administration’s repeated calls for a freeze of all new settlements have been consistently rebuffed by Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, and his right-wing coalition.

Can the Netanyahu government withstand the pressure to move in opposite directions: Those policies demanded by Washington, and those desired by his coalition partners? Can any of the current Israeli leaders – including Tzipi Livni, the Kadima leader, or Ehud Barak, the Labour leader – make the concessions that allow the peace process to move forward?

J Street: It’s Time

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J Street (the pro-Israel, pro-peace lobby group) took out a full page ad in the New York Times yesterday to coincide with the AIPAC meeting:

Click to view full ad...

Friendship between Israel and the United States is based on common interests and shared values. Friendship demands respect for each other’s needs. And, sometimes, friendship means telling hard truths — particularly if we’re going to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a two-state solution.

For the U.S., it’s a matter of national security. So says the commander of American forces in the region, General David Petraeus.

For Israel, it’s existential — the only way Israel can remain both Jewish and democratic. So says its Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

This is no time for a business-as-usual peace process — no time for politics as usual.It’s time for the Obama administration to seize the opportunity for bold leadership — putting concrete plans for a two-state solution on the table with the sustained commitment of the United States behind them.

It’s time for the Palestinians to end incitement to violence.

It’s time for Israel to stop allowing extremist settlers and their sympathizers to endanger not only the friendship of the United States, but also the very future of Israel.

Time is running out.

Follow the Women

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This inspirational charity completed their 5th bike ride last October with nearly 250 women from more than 30 countries travelling through Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine. They were joined by many more local women along the route. Reading PSC attended a talk given by FTW this week.

The Follow The Women cycle ride is the brainchild of 2001 European Woman of the Year and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Detta Regan. In April 2004 she gathered together 270 women from all over the world, including America, Palestine, Britain and Iraq, to ride bicycles for over 300 kilometres through Lebanon, Syria and Jordan to campaign for peace and an end to violence in the region.

“We were told that we would not be able to do it because women do not ride bicycles in the Middle East. They said that the men would throw stones at us and it was too dangerous. That just made us more determined to do it. To show the women in the region that we were not afraid and that we stood with them. In the end the men were giving us flowers and holding out their babies for us to kiss.”

News stories: Pedalling home a message of peace & Inspirational Detta cycles for Middle Eastern peace

If you would like to support them or even join the next trip, scheduled for April 2011, check out their website:

Send Mahmoud to Davos

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The Davos Debate: Your Pitch to the World

Mahmoud Jabari, 18 years old, Palestinian youth activist and Peace Ambassador is talking to the world from the southern West Bank city of Hebron about his work and vision about the future of the world from his eyes, and the way leaders and individual should think in order to rearrange our world and promote peace.

Mahmoud is competing to have the chance to attend the Debates of the World Economic Forum in Davos-Switzerland by the end of January 2010.

Mahmoud needs your VOTES!

Visit YouTube & vote, it’s easy…

Palestinians in Statehood Warning

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Abbas (L), Erekat (R)

Saeb Erekat says it is a “moment of truth ” for President Abbas

Palestinians might have to abandon the goal of an independent state if Israel continues to expand Jewish settlements, the chief Palestinian negotiator said. At a news conference in the West Bank, Saeb Erekat said it was a “moment of truth” for President Mahmoud Abbas.

He said it might be time for Mr Abbas to “tell the truth” that a two-state solution “is no longer an option”. But Israel rejects a one-state solution as a demographic time-bomb that would make Jews a minority in the country. It may be time for President Abbas to “tell his people the truth, that with the continuation of settlement activities, the two-state solution is no longer an option”, Mr Erekat said in Ramallah.

Clinton row

His comments came as the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, sought to defuse Arab anger after she praised Israel at the weekend for making “unprecedented” concessions on settlement-building in the occupied West Bank.

Clinton tries to keep peace alive

Speaking in Cairo after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Mrs Clinton reiterated Washington’s call for an end to Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank. She had earlier praised the Israeli offer to temporarily limit construction in West Bank settlements to 3,000 additional housing units.

But Mr Erekat dismissed the offer, saying it only opened the door to more settlements in the next two years. “Israel has the choice, settlements or peace,” he said. Mr Erekat said Palestinians had made a mistake in the last round of talks by agreeing to negotiate without insisting that Israel settlement building be stopped, but he said this time would be different.

The alternative left for Palestinians was to “refocus their attention on the one-state solution where Muslims, Christians and Jews can live as equals”, he said.

He suggested that President Abbas might not stand for re-election if the two-state solution were no longer an option, the BBC’s Bethany Bell reports from Ramallah. In its push to restart peace talks, US President Barack Obama’s administration initially demanded a complete freeze on Israeli settlement building. But Israel has refused a total halt, particularly in East Jerusalem, where the Palestinians want to locate the capital of a future state.

In September Washington changed tack, pushing for a resumption of negotiations and saying it demanded no preconditions for the talks – a move which disappointed the Palestinians. After meeting Mrs Clinton, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit appeared to have softened his stance on the settlements issue.

Despite backing the Palestinians’ demand for a total freeze last week, he called for a resumption of talks.

“We have to concentrate on the end game and we must not waste time adhering to this issue or that as a start for the negotiations,” he said.

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