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Stand with Palestinian workers in Gaza: a call for trade union solidarity

Wed, 30/07/2014 - 5:33pm

The Palestinian trade union movement, with support from with support from the Congress of South African Trade Unions and its affiliates, is unanimously calling on trade unions internationally to take immediate action to stop the Israeli massacre in Gaza and hold Israel to account for its crimes against the Palestinian people.

In the two weeks of the latest Israeli military aggression in the Gaza strip, whole families have been wiped out, and over 600 Palestinians have been killed, almost 80% of them civilians and a third of them children. Over 1.8 million Palestinians are trapped in an occupied and besieged small piece of land that Israel has turned into an open-air prison, subject to daily bombardment by Israeli rockets and heavy artillery. For seven years, Palestinians in Gaza have been under a brutal and illegal siege whose purpose is to destroy the conditions of life and break the spirit of the people. The siege and the recurrent bombing have created a humanitarian catastrophe, with critical shortages of water, food, and medical supplies. Freedom of movement, the right to education and access to health services have been extensively denied by the Israeli occupation.

Israel’s goal in this latest aggression against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is to perpetuate the occupation. This year we mark ten years since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the construction of Israel’s wall and its associated regime in the occupied Palestinian West Bank – of settlements, land confiscation, separate roads, permit systems and movement restrictions – is illegal under international law. Yet in ten years the international community has allowed Israel to continue construction on occupied territory and continue its system of occupation, apartheid and colonialism against the Palestinian people.

While governments prevaricate and allow Israel to act with utter impunity, and most of the mainstream media parrots Israel’s Orwellian propaganda, civil society solidarity is the only force that can help stop the ongoing slaughter of our people and send them a message that they are not alone, exactly as effective international solidarity had done in supporting the struggle for freedom in apartheid South Africa. In the face of this international inaction, we, the Palestinian trade unions, call on trade unions around the world to take urgent measures, and in particular to intensify Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, until it complies with international law.

We ask you to consider the following actions:

  1. Stop handling goods imported from or exported to Israel,
  2. Divest your trade union pension — and other — funds from Israel Bonds as well as from corporations and banks that complicit in Israel’s occupation and human rights violations,
  3. Dissociate from Israeli trade unions which are complicit in the occupation
  4. Support our call for a military embargo on Israel
  5. Share information with your members about the siege and destruction of Gaza and ask your members to boycott Israeli products and to share their knowledge with family, co-workers, and friends.

Today more than ever, solidarity with Palestinians workers and their families in Gaza and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory is an essential component of progressive, principled trade union politics. Given the complete failure and unwillingness of governments to hold Israel accountable to international law there is widespread recognition that Israel’s occupation must be isolated by the pressure of civil society.

We rely on our brothers and sisters in the trade union movement internationally to continue a proud tradition of international solidarity and to stand with us as you stood with the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

Issued by the following Palestinian trade unions:
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions-Gaza
General Union of Palestinian Workers
Union of Professional Associations
Federation of Independent Trade Unions

With the support of:
Congress of South African Trade Unions

Freedom and justice For Gaza: Boycott action against 7 complicit companies

Fri, 25/07/2014 - 4:54pm

Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid is once again committing heinous massacres on the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Israel enjoys criminal impunity because of the direct support from governments in the North America and Europe but also from corporations that are implicated in the Israeli occupation and egregious human rights violations.

There are dozens of companies that play an active and ongoing role in facilitating Israeli apartheid. In light of the exceptionally bloody massacres Israel is currently committing in Gaza, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) suggests to BDS activists and every conscientious person and organization around the world to target the following 7 companies as a matter of urgency.

READ MORE: Read our Get Involved page for more ideas on companies to boycott and ways to get involved in the Boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement

1. Hewlett Packard (HP)

IT company Hewlett Packard is involved in various Israeli violations of international law through providing the Israeli occupation forces with a vast range of IT services and infrastructure solutions.

This includes the operation of an ID system installed in Israeli military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, and the administration of the IT system of the Israeli Navy that enforces the naval blockade of Gaza and that is deeply involved in committing war crimes in the ongoing aggression on Gaza.

By providing such significant support to the Israeli military, HP is an active accomplice to Israel’s siege on Gaza. That’s why the Presbyterian Church USA and the Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation (FFC) have divested from the company.

Take action:
- Boycott HP consumer products. Don’t buy HP laptops, printers or ink cartridges!
- Sign the petition calling on HP CEO Meg Whitman to end the company’s collaboration with the Israeli military
- Campaign for divestment from HP and for the company to be excluded from public contracts. Get in touch for ideas on how to get started.

2. Caterpillar

Caterpillar bulldozers are regularly used in the demolition of Palestinian homes and farms, and the Israeli army has used unmanned Caterpillar bulldozers in the 2008-09 attacks in Gaza. A CAT bulldozer was also used by Israel in killing US activist Rachel Corrie in Rafah in 2003. The Presbyterian Church USA, the Quaker Friends Fiduciary Corporation (FFC) and the Church of England have all divested from Caterpillar.

Take action:
Boycott Caterpillar consumer products such as shoes, bags and tools!
- Campaign for divestment from Caterpillar. Get in touch for ideas on how to get started.

3. SodaStream

While not directly implicated in Israel’s on-going attack in Gaza, home drink carbonation machines produced by SodaStream are one of Israel’s most visible and widely advertised exports. Tax revenue from SodaStream sales help to fund Israel’s attack on Gaza.

SodaStream operates in the illegal Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in the occupied West Bank, and the company’s plan to open a factory inside Israel beside Rahat, a planned Palestinian Bedouin township in the Naqab (Negev) desert, amounts to participation in Israel’s plans to forcibly displace at least 40,000 Palestinian Bedouins into townships.

John Lewis in the UK recently became the latest retailer to stop stocking SodaStream products and protests forced a SodaStream store in Brighton, UK, to close recently. The company’s share price has fallen by 50% in the past year, especially since a scandal over actor Scarlett Johansson’s association with the brand.

Take action:
- Boycott all SodaStream products and call on retailers not to stock them!
- Organise a demonstration or flashmob at a retailer near you that sells SodaStream products. Check out Codepink’s action guide for ideas.

4. Elbit Systems

Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest military company. It provides a wide range of equipment and services to the Israeli military, including surveillance equipment used in Israel’s illegal Wall and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), known as drones. Elbit Systems armed drones are widely used by the Israeli military and were documented as being used in attacks on unarmed civilians during the 2008-09 assault on Gaza.

According to Palestinian human rights organization Al Mezan Center, armed drones killed more than 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza in the period 2000-2010. Palestinian and international human rights organisations have reported numerous attacks on Palestinians by drones during the current attack on Gaza.

Elbit Systems markets its drone technology across the world as ‘field tested’. Countries that have procured UAVs from Elbit include Australia, Canada, Croatia, France, Georgia, Mexico, Singapore, Sweden, the UK, Brazil and USA.

The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund and more than a dozen European banks have divested from Elbit Systems.

Take action:
- Sign the call for a military embargo on Israel
- Call on UK bank Barclays and on pension funds to divest from Elbit Systems

5. Israeli banks (including Hapoalim and Leumi)

© Oren Ziv/ActiveStills

Israel’s private banks provide the financial infrastructure for all activities of companies, military bodies, governmental agencies and individuals in the continuing occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territory and provide significant financing to the construction of illegal Israeli settlements and the on-going colonisation of Palestinian land.

Israeli banks have severed their contractual connections with the Palestinian banks in Gaza and stopped providing any and all services to them. Given the way in which the Palestinian economy is dominated by and dependent on the Israeli economy, this had a devastating impact on the local Gazan economy.

A number of European pension funds including Dutch pension giant PGGM, the Luxembourg sovereign wealth fund and Denmark’s biggest bank Danske Bank have already divested from Israeli banks.

Take Action:
- Send a Tweet to Dutch Pension giant ABP calling on them to divest from Israeli banks that fund the Israel occupation and settlements
- Campaign for your own pension fund or any institution you are a part of to divest from Israeli banks. Get in touch for ideas on how to get started.

6. G4S

G4S is a British security company that provides a wide range of equipment and services to the Israeli government and military including to Israeli checkpoints and to prisons where Palestinians, including many children, are held without trial and subjected to torture.

G4S provides equipment used in Israeli-run checkpoints at the Erez crossing between occupied Gaza and Israel, thereby directly assisting Israel’s siege on Gaza.

The international campaign against G4S has cost the company millions of dollars in contracts with universities, charities and other public bodies and has seen the Bill Gates Foundation, the United Methodist Church and others divest from the company.

In response, G4S has recently claimed that it will end some aspects of its role in Israeli apartheid and has stated it intends to end its role in Israel’s prisons by 2017, yet the campaign against the company must continue until its complicity in Israeli apartheid verifiably comes to a complete end.

Take action:
- Add your name to the open letter calling on G4S to end its support for Israeli apartheid and colonialism
- Campaign for your G4S to be excluded from public contracts. Get in touch for ideas on how to get started.

7. Mekorot

Click to view a larger version of this infographic on Israel’s water apartheid

Mekorot is Israel’s national water company and illegally appropriates Palestinian water, diverting it to illegal Israeli settlements and towns inside Israel, and imposes severe obstacles to Palestinians accessing their own water.

Mekorot is part of the Israeli occupation complex that denies Palestinians access to their fair share of aquifers that should be shared between Israel and Gaza. Palestinian and international organisations in Gaza are warning that Gaza’s water crisis is being rapidly escalated by the on-going assault on Gaza.

Mekorot is now seeking to export its discriminatory water practises and is bidding to take over water supplies all across the world as they are being privatised. Authorities in Argentina, Netherlands and Portugal have cancelled cooperation deals with Mekorot following BDS pressure.

Take action:
- Share this fact sheet on Mekorot
- Campaign for Mekorot to be excluded from local authority contracts. Get in touch for more info and ideas

READ MORE: Read our Get involved page for more ideas on companies to boycott and ways to get involved in the BDS movement

Green groups condemn Israeli attack on Gaza

Sun, 20/07/2014 - 1:55pm
Friends of the Earth International, along with many other Civil Society Organisations, condemns the attacks against the besieged people of Gaza

18 July, 2014

 

For 10 days, the Israeli army has continued to intensify its bombings of the Palestinian territory of the Gaza strip, causing the death of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including children. The Israeli army has now launched a land invasion which will undoubtedly lead to an even greater loss of Palestinian lives.

We, social movements, climate justice organisations, popular organisations, NGOs, youth, women and Indigenous groups representing millions of citizens of every colour, creed, nationality and religious belief and those with none – from Latin America, Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and the Middle East meeting in Venezuela at the Social preCOP gathering of global civil society on the climate crisis – are united in condemning these horrific attacks against the besieged men, women and children of Gaza.

 

 

We call on the international community to press for the cessation of this wave of deadly violence and the immediate lifting of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. We call on our fellow citizens and people’s organisations to add their voices to the countless millions already protesting in the streets of every capital in revulsion at this attack by the Israeli state.

Today, the Israeli state began a land invasion against Gaza, afflicting the people of Gaza, subject to an illegal and inhumane blockade since 2007, with new bombings, deaths and destruction including that of a five-month-old child killed in Rafah within hours of the beginning of the invasion.

We deplore all civilian casualties and we consider that, as the occupying force under international law, the State of Israel bears responsibility.

No one has forgotten the massacres perpetrated by the same Israeli army during the operation “Cast Lead” in 2008-2009, resulting in the death of nearly 1,500 Palestinians and that the same excuses were put forward by the Israeli government to justify this murderous attack.

The Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu has systematically worked towards wrecking the legitimate desire of the Palestinian people for an independent Palestinian State and an end to decades of Israeli Occupation.

Any chance of peace goes hand in hand with the international community bringing Israel’s impunity to an end and a global campaign of boycotts, disinvestment and sanctions until Israel abides by the relevant UN resolutions.

As the inspirational anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Tutu said.
“In South Africa, we could not have achieved our democracy without the help of people around the world, who through the use of non-violent means, such as boycotts and divestment, encouraged their governments and other corporate actors to reverse decades-long support for the apartheid regime.
The same issues of inequality and injustice today motivate the divestment movement trying to end Israel’s decades long occupation of Palestinian territory and the unfair and prejudicial treatment of the Palestinian people by the Israeli government ruling over them.”

We, here at this gathering of global civil society, are working together to stop the climate crisis – and hold a belief in an equitable, sustainable and just world. As part of our belief that ‘another world is possible’ we know that we will not be free until Palestine is free.

End the attack on Gaza Now!

Signed

Friends of the Earth International/Amigos de la Tierra Internacional
Articulacion continental de movimientos sociales hacia el ALBA – ALBA Movimientos
REDES – Amigos de la Tierra Uruguay
International Climate Justice Alliance
Grupo Excursionista Ecologico Ambientalista Yaracuy
Earth in Brackets
Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development
Jubilee Sur America
Amigos de la Tierra America Latina y Caribe
World March of Women
Nora Morales de Cortinas – Madre de Plaza de Mayo Linea Fundadora
Centro Martin Luther King de Cuba
Movimiento de Los Trabajadores Rurales Sin Tierra
Third World Network
Institute of Policy Studies, Climate Policy Programme
IBON International
LDC Watch
Dialogo 2000 – Jubileo Sur Argentina
Colectivo Viento Sur de Chile
Movimiento de los Pequenos Agricultores MPA – Brazil

Nobel peace laureates and celebrities call for military embargo on Israel

Sat, 19/07/2014 - 12:20pm

An abridged version of this letter calling for the UN and governments to impose a military embargo on Israel was published in the Guardian on July 19 2014.

The letter is signed by six Nobel peace laureates: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Rigoberta Menchú and Betty Williams. 

Other signatories include Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters from Pink Floyd, playwright Caryl Churchill, US rapper Boots Riley, João Antonio Felicio, the president of the International Trade Union Confederation, and Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions. 

TAKE ACTION NOW - add your name to the call for a military embargo

Nobel laureates, artists and public intellectuals call for immediate military embargo on Israel

“With the establishment of a relationship of oppression, violence has already begun. Never in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed. …There would be no oppressed had there been no prior of violence to establish their subjugation.”Paulo Freire

Israel has once again unleashed the full force of its military against the captive Palestinian population, particularly in the besieged Gaza Strip, in an inhumane and illegal act of military aggression. Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza has so far killed scores of Palestinian civilians, injured hundreds and devastated the civilian infrastructure, including the health sector, which is facing severe shortages.

Israel’s ability to launch such devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world.

Over the period 2009-2019, the US is set to provide military aid to Israel worth $30bn, while Israeli annual military exports to the world have reached billions of dollars. In recent years, European countries have exported billions of euros worth of weapons to Israel, and the European Union has furnished Israeli military companies and universities with military-related research grants worth hundreds of millions.

Emerging economies such as India, Brazil and Chile, are rapidly increasing their military trade and cooperation with Israel, despite their stated support for Palestinian rights.

By importing and exporting arms to Israel and facilitating the development of Israeli military technology, governments are effectively sending a clear message of approval for Israel’s military aggression, including its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Israel is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of militarized drones. Israel’s military technology, developed to maintain decades of oppression, is marketed as “field tested” and exported across the world.

Military trade and joint military-related research relations with Israel embolden Israeli impunity in committing grave violations of international law and facilitate the entrenchment of Israel’s system of occupation, colonisation and systematic denial of Palestinian rights.

We call on the UN and governments across the world to take immediate steps to implement a comprehensive and legally binding military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed on South Africa during apartheid.

Governments that express solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza, facing the brunt of Israel’s militarism, atrocities and impunity, must start with cutting all military relations with Israel. Palestinians today need effective solidarity, not charity.

Signed by:

Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Nobel Peace Laureate, Argentina
Ahdaf Soueif , Author, Egypt/UK
Ahmed Abbas, Academic, France
Aki Olavi Kaurismäki , film director, Finland
Alexi Sayle, Comedian, UK
Alice Walker, Writer, US
Alison Phipps, Academic, Scotland
Andrew Ross, Academic, US
Andrew Smith, Academic, Scotland
Arch. Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate, South Africa
Ascanio Celestini, actor and author, Italy
Betty Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate, Northern Ireland
Boots Riley, Rapper, poet, arts producer, US
Brian Eno, Composer/musician, UK
Brigid Keenan, Author, UK
Caryl Churchill, playwright, UK
China Mieville, Writer, UK
Chris Hedges , Journalist, Pulitzer Prize 2002, US
Christiane Hessel, , France
Cynthia McKinney, Politician, activist, US
David Graeber, Academic, UK
David Palumbo-Liu, Academic, US
Eleni Varikas, Academic, France
Eliza Robertson, Author,
Elwira Grossman, Academic, Scotland
Etienne Balibar, philosopher, France
Federico Mayor Zaragoza, Former UNESCO Director General, Spain
Felim Egan, Painter, Ireland
Frei Betto, Liberation theologian, Brazil
Gerard Toulouse, Academic, France
Ghada Karmi , Academic , Palestine
Gillian Slovo, Writer, Former president of PEN (UK), UK/South Africa
Githa Hariharan, Writer, India
Giulio Marcon, MP (SEL), Italy
Hilary Rose, Academic, UK
Ian Shaw, Academic, Scotland
Ilan Pappe, Historian, author, Israel
Ismail Coovadia, former South African Ambassador to Israel
Ivar Ekeland, Academic, France
James Kelman, Writer, Scotland
Janne Teller, Writer, Denmark
Jeremy Corbyn, MP (Labour), UK
Joanna Rajkowska, Artist, Poland
Joao Felicio, President of ITUC, Brazil
Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate, US
John Berger, artist, UK
John Dugard, Former ICJ judge, South Africa
John McDonnell, MP (Labour), UK
John Pilger, journalist and filmmaker , Australia
Judith Butler, Academic, philosopher, US
Juliane House, Academic, Germany
Karma Nabulsi, Oxford University, UK/Palestine
Keith Hammond, Academic, Scotland
Ken Loach, Filmmaker, UK
Kool A.D. (Victor Vazquez), Musician, US
Liz Lochhead, national poet for Scotland, UK
Liz Spalding, Author,
Luisa Morgantini, former vice president of the European Parliament, Italy
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, Ireland
Marcia Lynx Qualey, Blogger and Critic, US
Michael Lowy, Academic, France
Michael Mansfield, Barrister, UK
Michael Ondaatje, Author, Canada/Sri Lanka
Mike Leigh, writer and director, UK
Mira Nair, filmmaker, India
Monika Strzępka, theatre director, Poland
Naomi Wallace, Playwright, screenwriter, poet, US
Nathan Hamilton, Poet ,
Noam Chomsky, Academic, author, US
Nur Masalha, Academic, UK/Palestine
Nurit Peled, Academic, Israel
Paola Bacchetta, Academic, US
Phyllis Bennis, Policy analyst, commentator, US
Prabhat Patnaik, Economist, India
Przemyslaw Wielgosz, Chief editor of Le Monde Diplomatique, Polish edition, Poland
Rachel Holmes, Author, UK
Raymond Deane, composer, Ireland
Raja Shehadeh, Author and Lawyer, Palestine
Rashid Khalidi, Academic, author, Palestine/US
Rebecca Kay, Academic, Scotland
Richard Falk, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestinian Territories, US
Rigoberta Menchú, Nobel Peace Laureate, Guatemala
Robert Ballagh, artist, Ireland
Robin D.G. Kelley, Academic, US
Roger Waters, Musician, UK
Robin Yassin-Kassab, Writer, UK
Roman Kurkiewicz, journalist, Poland
Ronnie Kasrils, Former minister in Mandela’s gov’t, South Africa
Rose Fenton, Director, the Free Word Centre, UK
Sabrina Mahfouz, Author, UK
Saleh Bakri, Actor, Palestine
Selma Dabbagh, Author, UK/Palestine
Sir Geoffrey Bindman, Lawyer, UK
Slavoj Zizek, Philosopher, author, Slovenia
Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, Academic, France
Steven Rose, Academic, UK
Tom Leonard, Writer, Scotland
Tunde Adebimpe, Musician, US
Victoria Brittain, Playwright and journalist, UK
Willie van Peer, Academic, Germany
Zwelinzima Vavi, Secretary General of Cosatu, South Africa

Palestine campaigners welcome Dublin City Council motion calling for end to attacks on Gaza and for arms embargo & trade sanctions on Israel

Fri, 18/07/2014 - 2:28am

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) today welcomed Dublin City Council’s unanimous passing of a motion calling for an end to both the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza in which at least 184 Palestinian have been killed and the Israeli-imposed illegal siege of the coastal strip, as well as calling upon the Irish government to push for an arms embargo and trade sanctions on Israel.  The motion also condemned the use of Administrative Detention, a form of internment without trial, by the Israeli state. The full text of the motion is below.

 

IPSC Chairperson Martin O’Quigley welcomed the resolution saying, “This motion is timely and necessary. As Israeli unleashes its third attack on the captive population of 1.8 million Palestinian people in Gaza in under six years, once again committing gross violations of international law, it continues to evade sanction. Motions such as this one, which listen to the call from Palestinian civil society for sanctions on the Israeli state, are to be welcomed and celebrated. The international impunity gifted to Israel emboldens that state to continue carrying out atrocities. By calling specifically for Israel’s suspension from the Euro-Med agreement which grants it trading privileges with Europe, and for an arms embargo, Dublin City Council has taken a very welcome step towards helping end that impunity.”

 

Mr O’Quigley concluded by pointing out that “what is particularly important about this motion is that it mandates city councillors to follow up with the Irish government in relation to its demands. The IPSC congratulates Dublin City Council for unanimously adopting this principled position with regard to ongoing Israeli crimes and human rights abuses, and in particular thanks Councillor Tina McVeigh for moving the motion.”

 

Mr. O’Quigley continued, stating that “we are pleased to see the council also takes a strong stand against the practice of Administrative Detention, or indefinite internment without trial, both recognising its illegality under international law, including the Geneva Conventions, and calling for its immediate cessation. The varied methods of Israeli oppression, from collective punishment to internment to assassinations to home demolitions, form parts of a whole system of brutal structural violence perpetrated against the Palestinian people by an Apartheid state that seeks only to colonise land and crush all forms of resistance to that colonisation.”

 

Cllr. Tina McVeigh, who tabled the motion, said, “Israel’s acts of mass violence against the Palestinian people are always the subject of great public and moral outrage, condemned by many democratically elected institutions, however, Israel is never held to account. This motion is important as it condemns Israel’s perpetual use of illegal activities such as Administrative Detention and collective punishment, while calling on the Irish government to take concrete action. Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, including in Ireland, have taken to the streets demanding an end to the reign of terror, the siege and for sanctions to be imposed on Israel.”

 

FULL TEXT OF THE MOTION (Proposed by Cllr. Tina Veigh – People Before Profit Alliance)

 

Dublin City Council

 

-Recognizing that this is the third massive attack on largely defenceless civilian population of 1.8 million people in 5 and half years in which 162 Palestinians have been killed, of whom 137 are civilians, including 34 children and 28 women, and 1,058 others wounded, mostly civilians, including 332 children and 212 women;
- Noting that at least 125 Palestinian political prisoners were on hunger strike for over 60 days in Israeli prisons in protest at their conditions and the occupation’s use of Administrative Detention orders to imprison Palestinians;
- Recognising that Administrative Detention is a form of internment “without charge or trial for periods of up to six months, which can be renewed repeatedly”;
- Noting that Israeli Administrative Detention violates international laws including the Geneva Convention and that Amnesty has said that the policy “violates the right to a fair trial”, has been used “to trample on the human rights of detainees for decades”, and is used to “suppress the legitimate and peaceful activities of activists”;
- Noting that Amnesty says many prisoners “have suffered torture and other ill-treatment during interrogation, as well as during their detention, sometimes as punishment for hunger strikes or other protests”, and that the Israeli government is trying to implement legislation that will allow force feeding of hunger strikers, a practice condemned by the World Medical Association;
- Noting that Amnesty has said that “Israel must release all Palestinians held under long-standing administrative detention laws or charge and try them promptly and fairly”;
-Recognising  that a fair trial is unlikely under the Israeli military court system which has a 99.74% conviction rate for Palestinians, and which Amnesty has said does “not meet international standards for fair trial”;

 

This Council

 

- Expresses a message of solidarity to those Palestinian political prisoners currently held under Administrative Detention;
- Condemns, and calls for the immediate end of, the use of Administrative Detention by Israeli occupation forces and the immediate and unconditional release of all such detainees;
- Condemns any measure that will allow the force-feeding of hunger strikers;
- Calls upon the Irish government to make the same demands, and to use it’s influence to condemn the current imposition of collective punishment upon the protected people of Palestine by the Israeli state.
-  calls for an immediate end to Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza as a vital precondition to a lasting ceasefire agreement;
- reiterates our 2010 call for an end to the illegal Israeli-imposed siege of Gaza;
- reiterates our 2010 call for the EU to suspend Israel from the Euro-Med preferential trade agreement, Article 2 of which state that the “provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement”;
- joins the international call from Palestinian civil society and human rights organisations like Amnesty International for an arms embargo of Israel;
- commits to send a delegation from DCC of the Lord Mayor and Councillors to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to encourage the Irish government to take concrete and immediate action in relation to the above;

 

ENDS

For further information contact [NOT FOR PUBLICATION]

 

Kevin Squires, Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign – 087 741 3580
Cllr. Tina McVeigh, People Before Profit Alliance – 086 871 5293

Urgent call from Gaza civil society: Act now!

Sun, 13/07/2014 - 5:15pm

Palestinians mourn victims of Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, 12 July.

We Palestinians trapped inside the bloodied and besieged Gaza Strip call on conscientious people all over the world to act, protest and intensify the boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israel until it ends this murderous attack on our people and is held to account.

With the world turning their backs on us once again, for the last four days we in Gaza have been left to face massacre after massacre. As you read these words, over 120 Palestinians are dead now, including 25 children. Over 1,000 have been injured including countless horrifying injuries that will limit lives forever –- more than two thirds of the injured are women and children.

We know for a fact that many more will not make it through the next day. Which of us will be next, as we lie awake from the sound of the carnage in our beds tonight? Will we be the next photo left in an unrecognizable state from Israel’s state-of-the-art flesh-tearing, limb-stripping machinery of destruction?

We call for a final end to the crimes and oppression against us. We call for:

  • Arms embargos on Israel, sanctions that would cut off the supply of weapons and military aid from Europe and the United States on which Israel depends to commit such war crimes;
  • Suspension of all free trade and bilateral agreements with Israel such as the EU-Israel Association agreement;
  • Boycott, divestment and sanctions, as called for by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society in 2005

Without pressure and isolation, the Israeli regime has proven time and time again that it will continue such massacres as we see around us now, and continue the decades of systematic ethnic cleansing, military occupation and apartheid policies.

We are writing this on Saturday night, again paralyzed in our homes as the bombs fall on us in Gaza. Who knows when the current attacks will end? For anyone over seven years old, permanently etched on our minds are the rivers of blood that ran through the Gaza streets when for over three weeks in 2009 over 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including over 330 children.

White phosphorous and other chemical weapons were used in civilian areas and contaminating our land with a rise in cancers as a result. More recently 180 more were killed in the week-long attacks in late November 2012.

This time what? 200, 500, 5,000? We ask: how many of our lives are dispensable enough until the world takes action? How much of our blood is sufficient? Before the Israeli bombings, a member of the Israeli Knesset Ayelet Shaked of the far-right Jewish Home party called for genocide of the Palestinian people.

“They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes,” she said. “Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.” Right now nothing is beyond the murderous nature of the Israeli State, for we, a population that is mostly children, are all mere snakes to them.

As said Omar Ghraib in Gaza, “It was heart shattering to see the pictures of little boys and girls viciously killed. Also how an elderly woman was killed while she was having her iftar at Maghreb prayer by bombing her house. She died holding the spoon in her hand, an image that will need a lot of time to leave my head.”

Entire houses are being targeted and entire families are being murdered. Early Thursday morning the entire al-Haj family was wiped out — the father Mahmoud, mother Bassema and five children. No warning, a family targeted and removed from life. Thursday night, the same again, no warning, five more dead including four from the Ghannam family, a woman and a seven year old child amongst them.

On Tuesday morning the Kaware family did get a phone call telling them their three-story house would be bombed. The family began to leave when a water tank was struck, but then returned with members of the community, who all came to the house to stand with them, people from all over the neighborhood.

The Israeli jets bombed the building with a roof full of people, knowing full well it was full of civilians. Seven people died immediately, including five children under 13 years old. Twenty-five more were injured, and eight-year-old Seraj Abd al-Aal succumbed to his injuries later that evening.

Perhaps the family was trying to appeal to the Israeli regime’s humanity, surely they wouldn’t bomb the roof full of people. But as we watch families being torn apart around us, it’s clear that Israel’s actions have nothing to do with humanity.

Other places hit include a clearly-marked media vehicle, killing the independent journalist Hamed Shehab, injuring eight others, a hit on a Red Crescent rescue vehicle and attacks on hospitals which caused evacuations and more injuries.

This latest session of Israeli barbarity is placed firmly in the context of Israel’s inhuman seven-year blockade that has cut off the main life-line of goods and people coming in and out of Gaza, resulting in the severe medical and food shortages being reported by all our hospitals and clinics right now.

Cement to rebuild the thousands of homes destroyed by Israeli attacks had been banned and many injured and ill people are still not being allowed to travel abroad to receive urgent medical treatment which has caused the deaths of over 600 sick patients.

As more news comes in, as Israeli leaders give promises of moving onto a next stage in brutality, we know there are more horrors yet to come. For this we call on you to not turn your backs on us. We call on you to stand up for justice and humanity and demonstrate and support the courageous men, women and children rooted in the Gaza Strip facing the darkest of times ahead. We insist on international action:

  • Severance of diplomatic ties with Israel
  • Trials for war crimes
  • Immediate international protection of the civilians of Gaza

We call on you to join the growing international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign to hold this rogue state to account that is proving once again to be so violent and yet so unchallenged.

Join the growing critical mass around the world with a commitment to the day when Palestinians do not have to grow up amidst this relentless murder and destruction by the Israeli regime.

When we can move freely, when the siege is lifted, the occupation is over and the world’s Palestinian refugees are finally granted justice.

ACT NOW, before it is too late!

Signed by:

Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
University Teachers’ Association in Palestine
Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (Umbrella for 133 orgs)
General Union of Palestinian Women
Medical Democratic Assembly
General Union of Palestine Workers
General Union for Health Services Workers
General Union for Public Services Workers
General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers
General Union for Agricultural Workers
Union of Women’s Work Committees
Pal-Cinema (Palestine Cinema Forum)
Youth Herak Movement
Union of Women’s Struggle Committees
Union of Synergies—Women Unit
Union of Palestinian Women Committees
Women’s Studies Society
Working Woman’s Society
Press House
Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
Gaza BDS Working Group
One Democratic State Group

Petition to Neil Young: Don’t Play Israel!

Thu, 10/07/2014 - 4:26pm

Canadian musician Neil Young is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on July 17. As noted by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), Neil has been an “eager speaker in favor of the rights of the indigenous First Nations in Canada and has “vividly defended their right to resist oppression and exploitation.”

“Why would you accept to perform in a country that is so deeply involved in war crimes and human rights violations?” the PACBI letter added.

Now that Israel has launched a huge campaign of collective punishment against Palestinians, join us in calling on Neil Young to cancel his scheduled performance in Israel.

Effective BDS actions more important than ever to support Palestinians in Gaza and hold Israel to account

Thu, 10/07/2014 - 3:55pm

Smoke seen over the sky of Gaza following an Israeli air strike, July 8, 2014. © Yotam Ronen/ActiveStills

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Occupied Palestine, 10 July – In light of the on-going brutal military assault on Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) calls on supporters of human rights to take effective actions, particularly in the shape of BDS campaigns, to show solidarity and pressure Israel to end its regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid.

In particular, we urge people of conscience to intensify their pressure on governments to impose a military embargo on Israel and to suspend free trade and bilateral agreements with it until it fulfils its obligations under international law. Governments across the world must be held to account for their complicity with Israeli crimes. As South African Nobel laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

Exactly ten years ago the International Court of Justice ruled that the international community had a legal obligation to end Israel’s grave breaches of peremptory norms of international law. A decade later, governments continue to enable an environment of Israeli impunity.

This lack of accountability has encouraged Israel to first unleash its racist violence on Palestinians in the West Bank, most notably in Hebron and Jerusalem, and now in Gaza. Since Tuesday, Israel’s occupation forces have killed more than 80 Palestinians and injured hundreds in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip. Israel’s indiscriminate air, land and sea bombing of the world’s most densely populated zone, which has annihilated whole families and devastated civilian homes and infrastructure, amounts to war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Our people in Gaza hold are steadfastly holding against one of the most powerful armies in the world, and Palestinians in the West Bank, especially in Jerusalem, and across Israel are rising up in protests against Israel’s unfolding massacre.

Nine years on from the historic Palestinian call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS), issued by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian society on July 9 2005, the BDS movement has opened the most crucial and empowering space for effective international solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

Significant recent BDS-related developments include:

• The Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to divest its holdings from HP, Motorola Solutions and Caterpillar due to their complicity in the Israeli occupation and denial of Palestinian human rights.

• Private security company G4S announced it is considering ending its role in Israel’s prison system after grassroots campaigning cost the company millions of dollars in contracts and persuaded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Methodist Church to divest from the company.

• Dutch pension giant ABP divested from two Israeli arms companies, following on from similar decisions by other major institutional investors across Europe and North America.

• Major UK retail chain John Lewis stopped stocking SodaStream and a SodaStream shop in Brighton closed following high profile campaigns over SodaStream’s role in illegal settlements in the West Bank and ethnic cleansing in the Naqab desert inside Israel.

• 17 European governments have issued guidance warning businesses to avoid links with illegal Israeli settlements following civil society campaigning.

Aware of the way in which BDS is raising awareness of Palestinian rights and eroding the international support on which its impunity depends, Israel today views BDS as a “key strategic threat” to its regime of oppression. Even the White House is now warning that Israel faces increasing isolation.

Grassroots BDS actions and strategically-developed campaigns are therefore urgently needed to hold Israel to account and stop this and future assaults on the Palestinian people in Gaza and elsewhere.

Effective international solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for rights spells BDS!

It is time to end Israel’s impunity! Join the BDS movement now!

Mobilize for an immediate military embargo and an end to free trade and bilateral agreements with Israel!

 

17 EU members take action against corporate complicity with Israeli crimes

Mon, 07/07/2014 - 5:47pm

- Measures are welcome but Israel’s persistent human rights violations must be met with more impactful consequences

At least 12 more European governments published online guidance warning their citizens and businesses about risks involved in trade and other economic links with illegal Israeli settlements on Thursday and Friday, bringing the total number of countries to publish such advice to 17.

The statements warn businesses about the economic, legal and reputational “risks” of economic ties with illegal Israeli settlements and state that firms should be aware of the “possible abuses of the rights of individuals” such transactions may contribute to.

The announcements are part of a wider effort coordinated among European states prompted by lobbying by civil society organisations such as the European Coordination of Associations for Palestine and MEPs, who have been arguing that governments should do more to prevent European firms from trading with or providing services to illegal Israeli settlements.

Rafeef Ziadah, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee said:

“European governments are starting to respond to civil society lobbying and public opinion by taking welcome steps to end corporate complicity with Israel’s settlement regime.”

“Hopefully these announcements will contribute to the quickly shifting attitudes towards illegal settlements among investors and businesses, and European firms such as G4S, CRH and Volvo will end their participation in Israel’s settlement regime.”

“But against the backdrop of Israel’s continued collective punishment of Palestinians and its on-going efforts to colonise Palestinian land, these new steps seem disproportionately weak.”

“Israel’s complete disregard of basic human rights and its sabotage of every effort to reach a just peace based on international law must lead to real, not just cosmetic, consequences.”

“By maintaining its association agreement and deep relations with Israel, the European Union sends a clear message to Israel that it can continue to act with impunity. The EU should suspend its association agreement with Israel until it complies with international law.”

“We call on all governments across the world to meet their legal and moral obligations to hold Israel to account. They should implement a binding ban on economic links with settlements, impose a military embargo and suspend free trade agreement with Israel.”

“Governments must implement the ruling of the International Court of Justice and meet their legal obligation to not recognise or assist Israel’s settlement regime. At a minimum, these means a legally binding ban on economic links with Israeli settlements.”

The International Court of Justice ruled Israel’s apartheid Wall and settlement regime to be illegal ten years ago this Wednesday. The ruling also stated that states have a responsibility to hold Israel accountable and to not provide Israel’s illegal acts with assistance or recognition.

Tougher action needed to tackle corporate complicity

The 12 countries to publish guidance this week in a move coordinated at EU level are Portugal, Austria, Malta, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Greece, Slovakia, Belgium and Croatia.

France, Italy and Spain published similar guidance last week, while the UK and the Netherlands took similar steps last year.

Many European companies directly participate in Israel’s violations of international law. UK security firm G4S supplies services and equipment to Israeli checkpoints and prisons, while Irish company CRH provides materials used in the construction of Israel’s illegal Wall and settlements, for example.

Ziadah spokesperson added:

“The guidance published by EU countries is a welcome but non-binding step. European governments must do more to prevent corporations headquartered in their country from participating in Israeli crimes, including by proactively addressing the worst cases of corporate abuses of Palestinian rights and prosecuting companies that help Israel to violate international law.”

“The impact of these measures is further undermined by the fact that other economies are still lacking even these first, basic steps to reduce complicity in the Israeli settlement enterprise. The BNC is concerned about Israeli announcements to shift investments and exports to emerging markets in the global south.”

In September, the Dutch government intervened to stop engineering firm Royal HaskoningDHV from becoming involved in a settlement infrastructure project, an example Palestinian campaigners say other countries should follow.

In June of last year, the European Union implemented new guidelines stating that the EU cannot recognise Israeli sovereignty in the occupied Palestinian territories and preventing entities based in settlements from receiving EU grants and Israeli bodies with operations in settlements from applying for EU loans.

Civil society campaigning forces firms to address complicity

On Friday, Dutch pension giant ABP divested from two Israeli military companies, becoming the latest in a long line of European funds to exclude companies over their participation in Israeli crimes.

UK high street chain John Lewis announced last week that it shall no longer stock products from SodaStream, an Israeli company that operates in an illegal Israeli settlement, while a SodaStream shop in Brighton in the UK has been forced to close after 2 years of weekly demonstrations by local campaigners.

Campaigning pressure has persuaded some retailers now refuse to stock produce of illegal Israeli settlements and exports of fresh produce from settlements to Europe have dropped by up to 50%. But many retailers continue to trade with companies that operate in illegal Israeli settlements.

British security firm G4S last month announced that it does not intend to renew its contract with the Israeli Prison Service when it expires in 2017. The decision follows more than 2 years of campaigning that has seen the company lose millions of dollars of contracts and mainstream investors such as the Bill Gates Foundation and the US United Methodist Church exclude the company from its investment portfolio.

The campaign against G4S is set to continue until it completely ends its complicity with Israeli crimes.

Israel must be held accountable for its collective punishment of Palestinians

Thu, 03/07/2014 - 5:58pm

 

The Israeli military has conducted hundred of raids across the West Bank and launched dozens of attacks on Gaza. © Oren Ziv/ActiveStills

- Palestinian organisations condemn Israeli operations in West Bank and Gaza as collective punishment
- Palestinians call for military embargo and boycott action

Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists are urging governments and international civil society to take action to hold Israel to account for its continued collective punishment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza following the disappearance and killing of three Israeli settlers.

Zaid Shuaibi, a spokesperson for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the civil society coalition that leads and supports the BDS movement, said:

“Israel’s on-going actions are designed to terrorise Palestinians and constitute collective punishment. Military violence, collective punishment and the deliberate targeting of civilians are endemic to Israel’s of decades old system of occupation, colonisation and apartheid.”

“Israel is able to act with utter impunity because of the military, economic and political support it receives from governments around the world. We call on international governments to impose a two-way arms embargo immediately and to suspend bilateral agreements until Israel fully complies with international law”.

“At a time when mainstream bodies such as the Bill Gates Foundation, the Presbyterian Church USA and the US​ United Methodist Church are divesting from companies profiting from Israel’s occupation, including G4S and Hewlett Packard, we call on people of conscience to intensify BDS pressure.”

Shuabi also called on people of conscience and supporters of BDS to consider joining the Month Against the Apartheid Wall that is marking the 10th anniversary of the International Court of Justice ruling that Israel’s apartheid Wall is illegal.

Hundreds of military raids have been launched across the occupied West Bank since June 12, with more than 1000 private homes and refugee camps and the offices of civil society organisations ransacked.

At least 10 Palestinians have been killed and many more have been injured. More than 500 Palestinians have been detained and initial reports suggest that many of those arrested are held under administrative detention, a form of detention without charge or trial on secret evidence. The number of children held in Israeli jails has risen to 250. Israel has also imposed severe restrictions of movement.

On Wednesday, Israeli settlers kidnapped and killed a 16 year old from the Shuafat area of Palestinian East Jerusalem and Israeli soldiers attacked Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Palestinian organisations have detailed how Israel’s recent actions constitute collective punishment, a crime prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as customary international humanitarian law.

Israeli occupation forces have also targeted the campuses of Birzeit University near Ramallah and the Arab American University in Jenin, resulting in the detention and arrest of students and staff and greatly infringing the Palestinian right to education.

Samia Botmeh, a professor at Birzeit University and a steering committee member with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, said:

“Israel’s latest violations against Palestinian universities are part of its long history of oppression aimed at Palestinian education. Closure of universities for periods stretching to years, murder and detention of students and professors, destruction of universities’ properties and labs as well as the banning of lists of books have been Israel’s systematic policies targeting Palestinian education.”

“It must be emphasized that throughout the decades of oppression, no Israeli university or association of Israeli academics has ever protested the sustained assaults on Palestinian universities.  It is essential to intensify all forms of BDS, including the academic and cultural boycott, until Israel ends its violations of Palestinian rights.”

Israel has conducted at least 100 airstrikes and shellings of Gaza in recent days, including an intense bombing of dozens of locations in the early hours of Tuesday, further worsening the situation for Palestinians in Gaza, which has been under a brutal military siege for more than 7 years.

Haidar Eid, associate professor at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza and a PACBI steering committee member, said:

“We, residents of Gaza, have been unable to fathom how it is that official bodies of the international community tolerate blatant war crimes committed against the people of Gaza, in spite of thousands of reports by mainstream human rights organizations!”

“Is it farfetched to expect people of conscience to heed our call to boycott this intransigent, racist and militarized Israeli regime and the institutions that keep it thriving, the same way apartheid South Africa was boycotted until it crumbled?”

Ayah Abubasheer, a youth and BDS activist in Gaza, added:

“During the past few weeks, Israel has been violently and intensely launching a series of air strikes against the Gaza Strip. The population of the Gaza Strip continues to pay the price and bear the blaze of Israel’s polices.”

“Because collective punishment is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions, we urge the international community to pressure Israel to end its all-out military assault aimed against the total population of Gaza, open Rafah crossing permanently and heed our call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions.”