Occupation Map

Occupation Map

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Letters of support for Veolia boycott at Cambridge

We are writing to congratulate students at the University of Cambridge campaigning to have the University drop its contracts with Veolia. We encourage students to vote ‘Yes’ in the upcoming referendum, calling on the Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU) to campaign for Veolia’s contract to be cancelled.
Veolia is involved with bus and light rail services and the Tovlan Landfill site, serving illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. These projects increase the stranglehold of the occupation on Palestinians, entrenching the settlements and developing an apartheid infrastructure. The international community has responded to Veolia’s human rights abuses with a sustained campaign of boycott, following the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israeli companies and institutions. As a result, Veolia has lost contracts worth more than €10 billion since 2005.
Cutting Cambridge’s ties to Veolia would be a great contribution to this growing movement, and an act of solidarity with universities in Occupied Palestine. As Palestinian academics, we are aware that universities are never separable from their political circumstances. Palestinian universities are regularly attacked by the IDF. Israeli universities directly contribute to the occupation through military research and development.
By retaining a contract with Veolia, Cambridge is also implicated in Israel’s crimes. Dropping the contract would not be an inappropriate political intervention, but a rectification of one. Cambridge can live up to its reputation as an internationally leading institution by refusing ties with Veolia, leading the way against Israeli organizations that trample Palestinian human rights.
Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees
We write, as a group of Cambridge academics and University teaching staff, to express our support for the upcoming CUSU referendum that calls upon the University to boycott the French multinational Veolia.
As has been widely documented, Veolia are complicit with Israel’s breaches of international law because of its work in settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. For this reason alone they ought to be boycotted. The company has already lost a number of significant contracts because of its work in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Moreover, boycotting is an effective tactic; it was instrumental in bringing about the downfall of the apartheid regime in South Africa. It is a heartening sign that the growth of such a peaceful solidarity movement is now emerging in support of the Palestinian cause for independence and against military occupation.
To momentarily adopt the lexicon of the bureaucracy: in choosing to employ Veolia for its waste management, the University poses a serious ‘reputational risk’ to itself. The University’s employment of Veolia for waste management makes dubious its claims of being committed to ethical conduct. ‘Reputation, reputation, reputation! Oh, I have lost my reputation!’ Cassio’s lines can be heard echoing through the Old Schools.
We support all students who take part in this referendum and vote ‘yes’ to dump Veolia.
Signed by 28 Cambridge academics

Cambridge students vote to cut Veolia ties - but turn-out does not meet threshold

Students at Cambridge have voted to call on the University to cut ties with a company implicated in Israeli human rights abuses.

The vote calls on CUSU (Cambridge University Students Union) to campaign to have the University cut ties with Veolia, a company involved in infrastructure projects in Israeli settlements, and employed by the University on a waste disposal contract.  The referendum, which closed yesterday, passed with a majority of 58% to 41%: there were 898 votes yes, 637 votes no, and 21 ballots spoilt.  While a strong majority was in support, the referendum was inquorate: 7.2% of the student body voted, short of the 10% required.

Students involved in the campaign pledged to continue the campaign to ensure that Veolia's contract, which expires in September 2012, is not renewed.

Veolia's activities in the West Bank include bus and light rail services and the Tovlan Landfill site, all serving illegal Israeli settlements.  In recent years, the international community has targeted Veolia as a company profiting from the Israeli occupation.  Veolia has lost contracts worth more than €10 billion since 2005, including, just a few months ago, a £300 million contract in Ealing, London The actions against Veolia are part of a broader international campaign following the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israeli companies and institutions. The Cambridge campaign against Veolia received letters of support from Palestinian lecturers and students, a group of 30 Cambridge academics, and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.

Daniel Benjamin, a student involved in the campaign, said: “With this vote, Cambridge students make a strong statement against Veolia's criminal actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  We won't stop fighting until Veolia is off campus, but this vote itself is a fantastic show of support in the broader campaign for Palestinian human rights through boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israeli companies and institutions.”

Owen Holland, a student involved in the campaign, said: “The impressive turnout shows significant student support for the campaign.  We are concerned with a number of irregularities in the vote, such as lies in the 'no' flysheet that went uncorrected, a lack of ballot boxes in colleges, and a number of students who found themselves unable to vote online.  Though the referendum did not meet the threshold to become CUSU policy, we will be campaigning to have CUSU adopt it anyway and push the University to drop its contract with Veolia.”

National Lobby of Parliament for Palestine

YOU need to act now to make sure that Palestinians are not forgotten 
photo of the late Samira Hassassian
Last week, 477 Palestinian prisoners were released in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. But David Cameron’s press release only mentioned Shalit. And despite the swap, Gaza remains imprisoned.  If you haven’t already used our e-tool to call for all Palestinian political prisoners to be released, including the 164 child prisoners, ACT NOW to ensure that your silence isn’t misinterpreted as agreement with the government’s failure to support Palestinian human rights, peace and justice.
That’s why it is so important that MPs are told at the national lobby of parliament on Wednesday 23 November that we need them to work to end injustice, end the siege on Gaza, act now on Jerusalem and to stop arming Israel.
As pressure grows on Israel to end its illegal occupation, with increased international awareness of the injustices against Palestinians denied their basic rights, so Israel’s government grows more extremist.
Please help campaign for Palestine by lobbying your MP as part of our National Lobby of Parliament on Wednesday 23rd  November from 2-6pm.
What you can do 
1.   Ask your MP for a meeting using our email tool>>
2.   Let us know about your meeting with your MP
3.   Use our twibbon on your twitter and facebook accounts and tweet about the lobby 
4.   Ask friends, colleagues and family to join you at  the lobby 

Brent's MPs are Barry Gardiner, Labour (Brent North); Glenda Jackson, Labour (Hampstead and Kilburn; Sarah Teather, Liberal Democrat (Brent Central)

Harrow's MPs are Gareth Thomas, Labour (Harrow West),;Robert Blackman,  Conservative (Harrow East)

Saturday, 1 October 2011

British High Court rules that Detention of Raed Salah was Unlawful

Mr Justice Nicol, a High Court judge ruled on Friday that Shaykh Raed Salah’s detention by the British government was illegal during its early part and that he is entitled to damages to cover that period.
Shaykh Raed arrived in Britain on a speaking tour on 25th June. He was arrested on June 28th after having addressed various audiences including within the House of Lords. It has since emerged that the Home Secretary’s Exclusion Order followed advice received from the Community Security Trust and the Home Secretary took a mere 17 minutes to decide on excluding Shaykh Raed from Britain.
The evidences presented against Shaykh Raed were not corroborated, nor investigated to any meaningful degree.
Ismail Patel, Chair of Friends of Al-Aqsa stated, ‘It is greatly concerning that our Home Secretary has proven herself willing to limit an individual’s basic freedom’s without verifying the so called evidence being presented to her. It is doubly alarming that this evidence was presented by a group with an obvious pro-Israel bias.”
“It is the British taxpayers who will have to foot the bill for the Home Secretary’s’ ill informed and brash decision. It is us who are paying for the soaring legal fees and compensation surrounding this case making this all the more damning” he further stated.
The Home Secretary acted against the advice received from Home Office officials who repeatedly told her that they were of the view that he was ‘not an abscond risk’, ‘will cooperate fully’ and that the accusations against him were ‘contested and open to challenge’.
Instead of heeding the calls of her trusted advisors, the Home Secretary appears to have relied instead on the Community Security Trust. This brings into question the Home Secretary’s motives in dealing with Shaykh Raed Salah in this disgraceful manner.
On the back of government action Brent Council cancelled an event at Brent Town Hall at which Shaykh Raed was due to speak.
 We are grateful to Friends of Al-Alqsa for this information