Occupation Map

Occupation Map

Friday, 27 August 2010

Israeli's trained to think Palestinians are not human - Levy

Gideon Levy and Jon Snow 
How ordinary Israeli citizens live with the knowledge of their country's occupation of Palestine is a question that vexes Gideon Levy on most days.

Levy is an Israeli journalist who has served in the IDF as a writer and editor for the Israel Army radio and as an aide to Shimon Peres, when the latter was leader of the country's Labour Party. He now writes for the Israeli newspaper, Ha'aretz.

On Tuesday (24 August) he was in conversation with Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow in London, at a meeting organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and Jews for Justice for Palestinians.
He attempted to answer his own question: ‘We [Israelis] have been trained to think that we're very moral and we uphold human rights, but to also think that the Palestinians aren't human beings - at least, not human beings like us. This dehumanisation of Palestinians is the only way that enables us to maintain the Occupation and even feel good about ourselves.'

The Israeli media, he said, are culpable in this process of dehumanisation. He cited an example of two dogs killed in rocket fire on two separate days in Israel during the time of Operation Cast Lead. ‘The dogs got front page coverage in Israeli newspapers, with pictures of their funerals and interviews with their owners,' Levy told the packed audience. ‘Tens of Palestinians were killed on those same days, but there was only a brief mention on page 15 or 16, with no names and no pictures.'

The message, said Levy, was clear: ‘The lives of two Israeli dogs are worth more than the lives of 100s of Palestinians. This is just one example of the systematic brainwashing that teaches us again and again that we are moral, that not only are we victims, but we are the only victims, and that what we are doing to other people is acceptable and can be done by the most moral army in the world.'

He added: ‘This is the first occupation in history where the occupier claims to be the victim. It's unprecedented in history.'

Levy's latest book, The Punishment of Gaza, has just been published by Verso. Like all other Israeli journalists, Levy has been banned from entering Gaza since October 2006.

He described Israel's three week attack on Gaza (Operation Cast Lead) in 2008/9, as ‘probably the most brutal assault launched by Israel'. However, he declared the three week massacre, which killed 1,400 Palestinians, ‘backfired' on Israel, acting as a turning point in Europe and possibly the United States.
‘After Cast Lead, the world became less tolerant about Israeli violence and aggression,' said Levy. ‘The [Gaza Freedom] Flotilla became a huge international story because part of the world is sick and tired. Israel demonstrated with the flotilla that it hadn't learned anything from Cast Lead. It just played the same game - its belief that force is the first option, the feeling that it has the right to do whatever it wants, wherever it wants, while defining any opposition as anti-Semitic.'

But he claims this attitude is harming, not benefiting Israelis. He recalls one Saturday during Cast Lead: ‘I couldn't enter Gaza to report on what was happening there, so I drove into the country. I saw lots of families taking their children to the hills to see the bombs falling on Gaza, the black and white smoke, and at this point I realised that there's something very sick about this society, a society that takes its children to see Gaza burning.'

He compared Israel to a junkie, needing to be forcibly led away from occupation, refusing to go, but thanking you for it later. ‘Israel is occupation-addicted,' he said. ‘It needs someone to shake it, and this someone unfortunately has to come from the outside. It won't come from the inside.'

Change can't come from within Israel, according to Levy, because Israeli society has ‘gone into a coma'. It is like ‘a baby with glazed eyes, who has stopped crying and needs to be taken to A&E...In 1982, 4,000 people came out in Tel Aviv to protest against the massacres in Sabra and Shatilla,' said Levy. ‘Today, there wouldn't be 400.'

Levy also spoke of the systematic discrimination practiced against Israeli Palestinians, who are ‘less separatist than the Basques and have yet to boycott the state', who are treated as second-class citizens and cannot even call themselves Palestinian. They are presented as a demographic threat, said Levy, unable to even mention their past - the Nakba - and made to feel uncom fortable if they speak their own language.

AHAVA Protest this Saturday

Demonstrate outside AHAVA
Saturday 28 August
12 – 2pm, Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, London

The next fortnightly demonstration outside the Ahava beauty shop in Covent Garden, London, takes place this Saturday (28 August) from 12 - 2pmpm.

The campaign against Ahava, not just in England, but worldwide, is moving forward rapidly with London’s fortnightly demonstrations leading the way.

Why Ahava? Ahava is an Israeli company which profits from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land. Its factory is based on land stolen from the Palestinians - in the illegal West Bank settlement of Mitzpe Shalem - and its products use mud from the Dead Sea, illegally exploiting the West Bank’s natural resources. Ahava’s presence in Mitzpe Shalem secures the financial viability of this settlement, and helps to cement the Occupation.

Why this Saturday? The fortnightly demonstrations have become a target for the racist English Defence League. This far-right organisation has teamed up with the Zionist Federation to counter-demonstrate outside Ahava, and will be present again this Saturday. Bring Palestinian flags, banners, whistles and drums and drown out the voices of racism and fascism.

Oppose fascism - Support the Palestinians - Close down Ahava - PROTEST THIS SATURDAY

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Veolia contracts under scrutiny

Edinburgh City Council is debating today whether to sever ties with the Veolia waste company.
Green Party Councillor Maggie Chapman has submitted a motion calling for a boycott of any environmental services contracts for the French company Veolia, and has demanded that its current contracts are not renewed. She is supported by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and some other Opposition councillors, including Labour’s Angela Blacklock - who submitted a second motion on the same issue.

Veolia is involved with the development of Jerusalem’s controversial light railway project that links Jerusalem with some West Bank settlements and is due to open in spring 2011. It also operates two bus services for Israeli settlers in the West Bank and a landfill site.

Veolia holds the waste contract for the London Borough of Brent. It is due for renewal in 2014. Background information on Pages on this site

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Protest over BBC bias in 'Death in the Med'

Last night, the BBC broadcast a Panorama programme entitled ‘Death on the Med’.
It claimed to reveal ‘what really happened’ when Israeli commandoes boarded the Mavi Marmara on 31 May 2010.

The programme was extremely biased, portraying the activists on board as violent terrorists who set out to kill Israeli soldiers.

Please write to the BBC asking the following questions:

  • Why was Israel’s ‘right’ to board the ship presumed throughout the programme?
  • Why did the programme completely fail to mention that Israel’s siege of Gaza has been declared illegal by the UN? The assumption was made that Israel has the right to blockade Gaza, while the motives of those attempting to break an illegal blockade were questioned.
  • Why did Jane Corbin not mention the bombs, rockets and white phosphorus dropped on Gaza by Israel during Operation Cast Lead over a three week period in 2008/9, killing 1,400 people? She did, however, mention the ‘thousands of rockets’ fired from Gaza into Israel, but did not say over what time period.
  • Why was the Israeli evidence of how and when they killed the activists unquestioned? Activists who were on the top deck of the ship say the first person was killed – shot from a helicopter – before any Israeli had even landed on the deck. However, none of these activists were interviewed.
  • Activists shot footage of the Israeli attack, but their cameras, laptops and other recording equipment was taken by the Israelis and has not been returned. Why was this point not raised during the programme, or put to the Israeli spokespeople?
  • Why were the autopsy reports – which reveal that each victim was shot several times at close range, in a way that can’t constitute self-defence – not used, or even mentioned?
  • Why was there no footage of the Israeli assaults on the activists – which led to nine deaths?
  • Jane Corbin never questions the use of the word ‘terrorists’ to describe the activists, or their alleged willingness to attack the commandoes. Why does she then fail to examine why there were no fatalities or serious injuries among the Israeli commandoes, when these ‘terrorists’ were so willing to attack?
  • Why were there no interviews with any of the British activists on board the ship, or with any of the journalists who were on board?
  • Why was it not pointed out that the IDF has admitted doctoring the audio footage used in the programme, that the BBC claims was broadcast from the captain's deck?
You can find more points to make on the PSC website at www.palestinecampaign.org and http://t.co/wxcKyPH

Where to send your complaint:

Online: BBC complaints link: Follow the link and fill out the online form: https://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/forms/
Ring: BBC complaint line number: 03700 100 212
Write: BBC Panorama, MC4A1, Media Centre, Media Village, 201 Wood Lane, London, W12 7TQ.

Monday, 16 August 2010

150 Irish artists launch cultural boycott of Israel

A CULTURAL boycott of Israel was launched last week, with more than 150 Irish artists announcing that they intend not to perform or exhibit in Israel, or to accept any funding from institutions linked to the Israeli government.

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) said it was in protest at Israel’s “treatment of the Palestinian people”.

Raymond Deane of the IPSC cited a statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry in 2005 saying they considered culture a propaganda tool.

He said: “Artists who perform there are backing it [the Israeli government] whether they like it or not.”
The pledge signed by the artists states the boycott would continue, “until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights”. Mr Deane said: “You can’t really pin this down”, but it means, “at least an end of the occupation of Palestine; dismantling or at least stopping the settlements; and Israel negotiating in good faith with the Palestinians”.

An Israeli embassy spokesman said the boycott “was regrettable and ill-advised” and that “vilifying and ostracising Israel and promoting a lose-lose programme of boycotts is not the way to secure legitimate Palestinian rights”.

Singer and songwriter Damien Dempsey hoped the boycott would encourage young people in Israel who disagreed with the government to “speak out”.

He said that the military were running the show in Israel and that they needed the world to stand up against them.

Musician Donal Lunny said he was taking part to “express solidarity with the Palestinian people”.
When asked about the boycott’s chances for success, Eoin Dillon, a performer with Irish and world music band Kila, said: “It worked in South Africa.”

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Brave demonstration against the apartheid wall

Bil'in Demo Friday August 13th [-The Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall yet again led the weekly civilian demonstration against the apartheid wall, after local Palestinians prayed Jummah on the first Friday of Ramadan. Fifty international supporters along with Israeli activists joined non-violent Palestinian demonstrators to protest the Israeli occupation. Together, they marched with Palestinian flags and posters of political prisoners from the village, many arrested through night raids. These prisoners have mostly been arrested for the sole "crime" of being active organizers in the non-violent popular struggle.

As the demonstrators marched towards the apartheid fence, they chanted phrases to stop the construction of the wall that is annexing land from Bi'iln in order for Israel to build illegal settlements. When the demonstrators reached the apartheid fence, large numbers of Israeli soldiers were waiting armed with weapon and riot gear. After protestors and the Israeli army met face to face, the soldiers began shooting tear gas and sound bombs into the crowd. They continued to shoot tear gas up on the hill where spectators thought they were in safe range. Eventually, the IDF ran into part of the crowd and began shooting rubber coated steel bullets. One Israeli woman was hit by a tear gas canister in her leg. Dozens suffered from tear gas inhalation as soldiers attempted to arrest demonstrators. However, nobody was arrested. The demonstration lasted about two hours, and was a huge success considering many protestors were fasting for Ramadan.

EDL join Zionist Federation Protest

The EDL (English Defence League) joined the Zionist Federation to oppose pro-Palestine demonstrators at the fortnightly Ahava picket this weekend.

Friday, 13 August 2010

International Transport Federation calls for Action on Illegal Israeli Settlements

The International Transport Federation (ITF) passed a resolution at its 42ndMexico meeting, calling on transport workers to stop ‘providing services’ to illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The resolution calls on ITF to ‘take action against multinational companies providing transportation to settlements’.
The ITF represents 759 unions, with over 4,600,000 transport workers in 155 countries.
The resolution was tabled by the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) and seconded by the RMT - the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers.
RMT General Secretary and PSC patron, Bob Crow, said the vote was unanimous, with full support from all represented unions including railway and shipping unions.

AHAVA activists acquitted Protest continues tomorrow

Four activists charged with aggravated trespass for blockading the Israeli-owned cosmetics shop, Ahava, in Covent Garden, London, in 2009, have been acquitted of all charges against them.

The four - Bruce Levy, Tom Ellis, Jo Crouch and Taherali Gulamhussein, all from London - had locked themselves to concrete-filled oil drums inside the shop, closing it down for a day each time in September and December 2009.  
They appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, London, this week, and were acquitted this afternoon when the primary witness for the prosecution, Ahava's store manager, refused to attend court to testify, despite courts summons and threats of an arrest warrant.

Protest outside Ahava: Saturday 14 August 2010, 12-2pm, 39 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9DD

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Join the dates boycott campaign

Your help is needed for Boycott Israeli Dates Campaign.
Check the Label Campaign - Boycott Israeli Dates

We have leafletted Central Mosque in Station Pde, Willesden Green,   Wembley Central Mosque, Ealing Rd as well as shops in Willesden and Kilburn.  Thanks to all the volunteers.   As  always,  we  had  a really positive response.

This Friday, 13th August  we will be leafletting outside the Mosque and Islamic Centre  of Brent at 33A Howard Rd NW2  from 12.45 to 2pm.  There are 2 exits- Howard St and Chichele Rd.  Come and join us .   We will bring the postcards and placards.  On Friday 20th August we will be leafletting the Wembley Central Mosque in Ealing Road, Wembley from 12.45-2pm

We may be leafletting the Harrow Mosque next week  and leafletting again Mosques in Ealing Rd and Station Pde during Ramadan.

All welcome to help.  Please contact Liz at llindsay149@btinternet.com.  For Ealing Rd mosque, contact Martin at mafran@globalnet.co.uk
The more people we have the bigger the impact and the more likely we are to convince people that the campaign is worth backing.
Date imports and consumption soar during Ramadan.   Although dates are available from many sources, dates from Israel and illegal Settlements form a large part of date consumption in the UK .
▪ Dates were Israel's leading fruit export in 2005.
▪ Dates account for about 15% of export from Israel into the EU.
▪ It is estimated that Israel produces over 10,000 tonnes of dates per year.
▪ The approximate price per kilo of dates is £8.
▪ The total income for Israel from dates in a year is approximately £80 million