Occupation Map

Occupation Map

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Veolia out of West London Waste Contract process

Human Rights campaigners in West London were celebrating today following the news that controversial multinational Veolia had failed to be short-listed for the lucrative 25 years residual waste management contract covering the boroughs of Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Ealing, Richmond and Brent.

More than 600 residents had written to the West London Waste Authority  requesting that Veolia be excluded on the grounds of racist practices in recruitment and grave misconduct through its active participation in violations of international and humanitarian laws and norms in the illegally occupied territories of Palestine.

Although, as is usual in these cases,  Veolia's failure to be short-listed cannot be directly attributed to the campaign, the WLWA joins a growing list of unsuccessful contract bids by Veolia.

Here is the statement from the WLWA website released yesterday:
The West London Waste Authority (WLWA) has short-listed four bidders for a long term West London Residual Waste Services contract covering the boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, and Richmond upon Thames.
Cory Environmental Ltd, E.ON Energy from Waste leading a consortium with Tata Chemicals Europe Limited with significant sub-contractor Grundon Waste Management Limited, SITA UK Ltd and Viridor Waste Management Ltd will now be invited to develop detailed solutions as the next stage in the competitive dialogue process that is being employed.
The contract involves treating up to 300,000 tonnes of residual waste per year generated by a population of 1.4 million people, and covers all aspects of treatment including any necessary transport, the operation of transfer stations, and contracts for outputs such as energy, refuse-derived fuel, recyclates etc.
Bids were invited from “single entity” companies, consortia, or joint ventures. The WLWA has offered its three waste transfer stations at Brentford, South Ruislip and Park Royal as part of the procurement but also welcomed proposals involving sites within bidders’ control or which they intend to acquire.
Veolia's contract with the London Borough of Brent ends in 2014.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

302 Brent residents call for action on Veolia

 Brent and Harrow PSC invited councillors and the public to hear the case against Veolia at a meeting held in Willesden Green Library on Tuesday. All Brent councillors have now received the letter requesting that Veolia be excluded from the WLWA contract. It has also been sent to the West London Wast Authority where Cllr James Powney is Brent's representative. It has been signed by 302 Brent residents.

Veolia is currently on the long list for the multi-million 25 year contract and the short-listing is taking place imminently.  Supporters are urged to bring up the issue with their ward councillors. We are awaiting a response to our request to James Powney for a meeting to discuss the issue. He did not attend the public meeting.
Introduction by Martin Francis , Chair of B&H PSC and speech by Michael Deas Europe Coordinator of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC)
Questions and discussion 1
Simon Natas, Human Rights Lawyer (ITN Solicitors)
Questions and discussion 2
Salim Alam, West London Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Questions and discussion 3

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Freedom Riders Campaign on Israeli Public Transport

Next Tuesday, Palestinian activists will attempt to board segregated Israeli public transportation headed from inside the West Bank to occupied East Jerusalem in an act of civil disobedience inspired by the Freedom Riders of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s.

Fifty years after the U.S. Freedom Riders staged mixed-race bus rides through the roads of the segregated American South, Palestinian Freedom Riders will be asserting their right for liberty and dignity by disrupting the military regime of the Occupation through peaceful civil disobedience.

The Freedom Riders seek to highlight Israel’s attempts to illegally sever occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, and the apartheid system that Israel has imposed on Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Several Israeli companies, among them Egged and Veolia, operate dozens of lines that run through the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, many of them subsidized by the state. They run between different Israeli settlements, connecting them to each other and cities inside Israel. Some lines connecting Jerusalem to other cities inside Israel, such as Eilat and Beit She'an, are also routed to pass through the West Bank.

Israelis suffer almost no limitations on their freedom of movement in the occupied Palestinian territory, and are even allowed to settle in it, contrary to international law. Palestinians, in contrast, are not allowed to enter Israel without procuring a special permit from Israeli authorities. Even Palestinian movement inside the Occupied Territories is heavily restricted, with access to occupied East Jerusalem and some 8% of the West Bank in the border area also forbidden without a similar permit.

While it is not officially forbidden for Palestinians to use Israeli public transportation in the West Bank, these lines are effectively segregated, since many of them pass through Jewish-only settlements, to which Palestinian entry is prohibited by a military decree.

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

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

TUC vote strengthens stance on Palestine

The Trades Union Congress, representing 6.5 million workers in the UK, voted overwhelmingly today (14 September 2011) to deplore the 'anti-democratic law' passed by the Israeli Knesset banning individuals and organisations in Israel from calling for the boycott of Israel, and reaffirmed existing policy to 'work closely with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to actively encourage affiliates, employers and pension funds to disinvest from, and boycott the goods of, companies who profit from illegal settlements, the Occupation and the construction of the Wall'.

The new policy also 'calls on all unions on the basis of this policy to review their bi-lateral relations with all Israeli organisations, including Histadrut'. The motion was proposed by Unite the Union, and an amendment was proposed by the PCS.

Hugh Lanning, Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and Deputy General Secretary of the PCS Union which moved the amendment, said:

'Today British trade unions have decided not to buy into the Israeli occupation - not to buy goods from firms or work with organisations complicit with Israel's illegal occupation, settlements and wall.

'Israel must be made to honour international law. The UN, Obama and the EU should be making Palestine a reality not blocking their freedom.'

Hugh Lanning continued: 'Companies are paying the price for their complicity with Israel's crimes. Agrexco, infamous for exporting produce from Israel and the illegal settlements, has gone into liquidation. Veolia has lost contracts worth millions of pounds. It is time for companies and organisations to recognise that they must end their complicity with occupation and war crimes. The trade union movement was a central pillar of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. And today, trade unions in Britain are taking the same principled stance - supporting peace and justice, and opposing racism and apartheid.'

For the full text of the motion and amendment:


Sunday, 4 September 2011

"Ode to Boycott" at the Proms

For those of you unable to make out the words amid the rumpus at the Proms earlier this week here is the piece recorded earlier.

A new vocal ensemble, Beethovians for Boycotting Israel (BBI), gave its debut  performance at a Prom concert at the Royal Albert Hall yesterday evening. 
 Their first piece was intricately interwoven with Webern's Passacaglia, played by guest artists the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO).

"We thought we'd liven up the Webern a bit" said Deborah Fink (soprano)."The  performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony at the previous night's Prom was so exciting that we decided to treat the audience to our own version of the Ode to Joy".

The lyrics of the BBI's "Ode to Boycott" have an unmistakeably Beethovian ring:

Israel, end your occupation:

There's no peace on stolen land.

We'll sing out for liberation

'till you hear and understand.

Ethnic cleansing and apartheid

Should belong to history.

Human rights cannot be silenced:

Palestine will soon be free.

Sue Blackwell (alto), who penned the alternative lyrics, said: "We think Ludwig would have approved.He was known to be a bit of a subversive who had no time for conventions, and he admired the French Revolution with its themes of 'Liberty,  Equality, Fraternity'.Sadly, Israel represents the exact opposite of those ideals."

During the second piece, Bruch's Violin Concerto, and in Albėniz's "Iberia"  after the interval, BBI duos and trios took part in the Proms charitable  tradition of synchronised slogan-shouting, including "THE SIEGE OF GAZA - IS OUT  OF TUNE - WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW" and "THE IPO - AREINSTRUMENTAL - IN AN ILLEGAL OCCUPATION".

The BBI recital was somewhat curtailed on this occasion due to its members being removed by the Albert Hall security staff, so that they had to continue outside. However, they are intending to build on their Proms success and are now looking for a suitable venue for their next performance.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Human Rights Campaigners Call for Veolia Exclusion from West london Waste Contract

Human Rights campaigners in six London boroughs, including Brent and Harrow, are seeking support for their efforts to get Veolia excluded from the current bidding process for the multi-million West London Waste Management Contract. The contract covers Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Richmond.

The campaign is based on allegations that Veolia, a French multi-national, has demonstrated racist practices in its recruitment policies and has been guilty of grave misconduct through its active participation in violations of international and humanitarian laws and norms.

Campaigners are asking residents of the six boroughs to sign a letter to the West London Waste Authority which sets out the case LINK

If you would like to sign the letter please send your name, borough and postcode to:

Veolia fails to win Ealing waste contract

In another victory for Palestinian rights, Ealing Council, in London , has failed to select Veolia for a comprehensive tender for its domestic refuse, street cleaning and parks maintenance contract. The contract is worth approx £300m in total over 15 years and one of Ealing Council’s largest single contracts. This is even more significant given the fact that Veolia had the previous parks maintenance contract.

Veolia remains involved in the building and future operation of a light-rail tramway linking Israel’s illegal settlements with West Jerusalem, facilitating Israel's ‘grave breaches’ of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Veolia Transport Israel also runs two bus services serving the same function as the tramway: supporting and consolidating illegal settlements and tying them more closely into Israel .

Sarah Colborne, PSC Director, said: ‘Veolia’s loss of this contract, following its failure in a number of significant bids in Britain and internationally, is a clear sign that Veolia is paying a high price for its complicity in Israel’s occupation and violations of international law. West London PSC, together with other groups and individuals supporting Palestinian rights, wrote and met councillors from across the political spectrum and council officials, and submitted detailed factual and legal analysis. Veolia must realise that until it pulls out of all its activities serving Israel ’s illegal settlements, it will continue to be a target for the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). Through BDS, those committed to peace and justice are sending a message – we don’t buy into Israel ’s violations of Palestinian rights’ 

Veolia's seven year waste management contract with the London Borough of Brent expires in 2014 and the Council is likely to start the procurement process quite soon.

Veolia long-listed for West London Contract

The West London Waste Authority has announced the long-list for the new 25 year waste management contract to cover Harrow, Hounslow, Hillingdon, Ealing, Brent and Richmond. Note that bidders may make proposals on sites they control or may acquire,  and that they will be invited to submit proposals on the 'most economically advantageous technologies'. Environmentalists will be watching very carefully to see what technologies will be suggested and whether incineration will be one of them:
The West London Waste Authority (WLWA) has long-listed a total of eight bidders for a long term residual waste treatment contract covering the boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, and Richmond upon Thames.

Cory Environmental Ltd, Covanta Energy Ltd, E.ON Energy from Waste AG, FCC/Waste Recycling Group Ltd, SITA UK Ltd, Veolia ES Aurora Ltd, Viridor Waste Management Ltd, and Wheelabrator Technologies Incorporated will now be invited to develop outline solutions as the next stage in the competitive dialogue process that is being employed.

The contract involves treating up to 300,000 tonnes of residual waste per year generated by a population of 1.4 million people, and covers all aspects of treatment including any necessary transport, the operation of transfer stations, and contracts for outputs such as compost, refuse-derived fuel, recyclates etc.

Bids were invited from “single entity” companies, consortia, or joint ventures. The WLWA has offered the three waste transfer stations within its direct control as part of the procurement but also welcomed proposals involving sites within bidders’ control or which they intend to acquire.

Bidders will now be invited to present whatever proposals they feel are the most economically advantageous technology to meet WLWA’s output specification but the authority is stipulating that the technology must be proven in operation on a municipal scale.

The next stage of the tender process will narrow bidders to three or four that will present detailed solutions in the first part of 2012. Two final bidders will submit final tenders in Autumn 2012, and the preferred bidder will be selected in Spring 2013.

Councillor raises concerns over Veolia contract

Cllr Ann Hunter (Lib Dem) brought up the issue of the West London Waste contract at the Council meeting on July 11th with a question to Cllr James Powney. The minutes of the meeting have just been published and the exchange is set out below:
Councillor Hunter stated that she understood lead members had received representations from residents asking that Veolia be excluded from the current procurement exercise for waste disposal because they felt the company had demonstrated racist recruitment practices with reference to its activities in the West Bank and Israel. Councillor Powney replied that West London Waste was embarking on a waste procurement exercise and it could not jeopardise this by not following the proper processes. Councillor Hunter responded by saying that she would like to see West London Waste take the concerns of local residents seriously and that she had been shocked to see the advertisement for jobs on the Jerusalem Light Railway which effectively prevented the majority of local Palestinian citizens from applying. She asked how it could be allowed that Veolia was treated as a suitable contractor and felt that the matter needed to be given serious consideration.
 Residents who share the concerns should see the letter Human Right campaigners are sending to the Council HERE and if they wish to sign it send their name. e-mail and postcode to:nernier@gmail.com

Friday, 15 July 2011

Shayk Raed Salah realease on bail

Shaykh Raed Salah’s application for bail was accepted today by a High Court judge. Despite being denied bail last week, Shaykh Raed’s appeal was successful and he is no longer being incarcerated in a British prison. 

Ismail Patel, Chair of Friends of Al-Aqsa was at the hearing and stated: “It is a tremendous relief that Shaykh Raed’s bail application was successful. We thank the judge for taking this position – based on the evidence, he could reach no other conclusion. We need to also remind ourselves that this situation was wholly avoidable and the Home Secretary’s actions with regards to Shaykh Raed Salah were not backed up with any firm evidence.”
Friends of Al-Aqsa would like to thank everyone who has shown Shaykh Raed such tremendous support during this ordeal.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Friends of Al-Aqsa Statement on Shaykh Raed Salah

Yesterday, 8 July 2011, there was a hearing in London at 2pm. Shaykh Raed Salah was denied bail by the courts and is to remain in a high security prison with dangerous criminals until his appeal against deportation is heard. 

The judge stated that the prosecution’s submissions that Shaykh Raed would abscond if granted bail were not convincing, and neither did they find the evidence against him persuasive. They did not allow the bail on the grounds that the Home Secretary must have compelling evidence for taking the steps that she did, and the court was not prepared to contravene this. 

Ismail Patel, chair of Friends of Al-Aqsa was present at the hearing, and said: “We are greatly disappointed by the decision reached by the court today. Shaykh Raed poses no threat to the British public and is being made a scapegoat by the Home Office to cover its blunders over this whole incident. The Home Secretary was unduly swayed by the opinions of those with an anti-Palestine agenda when she excluded Shaykh Raed from Britain. Although it has long since become apparent that Shaykh Raed is not a threat in either Britain or his home country of Israel, the Home Office will not admit its failing and as a result, he is being made to suffer the loss of his freedom and liberty. 

An even graver concern stems from the fact the government and security services have failed to follow protocol in their treatment of Shaykh Salah by denying him access to his lawyers for four days while in prison. This breach of his basic legal rights reflects how the British government is acting outside of the law in their detention and treatment of Shaykh Raed Salah and it is absolutely unacceptable.” 

The actions of the British government are only serving to stifle the legitimate voices of the Palestinian people struggling for freedom from occupation.

Download Freedom for Palestine Here

Monday, 4 July 2011

Brent Council Ban on Palestine Day 2011 Unnecessary

Brent Palestine Solidarity Campaign along with many other human rights and community groups is concerned that Sheikh Raed Salah has been detained without any solid evidence. Sheikh Raed Salah is the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, the largest movement for Palestinians in Israel. This is a legitimate organisation which Israel has never moved to ban. Raed Saleh regularly speaks at venues across Israel where he has considerable support amongst the Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up a fifth of the population.

Sheikh Raed has been elected as mayor of his hometown Um al-Fahm three times. He has never been convicted of anti-Semitism in Israel. None of the organisations that invited him to speak at meetings publicised well in advance had been approached by the Home Office to express their concerns.

His proposed appearance at Brent Town Hall on Saturday July 2nd was sponsored by Human Appeal International, a 20 year old charity, as one of their Palestine Day 2011  events which included lectures, music, a bazaar,  and a presentation to the family of  human rights activist Vittorio Arrigoni. We believe the cancellation of the entire event by Brent Council was unnecessary and undermines free speech and diversity.

Letter signed by many organisations HERE
Human Appeal International LINK

Martin Francis
Chair, Brent PSC

Liz Lindsay

Secretary, Brent PSC

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Take Action on Arrest of Sheikh Raed Salah

Sheikh Raed Salah, one of the most prominent campaigners within Israel for Palestinian rights, has been arrested in London. The Sheikh was invited by PSC to speak at the launch of 'Building Peace and Justice in Jerusalem' Campaign in Parliament tonight, alongside MPs and other prominent speakers. He is the leader
of a legitimate political party in Israel, representing Palestinians, and an outspoken champion of Jerusalem. The meeting will still go ahead.

The Sheikh entered the UK openly on 25 June and his schedule was known well in advance by UK authorities. This included a meeting in Parliament on 26 June and a public meeting the same night at Conway Hall, London, organised by PSC and MEMO on the subject of the Arab Spring and its impact on Palestine.

Despite this, the Sheikh was arrested in his hotel room last night under section 3 of the Immigration Act 1971. The Home Secretary, Teresa May, subsequently announced in the House of Commons that he was excluded from entering the UK. The government has not made clear when the ban was issued, and the Sheikh's legal
team had not been contacted.

The Sheikh has appealed against the deportation in court. His team had already begun legal proceedings against Daily Telegraph and Jewish Chronicle journalists for printing false allegations about him last week.

Deporting, and subsequently banning, Sheikh Raed from the UK will be a violation of his right to free speech, his right to speak out on behalf of Palestine, and a victory for those who have spread the baseless rumours defaming his reputation.


Protest today/Write to the Home Secretary
· PSC is supporting a demonstration called by the Palestinian Forum of Britain TODAY from 5-6pm outside Paddington Green police station where the Sheikh is being held. This will be a silent protest in recognition of the silencing of free speech - bring Palestinian flags and gags to cover your mouth. Nearest tube: Edgware Road.

· Call or email the Home Secretary asking her to reconsider the decision. An Israeli court cleared Sheikh Raed of charges of making anti-Semitic comments. The Sheikh has reiterated that charges were dropped because there was no evidence against him. On what basis is he being excluded from the UK?
Email: mayt@parliament.uk T: 020 7219 5206

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Death of Alf Filer, campaigner for Palestine

It is with sadness that we inform members and supporters that Alf Filer, a local activist and supporter of the Palestinian cause was killed last night in a car crash.  Alf recently moved from Brent to Worthing and he was intending to get involved in the Brighton Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Alf was a committed and courageous campaigner who was active on many fronts including the campaign to defend the Harrow Mosque when it was threatened by the English Defence League and Stop the Islamisation of Europe. 

Alf Filer will be sadly missed.

Alf Filer's letter to the Guardian, January 2009
Six days of illegal bombing, preceded by months of blockades. The excuses from the Israelis for the bloodbath of innocent civilians are an insult. These bombings are simply crimes against humanity. The EU, UK and US have all contributed to this situation through their agreements on trade and export licences, and funding of Israel.
The Palestinians who struggle for survival, in spite of the unnecessary divisions, deserve our full recognition. Israel must be reminded that a "nation that oppresses another nation cannot itself be free". As a Jew, I condemn this massacre. It is not being done in my name, nor will it make me feel any safer as a result. There will not be any peace in the Middle East until the issue of Palestinian self-determination is fully resolved.
Alf Filer

Come to our fund-raiser on Sunday

I will be off down to my allotment early tomorrow to harvest globe artichokes, raspberries and black currants in preparation for Sunday afternoon's Brent Stop the War and Brent PSC's summer garden party in Willesden Green.

The fund-raiser takes place in a beautiful garden and the weather forecast is good. Apart from delicious food and a bar, entertainment is also provided by top names including classical guitarist Ahmed Dickinson (above). Other entertainers include Camilla Cancantata, queen of  the squeeze box; Jean Marc, story teller; Alan Johnson, folk singer and of course Ian Saville, socialist magician.

It is not too late to attend the garden party which starts at 5pm and finishes at 10pm. Ring Sarah Cox on

07951 084 101 or e-mail her scox05@btinternet.com for tickets.

Tickets are £12 wage/£8 unwaged in advance and £15/£10 on the door.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Archbishop Tutu endorses Freedom for Palestine single

Simply amazing! We are so proud and excited to be able to share this video with you - Archbishop Desmond Tutu has come out of retirement from public life to send us this video message of support. Please re-post and share! Buy single now!: LINK

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Gaza support broadens

Activists from Brent and Harrow Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Brent Stop the War and Brent Green Party were among those who attended the 'End the Siege of Gaza' demonstration at Downing Street. As well as continuing to press the case for government and EU action on the siege the event also helped launch the next Free Gaza Flotilla which will leave in June. The demonstration was noteworthy for the wide range of support it attracted and in particular the increased role of trade unions.

There was a lovely moment when children on scooters took on the pro-Israel demonstrators who had been allowed to stage a counter protest outside the gates of Downing Street.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

End the Siege on Gaza Demonstration on Saturday

Saturday 14 May Protest at 12 noon opposite Downing Street

On Saturday 14th May campaigners will demonstrate on Downing Street against the siege of Gaza and in support of the Freedom Flotilla 2. The demonstration is timed to commemorate the Nakba, the catastrophe which began in 1948 with the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland and continues today with Israel’s violent and illegal siege of Gaza.

Speakers at the demonstration will include:

Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for HammersmithBaroness Jenny Tonge, Liberal Democrat 
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion Palestinian musician, Reem KelaniJody McIntyre, journalist and political activist
Jonathan Ledger, General Secretary of NAPO Hugh Lanning, Deputy General Secretary of PCSSimon Dubbins of Unite the Union His Excellency Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian General Delegate to the UKDr Karma Nabulsi, Oxford academic and a former PLO representative
Dave Randall, guitarist, producer and composer Diana Neslen of Jews for Justice for PalestiniansKate Hudson of CND
Lindsey German of Stop the War

The demonstration has been called by

lPalestine Solidarity CampaignlStop the War CoalitionlBritish Muslim InitiativelCampaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)lPalestinian Forum in Britain.

It is supported by a number of other organisations including
lAmos TrustlAssociation of the Palestinian Community in the UKlCommunications Workers Union (CWU)lFire Brigades Union (FBU)lFriends of LebanonlFriends of Al-AqsalGMBlThe Green Party lICAHD UKlJews for Justice for PalestinianslLiberal Democrat Friends of PalestinelPax ChristilPublic and Commercial Services Union (PCS)lThe Russell Tribunal on PalestinelTwinning with PalestinelUNISONlUNITE the Union lUniversity & College Union (UCU)lWar on WantlZaytoun.

Follow us twitter@Pal_S_Campaign and facebook.com/palestinesolidarityuk

Who Profits from Jerusalem Light Railway?

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Goldstone's Shameful U-turn

From Electronic Intifada
"If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone report would have been a different document." Thus opens Judge Richard Goldstone's much-discussed op-ed in The Washington Post. I have a strong feeling that the editor might have tampered with the text and that the original sentence ought to have read something like: "If I had known then that the report would turn me into a self-hating Jew in the eyes of my beloved Israel and my own Jewish community in South Africa, the Goldstone report would never have been written at all." And if that wasn't the original sentence, it is certainly the subtext of Goldstone's article.

This shameful U-turn did not happen this week. It comes after more than a year and a half of a sustained campaign of intimidation and character assassination against the judge, a campaign whose like in the past destroyed mighty people such as US Senator William Fulbright who was shot down politically for his brave attempt to disclose AIPAC's illegal dealings with the State of Israel.

Already In October 2009, Goldstone told CNN, "I've got a great love for Israel" and "I've worked for many Israeli causes and continue to do so" (Video: "Fareed Zakaria GPS," 4 October 2009).

Given the fact that at the time he made this declaration of love he did not have any new evidence, as he claims now, one may wonder how could this love could not be at least weakened by what he discovered when writing, along with other members of the UN commission, his original report.

But worse was to come and exactly a year ago, in April 2010, the campaign against him reached new heights, or rather, lows. It was led by the chairman of the South African Zionist Federation, Avrom Krengel, who tried to prevent Goldstone from participating in his grandson's bar mitzvah in Johannesburg since "Goldstone caused irreparable damage to the Jewish people as a whole."

The South African Zionist Federation threatened to picket outside the synagogue during the ceremony. Worse was the interference of South Africa's Chief Rabbi, Warren Goldstein, who chastised Goldstone for "doing greater damage to the State of Israel." Last February, Goldstone said that "Hamas perpetrated war crimes, but Israel did not," in an interview that was not broadcast, according to a 3 April report the website of Israel's Channel 2. It was not enough: the Israelis demanded much more.

Readers might ask "so what?" and "why could Goldstone not withstand the heat?" Good questions, but alas the Zionization of Jewish communities and the false identification of Jewishness with Zionism is still a powerful disincentive that prevents liberal Jews from boldly facing Israel and its crimes.

Every now and again many liberal Jews seem to liberate themselves and allow their conscience, rather than their fear, to lead them. However, many seem unable stick to their more universalist inclinations for too long where Israel is concerned. The risk of being defined as a "self-hating Jew" with all the ramifications of such an accusation is a real and frightening prospect for them. You have to be in this position to understand the power of this terror.

Just weeks ago, Israeli military intelligence announced it had created a special unit to monitor, confront, and possibly hunt down, individuals and bodies suspected of "delegitimizing" Israel abroad. In light of this, perhaps quite a few of the faint-hearted felt standing up to Israel was not worth it.

We should have recognized that Goldstone was one of them when he stated that, despite his report, he remains a Zionist. This adjective, "Zionist," is far more meaningful and charged than is usually assumed. You cannot claim to be one if you oppose the ideology of the apartheid State of Israel. You can remain one if you just rebuke the state for a certain criminal policy and fail to see the connection between the ideology and that policy. "I am a Zionist" is a declaration of loyalty to a frame of mind that cannot accept the 2009 Goldstone Report. You can either be a Zionist or blame Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity -- if you do both, you will crack sooner rather than later.

That this mea culpa has nothing to do with new facts is clear when one examines the "evidence" brought by Goldstone to explain his retraction. To be honest, one should say that one did not have to be the world expert on international law to know that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza in 2009. The reports of bodies such as Breaking the Silence and the UN representatives on the ground attested to it, before and after the Goldstone report. It was also not the only evidence.

The pictures and images we saw on our screens and those we saw on the ground told only one story of a criminal policy intending to kill, wound and maim as a collective punishment. "The Palestinians are going to bring upon themselves a Holocaust," promised Matan Vilnai, Israel's deputy minister of defense to the people of Gaza on 29 February 2008.

There is only one new piece of evidence Goldstone brings and this is an internal Israeli army investigation that explains that one of the cases suspected as a war crime was due to a mistake by the Israeli army that is still being investigated. This must be a winning card: a claim by the Israeli army that massive killings by Palestinians were a "mistake."

Ever since the creation of the State of Israel, the tens of thousands of Palestinians killed by Israel were either terrorists or killed by "mistake." So 29 out of 1,400 deaths were killed by an unfortunate mistake? Only ideological commitment could base a revision of the report on an internal inquiry of the Israeli army focusing only on one of dozens of instances of unlawful killing and massacring. So it cannot be new evidence that caused Goldstone to write this article. Rather, it is his wish to return to the Zionist comfort zone that propelled this bizarre and faulty article.

This is also clear from the way he escalates his language against Hamas in the article and de-escalates his words toward Israel. And he hopes that this would absolve him of Israel's righteous fury. But he is wrong, very wrong. Only a few hours passed from the publication of the article until Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and of course the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate President Shimon Peres commissioned Goldstone with a new role in life: he is expected to move from one campus to the other and hop from one public venue to the next in the service of a new and pious Israel. He may choose not to do it; but then again he might not be allowed to attend his grandson's bar mitzvah as a retaliation.

Goldstone and his colleagues wrote a very detailed report, but they were quite reserved in their conclusions. The picture unfolding from Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations was far more horrendous and was described less in the clinical and legal language that quite often fails to convey the magnitude of the horror. It was first western public opinion that understood better than Goldstone the implications of his report. Israel's international legitimacy has suffered an unprecedented blow. He was genuinely shocked to learn that this was the result.

We have been there before. In the late 1980s, Israeli historian Benny Morris wrote a similar, sterile, account of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Palestinian academics such as Edward Said, Nur Masalha and Walid Khalidi were the ones who pointed to the significant implications for Israel's identity and self-image, and nature of the archival material he unearthed.

Morris too cowered under pressure and asked to be re-admitted to the tribe. He went very far with his mea culpa and re-emerged as an extreme anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racist: suggesting putting the Arabs in cages and promoting the idea of another ethnic cleansing. Goldstone can go in that direction too; or at least this is what the Israelis expect him to do now.

Professionally, both Morris and Goldstone tried to retreat to a position that claimed, as Goldstone does in The Washington Post article, that Israel can only be judged by its intentions not the consequences of its deeds. Therefore only the Israeli army, in both cases, can be a reliable source for knowing what these intentions were. Very few decent and intelligent people in the world would accept such a bizarre analysis and explanation.

Goldstone has not entered as yet the lunatic fringe of ultra-Zionism as Morris did. But if he is not careful the future promises to be a pleasant journey with the likes of Morris, Alan Dershowitz (who already said that Goldstone is a "repentant Jew") between annual meetings of the AIPAC rottweilers and the wacky conventions of the Christian Zionists. He would soon find out that once you cower in the face of Zionism -- you are expected to go all the way or be at the very same spot you thought you had successfully left behind you.

Winning Zionist love in the short-term is far less important than losing the world's respect in the long-run. Palestine should choose its friends with care: they cannot be faint-hearted nor can they claim to be Zionists as well as champions of peace, justice and human rights in Palestine.

Ilan Pappe is Professor of History and Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter. His most recent book is Out of the Frame: The Struggle for Academic Freedom in Israel (Pluto Press, 2010).


One Democratic State Group

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Veolia Campaign Hots Up

The multinational company  Veolia is complicit in providing infrastructural support for illegal settler occupation of Palestinian land. Veolia hold the contract for waste management in Brent which is due for renewal in 2014. They are also a likely bidder for the lucrative waste management contract for the West London Waste Authority aided by their possession of a processing facility in Alperton.

This video of a recent demonstration at Veolia Headquarters makes the case against Veolia and should inform councillors making decisions about future contracts.

In a BDS action organised by West London PSC  in commemoration of Palestine Land Day, 27 protestors visited Veolia’s head office on Pentonville Road, near London’s King Cross along with a letter demanding that Veolia cease providing services to illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in occupied East Jerusalem. The Protestors included independent solidarity activists as well as members of West London, Richmond, Lambeth , Brent and Merton PSC branches.
As protestors entered the head office the security person at the reception desk demanded that protestors cease taking photographs and leave the building.  After explaining their presence, protestors said they would   stay until the letter was accepted.
While waiting for a Veolia representative to come and accept the letter, protestors decorated the lobby with photographs of Israeli atrocities and 20 rubbish bags with large ‘BIN VEOLIA’ and ‘RETURN TO SENDER’  labels attached to them.   Banners were unfurled , Palestine  flags waved  and chants of  ‘BIN, BIN, BIN Veolia!’ and ‘FREE, FREE Palestine!’  filled the lobby space.
Flyers were also distributed to office workers entering and leaving explaining about Veolia’s complicity in Israeli violations of international law and war crimes.
Protestors handed a letter to a Veolia spokesperson explaining and specifying why Veolia’s actions in aiding Israel’s occupation constitute grave breaches of humanitarian and international laws. At the same time a protestor gave the spokesperson an oral summary of the contents of the letter. The Veolia spokesperson then tried to claim that Veolia’s role in the Jerusalem Light Rail project as well as the Tovlan landfill was minimal, and that Veolia did not run ‘Israeli Settler only’ bus services. He became very hostile to having his comments recorded – he did not want to go on camera - and acted aggressively towards someone who was filming his explanations.
Protestors cited detailed facts rebutting each of the spokesperson’s comments to show that Veolia was only telling half-truths at best and untruths at worst. As an example of the spokesperson’s defence of Veolia, he claimed that Veolia had offered to charge Palestinians reduced rates for Veolia taking their waste at the Tovlan landfill. It was pointed out to him that the key issue was that Tovlan landfill was taking waste from illegal Israeli settlements and dumping this on Palestinian land; offering a reduced rate for some Palestinians did not absolve Veolia from this.
Protestors told the Veolia spokesperson that the international campaign to highlight its activities in East Jerusalem and the West Bank would continue and that local councils across the UK are being lobbied to exclude Veolia from contracts because of those activities. It is fair to say that the Veolia spokesperson did not look a happy man as protestors left the building having made their point.
For more information about Veolia and its complicity in Israel’s illegal occupation please go to http://www.bigcampaign.org/ veolia/

Thursday, 31 March 2011

MPs vote to block the arrest of war crime suspects

Yesterday, the Commons passed clause 152 which will enable the government to block arrests of war crime suspects. This will require the permission of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) before a court can consider issuing an arrest warrant for a war crimes suspect, rather than allowing a senior District Judge to issue an arrest warrant for a suspect if presented with sufficient evidence. This will effectively require the DPP, following advice from the Attorney General, to block arrests of war crime suspects from ‘friendly countries' thus removing the impartial and transparent application of the law.

Rt Hon Ann Clwyd tabled an amendment to remove the clause which was defeated, because all three major parties whipped to support the clause. However, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party supported the amendment, along with 32 Labour MPs who defied their Party's orders. No Conservatives or Liberal Democrats voted to block the clause. This was particularly disappointing as the majority of Liberal Democrats had previously pledged to oppose any legislation to restrict universal jurisdiction. Of the three Brent MPs only Glenda Jackson voted for the amendment. Sarah Teather failed to carry out her General Election commitment to vote against any watering down of the law.

We offer real thanks to those who stood up for international law and justice: Graham Allen, Adrian Bailey, Clive Betts, Ronnie Campbell, Martin Caton, Rt Hon Ann Clwyd - who moved the amendment, Jeremy Corbyn, Jon Cruddas, Simon Danczuk, Jim Dobbin, Mark Durkan, Jonathan Edwards, Rt Hon Frank Field, Mary Glindon, Mark Hendrick, Kate Hoey, Jim Hood, Kelvin Hopkins, Glenda Jackson, Rt Hon Sir Gerald Kaufman, Rt Hon David Lammy, Rt Hon Elfyn Llwyd, Andy Love, Caroline Lucas, John McDonnell, George Mudie, Sandra Osborne, Albert Owen, Yasmin Quereshi, Dennis Skinner, Rt Hon Andrew Smith, Nick Smith, David Winnick, Mike Wood & Hywel Williams

 The legislation will now go to the Lords.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

If It Ain’t Broke, Why Fix It?

 On 10 March, a delegation from Brent Palestine Solidarity Campaign met with Lord McNally and local MP Sarah Teather to discuss the government’s plan to introduce restrictions to the law on issuing arrest warrants for foreign war crime suspects visiting the UK.

Under international law, some crimes, such as torture, genocide, war crimes and other crimes against humanity, are considered to pose such a threat to all mankind that all countries have the right to arrest and prosecute individuals suspected of them regardless of whether they were committed in that country or that the suspect is resident there. This is known as “universal jurisdiction” and its purpose is to ensure that no country is a safe haven for such criminals. In many cases, victims of the crime are unable to prosecute such persons in their own country. A recent example is the mayor of London Boris Johnson’s warning to George Bush not to visit the UK as he may find himself subject to such prosecution following his admission of authorising the use of torture in his memoirs.

Britain, like many other countries, has laws to facilitate this and while passing through or staying in UK territory, a private prosecution and an application for an arrest warrant can be brought against such suspects. This is done by applying for an arrest warrant to the senior district judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. For international crimes of this nature, the level of evidence that must be produced for an arrest or prosecution is very high and a prosecution can only go ahead if approved by the Attorney General. 

Over the past decade, ten applications have been presented, of which only two have resulted in the issue of arrest warrants. Both were for Israeli officials visiting the UK. In December 2009, an arrest warrant was issued for Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister during the bombing of Gaza in 2008-2009, for alleged war crimes she committed in “ Operation Lead Cast”, in which more than 1000 people died. The warrant was withdrawn two days later after Livni decided not to visit the UK and other Israeli officials have since put off visiting the UK for fear of arrest.  Livni called the arrest warrant “an abuse of the British legal system”. The Israeli government promptly called for changes to the legal process in the UK to prevent such warrants being issued against Israelis.

The British government ceded to the pressure and while various proposals have been made since December 2009, it is currently trying to push through a proposal buried within clause 152 of the Police and Social Responsibility Bill[1] to restrict the issue of arrest warrants in private prosecutions. This would effectively mean that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), a senior prosecutor appointed by the Attorney General, has to approve the application for an arrest warrant before it is presented to the court. The government argues that this is necessary so that foreign officials are not deterred from visiting the UK and from entering dialogue with the British government, including on peace talks, and to ensure there is no abuse of the system. Opponents of the change, however, see no need for a change in the law: it will slow down the process and add a political element to an otherwise wholly legal process, favouring friendly regimes such as Israel and allowing the attorney general and the cabinet to interfere in a decision of the courts.

This proposal has come up against significant opposition. In November, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) held a lobby of parliament to ask MPs to vote against the clause and for it to be removed. The northwest London Borough of Brent is represented by three MPs. Lobbies on this issue were held with Labour MPs Barry Gardiner and Glenda Jackson. Liberal Democrat MP and Minister for Children and Families Sarah Teather met with a group of her constituents in December. At this meeting, she said she would set up a meeting for the local PSC group with Lord McNally, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords and Ministry of Justice minister. This meeting, with three activists, was held on 10 March.

Prior to the 2010 general election, all 62 Liberal Democrat MPs in the previous parliament had signed a PSC pledge not to support any change in the law. However, since joining the Coalition government, some Liberal Democrats have reneged on this. Sarah Teather, MP for Brent Central, has been to Palestine twice. The reasons and background to the change in Liberal Democrat position was asked at the meeting but was not answered. 

During the meeting, Lord McNally supported the government position. He said that the government was committed to the concept of universal jurisdiction but that a “hurdle” needed to be set up to ensure the prospect of a viable prosecution before a warrant is issued and to prevent unsuccessful and abusive claims being brought. He spoke of the need to introduce a “hurdle” many times, which he claimed was neither political or had anything to do with Israel; it is not political but the government had made a conscious decision to create it “because these cases have wider political ramifications”. He also stated, with respect to Israel in particular, that such prosecutions are often a publicity stunt; this disregards the far more precarious situation of victims vis-à-vis those in positions of power and the serious violations they have suffered. 

Lord McNally said that the government sees the restriction as a “reasonable test or hurdle”; the reasonable test to be applied by the DPP is whether or not there is a public interest in bringing such a prosecution. It may transpire that when considering friendly states, such as Israel, Sri Lanka and some of the Middle Eastern regimes currently in disarray, no such interest exists. Campaigners asked the Liberal Democrats to be clear on their position on this matter and whether the restriction is a question of protecting the interests of our allies. Betty Hunter, president of the PSC, attending the meeting, pointed out that there is no issue or evidence of an abuse of process and that this “hurdle” removes transparency. She stated that while it will appease Israel, it will make it difficult for all victims of crimes against humanity to have their claim heard. As well as hindering the process, there is a clear issue of access to justice involved.

Campaigners at the meeting also questioned the independence of the DPP in his decision-making, given that he would have to defer to the attorney general and the government. This compromises the independence of the judiciary and allows the government to interfere, thereby allowing such decisions to be politically motivated. Lord McNally felt that the DPP’s position would remain independent; however it is evident that the restriction introduces a scope for hidden, political interference that campaigners fear will appease powerful states. Unfortunately the government’s position, that there should be a realistic prospect of viable prosecution before an arrest warrant is issued, confuses two parts separate of the process – arrest and prosecution – and completely skips the stage of police interviews with the suspect. The prosecution itself may be politically motivated but the bases for an arrest warrant must be solely on legally valid evidence. 

The bill is currently at its final stage in the House of Commons and will then pass to the House of Lords. With respect to what will happen at that stage, Lord McNally stated that this type of clause is very much of interest to members of the upper house and while it has been little debated in the Commons, it is likely to be considered far more carefully in the Lords. He suggested that amendments are tabled to change the proposal. Campaigners, however, want to see the clause removed altogether. The government’s arguments and grounds for this change are clearly politically motivated. 

Henry Kissinger, against whom an unsuccessful arrest warrant application was submitted and a strong opponent of universal jurisdiction laws, has long argued that such laws undermine the sovereignty of states. In this particular case, it appears that the British government is deferring to its foreign allies and their interests to push through this restriction in their favour. Betty Hunter said, that in light of the current upheaval in the Middle East and the UK’s poor record on upholding Palestinian human rights, “it was up to the British government to seize this historic moment and take a more progressive viewpoint on matters of justice”.

Useful resources:

[1] As per the latest version of the Bill published 18 February 2011; in previous versions, it is clause 151.