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PSC Weekly Update

De notre partenaire britannique: PSC - Samedi, 28 mars 2009

Saturday 28 March 2009

PSC Weekly Update – Friday 27 March

1. Focus on Israeli war crimes in Gaza

2. PSC letter in the Guardian

3. Veolia binned in Sandwell

4. Palestinian workers tour Britain

5. Israel arrests five more MPs

6. Israeli settler and state violence increases as Israeli Labor Party votes to join Likud and Yisrael Beitenu

7. Israel prevents Jerusalem capital of culture celebration

8. Remember Gaza – Free Palestine! National Demonstration 16 May

9. Dr Daud Abdullah and the Muslim Council of Britain under attack

10. Video of launch of Russell Tribunal on Palestine now online

11. 28-30 March: Boycott Actions for Palestinian Land Day // Waitrose Complaint Procedure


1. Focus on Israeli war crimes in Gaza

This week, the Guardian ran a series of articles and video clips on Israel’s war crimes in Gaza. As Seamus Milne described, ‘The films provide compelling testimony of Israel’s use of Palestinian teenagers as human shields; the targeting of hospitals, clinics and medical workers, including with phosphorus bombs; and attacks on civilians, including women and children – sometimes waving white flags – from hunter-killer drones whose targeting systems are so powerful they can identify the colour of a person’s clothes.’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/series/gaza-war-crimes-investigation

A UN report issued on 23 March detailed how Israel targeted civilians, with a long list of incidents. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, said that “Civilian targets, particularly homes and their occupants, appear to have taken the brunt of the attacks, but schools and medical facilities have also been hit”.

She cited cases including one where ‘Israeli soldiers shot a father after ordering him out of his house and then opened fire into the room where the rest of the family was sheltering, wounding the mother and three brothers and killing a fourth’, and in ‘Tal al Hawa south-west of Gaza City, Israeli soldiers forced an 11-year-old boy to walk in front of them for several hours as they moved through the town, even after they had been shot at.’

Following the claims on Monday by Gabi Ashkenazi, the chief of staff of the Israel Defence Forces, that the Israeli army was “the most humane army in the world”, the Financial Times ran an article on 24 March titled ‘Israel dismissive as fury mounts’. It followed a report by a UN human rights panel on Israeli war crimes, with one of the report’s authors saying “Violations were committed on a daily basis, too numerous to list”.


2. PSC letter in the Guardian

A letter from Betty Hunter, General Secretary, was published in the Guardian on 26 January welcoming the Guardian’s investigation on Israeli war crimes. Betty pointed out that ‘the most chilling aspect of the onslaught is the confirmation by Colonel Daniel Riesner that, "If you do something long enough the world will accept it". This is what successive Israeli governments count on, and so far their impunity has been confirmed by the international community’s inaction’, and concluded that ‘It will be criminal for the world to ignore these war crimes at a time when Binyamin Netanyahu, who denies the Palestinian right to a state, is about to construct a coalition government making Avigdor Lieberman, an illegal settler living on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank, his foreign minister, and including Ehud Barak, the architect of the attack on Gaza.’


3. Veolia binned in Sandwell

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council has decided not to consider further Veolia’s bid for the ‘Waste Improvement Plan’ contract, a contract worth £1 billion over 20 years.

Veolia is complicit in the continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, as a leading partner in the CityPass consortium, contracted to build a light rail tramway system linking west Jerusalem to illegal Jewish settlements in occupied east Jerusalem. This is a great victory to those who have campaigned against Veolia, and PSC nationally and locally will continue to work to ensure that councils do not issue contracts to firms such as Veolia that are aiding Israeli crimes.

4. Palestinian workers tour Britain

Two representatives from Sawt el-Amel have been travelling around Britain this week as guests of the PCS union. Sawt el-Amel is a NGO based in Nazareth working principally with Palestinian and migrant workers – they will be discussing a legal issue of gaining return of money for workers from Gaza from Israeli based employers.

For further information on Sawt el-Amel: http://www.laborers-voice.org/home-e.aspx

5. Israel arrests five more Palestinian MPs

Dr Mustafa Barghouthi writes of the arrests: ‘Yesterday [18 March], the Israeli army raided the West Bank and arrested 5 members of the Palestinian Parliament. With a third of the plenary assembly now in prison, Palestinian democracy is on hold, under Israeli bars. For over two years, no plenary sessions have taken place, no laws have been voted on or debated. The core of democracy is in jail.’


6. Israeli settler and state violence increases as Israeli Labor Party votes to join Likud and Yisrael Beitenu

The Israeli Labour Party voted to join a coalition with Likud and Yisrael Beitenu on 25 March. Their vote followed the arrest of 13 Palestinian protesters against Israeli extreme right march including settlers through Umm al-Fahm, a Palestinian village in northern Israel, led by Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir, both formerly of the outlawed Kach movement. The Umm al-Fahm municipality released a unanimous statement that the city’s inhabitants and the entire Arab public had "with the support of the Jewish forces of peace and democracy, stood together to stop this provocation and managed to curb racism and fascism".
Israeli troops also attacked a press conference held by the parents of Tristan Anderson, the American peace activist who was shot in Ni’lin last week, beating Palestinian activists and journalists. The press conference was held in the ‘protest tent’, in Sheikh Jarrah, where the Al Kurd family has taken up residence for months after being evicted from their home. The Israeli army had demanded that the event be shut down, but when people refused, they assaulted the audience, beating and detaining activists, media crews and officials.

7. Israeli forces prevent East Jerusalem Capital of Culture celebrations

From the latest UN OCHA report: ‘On 20 March, Israeli police prevented

celebrations marking the declaration by the Arab League of East Jerusalem as the ‘Capital of Arab Culture for 2009’, on the grounds that they were being held under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority. Large numbers of Israeli police dispersed crowds, confiscated flags and arrested at least ten Palestinians. They also entered a school and stopped the students from flying balloons.’

8. Remember Gaza – Free Palestine! National Demonstration 16 May

The date has now been set for the national demonstration – Saturday 16 May, assembling 12noon in Central London. Leaflets are available from the office – please save the date and start organising transport now!

9. Dr Daud Abdullah and MCB under attack

The statement below in support of Dr Daud Abdullah, freedom of speech and independence from government interference, has been signed by a number of individuals and organisations:

We the undersigned consider the decision of the government to demand the removal of Dr Daud Abdullah from his elected post of Deputy General Secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) an attack on the democratic right of freedom of speech of every British citizen.

It is our right to express whatever lawful views we wish in relation to the government’s foreign policy and the criminal actions of Israel in relation to the Palestinian people. We note that the government proposes no sanctions against those who supported the military attack of Israel on Gaza and its ongoing siege despite Israel’s routine flouting of international humanitarian law. It is clear that double standards are being applied which discriminate against Muslim supporters of justice for the Palestinians.

We note that there is no suggestion by the government that Dr Abdullah has broken any British law. It is falsely claimed that he has advocated attacking British forces. In fact, both the MCB and Dr Abdullah have stated publicly their opposition to any attacks on British forces and there are no proposals to deploy any British forces in any part of Palestine.

We further consider the decision by the government to suspend relations with the Muslim Council of Britain, which is the main umbrella group representing Muslims in Britain, to be an act of crude bullying which no independent organisation should tolerate. This is all the more perverse as the MCB has consistently urged British Muslims to work with the police to help prevent any terrorist attacks in Britain.

We believe that the government’s actions in this matter only serve to assist those who will claim it is impossible for Muslims in Britain to support justice in the Middle East by democratic means.

We urge the government to respect the right of all British citizens, irrespective of their race or religion, to exercise their democratic right within the law to express their own opinion on domestic or foreign policies. To this end we urge the government to end its attack on Dr. Abdullah and re-instate its relations with the MCB.

Ken Livingstone; Tony Benn; Lauren Booth; Bruce Kent; Jeremy Corbyn MP; Baroness Jenny Tonge; Anas Altikriti; British Muslim Initiative; Kate Hudson Chair, CND; Andrew Murray, Chair, Stop the War Coalition; Lindsey German, Convenor, Stop the War Coalition; Betty Hunter, General Secretary, Palestine Solidarity Campaign; Sarah Colborne, Campaigns Officer, Palestine Solidarity Campaign; Canon Garth Hewitt; Muhammad Habib-Rahman, Islamic Forum of Europe; Faisal Hanjara, Federation of Students Islamic Societies; Zaher Birawi, Palestinian Forum of Britain; Pat Stuart, Executive Council Member of Unite the Union (personal capacity); Bellavia Ribeiro-Addy, NUS Black Students Officer; Bill Speirs; Naeem Darr, Muslim Directory; Maulana Maudud Hassan, Da’watul Islam UK; Muhammad Akram, UK Islamic Mission; Majid AlZeer, Palestinian Return Centre; Ismail Patel, Friends of Al-Aqsa; Sajid Miah, Young Muslim Organisation UK; Mahera Ruby, Muslimaat UK; Najah Muhammad, Sri Lanka Islamic Forum UK; Mohammed Kuxbar, Lebanese Muslim League; Musaddiq, Council of Mosques – Tower Hamlets; Yvonne Ridley; Friends of Lebanon

10. Video of launch of Russell Tribunal on Palestine now online

Videos of the speeches from speakers launching the Russell Tribunal on Palestine are now online:


11. March 28-30 – boycott actions - focus on Waitrose and Tesco

We are urging PSC supporters to take action against Waitrose and Tesco during the 28th-30th March as part of the international call to action.

- On Monday March 30th make sure everyone you know calls Waitrose Customer Services on 0800 188 881 and Tesco Customer Services on 0800 505555 to complain about their sale of Israeli products and illegal Israeli settlement products.

Waitrose Complaint Procedure

Waitrose appear to have an internal store procedure of bagging up and sending produce to head office for which a product complaint form has been completed. This does not require purchase of the product but may require you to push for a product complaint form to be filled in and the product to be sent off as the store personnel may not be aware of procedure.

You can use the form to object to the labelling, and spell out why.

We recommend on this weekend ’s actions (and in general) that someone selects 2 to 3 different "West Bank" products and ask at customer services for a product complaint form to be completed and for the products to be sent to head office. If you have success, then send someone else in to do the same.

Further details:



The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) aims to raise public awareness about the occupation of Palestine and the struggle of the Palestinian people. PSC seek to bring pressure on both the British and Israeli government to bring their policies in line with international law. PSC is an independent, non-governmental and non-party political organisation with members from communities across the UK. Join PSC today!

Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Tel: 020 7700 6192
Fax: 020 7609 7779

Email: info@palestinecampaign.org

Web: www.palestinecampaign.org

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