| Friday 2nd November
2007 | Issue 609
WAKE UP!! IT'S YER ONE ROTTEN APPLE...
Version - Download, Print, Copy and Distribute!
Story Links: Unsettling News | Crap of the Week | Strife of Brian | Beast of Eton | Line in the Sand | Party & Protest | Taking the Bliss | No Free Lunch | Inside SchNEWS | ..and Finally...
THE BRIGHTON-TUBAS DELEGATION REACHES OUT TO OCCUPIED PALESTINE
Brighton activists have spent the past fortnight in the Occupied Territories of Palestine. The group aims to highlight Israeli war crimes against Palestinians in the region, raise awareness about life under occupation and create practical solidarity links between grass roots organisations in Brighton and the Tubas region. In the process they've been shot at, arrested, and discovered that produce grown on stolen Palestinian land is for sale in yer local Tesco's.
When you hear the word settlement, the image is of a small piece of "Israel" clinging to the hill tops, surrounded by Palestinian farms and villages. In the Jordan valley the reality could not be more different, as the Brighton delegation found out. Small Palestinian farms hold out in a sea of settlers against all odds. The Brighton group decided to find out more about the resistance to expanding settlements first hand by supporting a village fighting back against the expansion of the settlements.
Events rapidly came to a head when delegates went on a protest against Israeli settler annexation of Palestinian land. For years the villagers in Al Ma'zra have dealt with outright theft of their land. The demonstration was against the seizure of 500 Dunams (4 dunams= 1 acre) of land for "military purposes". The land was the latest to be seized and incorporated into a collection of settlements known as Talmund B. In total 14,000 dunams of land have been stolen from the village.
On Friday last week, around 50 Palestinians accompanied by the Brighton delegation made their way to land stolen by the settlements. Lucy Collins, a Brighton activist told SchNEWS what happened next....
"We arrived with ten internationals to join the villagers coming out of their prayers. We walked over the hills passing olive trees that families are now too afraid to harvest. In the midday sun people were suffering - toiling up the hill. We reached the land where a barbed wire fence marked the boundary of stolen land. Approximately 40 young men and a few older men crossed the fence and started to remove the settler grape vines from the land. Also the pipes that take the stolen water were destroyed. As people were leaving the land shots rang out from the surrounding hillsides.
A group of children with us started to run, shouting to the internationals to "hurry, hurry". We ran back under live fire for twenty minutes. Some of us ran ahead to try and get to the village to protect people if the army came into the village. The village think the only reason there were no deaths is the presence of internationals."
Three internationals were seized by settlers after this act of defiance. A day later Israeli settlers entered the village. Lucy told us "On Saturday the settlers came back into the village. They uprooted and burnt olive trees, destroyed crops, attacked houses and broke windows. The settlers caught some of the villagers and beat them with sticks and bars. On Sunday the army came to the village and arrested the mayor and another member of the village council. They also arrested thirteen other people, four of whom were university students, two being children under fifteen. As we write we do not know what has happened to these people". They also denied the village the right to harvest their olives as an act of collective punishment.
It is common for villages like Al Ma'zra to suffer collective punishments at the hands of Israeli military or settlers in retaliation for any form of protest at the theft of Palestinian land. This level of intimidation makes it nearly impossible for Palestinians to tend and harvest their crops. As their fields lie fallow Israeli settlers simply steal it and attack any Palestinian who dares to complain. This phenomenon of confiscating so-called 'uncultivated' Palestinian land is widespread and often results in the annexation of the land by the illegal Israeli settlements. This process is sanctioned and encouraged by the Israeli state.
Meanwhile the three internationals who were seized by the settlers were undergoing their own ordeal - they were held for over thirty hours in the punishment block of Ramla women's prison in Tel Aviv. Sarah Cobham, one of those imprisoned, told us "A settler pointed a gun at us and threatened to kill us and then we were taken away. During my time in Palestine I have seen the heartache on the faces of the families of many Palestinian ex-prisoners and the hollow looks in the eyes of those who have been incarcerated. Sitting in a cell, with no way of contacting the outside world, I began to grasp the enormity of what they had been telling me." Although later released, they have been forbidden from returning to the occupied territories.
Undeterred by the incident - the Brighton activists continued
to build links with the locals, exposing the everyday indignities,
violence and economic exploitation which characterize life under
Israeli occupation in the Tubas region. The Brighton group first
made contact with the region in 2005 through campaigning against
Carmel-Agrexco, Israel's major exporter of fruit to the EU
(see SchNEWS 585). Seven British activists
were taken to court for blockading Agrexco's UK depot. They
argued that the company was complicit in crimes committed by Israel
and called witnesses from the Tubas region.
On this trip activists managed to infiltrate one plantation run by Carmel Agrexco. "Once inside, the evidence was there for all to see: line upon line of conveyor belts: box upon box of dates. All labelled "Made in Israel", but grown on stolen Palestinian land. Packed by Palestinians, sold in British supermarkets, (Goods on this occasion were destined for Tesco's and labelled 'Produce of Israel') - lining the pockets of settlers that illegally occupy the Jordan Valley. For these Palestinian workers there is little choice. Long hours, bad pay, poor conditions and no job security. Forced to work as modern day slaves, picking and packing produce grown on what is their land. What other choice to they have? They have no land of their own. Their message: "Don't support the occupation: Boycott Israeli Apartheid goods!" Children as young as twelve were seen working in the factory.
How can a small group of UK citizens make sense of what they have experienced in the occupied territories? "At a school in Tubas the children asked us if we had an occupation in London, whether there was a wall in Brighton and why we (the UK) exported arms to Israel." Such questions, and be
ring witness to the myriad of daily brutalities, brings the need for real solidarity action into sharp focus".
On their return the group will be giving talks on their experiences and "the many ways that we can use our privilege to struggle in solidarity with the Palestinian people."
For complete details on the delegation, including personal blogs
check out www.brightonpalestine.org
CRAP OF THE WEEK
For walking a dog...
A man is standing trial this week in Exeter having been fined for having his dog off its lead. The new Dog Control Orders in the city mean that dogs off-leash are banned on every footpath and pavement, and there is a limit on how many dogs you can walk at once. The party-pooper warden was intent on writing out a ticket because initially he wanted to book the dog for fouling on the pavement - and when he was forced to admit that he hadn't seen it happen, the jobsworth wrote one out for the 'off-lead' offence - even though the dog was on private land at the time.
STRIFE OF BRIAN
This Monday Brian Haw was in court taking Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to court over the removal of display banners and placards from Parliament Square in May 2006. The summons against Blair was issued this year, along with one to the Chief Supt of Charing Cross and Hendon police stations for 'receiving stolen goods', as they didn't have authority to take the display. It was an illegal seizure. This comes after a court case in January where Brian was found not guilty for failing to comply with SOCPA - leaving the matter of his seized banners unresolved. The raid had cost £111,000.
Unfortunately for the boys in blue amongst the property seized was artwork by edgy urban art phenomenon Banksy - (now collected by Angleina Jolie), which is now perhaps worth more than the Houses of Parliament
The court case didn't end up in a victory for Brian, but there was an acknowledgement that the banners were taken without due legal authority, and the Met and the Judge have agreed to an inventory of the confiscated stuff - and if it's not deemed a health and safety issue having sat in storage for 18 months - could be returned to Brian, but not to Parliament Square.
* For more www.parliament-square.org.uk
BEAST OF ETON
This Saturday (3rd) sees the return of a classic Class War stunt
- The Bash The Rich* march on David Cameron's house in Notting
Hill. Come and recreate the heady 80s spirit and take a peek at
how the other half live. Meet 11.30am at the bar area of the Royal
Festival Hall.(to discuss tactics and actions before the event).
Check it out at www.londonclasswar.org/newswire
The Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) will be there in force filming and following people, and FIT Watch (www.fitwatch.blogspot.com) are calling for all to be there and turn the tables on them - follow and photograph them, and help obstruct their cameras with banners etc.
* Co-incidentally the title of Ian Bone's entertaining autobiography - in all good bookshops.
LINE IN THE SAND
Last week in Morocco there was a crackdown and deportation of sub-Saharan refugees. Mass deportations from Oujda, east Morocco, into Algeria have been going on all this year. Last week there were round-ups in the city of Rabat and the campus of Oujda University - with countless deportations. This comes several months after a violent raid at the campus in June, where 450 refugees were arrested, and several seriously injured. The effort in Morocco to stop the path of refugees coming north to seek asylum in Europe from wars and persecution across Africa is doing Fortress Europe's dirty work for them. The majority of refugees never leave their home continent.
For more info contact "Association Beni Znassen for culture" (ABCDS) - Hicham Baraka, Ph: 00212 - 67 71 65 24 / 00212 - 36 68 67 50 email@example.com
* For updates about NoBorders see www.noborder.org
PARTY & PROTEST
* 3 - 1st ever North East Working Class Bookfair - At the Meeting room above Durham Central Library 100 yards away on Claypath from 12-30 to 4.30pm. For more info call Trevor on 07931301901
* 4 - Hunt Sab benefit - Curry and pud £4, Cowley Club, 12 London Rd Brighton, 3pm onwards.
* 9 - Rossport Day Of Action - almost one year since Gardai batoned people protesting the Corrib Gas Project and twelve years since Ken Saro Wiwa and the Ogoni eight were hanged by the Nigerian government - Shell to Sea has called a day of action at Bellanaboy, Co. Mayo. Dublin Shell to Sea is running a bus to Mayo. Tel (from Ireland) 087 99 35 876 see also www.corribsos.com
* 9 - Real News - launch of regular monthly show on the second Friday of the month with screenings of Real News, plus speakers, discussions, music. 8.30pm-4am, The White Lion, 232 Streatham High Rd, info 07779109628 £5/£3, postal workers free, see www.realnews.co.uk
* 10 - Lewisham 77 - remembering 30 years on from
the 'Battle Of Lewisham' when the far-right National Front tried
to march through Southeast London. Locals and anti-fascists mobilised
against them, leading to a street riot which saw more than 200 arrested
and 100 injured. A day of exhibitions, screenings and talks. 1pm-5pm,
Goldsmiths College, (Great Hall), New Cross, London, SE14. Tel 07881
614119 email firstname.lastname@example.org
* 10 - Stop The Wall! Boycott Israeli Apartheid!
on the 5th International Week of Action against the Apartheid Wall.
Take action to raise awareness of the illegal occupation of Palestine
and to join the movement for boycott and sanctions against Israel.
There will be a picket and protest on Oxford St, London from 1pm.
Meet Marks and Spencer, 258 Edgware Rd. (tube Edgware Rd) tel 020
7837 1688 email email@example.com
* 10 - Shac demo against HLS - a march against
the animal abusers in the town centre then back for demos at the
labs. 11Am at Riverside Rd, Huntingdon. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
* 10 - East Anglian Social Forum - with discussions
etc about social change at 'grass roots' level and community activism.
At the United Reform Church Hall, Quay Street, Halesworth, (about
15 miles from Lowestoft off the A12) Suffolk 10am-5pm, tel 01986
873051 email email@example.com
* 12 - Block the Builders blockade at AWE Aldermaston. Help block Britain's own WMD weapons factory in a day of non-violent direct action. Overnight accommodation available Sunday. Legal support on the day. Info pack on www.blockthebuilders.org.uk or call 07807 522454.
* 14 - Hands Off Iraqi Oil - a national speaking
tour (November 14-28) to build the campaign against the forced privatisation
of Iraq's oil industry (to Shell, BP etc...) Brighton public meeting
with speakers Ewa Jasiewicz and Jo Wilding (Jo at Cowley Club meeting
only). Discussing such issues as what is happening to Iraqi oil
now, including workers struggles within Iraq, as well as international
- including British - agendas - and what can be done? 2pm - Room
A5 Arts A Building, Sussex Uni, 7.30pm - Cowley Club, 12 London
Rd, Brighton. www.handsoffiraqioil.org
For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org
TAKING THE BLISS
The Government are planning to build the 'world's largest ever animal testing lab and virus containment facility' at Brill Place, Camden, on land owned by the Dept for Culture, Media and Sport, next to council estates and schools, near Kings Cross train station. The only 'bidder' for the lab is the National Insitute For Medical Research. Local residents are up in arms both about the loss of more publicly owned land, as well as the dangers of transporting and containing deadly bio-hazards in a residential area. Any attempt to build an animal testing lab in central London will face a national animal rights campaign.
Sale of the land to NIMR could happen in the next few weeks, but there will be a protest at Camden Town Hall, Judd St, London WC1 on November 5th at 6.30pm organised by "Our Land Our Homes Our Community/Camden Residents Against "B.L.I.S.S." Lab and supported by London Animal Rights.
See also www.myspace.com/camdenagainstbliss
NO FREE LUNCH
London Councils, which represents London's 33 local authorities,
is preparing the tenth London Local Authorities Bill for wheeling
out on November 27th. Amongst the knee-jerk reactions in the bill
include cracking down on chewing gum dropping and litter, and there's
also a section about 'distribution of free refreshments'
- which would effectively ban soup kitchens. Giving out food
to homeless people will be outlawed in Westminster - where
250-300 sleep rough every night - and possibly beyond. In
the Evening Standard the Westminster Council have been saying
that such hand-outs 'keep people on the street'.
An Italian couple living in Spain, whose three dogs had been impounded in Puerto Real, discovered the dogs had been killed. The couple, known animal rights activists, started a local campaign against the pound and during a demo one of the Italians, Simone Righi was arrested and has been remanded in custody since. Please send letters of support to Simone Righi-Ingreso, Centro Penitenciario De Puerto II, Ctra Jerez - Rota, km 5,4, 11500 Puerto De Santa Maria, Spain.
For more (in Spanish) see www.dogwelcome.it/spagna2007.html
Holy Cow, look who's got a beef with the pigs. Sussex police Inspector Chris Poole found himself on the wrong end on a herd of angry friesian freedom fighters as he walked his dog on the South Downs recently.
Poole reported that one cow (clearly the ringleader) approached him from a southerly direction and pushed him to the ground. Encouraged, the rest of the herd piled in to give him a good kicking while he was down. He finally got out with broken ribs and a punctured lung and spent eleven days in hospital. "It was unlucky the cows attacked... it is very rare but obviously it can happen," he said.
SchNEWS could go on about a moo-vement against the steakholder society but quite frankly we don't want to milk it and get on yer teets. It's a game of two calves, Brian. Please send in yer own bad cow pun. (maybe something about not liking grasses etc etc) Free pen to the winner.
SchNEWS warns all readers... don't play the devil's avocado - leave the forbidden fruit on the shelf. Honest!
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