UNDER NAZI OCCUPATION

NOVANEWS

Dear Everyone,

Of the 0 items tonight, the first 4 are reports of events that make obvious that Palestinians and others who get in Israel’s way have absolutely no rights!  Each of these is fairly brief, but not exactly pleasant reading.

Item 5 is about the Libyan ship on its way—whether to Gaza or Egypt or elsewhere is not yet certain.  It’s original port was Gaza.  But apparently those in command of the ship do not want to fight Israel’s navy.

Item 6 relates that the UN says that 6 years later, the barrier that Israel continues to build remains a problem. Yes, so?  Is anyone except Palestinian/Israeli/international activists doing anything about it?  And all that they can do is protest, faint from tear gas and other fumes that the IOF likes to use, sometimes get a canister in one’s brain or eye or a bullet, etc.  So if the wall continues to be a problem, why doesn’t the UN or the EU or others do something to stop it, to tear it down????

Item 7 relates that the Hezballah feels that Israel is ‘preparing something.’  Could be for several reasons—Israel has not had a war for over a year.  Too long a span.  But there is also another reason: Israel needs the Litani river for its water supply.  This would be especially true if Obama pushed Israel out of the West Bank, where the mountain aquifer supplies water to the colonies and a little also to Palestinians.  But Israel’s leaders don’t need much of an excuse to start a war.

Item 8 brings some good news for a change: the Swansea (Wales) city council has voted to “to bar future contracts with Veolia on the grounds of its illegal activities in the West Bank.”  Much thanks to Greg for forwarding the press release.

The final item is long.  It is a statement by Palestinian organizations summarizing the gains made by the bds movement, on the occasion of its 5th anniversary.

Which reminds me—if you haven’t yet written to Dweezil Zappa to honor the boycott, please do so now.

Thanks.

Dorothy

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1. Ma’an News Agency Saturday, July 10, 2010

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=298064

[Reprinted in the Occupation Magazine ]

Soldier assaults Germany fans

A legal aid group issued a report Friday detailing an Israeli soldier’s assault of a Palestinian family.

The Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights reported that Khaled Barakat, his sons Feras and Ra’aft, and nephew Na’eem, were beaten and detained on 3 June because they supported Germany in the World Cup match against Argentina.

The family were returning home to Beit Safafa, south of Jerusalem, from Bethlehem, when an Israeli soldier stopped the car. The soldier cursed the men as “flies,” beat them, sprayed gas in their faces, and took them to an Israeli police station where he charged them with resisting a soldier, the report said.

A police spokesman said the men compelled the soldiers, and others, to use force to control them.

Barakat told the center that the soldier stopped his car, accusing the family of not wearing seatbelts, and demanded to see ID cards. The soldier gave Barakat’s son Ra’fat a ticket. Na’eem asked that the ticket be issued quickly so they could get home to watch the football game.

Na’eem was listening to the match on the radio and cheered when Germany scored, his uncle explained. The soldier took the group’s cigarettes and crushed them with his foot, then sprayed tear gas on the passengers. Barakat said he asked the soldier why, and the soldier replied, “Because you support Germany.” The soldier then beat them with batons.

Barakat said they were then taken to Moria police station, and accused of attacking the soldier. He told the interrogator the soldier would have marks on his body if this were true.

The father was released late at night, while his sons and nephew were detained at the Russian compound until the next day, without a court hearing or bail. The soldier issued a ticket to Ra’fat and Feras at 4.50pm but changed the time on the ticket to 2am, Barakat said.

The family hired an Israeli lawyer and filed a complaint against the soldier at the Mahesh interrogation department the next day.

The center’s research and documentation unit said the four residents sustained burns from the tear gas, the residue of which is still on their clothes, and are traumatized by the attack.

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2.  July 10.10

Slaughter at Sea

As we get ready to challenge Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza once more, we would ask you to remember the nine men murdered in cold blood by Israeli commandos, who came down from helicopters firing live ammunition.

The official autopsy reports will be released in the next couple of weeks, but preliminary reports say the nine men were shot over 31 times, most through the face and the top of the head. If you have not seen their photos or read who they are, we have now uploaded their information as well as how they were killed onto our FLICKR site. Please take a moment to pay your respects and maybe, add a comment.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/freegaza/?saved=1

These nine men were husbands and fathers, an American student who wanted to become a doctor, a fireman who came to help on board the Mavi Marmara, a photojournalist shot through the middle of the forehead as he tried to photograph Israel’s assault on a civilian ship in international waters in the dark.

No matter what spin Israel sends out or its slick talking heads who try to justify murder and mayhem, it is important to remember that none of these men were armed with guns, sound bombs or tear gas. No Israeli soldier was shot… as members on board the Mavi Marmara tried to defend themselves… something every one of us would have done if our family, friends, ship or home was attacked by masked armed intruders.

No Israeli soldier was killed. The few who were injured were treated by Turkish doctors, then sent back to their unit.

The terrorists on board that ship as well as the other five ships, (where passengers were beaten, tied up, tear gassed and wounded), worked for the Israeli navy.

——–

Greta Berlin, Co-Founder

witnessgaza.com

www.freegaza.org

http://www.flickr.com/photos/freegaza

======================

3. Ynet Friday, July 9, 2010

17:14 , 07.09.10

Anti-fence protestor: Palestinians’ rights ignored

Weekly rallies in West Bank villages mark sixth anniversary of Hague court ruling which stated separation fence illegal

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3917505,00.html

Shmulik Grossman

Hundreds of Palestinian, foreign and Israeli left-wing protestors flocked to the West Bank villages of Bilin, Naalin and Nabi Salih on Friday for the weekly anti-fence rallies.

The protestors marked the sixth anniversary of a ruling issued by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which stated that the separation fence built by Israel was illegal.

One of the protestors told Ynet, “The State of Israel continues to build the fence while ignoring the ruling and the rights of the Palestinians.” He said the weekly protests were not just the symbol of a struggle, but “the forefront of the Palestinian resistance against occupation and injustice.”

Israel Defense Forces officials said many attempts had been made to reduce the violent protests, which have been repeating themselves on a weekly basis on the Ramallah area, but that the protestors continued to flock to the Palestinian villages every Friday.

Colonel Sa’ar Zur, who was appointed Thursday as commander of the Binyamin Brigade, plans to try to put an end to the protests. Zur replaced Colonel Aviv Reshef, who is set to embark on a mission in the United States on behalf of the army.

The outgoing brigade commander said during the change of guard ceremony on Thursday, “We, the Binyamin soldiers and commander, have been and will be prepared for the challenges created by our enemies. We will fight those wishing to harm us, will defeat them, win and remain human.”

Colonel Zur said that the brigade “is facing long years between Israeli and Palestinian civilians, between thwarting activities and defensive activities, and is fulfilling its main mission – to defend the residents of the State of Israel.”

The protestors said they couldn’t care less about the new brigade commander. “He represents the army, which has decided to continue this injustice against the Palestinian people. The soldiers today continued firing tear gas and shock grenades at the anti-fence protestors,” one of them said.

IDF sources said the demonstrators had pelted the soldiers with stones. Three Israeli protestors and a Palestinian civilian were arrested following the riots. Two additional Israelis were detained for questioning.

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4. Ynet Friday, July 09, 2010

19:01 , 07.09.10

Weekly Protest

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3917530,00.html

Leftists clash with police in Sheikh Jarrah

Some 250 activists protest against evacuation of Arab families from east Jerusalem neighborhood. Eyewitnesses say author David Grossman pushed by police; three demonstrators arrested

Ronen Medzini

Three people were arrested Friday afternoon during the weekly protest at the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Some 250 left-wing activists arrived in the neighborhood to rally against the evacuation of Arab families in favor of Jewish residents. The protestors attempted to enter the Simeon the Just compound, claiming a court had given them permission to do so, but were stopped by police and Border Guard officers.

Activists who clashed with the police said the officers used violent means against them despite what they defined as a “passive protest”.

“There is a huge mess here,” former Knesset Member Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) told Ynet. “The police are shoving everyone. We stood on the pavements and they said our gathering was illegal. We had no one to talk to.”

Author David Grossman and former Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair attended the rally as well. According to eyewitnesses, Grossman was also pushed by the police.

“We have wanted to protest inside the neighborhood with the Palestinians for the past nine months. We have a court approval,” said one of the protestors, Shir Sternberg. “We demanded to enter in a non-violent manner, and the police pushed us.”

A police official told Ynet in response that Grossman was one of the dozens of protestors who attempted to break through the barrier and enter the Jewish homes. According to the police, the officers ‘used reasonable force’ against the writer and pushed him to an area authorized for demonstrations in accordance with a court ruling.

Shmulik Grossman contributed to this report

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5. BBC Saturday, July 10, 2010

Israel steps up bid to block aid ship bound for Gaza

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/10584525.stm

The Amalthea is carrying 2,000 tonnes of food, medicine and other items Israel has stepped up its attempts to stop an aid ship breaking its blockade of Gaza, sending a letter to the UN and engaging Greece and Moldova in talks.

The Moldovan-flagged ship, Amalthea, chartered by a charity run by the son of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi, was due to leave the Greek port of Lavrio on Saturday.

Israel said it now believed the ship would not reach Gaza.

An Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound ship in May killed nine Turkish activists.

Israel insisted its troops were defending themselves but the raid sparked international condemnation. Israel recently eased its blockade, allowing in almost all consumer goods but maintaining a “blacklist” of some items.

Israel says its blockade of the Palestinian territory is needed to prevent the supply of weapons to the Hamas militant group which controls Gaza.

Continue reading the main story The foreign ministry believes that due to these talks, the ship will not reach Gaza

Israeli foreign ministry

Israel has been engaged in intense diplomatic activity to prevent the Amalthea, renamed Hope for the mission, reaching Gaza.

A foreign ministry statement said that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had spoken with his Greek and Moldovan counterparts on the issue.

The statement said: “The foreign ministry believes that due to these talks, the ship will not reach Gaza.”

Ministry officials quoted by the Israeli news source Haaretz said that if the ship did sail it would travel instead to the Egyptian port of el-Arish.Israel also lobbied the UN to take action.

Israel’s UN ambassador Gabriela Shalev said in a letter: “Israel calls upon the international community to exert its influence on the government of Libya to demonstrate responsibility and prevent the ship from departing to the Gaza Strip.”

Ms Shalev also warned: “Israel reserves the right under international law to prevent this ship from violating the existing naval blockade on the Gaza Strip.”

She said the motives of the operators were “questionable and provocative”.

‘Expressing solidarity’

The Amalthea is being loaded with about 2,000 tonnes of food, cooking oil, medicines and pre-fabricated houses.

It has been chartered by the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation. Its chairman is Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.

The organisation said the 92m (302ft) vessel would also carry “a number of supporters who are keen on expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

The BBC’s Malcolm Brabant in Lavrio says the Libyans clearly believe the time is right to test Israel’s resolve to maintain the naval blockade.

Charity director Yousef Sawani said: “We are doing what we can, this is our responsibility. If everyone says ‘we will not allow this’, nothing will happen and the people of Gaza will continue under starvation.”

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6.  LA Times Thursday, July 8, 2010

Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,

Israel, the Arab world and beyond

ISRAEL: Six years later, UN says barrier is still a big problem

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2010/07/israel-un-says-after-six-years-barrier-still-a-big-problem.html

Six years ago, on July 9, 2004, the International Court of Justice in The Hague gave an advisory opinion on Israel’s construction of a part-concrete, part-fence barrier running along its borders with the West Bank. The court stated that in addition to being “contrary to international law,” the construction of the barrier does not justify Israel’s security objectives.

Since then, United Nations officials operating in the occupied Palestinian territories have marked the anniversary of this opinion with heartbreaking stories of the impact of the barrier on the lives and livelihood of almost three million Palestinians living in the West Bank, but mainly those caught between the barrier and the Israeli border, in what has been termed the “seam zone.”

UN officials from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the occupied Palestinian territories (OCHA), the World Health Organization and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees warned this week that unabated construction of the barrier continues to have adverse effects on the everyday lives of Palestinians.

They said the barrier and Israeli military laws associated with it had made it very difficult for Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to reach medical facilities in Jerusalem without first obtaining a permit from the army. They said it sometimes takes patients several days to get a permit for any of East Jerusalem’s six specialized hospitals.

Farmers have also had difficulty reaching their farm land in the seam zone, officials said.  Currently there are 57 barrier gates which open on a daily, seasonal or seasonal-weekly basis, officials said.

The majority of the gates are open only during the olive harvest season and usually for limited periods during the day. As “visitors,” farmers are not permitted to stay on their land overnight and must return at the last gate opening time, officials added.

The combination of the restricted allocation of visitor permits and the limited number and opening times of the barrier gates has severely curtailed agricultural practice and undermined rural livelihoods, officials said.

They recommended allowing farmers to reach their land behind the barrier at any time of the day and year and said West Bank and Gaza Strip residents should be able to reach East Jerusalem medical facilities without delay or obstruction.

Israel began construction on the barrier in the summer of 2002 after a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel. The barrier’s total length is 707 kilometers — about 440 miles, or more than twice the length of the 1949 armistice line, also known as the green line, between the West Bank and Israel.

According to UN figures, more than 61% of the barrier has been completed, with an additional 8.4% of the barrier’s total length under construction and 30% planned but not yet built. When completed, 85% of the barrier will run inside the West Bank, thus incorporating 9.4% of the West Bank area, mainly where blocks of settlements have been built.

Ray Dolphin, OCHA barrier specialist, said there is “a strong correlation between the route of the barrier and settlements in the West Bank.” He said Israel is incorporating land in the West Bank with the construction and route of the barrier “taking into account expansion of settlements.”

Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator in the Palestinian Authority, said Thursday on the ICJ opinion anniversary that “we are witnessing colonization in the 21st century with Israel’s settlement enterprise in the occupied Palestinian territory, and the wall is one of the ugliest manifestations of this grave violation of international law. It separates farmers from their lands, children from their schools and families from each other. It is a land grab disguised as a security measure and its purpose is to allow the illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to expand. Simply put, the wall is an integral part of a regime intent on heading in the direction of apartheid.”

Maher Abukhater in Jerusalem

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7.  Ynet Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hezbollah ‘on high alert’ against IDF

Lebanese group says info published on its Al-Khiam stronghold suggests Israel ‘preparing something’

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3917664,00.html

Roi Kais

Hezbollah responded for the first time Saturday to information revealed by Israel on its stronghold in the southern Lebanese village of Al-Khiam.

Sources from the organization told the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that the Israeli reports were a “fabrication” and that the state seemed to be laying the groundwork for some kind of move against Hezbollah.

“They are preparing something for us, but we are on a high level of alert,” one source told the paper, adding that a Security Council condemnation of the group’s recent violence against the UN force in southern Lebanon proved the international community was also involved.

“We want to stay as far as possible from an exchange of verbal blows because we want the Lebanese people to have a peaceful summer, despite Israel’s attempts to carry out what it tried to do in 2006 – an exaggeration of a show of defense,” the paper quoted.

The sources also condemned France for calling the Security Council meeting on the attacks against UNIFIL forces, which are believed to have been carried out by Hezbollah agents.

“The actions of the French UNIFIL force, just like France’s new policy, prove that the country has gone back to implementing imperialistic policies against the Arab homeland,” one source said.

France called for the special council meeting following incidents on June 29th and July 3rd and July 4th in which angry villagers blocked roads to prevent peacekeepers from performing a military drill. Some threw stones, injuring at least three peacekeepers.

The force commander, Maj. Gen. Alberto Asarta Cuevas, sent an open letter to the communities in the  south late Thursday urging villagers to discuss their grievances directly with the UN peacekeepers. He assured them the force has no “hidden agenda.”

A press statement read after the meeting strongly deplored the incidents and called on all parties to ensure the freedom of movement of the UN force, which has about 12,100 military personnel from 30 countries.

=======================

8.  PRESS RELEASE

Historic decision by Swansea City Council to bar future contracts with Veolia on the grounds of its illegal activities in the West Bank.

On Thursday June 17th 2010, Swansea City Council approved the following resolution:

“The UN not only does not recognise Israel’s annexation and

occupation of East Jerusalem, but has repeatedly stated its view that

the Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank

contravene international law, and it has demanded that Israeli

settlement activities and occupation should not be supported.

The international trading company, Veolia, is a leading partner in a

consortium seeking to build a light railway system linking Israel to

illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, a project that clearly

not only contravenes UN demands but is in contravention of

international law.

This Council therefore calls on the Leader & Chief Executive not to sign

or allow to be signed any new contracts or renewal of any existing

contracts with Veolia or any other company in breach of international

law, so long as to do so would not be in breach of any relevant

legislation.”

Veolia currently has contracts with the authority for local bus, park & ride to the tune of £699k per annum and home school to the tune of £238k per annum.

The passing of the resolution was very important in its own right, but we have since dicovered that this is the first resolution of its kind to have been passed by any UK authority, in that it makes explicit its reasons for ruling out any future contracts with Veolia. Other authorities have discontinued contracts with Veolia, but have not specified this reason. Swansea City Council is therefore leading the way with what is now seen as a landmark decision.

The resolution was put to the Council as the result of a campaign, in the course of which, all 72 councillors were mailed with details of Veolia’s illegal activities. We were gratified with the level of cross part support for some kind of action to be taken and have since been in regular contact with councillors from nearly all parties who are actively pursuing the issue.

Swansea now leads a growing number of cities ready to take a moral stand against international lawbreakers. The list already includes Dublin, Stockholm and Melbourne and within the UK moves are already being made which would mean that other authorities follow Swansea’s example.

Veolia Background Information

The Veolia parent company is Veolia Environnement, a French multinational.  Veolia Transport, a subsidiary of Veolia Environnement, is a leading partner in the CityPass consortium, contracted to build a light-rail tramway linking west Jerusalem to illegal Jewish settlements in occupied east Jerusalem .  Once built, the rail system will cement Israel’s hold on occupied east Jerusalem and tie the settlements even more firmly into the State of Israel.  And not only the settlements in east Jerusalem: the “Ammunition Hill” station of the network will operate as the feeder station for settler traffic from Ma’aleh Adumim, a large Israeli settlement in the West Bank, and from Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley.

The line is due to open in 2011, with Veolia responsible for the operation.  With its involvement in this project, the company is directly implicated in maintaining illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory and is playing a key role in Israel’s attempt to make its annexation of the Palestinian territory of east Jerusalem irreversible.  Further, as a willing agent of these policies, Veolia is undermining the chances of a just peace for the Palestinian people.

Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the annexation of East Jerusalem are illegal under international law.  Numerous UN resolutions and the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the wall have confirmed this.  The settlements violate Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention: “…The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” as well as Article 53 forbidding destruction of property.  In some cases in East Jerusalem these violations amount to war crimes, i.e. “grave breaches” of the Convention (see Articles 146 and 147), as they involve extensive appropriation of Palestinian property not justified by military necessity.  These grave breaches are being facilitated by Veolia’s part in the construction and future operation of the tramway serving the settlements.   The tramway also constitutes a significant alteration of the infrastructure of the occupied Palestinian territories contrary to the Hague Regulations of 1907, Section 3, also part of international law.

Thus, through its involvement in the building and future operation of this tramway linking Israel’s illegal settlements with West Jerusalem, Veolia is facilitating Israel’s ‘grave breaches’ of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and is complicit in its perpetuation of those breaches.  In other words, Veolia is involved in aiding and abetting on-going war crimes. It is also facilitating, exacerbating, aiding and abetting Israel’s breach of the Hague Regulations.

Veolia also runs two bus services serving the same function as the tramway: supporting and consolidating illegal settlements and tying them more closely into Israel.  These are services 109 and 110, operated by its local company Connex.  These services link the settlements of Beit Horon, Giv’at Ze’ev, Mevo Horon and Ramot Alon to Israel.  Part of the route is an Apartheid road on which Palestinians from the West Bank are forbidden to travel, even though it passes through the West Bank.  (From June 2010 this ban may be revoked,  see article in Haaretz newspaper by Tomer Zarchin and Yuval Azoulay on 31 December 2009, but as of 8-6-10 there had been no effective action to do so )

Veolia’s support for settlements does not stop there.  Through its subsidiary TMM it also operates the Tovlan landfill site in the occupied Jordan Valley which takes refuse from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Veolia’s participation in the tramway project also breaches its obligations with respect to codes of conduct and conventions such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2000) and the UN Global Compact (2000).  The latter’s first two principles state that businesses should support and respect the protection of international human rights within their spheres of influence and make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.  Yet by supporting Israel’s illegal settlements Veolia flagrantly violates both of these provisions.

Richard Jones

Swansea Palestine Link

Garth House

2 School Road

Glais

SWANSEA

SA7 9EY

Tel: 01792 842441

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9.  July 9, 2010

Palestinian BDS National Committee marks five years of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions

http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/755

Posted by BNC Europe on Fri, 07/09/2010

Palestinian BDS National Committee marks five years of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions

Occupied Palestine, 9 July 2010 – On the fifth anniversary of the Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights,[1] the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) warmly salutes all our local and international partners and supporters, individuals and organizations, who have contributed to the establishment and spectacular growth of what is now a truly global movement for accountability and upholding international law. We call upon all people of conscience to respond to continued Israeli impunity by joining the movement and taking visible and effective BDS actions. After five years of BDS, the movement has proven, indisputably, to be the most effective and morally consistent form of solidarity with the people of Palestine in our struggle to end Israel’s occupation, apartheid, and persistent denial of the UN-sanctioned right of return for the Palestinian refugees.

Inspired by the South African struggle against apartheid, the BDS movement is rooted in a century-long tradition of Palestinian civil and popular struggle for freedom, justice and human. In 2005, in light of the complete failure of the UN and the so-called international community to hold Israel accountable for its continuous impunity and violations of international law, and after one year of silence following the historic ruling of the International Court of Justice,[2] Palestinian civil society appealed to citizens of the world to shoulder the moral responsibility to end complicity in Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian rights.  The BDS Call asserts the primacy of the right to self-determination and addresses the fundamental rights of the three main components of the Palestinian people: to live free from Israeli occupation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; to end Israel’s system of institutionalized racial discrimination against its Palestinian citizens and for the Palestinian refugees and internally displaced, the great majority of the Palestinian people, to exercise their UN-sanctioned right to return to their homes of origin and to receive reparations.

Based on progressive, anti-racist principles, the BDS Call has in the five years since it was issued and endorsed by a clear majority of Palestinian civil society led to the creation of a vibrant, context-sensitive, rapidly expanding movement highly capable of taking visible and effective actions that raise awareness, speak truth to power, and put pressure on Israel and the states, companies and institutions that are complicit with its three-tiered system of oppression. The following are but some of the global BDS movement’s achievements in the last five years.

Consumer boycotts have allowed individual consumers to show their opposition to Israel’s oppression through collective action. Adopting creative forms of protest, these boycotts have so far led to a number of major retailers to review their sale of Israeli produce:

Italian supermarkets COOP and Nordiconad[3] and British supermarkets Marks and Spencer and Co-operative Group[4] have all announced that they will cease to sell produce from illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory.

On 30 March 2010, campaigners all over the world took part in a Global Day of BDS Action, holding inventive, visible and successful protest actions outside and inside shops that sell Israeli products.[5]

The academic boycott,[6] arguably the most challenging of all forms of boycott, has widely spread the debate on the entrenched complicity of Israeli academic institutions in planning, justifying and perpetuating the state’s colonial and apartheid policies, including its war crimes in Gaza, Jerusalem and beyond.[7]

The academic boycott campaign has highlighted the role played by Israeli academic institutions and led to the termination of some forms of collaboration: The May 2010 Congress of the British University and College Union (UCU)  made history by voting to boycott the “University Center of Ariel in Samaria” (AUCS), an Israeli colony-college in Occupied Palestinian Territory, and to sever all relations with Histadrut, the racist Israeli labor body that is a key pillar of the Israeli state’s apartheid policies.

University workers in the Canadian Union of Public Employees passed a motion calling for an academic boycott of Israel in February 2009. Academics also vowed to pressure their academies to break financial relationships with Israel.[8]

Aside from the UK, there are active academic boycott campaigns now in the US, France, Spain, Italy, and others.[9)

By refusing to provide a cultural cover up for Israeli apartheid, artists and cultural institutions have sent a clear message to Israel that its occupation and discrimination against Palestinians is unacceptable.  Far from being “above politics,” Israeli cultural institutions play a key role in the “Brand Israel” campaign of the Israeli foreign ministry, boosting the state’s image and whitewashing its colonial policies and war crimes. Today there are campaigns for the cultural boycott of Israel in the US, Britain, France, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Australia, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Norway, among others. Successes include:

In the wake of the Flotilla attack, Klaxons and Gorillaz Sound System cancelled their scheduled concerts in Israel,[10] reportedly due to the Flotilla attack, and so did the Pixies.[11] Most significantly, Hollywood superstars Meg Ryan and Dustin Hoffman cancelled their attendance at the 2010 Jerusalem Film Festival following the Flotilla Attack.[12]

In other developments related to the Flotilla, world best-selling writer, the Swedish Henning Mankell, who was on the Freedom Flotilla when attacked, called for South-Africa style global sanctions against Israel in response to its brutality,[13] and world renowned British writer, Iain Banks, wrote in the Guardian that the best way for international artists, writers and academics to “convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation” is “simply by having nothing more to do with this outlaw state.”[14]

In the weeks before the Flotilla attack, artists of the caliber of Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron and Carlos Santana all cancelled scheduled performances in Israel after receiving appeals from Palestinian and international BDS groups.[15]

Added to these are cultural figures, such as John Berger, Ken Loach, Judith Butler, Naomi Klein, The Yes-Men, Sarah Schulman, Aharon Shabtai, Udi Aloni, Adrienne Rich and John Williams, who explicitly support the Palestinian cultural boycott of Israel; cultural figures who refused to participate in Israel’s official cultural events for political reasons such as Augusto Boal, Roger Waters, Andre Brink, Vincenzo Consolo, and Nigel Kennedy; and cultural figures such as Bono, U2, Bjork, Jean-Luc Godard, Snoop Dogg, and others who decline offers to take part in events in Israel or agree then cancel without giving explicit political reasons.[16]

Principled and determined protests have taken place when officially sponsored or supported Israeli cultural performing groups, such as the Jerusalem Quartet, the Israel Ballet or the Batsheva Dance Company, perform overseas in an attempt to whitewash Israeli violations of international law.[17]

Similarly, international sporting events can play an important role in shaping a country’s image in the rest of the world. A few initiatives relating to a sporting boycott of Israel have generated significant awareness of Israeli violation of Palestinian rights:

Following Israel’s attack on the Freedom Flotilla, the Turkish under-19 football team refused to participate in a match with Israel and the Swedish under-21 team applied to FIFA to be allowed to do the same.[18]

Sevilla striker Frederic Kanoute received a fine from the Spanish football federation for revealing a T-shirt expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people during a match.[19]

Divestment initiatives encourage and pressure individuals, financial institutions and companies to shed their investments in Israel in order to curb the profits of Israel’s war and apartheid economy.  Divestment campaigns have had a number of important vi

French public services contractor Veolia is reported to be trying to pull out of its contract to help manage the Jerusalem Light Rail, a rail system that serves to cement Israel’s colonial hold on occupied East Jerusalem and will help transport illegal settlers living in the Occupied West Bank, after city councils in Stockholm, Dublin, Galway, Sligo and Swansea barred the company from future contracts and a number of private banks divested their shares in the company.[20]

In May of this year, Global financial giant Deutsche Bank divested from Elbit Systems,[21] an Israeli arms company that supplies the Israeli military and provides components for the Apartheid Wall in Occupied Palestinian Territory, following similar decisions taken by Foersta AP-Fonden, Sweden’s largest pension fund,[22] the Norwegian State Pension fund, Norwegian insurer KLP, Danish financial watchdog Danwatch, Denmark’s Danske Bank and ABP, one of the largest Dutch pension funds.[23]

Sanctions should be an essential part of upholding international law and holding states accountable for gravely violating it. Some states have already taken up vanguard positions, and a number of states reacted strongly and decisively following the Flotilla attack:

Bolivia and Venezuela cut ties with Israel, shutting down Israeli embassies in their countries, Qatar and Mauritania froze ties with Israel, and Jordan recalled its ambassador as an act of protest against Israeli assault on the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip in 2008-09.[24]

Following the attack on the Freedom Flotilla, Nicaragua suspended its diplomatic relations with Israel,[25] South Africa recalled its ambassador to Tel Aviv,[26] while Norway’s minister of education Kristin Halvorsen, reiterated Norway’s arms ban on Israel and called all other states to “follow the Norwegian position which excludes trading arms with Israel.”[27] Turkey recalled its ambassador to Tel Aviv, and the Turkish Parliament called on the government to “revise the political, military and economic relations with Israel”.[28]

In addition, Ariel College was excluded from a prestigious university competition about sustainable architecture organized by the Spanish Government in September 2009.[29.

The global trade union movement has consistently demonstrated its courage and commitment to human rights by adopting concrete, ground-breaking labor-led sanctions against oppressive regimes in a show of effective solidarity with oppressed peoples around the world. Adopting BDS measures has become the most prominent form of trade union solidarity with the Palestinian civil society in general, and the Palestinian working class in particular:

The Scottish, Irish and South African Trade Union congresses have all firmly and resolutely endorsed BDS, including reviewing relations with the Histadrut. The endorsements of these national federations mirror the actions of scores of individual unions.

Trade unions, especially dockworkers unions, around the world heeded the Palestinian trade union movement’s appeal of June 8, 2010,[30] that called for taking effective and concrete measures to block Israel’s maritime trade in response to its massacre human rights activists aboard the Freedom Flotilla. The Swedish Dockworkers union blocked more than 500 containers weighing approximately 500 tons during a week-long blockade of exports to Israel and Israeli goods that commenced on 23 June.[31] The Local 10 branch of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in California, USA passed a motion in support of industrial action and respected a labour and community picket by refusing to unload an Israeli cargo ship for twenty-four hours,[32] subsequently refusing to allow an Israeli Consulate delegation to address a meeting of the union.[33][34] The Turkish Liman-Is Union, the Norwegian Dockworkers Unions and the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) – which pioneered the boycott against Israeli maritime trade in February 2009 by refusing to offload a ship in Durban in protest of Israel’s war of aggression on the Gaza Strip – also announced planned blockades.[35] The trade unions in Cochin Port, India, have been refusing to unload Israeli ships since 23 June.

In other developments related to the Flotilla Attack, the Belgian trade union federation (FGTB) adopted a strong BDS position;[36] the British union UNISON suspended relations with the Histadrut;[37] the largest British union, UNITE, reaffirmed its support for BDS;[38] and the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) decided to launch a campaign to make every municipality in South Africa an “Apartheid Israel free zone”.[39]

In a historic development in December 2009, prominent Christian Palestinian leaders released the Moment of Truth – Kairos Palestine document, calling on churches around the world “to say a word of truth and to take a position of truth with regard to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.” Unambiguously endorsing BDS as one of the key non-violent forms of solidarity that international faith-based organizations are urged to adopt, the document affirms: “We see boycott and disinvestment as tools of justice, peace and security”. This has led to a number of important actions by faith based groups:

The UK Methodist Church voted in June 2010 to endorse the Kairos Palestine document and implement a boycott of produce from illegal Israeli colonial settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory.[40]

The Middle East Study Committee of the General Assembly of the US Presbyterian Church has released a report recommending that the US Presbyterian Church endorses the Kairos Palestine document and take appropriate action.[41]

In reviewing the successes of the BDS movement, it is evident that the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call is increasingly being answered today by mainstream and powerful actors. Cultural superstars, global financial institutions, major trade unions, faith groups, political parties, governments and individuals of conscience of every kind are beginning to take action. Our global movement is beginning to isolate Israel. The BNC warmly salutes and wishes to thank each and every individual who has played a role, however small, in the development of this movement for justice and equal rights.

BDS shows the way for translating words into deeds and emotional support for justice into actions that can truly end injustice. In five years, the Palestinian-led BDS movement has achieved far beyond what the South African anti-apartheid struggle had in many more years, according to first hand accounts from leaders of that struggle. In the next five years, the BNC hopes that the Palestinian people will start seeing the light at the end of the long, dark Israeli tunnel of occupation, apartheid and denial of refugee rights. Given all the commitment, creativity, networking, planning skills and principled advocacy of universal human rights and international law that BDS activists and partners around the world have demonstrated, this aspiration is gradually being realized. Keep hope alive! Intensify BDS!

________________________________

[1] http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/52

[2] The ICJ Advisory Opinion stated: “all States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction.” http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?pr=71&code=mwp&p1=3&p2=4&p3=6&ca…

[3] http://www.stopagrexcoitalia.org/comunicati/141-boycott-objective-is-res…

[4] http://www.bigcampaign.org/index.php?page=who_sells_israeli_goods

[5] http://www.bdsdayofaction.net

[6] For more on academic boycott, see www.PACBI.org, the website of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

[7] For studies on academic complicity, see, for instance, the SOAS Palestine Society Report: “Tel Aviv University part and parcel of the Israeli Occupation,” http://www.electronicintifada.net/downloads/pdf/090708-soas-palestine-society.pdf  and Keller, U. (2009), the Academic Boycott of Israel and the Complicity of Israeli Academic Institutions in Occupation of Palestinian Territories. The Economy of the Occupation: A Socioeconomic Bulletin: Alternative Information Centre.

http://www.alternativenews.org/images/stories/downloads/Economy_of_the_o…

[8] http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/591429

[9] For details of academic boycott developments in 2009, for example, see: http://www.pacbi.org/pdfs/PACBI%20Newsletter1-BDS-2009-Highlights-3-Jan-…

[10] http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/klaxons-and-gorillaz-sound-system-c…

[11] http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/06/2919568.htm?section=justin

[12] http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=178540

[13] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/palestinianauthorit…

[14] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/03/boycott-israel-iain-banks

[15] http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11319.shtml

[16] http://www.pacbi.org/printnews.php?id=1291#_edn8

[17] http://www.creative-i.info/2010/03/30/jerusalem-quartet-london-concert-d…

http://adalahny.org/index.php/press-releases/38-press-release-other/352-..

http://stopthewall.org/worldwideactivism/1874.shtml

[18] http://www.thenation.com/blog/flotilla-fallout-are-teams-right-refuse-pl…

http://svenskfotboll.se/arkiv/svensk-fotboll/2010/05/svff-uppvaktar-uefa…

http://svenskfotboll.se/arkiv/svensk-fotboll/2010/05/uefa-ser-inget-hind…

[19] http://english.aljazeera.net/sport/2009/01/200918152344764876.html

[20]http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/ipsc/displayRelease.php?releaseID=335

http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3474

http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&…

[21] http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/2275.shtml

[22] http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=50a_1270122673&c=1

[23] http://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/%E2%80%9Cwave-of-div…

[24] http://www.badil.org/en/al-majdal/item/19-bds-update-january-june2009

[25] http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3897773,00.html

[26] http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?sid=a_vBbjBZJ6LM&pid=20601087

[27] http://www.swedishwire.com/nordic/4809-norway-calls-for-boycott-on-arms-…

[28] http://www.news-gazette.com/news/news/2010-06-02/turkeys-parliament-want…

[29] http://aljazeera.com/news/articles/34/Spain_Boycotts_Ariel_College_for_B…

[30] http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/712

[31] http://www.labournet.net/docks2/1006/sweden6.html

[32] http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_15340836?nclick_check=1

[33] http://www.labournet.net/docks2/1007/oakland1.html

[34] http://pd.cpim.org/2010/0704_pd/07042010_7.html

[35] http://www.sendika.org/english/yazi.php?yazi_no=31229

http://www.frifagbevegelse.no/politikk_ff/article5151180.ece

http://www.labournet.net/world/0902/cosatu3.html

[36] http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/752

[37] http://www.palestinecampaign.org/files/UNISONConf2010.pdf

[38] http://www.palestinecampaign.org/files/UNITEStatement%20on%20Israeli%20O…

[39] http://www.samwu.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=621&It…

[40] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/methodists-launch-boycott…

[41] http://pcusa.org/media/uploads/middle_east_peace/pdfs/middleeastpeace-fu…

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