CAMPAIGNING FOR JUSTICE FOR PALESTINE
· Wednesday 14 January – Families of the Nakba produced by Neil Kirtlan photo book launch at Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS at 7 pm
Building for 2015
The last year saw some of the worst levels of violence in the Occupied Territories since the Second Intifada. Gaza was almost completely destroyed with immense suffering inflicted upon the young civilian population. East Jerusalem and the West Bank also saw major and sustained clashes towards the end of the year. The Israeli government has initiated a raft of new draconian and segregationist measures to deal with the occupied people and some of the largest ever settlement expansion programmes have been announced in recent months making peace seem but a distant dream.
But despite all of this there is a real sense that a breakthrough is imminent. The BDS movement is gaining momentum all the time, including in the US, doing considerable financial harm to companies like Sodastream and G4S. PSC’s lobbying campaigns of MP’s has produced tangible results, with many MP’s commenting in Parliament on the volume of correspondence they are receiving and many staunch supporters of Israel have re-evaluated their positions.. Public attention is focused on the Palestinian cause like never before and now is the time to get involved. If you would like to volunteer to help Waltham Forest PSC in any of our campaigning activities, please do contact us.
With goodwill to all, Waltham Forest PSC wish you and your families a Happy New Year!
World governments continue to show their support for Palestinian rights
The General Assembly of the United Nations has passed a resolution recognising the sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories and accordingly their rights over their natural resources. In an overwhelming show of support the General Assembly voted 165 for, 6 against and 9 abstentions. The countries voting against were Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau and the United States. It appears the list of Israel’s allies is growing small (the combined population of Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands is around 175,000). As part of the resolution the General Assembly demanded that “Israel cease exploiting, damaging, depleting and endangering” the resources of the Palestinian people.
Security Council Rejects Palestinian Statehood timetable
The UN Security Council has rejected a resolution demanding an end to the Israeli occupation within 3 years. The Council voted 8 for the resolution, 5 abstentions and only 2 against, falling one vote short of the required number of votes. The United States and Australia voted against the resolution, with the US vowing to use their veto if the required votes had been achieved. In an effort to avoid this and maintain the farce of playing the honest peace broker, the United States applied huge diplomatic pressure on the other members to abstain. It had been expected up until the last moment that Nigeria would vote yes, giving the 9 votes and forcing the US to use the veto.
But with the several of the members who either abstained or voted against having been replaced in the new year a second attempt should be forthcoming shortly, which if successful, the United States will undoubtedly veto. Though this is disappointing, as recent votes across the world have shown, virtually every national and international forum that has been given an opportunity to debate Palestine has shown overwhelming support for Palestinian statehood sooner rather than later. That is something to be optimistic about.
Britain was amongst those countries to abstain in the latest vote, despite the clear indication by the House of Commons that the nation supports immediate recognition of Palestine. I hope many of you will be writing to the Prime Minister and your MP’s demanding an explanation as to why the wishes of the British people have been so flagrantly ignored.
Israel responds as Abbas signs the Rome Statute
President Abbas signed up to 20 International Conventions, including the Rome Statute giving the ICC the ability to investigate war crimes committed on Palestinian land. Israel, terrified by the prospect of their crimes that have so far been committed with impunity for decades now becoming the jurisdiction of international courts, have responded with hysteria, threats and sanctions.
In the first move of what is likely to be a dangerous escalation in an attempt to discourage Abbas from pursuing accountability for Israeli war crimes, Israel has announced it will illegally withhold $125 million in tax funds that it collects on behalf of the Palestinian government and has asked the US Congress to withhold aid to Palestine if charges are brought before the ICC.
Gaza Doctor named Norway’s Person of the Year
Dr Mads Gilbert has been named Norway’s Person of the Year by the countries’ biggest daily newspaper. Dr Gilbert spent 50 days in Gaza during the most recent conflict and received a lifetime ban by Israel for his comments to the media, including graphic accounts of civilian casualties. Dr Gilbert described Israel’s actions as ‘state terrorism at the highest levels’ and accepted the award on behalf of the ‘long suffering Palestinian people’.
If you are interested in getting involved with Waltham Forest PSC, or have any comments, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can write to WFPSC, Hornbeam, 458 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, E17 9AH.