Archive for category BDS

DERRY- September 13th “To Move a Wall and Free a Village” Iyad Burnat Speaking on Bil’in’s Struggle

Posted by on Friday, 28 August, 2015
Iyad Burnat arrested 28/8/15 at Weekly Protest in Bil'in

Iyad Burnat arrested 28/8/15 at Weekly Protest in Bil’in

Photos by Hamdi AbuRahma-Palestine

Organised by Irish Friends of Palestine “To Move a Wall and Free a Village”Iyad Burnat’s Firsthand Report of Bil’in’s Non-Violent Struggle to Exist and Resist Israeli Apartheid Occupation

EVERYONE WELCOME to an evening with our main speaker from Palestine, Iyad Burnat, leader of the “Bil’in Popular Committee against the Wall” which has held weekly non-violent demonstrations since 2005. Burnat is also the head of “Friends of Freedom and Justice in Bil’in” an organisation that hopes to build links with people around the world. Iyad is the brother of Emad Burnat who co-produced the film “5 Broken Cameras.” Iyad played the central character in the documentary. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in Hollywood and also won the Sundance Film Festival Award in 2012. Iyad himself has won several awards for his non-violent resistance, the most recent being the James Lawson Award for Achievement in the Practice of Nonviolent Conflict June of 2015.

Iyad says “The belief in one’s rights is more important than anything else. If I am confident about my rights, nothing will make me despair…When you resist an Israeli soldier by peaceful means, their weapons become irrelevant.”

Bil’in is a Palestinian village that is literally struggling to exist.

The village is surrounded by illegal settlements built on land that belongs to Bil’in and it’s people. The Matityahu settlement, the Kiryat Sefer settlement, and the most recent Matityahu East settlement. Then in 2004 construction of the Apartheid wall began on the Western side of Bil’in. This caused 2300 dunums of Bil’in’s land to be stolen to construct the wall in order to “protect the illegal settlers.” The Apartheid Wall cuts off and suffocates the village of Bil’in.

This is the story of a village that refuses to quietly disappear, this is the story of people who peacefully resist the illegal occupation alongside Israeli Peace activists and International Palestinian Solidarity Activists from around the world. Bil’in residents peacefully demonstrate every Friday in front of the “work-site of shame” AKA the Apartheid Wall. The Israeli army responds to these peaceful protests with physical and psychological violence. Iyad’s oldest son Majd, was shot and seriously injured by Israeli Occupation Forces in 2014, he is still suffering from that injury and will need rehabilitation for some time. In 2009 Iyad himself was seriously injured on the march along with several others and in 2011 he was shot and injured by rubber-coated steel bullets.

The Friday protests by the people of Bil’in, and widespread international support, have managed to achieve the recognition of the Israel High Court, which recently ruled that the route of the Apartheid Wall in the village is illegal and must be changed.

Nevertheless, every day Israel destroys a bit more of Bil’in. But the people of Bil’in will not surrender the struggle for their land, their homes, and their very lives. Come and learn what we can all do to help. Iyad will tell the first hand account of Bil’in’s continuing struggle, the land lost, the lives lost and injured, and the weekly Friday protests to move a wall, and save a village.

Supporting Speakers:

REPORT: Martina Anderson MEP who is the current Chair of the the European Union’s Delegation for relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council. She will give an update on what’s taking place within the EU on Palestine and the preferential trade agreement with Israel. What work the GUE/NGL are doing to help recognise a Palestinian state.

REPORT: Liam Gallagher Chair of (DTUC) Derry Trade Union Council will speak on behalf of DTUC and (TUFP) Trade Union Friends of Palestine about the work they and their members are doing in support of Palestine and the BDS movement.

EVENT PROGRAM

7:00PM – 8:00PM Speakers

8:00PM – Audience Question and Answer Session

The evening ends with a Screening of “5 Broken Cameras”

BANNER EVENT 600

1,000 Black Activists, Artists, and Scholars Demand Justice for Palestine

Posted by on Wednesday, 26 August, 2015

Full-text of statement from Angela Davis, Cornel West, Talib Kweli, the Dream Defenders, Hands Up United and other prominent organizations and leaders

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Over 1,000 Black activists, artists, scholars, students, and organizations have launched a statement expressing their solidarity and commitment to ensuring justice for Palestinians. Signatories to the statement span a wide cross-section of Black activists and scholars, including Angela Davis, Boots Riley, Cornel West, dream hampton, Emory Douglas, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Pam Africa, Patrisse Cullors, Phil Hutchings, Ramona Africa, Robin DG Kelley, Rosa Clemente, Talib Kweli, and Tef Poe. 38 organizations signed on, including The Dream Defenders, Hands Up United, Institute of the Black World 21st Century, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and Organization for Black Struggle.
The statement is printed in full below:

“The past year has been one of high-profile growth for Black-Palestinian solidarity. Out of the terror directed against us—from numerous attacks on Black life to Israel’s brutal war on Gaza and chokehold on the West Bank—strengthened resilience and joint-struggle have emerged between our movements. Palestinians on Twitter were among the first to provide international support for protesters in Ferguson, where St. Louis-based Palestinians gave support on the ground. Last November, a delegation of Palestinian students visited Black organizers in St. Louis, Atlanta, Detroit and more, just months before the Dream Defenders took representatives of Black Lives Matter, Ferguson, and other racial justice groups to Palestine. Throughout the year, Palestinians sent multiple letters of solidarity to us throughout protests in Ferguson, New York, and Baltimore. We offer this statement to continue the conversation between our movements:

On the anniversary of last summer’s Gaza massacre, in the 48th year of Israeli occupation, the 67th year of Palestinians’ ongoing Nakba (the Arabic word for Israel’s ethnic cleansing)—and in the fourth century of Black oppression in the present-day United States—we, the undersigned Black activists, artists, scholars, writers, and political prisoners offer this letter of reaffirmed solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and commitment to the liberation of Palestine’s land and people.

We can neither forgive nor forget last summer’s violence. We remain outraged at the brutality Israel unleashed on Gaza through its siege by land, sea and air, and three military offensives in six years. We remain sickened by Israel’s targeting of homes, schools, UN shelters, mosques, ambulances, and hospitals. We remain heartbroken and repulsed by the number of children Israel killed in an operation it called “defensive.” We reject Israel’s framing of itself as a victim. Anyone who takes an honest look at the destruction to life and property in Gaza can see Israel committed a one-sided slaughter. With 100,000 people still homeless in Gaza, the massacre’s effects continue to devastate Gaza today and will for years to come.

Israel’s injustice and cruelty toward Palestinians is not limited to Gaza and its problem is not with any particular Palestinian party. The oppression of Palestinians extends throughout the occupied territories, within Israel’s 1948 borders, and into neighboring countries. The Israeli Occupation Forces continue to kill protesters—including children—conduct night raids on civilians, hold hundreds of people under indefinite detention, and demolish homes while expanding illegal Jewish-only settlements. Israeli politicians, including Benjamin Netanyahu, incite against Palestinian citizens within Israel’s recognized borders, where over 50 laws discriminate against non-Jewish people.

Our support extends to those living under occupation and siege, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the 7 million Palestinian refugees exiled in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. The refugees’ right to return to their homeland in present-day Israel is the most important aspect of justice for Palestinians.

Palestinian liberation represents an inherent threat to Israeli settler colonialism and apartheid, an apparatus built and sustained on ethnic cleansing, land theft, and the denial of Palestinian humanity and sovereignty. While we acknowledge that the apartheid configuration in Israel/Palestine is unique from the United States (and South Africa), we continue to see connections between the situation of Palestinians and Black people.

Israel’s widespread use of detention and imprisonment against Palestinians evokes the mass incarceration of Black people in the US, including the political imprisonment of our own revolutionaries. Soldiers, police, and courts justify lethal force against us and our children who pose no imminent threat. And while the US and Israel would continue to oppress us without collaborating with each other, we have witnessed police and soldiers from the two countries train side-by-side.

US and Israeli officials and media criminalize our existence, portray violence against us as “isolated incidents,” and call our resistance “illegitimate” or “terrorism.” These narratives ignore decades and centuries of anti-Palestinian and anti-Black violence that have always been at the core of Israel and the US. We recognize the racism that characterizes Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is also directed against others in the region, including intolerance, police brutality, and violence against Israel’s African population. Israeli officials call asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea “infiltrators” and detain them in the desert, while the state has sterilized Ethiopian Israelis without their knowledge or consent. These issues call for unified action against anti-Blackness, white supremacy, and Zionism.

We know Israel’s violence toward Palestinians would be impossible without the US defending Israel on the world stage and funding its violence with over $3 billion annually. We call on the US government to end economic and diplomatic aid to Israel. We wholeheartedly endorse Palestinian civil society’s 2005 call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel and call on Black and US institutions and organizations to do the same. We urge people of conscience to recognize the struggle for Palestinian liberation as a key matter of our time.

As the BDS movement grows, we offer G4S, the world’s largest private security company, as a target for further joint struggle. G4S harms thousands of Palestinian political prisoners illegally held in Israel and hundreds of Black and brown youth held in its privatized juvenile prisons in the US. The corporation profits from incarceration and deportation from the US and Palestine, to the UK, South Africa, and Australia. We reject notions of “security” that make any of our groups unsafe and insist no one is free until all of us are.

We offer this statement first and foremost to Palestinians, whose suffering does not go unnoticed and whose resistance and resilience under racism and colonialism inspires us. It is to Palestinians, as well as the Israeli and US governments, that we declare our commitment to working through cultural, economic, and political means to ensure Palestinian liberation at the same time as we work towards our own. We encourage activists to use this statement to advance solidarity with Palestine and we also pressure our own Black political figures to finally take action on this issue. As we continue these transnational conversations and interactions, we aim to sharpen our practice of joint struggle against capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, and the various racisms embedded in and around our societies.”

Visit www.blackforpalestine.com for the full list of signatories and more information. You can also follow the statement on Facebook and Twitter. Kristian Bailey is a co-author of the statement along with Khury Petersen-Smith.

Palestinian Boycott Activists Salute 1,000+ Black Activists, Scholars and Artists for Endorsing BDS for Palestinian Rights

Posted by on Tuesday, 25 August, 2015

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“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Occupied Palestine, August 25, 2015 — Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists have today welcomed the statement issued by more than 1,000 African American activists, artists and scholars in solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom, justice and equality and in support of BDS.

The statement unequivocally calls for BDS and places an emphasis on the right of Palestinian refugees to “return to their homeland in present-day Israel” as “the most important aspect of justice for Palestinians.”

Mahmoud Nawajaa, the general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the broad Palestinian civil society coalition that leads the BDS movement, welcomed the declaration by saying, “The statement’s support for BDS against Israel’s regime of occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid is particularly inspiring as it translates principled positions into morally-consistent actions that are capable of righting injustices.”

“The US civil rights movement has always been a key inspiration for us in the BDS movement. We are deeply moved by this powerful proclamation that evokes the spirit of that heroic civil rights struggle and the inspirational Black Lives Matter movement and epitomises speaking truth to power,” Nawajaa added.

Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, reacted to the statement, “This deeply moving and noble declaration by our Black brothers and sisters in the US and elsewhere is not just a genuine expression of effective, altruistic international solidarity. It is a poignant testament to the organic links that connect the Palestinian struggle for self-determination with the struggle of the oppressed around the world, including ongoing struggles for racial and economic justice by black people in the US and across the world.”

Barghouti added, “Despite the obvious differences, there are compelling similarities between the forms of oppression that both Palestinians and African-Americans live under. Dehumanization, dispossession, racial injustice and discrimination, state violence, criminalization of entire communities and impunity are all key characteristics are of the oppression faced by black Americans and Palestinians.”

The leading Black activists, scholars and artists’ call for boycotts and divestment against the private security company G4S is especially noteworthy. “G4S harms thousands of Palestinian political prisoners illegally held in Israel and hundreds of Black and brown youth held in its privatized juvenile prisons in the US,” their statement said. It profits from “incarceration and deportation from the US and Palestine, to the UK, South Africa, and Australia,” the statement added, rejecting notions of “security” that “make any of our groups unsafe” and insisting that “no one is free until all of us are.”

In 2012, the BNC was one of several Palestinian human rights and civil society organisations that launched a large international BDS campaign against G4S, the British-Danish private security company that is deeply involved in Israel’s violations of prisoners’ rights and international law.

The boycott campaign has cost G4S many contracts around the world, including in the US, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, among others.

Under this intense pressure from the BDS movement, G4S has announced that it will not renew its contract with the Israeli Prison Service when it lapses in 2017. However, G4S has not yet made any written confirmation of this decision or ended any of its contracts supporting Israeli settlements, prisons, checkpoints and military bases, so Palestinian organisations are calling for the G4S campaign to continue.

BNC secretariat member Rafeef Ziadah said, “The BDS movement joins hands with the 1,000 Black activists that have issued this statement and with communities across the world in calling for the intensification of campaigns against G4S. Let us resist the role the company plays in human rights violations across the world, from Florida to Jerusalem and everywhere in between.”

“The current surge of mass Black activism for justice rekindles the whole world’s hope for a more peaceful, just and dignified world,” Ziadah added.

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One Year Anniversary of Operation Protective Edge Genocide On Gaza- Derry Protest and Solidarity Rally

Posted by on Tuesday, 7 July, 2015

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Photos by Sean Mc Monagle

Irish Friends of Palestine Coordinator Gerry MacLochlainn Speaking

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Daisy Mules-Derry Trade Union Council-Speaking

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Catherine Hutton Palestine Solidarity Activist-Speaking

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Jo Bird Jewish Voice for Peace Ireland-Speaker

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Folks Attending Rally

Caolin McGinley OSF Event Organiser

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#BDS VICTORY-Carey Academy Cancels Apartheid Feis

Posted by on Monday, 8 June, 2015

BDS WORKS

A collective effort was made by activists across Ireland and Irish Activists in England, operating under the collective name of The Ireland Palestine Activists Collective (IPAC) an umbrella group of Activists. Our Carey Academy “Dont Dance for Apartheid” Facebook page can be found HERE. Irish Friends of Palestine was proud to have participated in this collective action and ultimate victory!!

Speaking today Sinead MacLochlainn, Chairperson, Irish Friends of Palestine said “It was great to see such solidarity among Irish activists who worked together online to help stop the abuse of our Irish Culture being used as Hasbara by Israelis. And here in Derry it was an honor to work on this campaign alongside a fellow Derry woman and Activist, Catherine Hutton” Ms.MacLlochlainn continued “We cannot “Greenwash” Apartheid and indeed we have been asked directly by Palestinians who are at the forefront of resisting this illegal Occupation to do what we can to support them. So it is with great pleasure we can all announce today that the Feis has now been cancelled!!”

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Activists in England organised a protest outside the Carey Academy on 6th June, you can see that video here:

Irish Friends of Palestine Issues Statement for Mobilization

Posted by on Friday, 18 July, 2014

A Day at the Beach in Gaza....

The Israeli ground assault on the people of Gaza is the latest crime against a trapped people in an open air prison who have been confined, denied food or medicine and other everyday necessities and periodically bombed by one of the largest and best equipped armies in the world.

Sinead MacLochlainn Founder of Irish Friends of Palestine speaking today said:

“For many years we in Irish Friends of Palestine have worked to mitigate the suffering caused by the Siege of Gaza and to support Palestinian freedom. During that time, Irish Friends of Palestine and many other groups have been able to call on huge support from the Irish people.”

“In recent days we have seen in all parts of Ireland, on street corners, public squares and even on the floor of Dail Eireann (Irish Parliament) the Irish people have spoken out again to condemn Israeli atrocities.”

“But tonight, Israel has stepped up its violence, it has unleashed a massive firestorm on the people of Gaza. We all need to step up our response.”

“Regular people ask “What can we do?” The answer is we should all immediately commit ourselves to active full support of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions campaign against the Zionists regime.

People have a natural “want” to give, when they see Palestinians suffering. The truth is if you ask Palestinians what they want, they want the blockade lifted. Giving aid won’t lift the blockade, given the 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza it’s a drop in the bucket. However, there is a much greater tool we have. Capable of forcing the Israelis to end their apartheid nature and to lift the siege can actually come about with world solidarity in support of the BDS campaign. Let us in Ireland support this.

BDS brought down the old Apartheid South African regime and it can bring down the Apartheid Israeli Regime as well and open the gates of Rafah. When regular people see the name “Made in Israel” and they immediately drop that package back onto the shelf, or go to the Manager and tell them to stop stocking Israel goods and explains why, that is when we can make a real and lasting difference for the people of Palestine.”

So in the coming days let’s do what we can.

Wherever we have an audience – let us tell them about Palestine including our friends…

Wherever we have influence – let us encourage others to join the BDS Campaign.

“We can all contact elected representatives and demand that they work to remove the special trading arrangements that Israel is given by the European Union.”

“We should demand our Government take action against those Israeli Intelligence agencies who stole Irish passports and used them to commit the extra-judicial murder of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, in Dubai.”

“We should all demand that our law enforcement agencies immediately arrest any Israeli who sets foot on Irish soil who has participated in war crimes such as the targeting of children as they play on a beach or the bombing of hospitals like El Wafa.”

“Remember, we all have a role to play; As a great Irishman said: ” No part is too great or too small, no one is too old or too young to do something.”

ENDS

Fulla Shuhaibar (10) Jihad Shuhaibar (8) and Waseem Shuhaibar (7) Killed by israel today

Palestinian and Israeli Academics Launch Boycott Campaign Ireland

Posted by on Thursday, 20 February, 2014

Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian academic at the University of Exeter and Haim Bresheeth, an Israeli academic at SOAS, London jointly launched the Irish Academic Boycott of Israel. Speaking in Queen’s University Belfast today, Ghada and Haim jointly called on Irish academics to support the campaign for an academic boycott of Israeli. They launched a booklet called Academia Against Apartheid that explains the case for an academic boycott of Israel. The booklet is available as a pdf from the Centre for Global Education. 130 Irish academics have already supported the boycott.

UNITE Meeting on Palestine/Israel~Belfast

Posted by on Friday, 3 May, 2013

From Left to Right: Paul Murphy MEP Socialist Party, Fra Hughes of Palestine Aid, Conor Maskey Sinn Fein Councillor, Steven Scott Trade Union Friends of Israel, William Ennis Progressive Unionist Party Executive member, Taryn Trainer UNITE, Jimmy Kelly UNITE the Union, Gerry Robinson CWU

Monday 29th of April a panel discussion took place focusing on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The public meeting was hosted by UNITE and was held at the Unite Building Antrim Road Belfast.

The panel held a wide range of political groups and opinions and consisted of Paul Murphy MEP from the Socialist Party, Fra Hughes of Palestine Aid, Conor Maskey a Belfast Sinn Fein Councillor, Steven Scott from Trade Union Friends of Israel, William Ennis of the Progressive Unionist Party Executive member, Taryn Trainer of UNITE, Jimmy Kelly UNITE the Union, and Gerry Robinson of CWU.

Fra Hughes, Director of Palestine aid said “ I welcome the decision taken by UNITE’s community branch to host a panel discussion on the Palestine/Israeli conflict. The trade union movements of Britain and Ireland have very positive affirmative actions on boycott divestment and sanctions against israel and the president of UNITE, Jimmy Kelly, took the courageous decision to back the local branch and help move the plight of the Palestinian people centre stage within the trade union collective. Hopefully this can galvanise the trade union movement and civil society in Ireland and beyond to fully support the call of the Palestinians for nationhood, equality and justice.”

Clr Conor Maskey said “Sinn Fein calls for an end to all violence in the region and extends its continuing solidarity with the people of Palestine. We call for the lifting of the siege on Gaza and we urge full support for the boycott and divestment (BDS) campaign of Israeli goods and services until a just and lasting peace is established alongside a Palestinian state.”

IFOP Successful Cross Party Briefing to Irish Parliament on Gaza Fishermen Plight

Posted by on Wednesday, 13 March, 2013

Successful Cross Party representation; Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail and Labour at our Briefing yesterday given to the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament), those attending were: From Fianna Fail Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú, from Labour; Senator Ivana Bacik’s Political Advisor and Joe Higgins’ TD Political Advisor. From Sinn Fein; Sean Crowe TD, Aengus O Snodaigh TD, Gerry Adams TD, Brian Stanley TD, Michael Colreavy TD. Delivering the briefing on behalf of the Irish Friends of Palestine were Sinn Fein Cllr John Hearne and Pat Fitzgerald, both members of the November 2012 Irish Friends of Palestine Delegation to Gaza. Joining John and Pat was Billy Smyth, all three men are Irish Fishermen. Upon conclusion of the meeting in the Oireachtas , Cllr John Hearne said; “I want to thank all the TD’s and Senators from all the political parties who hosted us today in Leinster House as we delivered the report in addition to first hand accounts of human rights abuses inflicted on innocent Palestinian fisherman in Gaza.” he continued “It was a very constructive meeting today, we received very strong support from those TDS and Senators with whom we met. We all agreed to work together in order to advance the cause of the Fishermen and to also advance the anti-apartheid cause in Ireland. We will be working on these ideas with the Senators and TDs in the near future. When we were in Gaza we promised the fishermen we would continue to show support. As ordinary Fishermen in Ireland we want to show that Israel attacks Fisherman and Farmers in their workplace .” Briefing report below:

Special thanks to "Fishing Under Fire" www.fishignunderfire.blogspot.com for their continued reporting

BRIEFING REPORT:

Fishermen from Waterford as part of an Irish Friends of Palestine Delegation to Gaza recently met with Mr. Mahfouz Kabariti President of the Gaza Fishermen Association, Zakaria Baker, the head of the Union of Agricultural Workers and the delegation also received additional information from a meeting with Mr. Ali Altarshawi, the Minister of Agriculture in Gaza, regarding the current conditions facing the Fishing Industry due to the siege. The Fishermen community and Fishing Industry in Gaza as a whole are suffering greatly due to the brutal siege and illegal maritime restrictions on Palestinian territorial waters imposed by Israel. The international agreement “Oslo Accords” gives fishermen the right to fish up to 20 nautical miles out from shore. However Israel imposes its own restriction of just 3 nautical miles! This was supposedly extended recently to 6 miles as part of the ceasefire reached between Hamas and Israel November 2012. Yet fishermen continue to be shot at, or arrested, and their boats destroyed, if they attempt to travel much farther than the original limit. The Israeli Navy and Military also prevent Palestinian fishermen from fishing within 1 nautical mile of the border which is between Israel and the Gaza Strip, thus further reducing the allowable fishing waters, even though this area falls under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. Additionally Israel often arrests fishermen who are near the 3 mile limit and confiscate their fishing boats. To date Israel currently has 36 boats which it refuses to return to the Fishermen.

Israeli restrictions on waters off the Gaza Strip are hurting more than 40,000 people who depend on fishing as their only means of income. A recent report from UNWRA says “Fishing being confined so close to shore has meant poor catches for Gazan fishermen in terms of fish size, value and quantity” it continues; “Fish stocks have been depleted because many natural breeding grounds are close to shore. For the families of the fishermen, the reduced income means they have become progressively impoverished over the past 12 years, and now depend on aid and jobs from the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and other humanitarian agencies.”

Mahfouz Kabariti, Coordinator of the Fishermen’s Solidarity Campaign in the Gaza Strip, says: “The Gazan community needs 21,000 tons of fish annually. In the last year, the total extracted fish from the sea was only 3000 tons.”

Aside from the problems of fishing restrictions, there are grave and serious Human Rights abuses that continue against the Fishermen. In the month of January 2013 over 15 abuses were lodged by the Palestinian Human Rights Centre (PCHR). The PCHR believes that these attacks form part of the collective punishment measures imposed on Palestinian civilians, as they deny Palestinian fishermen access to their livelihood, in violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law. A report issued by Euromid in May 2012 concluded that Israeli authorities limited the permissible fishing zone, but also Israeli Warships continue to prevent 3,600 fishermen from practicing their own trade freely and safely, even within the 3-mile limit imposed by Israel. Euromid states there are 150 violations per year committed by Israel against Gaza fishermen including arbitrarily arrests and shootings, in addition to dumping, vandalizing, and confiscating fishing boats.

28 September 2012, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian fisherman and wounded his brother, while they and a group of other fishermen were located a few meters from the shore in the northern Gaza Strip, pulling out their fishing nets.

In his testimony to PCHR, Yousef Mohammed Zayed (19), a fisherman from Beit Lahia, stated to PCHR:

“At approximately 05:00 on Friday, 28 September 2012, my brother Haitham, my cousins, Fahmi and Yousef Ahmed Saleh Abu Riash, and I went fishing opposite to Beit Lahia beach in the northern Gaza Strip. We started fishing nearly 70 meters away from the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. When the sun rose, we got as close as 15 meters to the border because fish was extensively available in the area. At approximately 09:30, I heard intensive shooting in the area. I looked back and saw about 9 Israeli soldiers atop a hill that is nearly 20 meters to the east of the beach. Immediately, Haitham, my cousin Ahmed, and I ran away and took shelter behind a hill, while Fahmi and Yousef remained stuck only 5 meters from the beach. Israeli soldiers shouted at them, and I saw my cousin Fahmi attempting to escape, but an Israeli soldier fired at him. He was wounded by a bullet to the left thigh. His brother Yousef attempted to offer him help, but he was also wounded by bullet shrapnel to the left hand. I saw Fahmi trying to stand up and escape, but an Israeli soldier fired at him again. Soon, some fishermen headed towards the two wounded fishermen and carried them to an ambulance of the Civil Defense, which transported them to Kamal Edwan Hospital. At approximately 22:30, Fahmi Saleh Abu Riash was pronounced dead.”

The Irish Government should support the calls from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights below:

The PCHR calls upon Israel:

1. To put an end to attacks against Palestinian fishermen in violation of their rights to life, safety, and security, and to allow them to fish freely in Gaza Sea;

2. To investigate the facts of this close-range attack against civilian fishermen, publish the results of such an investigation, and prosecute the Israeli soldiers who fired at two civilian fishermen, although the latter did not pose any threat to the lives of those soldiers;

3. To immediately put an end to its policy of chasing and arresting Palestinian fishermen at sea, and to return confiscated fishing boats and equipment;

4. To compensate the victims for the physical and material damage caused their person and property; and

5. To lift the naval blockade, which constitutes a form of collective punishment and is a war crime under international humanitarian law.

Irish MEP’s Join EU Parliament Protest Against Shimon Peres Visit

Posted by on Tuesday, 12 March, 2013

Irish MEP's Martina Anderson and Paul Murphy join other MEP's attending protest against Shimon Peres at the EU Parliament

MEP Martina Anderson today participated in a protest at the European Parliament against a visit by Israeli Prime Minister, Shimon Peres. Ms Anderson also co-signed a motion strongly condemning the death of Palestinian, Arafat Jaradat during interrogation in Israeli cells.

Speaking from Brussels today Martina Anderson said: “I would like to echo the strong sentiment contained in the motion and offer my deepest condolences to Arafat Jaradat’s family; “The motion, as well as condemning Arafat Jaradat’s death, also highlights the deplorable conditions of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli detention, and demonstrates Israel’s disregard of international conventions, including those which it is a signatory to. “We are calling for the international community as a matter of urgency to assume its political, legal and moral responsibilities to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law. It also calls on those States that subscribe to the Geneva Conventions to fulfil their obligation to ensure Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law. “We are also insisting on the implementation by Israel of Article 2 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement and that Israel, as the occupying power, comply with international humanitarian law, in particular its provisions concerning the protection of civilians living under occupation. “No upgrading of EU-Israel relations should be considered unless Israel complies with its obligations under international law, notably human rights and humanitarian law.”