Irish Friends of Palestine to Speak at Palestinian Revolutionary Event

Thursday, September 25, 2014 Posted by
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Irish Friends of Palestine will be taking part in the Tricontinental Anti-Imperialist Platform Event this weekend in London. Seating is first come first served so get there early! An amazing array of guest speakers in the lineup, Leila Khaled, George Galloway MP, political activist Ghada Al-Najjar from Gaza, Fouad Shaat, Sami Ramadani, and many many more!! This is the pro-resistance solidarity event for Gaza and Palestine, the event will celebrate the Palestinian Revolution, explore its challenges, and there will live link up from Gaza, plus slide shows, music and poetry. The event will be this Sunday at the Flyover, 3-5 Thorpe Close, London W10 5XL, Ladbroke Grove from 2:30PM to 6:00PM. Get there early to not be disappointed as there is limited seating. Find the event on Facebook HERE and details can also be found on the Irish Friends of Palestine Facebook page HERE

Speakers list:

Leila Khaled
– Legendary Palestinian revolutionary, PFLP Polit Buro member and Palestinian National Council representative. Khaled was born in Haifa, British Palestine. Khaled’s family fled to Lebanon during the 1948 Palestinian exodus, leaving her father behind. At the age of 15, following in the footsteps of her brother, she joined the pan-Arab Nationalist Movement. The Palestinian branch of this movement later became the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Khaled is wary of the Arab-Israeli peace process. According to her,

“It’s not a peace process. It’s a political process where the balance of forces is for the Israelis and not for us. They have all the cards to play with and the Palestinians have nothing to depend on, especially when the PLO is not united.

In 2005 she was a speaker at the Féile an Phobail in Belfast via video link.

Gerry MacLochlainn
– from Irish Friends of Palestine, Via Wikipedia: a Former Irish Prisoner of War in England, former Sinn Fein councillor in Derry who co-led the ECESG convoy, which was the 2nd convoy into Gaza after Operation Cast Led in 2009. The convoy delivered 25 ambulances and tons of medical aid along with hospital equipment. A strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, MacLochlainn was one of the leaders of the campaign against the Israeli embargo of Gaza. In 2009 he proposed and gained acceptance of a city policy of a boycott of Israeli goods until an end to the embargo.

George Galloway MP
– the Respect Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Bradford West. Galloway is a campaigner who supports the Palestinian side of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, taking an anti-Zionist stance, and was involved in the Viva Palestina aid convoys to Gaza.

Dr Saeb Sha’ath
– Former head of the Palestine General Delegation to Ireland , author and Palestinian political activist. Dr Shaath spoke at the GAZA SPEAKS event we organised in 2010 you can learn more about him at our Gaza event link HERE

Ghada Al-Najjar
– Palestinian in Gaza, political activist and Gaza-wide relief worker

Fouad Shaat
– President of General Union of Palestinian Students in Britain

Shadia Mansour
– Palestinian singer and musician her website can be found HERE Mansour began rapping in 2003 and has gained recognition in the Middle East, Europe and the United States for her own songs and collaborations with other artists. She performs wearing a traditional Palestinian thawb and has said that she considers herself to be part of a “musical intifada” against the occupation of Palestine

– Dr Abdal Aziz
– Libyan Al-Jud Charity

Sami Ramadani
– Steering committee member of Stop the War Coalition

George Shire
– Veteran of the Zimbabwean struggle against white settler colonalism, and independent radical scholar

Brother Omawale
– Pan-African Community Society Forum

Malia Bouattia
– President of NUS Black Students

Carlos Martinez
– Invent the Future and Tricontinental Anti-Imperialist Platform

Marcel Cartier
– Tricontinental Anti-Imperialist Platform

Chaired by Sukant Chandan
– Tricontinental Anti-Imperialist Platform

More speakers and artists etc to be announced.

Entry is £5 on the door. Capacity is approx 120 people, first come first serve. Sharp start for no later than 3pm.

This event is organised by the Tricontinental Anti-Imperialist Platform and Invent the Future

Remembering Sabra, Shatila and Gaza

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 Posted by
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Sabra and Shatila Massacre

On 6 June 1982, the Israeli army invaded Lebanon. The invasion was grotesquely named “Operation Peace for Galilee.” With the meaning of Peace for Israel and death for everyone else. Over all reports from Lebanese claim the Israeli invasion and subsequent bombing of Beirut killed 18,000 and 30,000 injuries. The majority of these were civilians.

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Ultimately after about 60 days of fighting a cease-fire was finally agreed. With the PLO agreeing to pull out of the area, this was witnessed by a multinational team. Under the Reagan Administration, Philip Habib a US envoy was sent to Lebanon in 1981 to defuse the Lebanese Civil War. Habib negotiated a peace that allowed the PLO to evacuate from the besieged city of Beirut. Within this agreement West Beirut would fall under the control of the Lebanese army, and the PLO were given a US guarantee of security for the Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila camps once the 14,000 PLO fighters had withdrawn.

Despite the witnessing of the PLO having left the area and despite the promises of protection for the remaining civilians in the two camps by the US envoy Habib, Israel saw a big opportunity to use the situation to its ultimate goal of wiping out more Palestinians. Ariel Sharon unilaterally made the unfounded claim that “2,000 terrorists” were still inside the Palestinian refugee camps. Then, on 15 September the Israeli army moved in and occupied West Beirut. They then surrounded and sealed off the camps of Sabra and Shatila. Leaving the Lebanese and Palestinian civilians at the mercy of their captors.

The War Criminal Sharon personally directed the Israeli operation, placing himself in a vantage point at the Kuwait embassy located at the outskirts of the Shatila camp. Like a dictator overseeing his subjects from atop a six story building, he could see the camps of Sabra and Shatila and witness his orders being carried out. His plan began swiftly and by that afternoon the camps were shelled by the IDF under the direction of Sharon atop his perch. The following order was given “The searching and mopping up of the camps will be done by the Phalangists army.” Then the IDF gave the command to the Phalangist militia to enter the camps and “commence” the “mopping up procedure.” Israeli General Amir Drori then telephoned Ariel Sharon and said, “Our friends are advancing into the camps. We have coordinated their entry.” To which Sharon replied, “Congratulations! Our friends’ operation is approved.”

Over the next 40 hours the Phalangists raped, killed, and injured thousands of unarmed civilians, mostly children, women and elderly inside the surrounded and sealed camps.

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

The IDF were in full contact with the militia and could see what was taking place, yet they never intervened. Instead, they prevented innocent civilians from escaping their death and assisted the terrorist militia by illuminating the camps at night so the killing, raping and injuring could continue round the clock.

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

We can never know the exact number murdered, it ranges between the Israeli IDF counts of 800 to 3,500 by the Lebanese. Almost 1,000 people were dumped in communal graves by the Red Cross. Additionally family members outside the camps buried some in cemeteries in Beirut and lastly hundreds were buried beneath bulldozed buildings by the terrorist Phalangist militia in their “mopping up” operation.

Despite evidence in the UN Security Council calling Sabra and Shatila a “criminal massacre,” despite the UN finding that illegal weapons were used on civilians, Ariel Sharon the man who was found to be “personally responsible” for this war crime was never punished. Instead, the War Criminal Sharon was rewarded as a Hero by his country and was later welcomed to the White House, as a man of peace. As for the US Envoy Philip Habib who promised protection for the civilians in the camp which prompted the PLO to leave the area? Well In 1982, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom which is the highest official honor given to a US citizen by the US government.

Flash forward to December 2008, Gaza, operation “Cast Lead” and more recently “Operation Protective Edge” we see the same tactics once again inflicted on a captive population witnesss the massacre at shujaiya and other Gazan neighbourhoods.

Today Gaza is the new Sabra and Shatila, and moreover, the captive population has no way out, just like the people inside Sabra and Shatila camps. There is no one to protect them, and the world ignores this crisis. There is a progressive slow massacre in Gaza which has continued since operation Cast Lead in 2008. Nearly each week another Palestinian dies at the hands of Israel. Sometimes 1 person, other times 2 or 3 or more. Just as Sharon claimed those left trapped inside the Sabra and Shatila camps were “terrorists” Israel uses this same tactic when it murders Palestinians in Gaza. Israel has appointed itself to be judge, jury and executioner, without world supervision, investigation, transparency.. It’s a constant drip, a slow painful massacre that the world continues to ignore. Israel’s bloody history repeats itself and this will continue until the world demands otherwise.

Remember what Bobby Sands said “Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small; no one is too old or too young to do something.”

” Gaza.. The Pain and Suffering and the Human Tragedy” ~ Guest Post by Moneeb Saada

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 Posted by
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Gaza.. The Pain and Suffering and the Human Tragedy

By: moneeb Saada

Accumulated wounds generating human tragedies and the rigors of pain and sufferings has been aggravated.

Heart breaking and horrific scenes that overstep all human norms and limits.

Heads separated from the bodies.. charred corpses.. body parts scattered.. sand colored in red and the smell of blood devastates in everywhere. The heavy black smoke floats in the sky of Gaza, flames rising from the rubbles of the destroyed houses, though, rockets and missiles whistling is still in the air.

Tragic real scenes of displaced children, the pain of casualties who the hospitals could not accommodate, no tombsto burry corpses, survivors looking for their families inside the rubbles and others sorrowful for the loss of their siblings, families, loved ones and even souvenirs!

These are the scenes of death, blood, destruction, devastation, pain, suffering, sorrow and in parallelsome scenes of joy for those who survived this massacre.

It is the destruction and the killing machine that has overlooked everything and that alleviates its hate and injustice by avenging from people, trees and even stones, everything in Gaza is systematically targeted.

It is the hostility of a colonizer exerted on an unarmed nation that is already exhausted from the siege…Starvation and poverty spreading and are a part of a planned system of sieging and severe boundaries in the frontiers and borderlines to disallow the entry of all sources of a descent life, a planned system that deteriorates infrastructures, suspend water and electricity supply, and bans essential and medical elements from access. It is a well-sealed prison, it is rather a slow death swamp.

And the Zionist forces keep committing the same crimes and massacres against Palestinians before even that Palestinians wipe away their tears or hardly overcome the misery.

It is an existence of colonizer which is built upon legends, ,massacres, inimical wars, cities and villages destructions, scorched-earth policy and land confiscation respectively with the Zionist ideology that survives on blood and killing innocent people.

Massacres committed by Zionists against unarmed people in Gaza using fatal and internationally banned weapons in order to exterminate all the Palestinian nation disregarding that these massacres will not generate a victory, will not defeat the determination of a resistant or the resistance of a nation raised to fight for its rights, and Gaza gives us the illustrationand the example that should be memorized in minds and in the history and also in the records of the enemy that are filled up with massacres and slaughters.

A fresh bleeding sequence renewed with each explosion in which all civil and innocent people experience agony and death and pain. It is the holocaust that took the life of many martyrs and damaged cities and villages and camps and houses till they all became tombs of their inhabitants.

Each house in Gaza recites a story of pain and torture that none can even imagine whereas reality recites the misery differently.

Missiles and bombs demonstrate the racism of the colonizer and its wild blood-thirst, the colonizer did not only kill people and destroy houses but it further condoned bombing schools where civilians shelter from missiles and warplanes and bullets, it further bombs mosques and establishments and hospitals that are overcrowded by sick and wounded people, it even bombed cemeteries where only dead people lie.

It is a programmed violation that shows no respect to human rights and human international law, shows no mercy to children and bereaved whines and widows moans.

This is the issue of the Palestinian nation, a case that derives its legitimacy from the fact that this land belongs to us andtaht we are victims exterminated by the name of the injustice of the colonizer, a case that derives its legitimacy upon the pillars of the international law that insists on the right of Palestinians of freedom and the end of the occupation of their land.

But unfortunately the silence of the international community and human rights organizations and associations gives the colonizer more space to execute more massacres and slaughters whereas only civilians remain in the front lines to face killing and slaughtering, this silence itself is the leader to all of this drama.

Announcing New Freedom Flotilla to Sail to Gaza

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 Posted by
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Freedom Flotilla Coalition Press Conference - Istanbul

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition to Sail to Gaza Again:
Responding to the Israeli aggression and the complicity of world governments

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) met in Istanbul in the shadow of the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza. We have watched atrocities being committed against an already besieged population. In the two day meeting (August 10th and 11th), the FFC concluded that it is the responsibility of civil society worldwide to sail to Gaza and challenge the Israeli blockade, the source of most problems facing the Palestinian population of Gaza.

We plan to sail to Gaza during 2014, the UN International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People:

This initiative, following in the footsteps of the 2010 and 2011 flotillas as well as other attempts to challenge the blockade of Gaza (between 2008 and 2014), is expected to include a wider and more diverse international participation. This new flotilla is a reflection of the growing worldwide solidarity with the Palestinian people; from the US to Malaysia, from Scandinavia to South Africa.

“Calls to end the blockade of Gaza need to move from words to actions,” said Ann Ighe, chairperson of Ship to Gaza Sweden and member of the FFC. We invite all interested citizens worldwide to participate in this initiative in any way you can.”
These boats are also expected to carry Palestinian commercial products purchased by buyers worldwide to complete the work of Gaza’s Ark, the cargo boat built by the Palestinians and the FFC in Gaza and was bombed by Israel on July 11th.

“We urge all governments to defend Human Rights and the right of the Palestinian people to freedom of movement, to facilitate the sailing of our ships to Gaza. It is their responsibility,” added Ehab Lotayef of the coalition.
In addition to sailing to Gaza, the FFC will organize demonstrations at sea and in ports worldwide over the next months. Along with other projects, the initiative will support the right of Palestinians to operate international marine lines in and out of the port of Gaza.

We support the Palestinian demand to open the port of Gaza to international marine traffic. The FFC also will work on twinning ports in the Mediterranean and beyond, with Gaza City, as a sign of solidarity and support.

Finally, we assert that all that we do is peaceful, civil society driven non-governmental actions.

Freedom Flotilla Coalition members:
European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza
Freedom Flotilla Italia
Gaza’s Ark
International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza (ICBSG)
Rumbo a Gaza
Ship to Gaza Greece
Ship to Gaza Norway
Ship to Gaza Sweden

also participating in the project:
Palestine Solidarity Alliance – South Africa
Free Gaza
Haluan Palestin – Malaysia
Life Line to Gaza – Jordan
Miles of Smiles
Sahabat Al-Aqsha – Malaysia

Guest Post-Rafiq Kathwari “Now is the Summer of our Discontent”

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 Posted by
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By Rafiq Kathwari

Rafiq Kathwari is the present winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award.

My sister-in-law and I sat in the back seat of the Volkswagen as my older brother drove in soft rain through red lights to Maimonides. “Kicking,” she said, putting my hand over her round belly. Shy, I gazed at her flip-flops. A stork delivered a boy in Brooklyn eight years to the day JFK was shot in Dallas.

A new alien in New York, I babysat my cute nephew in a stark rental on Park Avenue. His dad rode the IRT to Pine Street; his mom was a cashier at Korvettes. The boy & I together discovered Big Bird on a Zenith console, my first TV exposure at age 22. Our closets were screaming to unload handmade numdah numdah rugs that Grandfather had shipped from Kashmir, urging us to get rich quickly carpeting America from sea to shining sea.

I watched him dunk hoops in Perturbia, his long hair swishing to Metallica, “Soldier boy, made of clay.” He hunted jackrabbits at the family farm upstate, enrolled at the local NRA, his dad’s rifle on boy’s shoulder. He climbed a peak one summer in Kashmir, the knotty dispute often a passionate topic at the dining table, softened by ice cream & reruns of “All In The Family.”

He chilled with his other mates at the Muslim Sunday School on California Road to which I once gave a Hoover. Allah alone knows. what seeds sprouted in his open mind for he made his little sister weep, shaming her for wearing leotards to the ballet class she loved. Yet, she was fond of her big brother. He swayed his dad to stop serving liquor at home. He made his parents proud calling out the Call to Prayer at an annual apple picking event at the farm, a holy ritual on a crisp Autumn day that made me feel sad, for I like my cider with a splash of vodka.

I remember standing next to family & friends in single line amidst a row of weighty apple trees, facing east to the Kaaba. The women also stood next to one another at the rear. Children ran from tree to tree with glee, munched forbidden fruit that had fallen. I remember sunbeams piercing the abundant boughs. I remember feeling high on the ripe scent.

Apples have mapped the fate of mankind, after all.

His dad plucked his own apple from Perturbia High, enrolled him into High Prep, hoping the sound schooling the Christian Brothers had drummed into himself when he was a lad growing up in Kashmir would shape his son’s character as well. The Brothers urged the son to plumb his own depths in order to make his conscience bloom.

I am struck by the eloquence of the title from his senior year essay,“History’s Most Persecuted Minority Is Insensitive To The Aspirations Of The World’s Most Dispossessed Tribe.” It forever sealed his empathy with the most compelling moral issue of our generation.

He was enraged as I, you, we should be. How do middle-class Muslim youth from Seattle to Srinagar manage, to the extent they do, their blind rage, their helplessness at the organized ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israelis, aided by the most mighty democracy?

And just as his rage was double-edged, so is mine: Linking Israel’s genocidal land grab in Palestine to India’s in Kashmir is contextually inevitable as it indeed should be for all those who care about untying the Gordian knot of the Kashmir dispute, including those xenophobes in Delhi who repeatedly call out for cleansing people of the Kashmir Valley & their land as well, just what the Zionists have been doing to Palestinians & their land as well ever since the Nakba.

Now is the summer of our discontent. Banned bombs, Made in America, rain down once again on the world’s largest open-air concentration camp, mercilessly. Photos of lifeless babies pulled outlike Raggedy Ann dolls from Gaza’s burning debris make even a hard man sob.

America, you arm & enrich a colonial settler state, your cop on the beat in the Mid East who assures the oil flows smoothly & keep the subjects quiet.

America, when will you come to terms with your imperial hypocrisy, your unsustainable addiction to oil, your whorish bond with the world’s most retrogressive, sexually-transmitted dynasty, perfectly disorientated in time, place & person, that pays cash for your Hell Fire missiles, & uses petrodollars to proselytize a rigid ritual-based reading of the Koran?

America, it saddens me that so many bright people don’t get the symbiotic link between Western imperialism, & the wretched of a globalized world. It’s the New Cold War: their secular opposition, your imperial despotism, your suppression campaigns, your military henchmen, your gendarme state. You say, Eisenhower Doctrine. They say, Imperial Pillage. It’s just dandy, then, to promote shoe, underwear, & flight school amateur chemistry kids as Soldiers of Al-Qaeda, “home-grown terrorists,” sworn to destroy America, the manicured homeland.

Theirs is an eloquent plea for Justice, an appeal to the human within us. They’re holding up a mirror, & when you glance at yourself, America, it seems you only echo the words of that iconic character Travis Bickle in the 1976 film Taxi Driver, “Are you talking to me?”

He totaled a Toyota on the Bronx River Parkway, walking away from the wreck, his sack of bones intact. He made a U at McGill U, flew to Faisal U in Islamabad searching for Islam in the Land of the Pure. “We shall meet again,” he wrote, “on Judgment Day.”

April is the cruelest month. The Taliban…err…sorry…the Mujahedeen…“moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers” Ronald Regan had dubbed them, who in turn was dubbed the “cue card reader President” by Gore Vidal…the Mujahedeen had taken Kabul…it was the best of times, it was the worst…a spectacle was unfolding.

What happened to him, what makes sense, what gives?

I imagine my tall, bearded nephew in his red & white plaid shirt, his slim blue Levis, & a handful of his friends driving a borrowed Toyota on Asian Highway One. I imagine them crossing the porous Durand Line to see first hand the tamasha, the drama unfolding. I imagine them all trapped in a firefight between two factions. Wrong terrain. Wrong time. I imagine infernal arcs across a cobalt sky.

A hurried mass grave (manicured later) was dug in Torkham. In New York, my sister-in-law was pruning roses the day the call came.

Rafiq Kathwari is the present winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award.

Rafiq Kathwari lives in Omeath, Co. Louth. He graduated from the University of Kashmir in 1969.
In 1978 he was awarded an M.A. in Political Science from the New University in New York. He also has an M.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia University. Most of his working life has been spent with Ethan Allen, a large manufacturer and retailer of home furnishings based in the United States.

He has also worked as photojournalist. He has published poems in print and online in the USA, Ireland and Asia.

Irish Friends of Palestine Issues Statement for Mobilization

Friday, July 18, 2014 Posted by
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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.”


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

Protest In Derry and Across the World-UFREE

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 Posted by
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composite photo from UFREE website, original photo by Joe Dunn-Doire OSF

composite photo from UFREE website, original photo by Joe Dunn-Doire OSF

Derry, Ireland
Wednesday, July 9
7:00 PM
Guildhall Square, Derry, Ireland
Organised by OSF

Gerry MacLochlainn speaking on behalf of Irish Friends of Palestine

Take Action: Protests around the world respond to assault on Palestine, Over 900 arrested in WB and 70 killed in Gaza
for full list visit UFREE website article HERE

Palestinian and Israeli Academics Launch Boycott Campaign Ireland

Thursday, February 20, 2014 Posted by
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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.

Dr Hanan Ashwari~Oslo, Academia and Women in Politics

Thursday, November 21, 2013 Posted by
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The Head of the PLO Department of Culture and Information, Hanan Ashrawi, visited Brown University on Sept. 26 and spoke to Palestinian-American professor Beshara Doumani about the Oslo Accords, academia, and women in politics.

A long-time activist, lawmaker and scholar, Ashrawi was the first woman to be elected to the executive committee of the PLO.

Ashrawi visited Brown as part of a series of events organized by the Middle East Studies Initiative and spoke with Doumani, professor of the Department of History and director of the Brown Middle East Studies program.

Oslo, Academia, and Women in Politics (Part 1)

Oslo, Academia, and Women in Politics (Part 2)


Gaza Ark to Sail in Spring 2014

Monday, November 11, 2013 Posted by
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The closure of the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip has delayed the launch of Gaza Ark, an improvised cargo ship built by Gaza fishermen set to sail to Europe in protest against the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Member of the Gaza Strip association of fishermen Mahfouth Kabariti said Sunday that the Gaza Ark was supposed to set sail by the end of 2013, but as a result of the closure of Rafah crossing, the launch has been delayed to spring 2014.

He noted that in order to be seaworthy, the Gaza Ark still needed international standard navigation equipment that could only be brought into Gaza via the Rafah crossing.

Kabariti added that several donors had supported the idea of Gaza Ark and that many countries were willing to allow it to enter their harbors.

Asked about progress of work on the vessel, Kabariti said that infrastructures and fuel tanks had been completed and that the outside body and the passenger cabins were being built.

The vessel, he said, will be 24 meters long and 7 meters wide and will carry 15 people including solidarity activists in addition to goods.

“It will be the first vessel to carry Gaza’s products to the outside world serving Palestinian producers and developing the culture of building boats which has almost vanished as a result of Israel’s ongoing closure of sea industry in Gaza.”

The ark is one in a series of global efforts designed to challenge Israel’s 7-year long blockade of the Gaza Strip. While numerous boats have attempted to sail into Gaza, the Gaza Ark is the first attempt by Palestinians to break out by sea.

If they are successful, this will be the first time goods from Gaza have been exported by sea since the signing of the 1994 Oslo Peace Accords.

In May 2010, nine Turkish activists were slaughtered during an Israeli raid on a six-ship flotilla trying to reach Gaza in defiance of the blockade.

Although the international outcry which followed the deadly raid forced Israel to significantly ease the terms of its blockade on Gaza, tight curbs remain in place on exports and travel.

Under the terms of the current restrictions, Gaza fishermen are not allowed to enter waters more than six nautical miles from the shore, with naval patrol boats known to fire on those who step out of line.

The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by Israel since 2006. The blockade was imposed following the victory of Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian elections and the subsequent 2007 clashes between Fatah and Hamas, which left Hamas in control of the Strip and Fatah in control of the West Bank.

The blockade has severely limited the imports and exports of the Gaza Strip and has led to frequent humanitarian crises and hardship for Gazans. These have been particularly severe given frequently Israeli military assaults, particularly in 2008-9 and 2011, which killed around 1,400 and 170 Gazans respectively and led to major infrastructural damage.