Imagine if a child in your family went through trauma. The nightmares afterwards, the effect it would have on them for years to come.

Then imagine that everyone around them also experienced trauma and found it difficult to support them. Then imagine that happened three times, to the same child.

Then imagine it happened to virtually everyone in your society. Then imagine that the child had to cope with all this on top of losing all their toys, all their clothes, all their belongings, as their home was destroyed.

That’s what Israel is doing to hundreds of Gaza’s children.

Here, Dr Mona Al-Farra talks about her work with traumatised Palestinians. “I am surrounded by destruction … I see it in the faces of the children and the teenagers,” says the physician in Gaza City.

(Photo: Palestinian children look out of their damaged house after a ceasefire was declared, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, 27 August. Ramadan El-Agha / APA images)

On the “Israel routinely blackmails Palestinian queers to make them informants” story

For the original story, see for example The Guardian. This is a response from Palestinian LGBTQ organisation Al-Qaws.

We are concerned that by isolating homosexuality as the main and most troubling target of the Israeli intelligence apparatus, as recently disclosed, one is ignoring the comprehensive stranglehold that this militarized colonial regime has on the lives and privacy of Palestinians throughout the occupied country.

Blackmailing and extorting an individual on the basis of their sexuality for mainstream LGBT rights framing is a seriously damning act of totalitarian oppression. Concentrating on this alone, however, does allow recognition of a hierarchy of priorities in which Palestinians are expected to acquiesce unquestioningly.

Indeed sexuality in its totality (including and not just limited to homosexuality) in Palestine is socially, politically and psychologically significant – but only the symptom of a much larger cancer. It cannot be singled out as a supreme priority vis-a-vis access to healthcare, disruption of freedom of movement, bribery, exposure of marital infidelities, financial blackmail, drug use or any other form of extortion. All eventually amount to systematic and premeditated violence.

The danger in singling out homosexuality only strengthens narratives of pinkwashing, where one could only exist as a secret homosexual person in Palestine, always worried about his/her/their outing, and having to look to Israel as the all-powerful and all-knowing entity capable of making or unmaking that life. Falling prey to this logic only entrenches a false binary that actively frames Palestine and Palestinians as homophobic versus Israel and Israelis as sexually tolerant and liberal.

We notice, and are dismayed and worried, that some critiques of, and approaches towards, this revelation practices by the Israeli Intelligence Unit 8200, have a disappointed tone of voice, as if trying to say, ‘Behave Israel, we know you are better than this.’ This is only misleading. The fact is that Israel is a totalitarian military colonial power that has no good intention towards any Palestinian lives it controls and such practices of entrapment are central to (even constitutive of) the fabric of the Israeli Military state.

Israeli Military intelligence is well aware that by using sexuality as tool of extortion and entrapment, it also strengthens this fabricated link between non-heteronormative sexualities, practices and identities and Israeli Colonial Oppression in the eyes of the general Palestinian people. The linking of sexuality with Palestinian collaborators has become a word and a subjectivity of its own in the Palestinian imaginary and reality known as isqatat.

In our struggle, we are constantly seeking to dismantle and resist this oppressive stereotype. Therefore, simplistic and reductionist approaches to sexuality in Palestine and Israeli oppression, although intentionally seeking to expose Zionist Israel, unwittingly facilitate this discourse, rather than disrupting pinkwashing.

In other words, Israel is interested in portraying Palestinian sexuality in any form that transgresses the confines of the heteronormative institution (conventional marriage), as being in some form linked to Israel. In the case of there being any positive progress in the Palestinian sexual movement, Israel will rush to take the credit. Should there be any regression, Israel will still make use of the situation by stigmatizing and exploiting Palestinians and coming out as the only protagonist for sexual rights and tolerance.

All in all, Zionism is the only winner in such dialectics.

Kids have started back to school in Gaza (after delays because of the assault). More than 500,000 returned, but many kids didn’t. 24 schools were fully destroyed, 125 schools were partly destroyed, and hundreds of kids were killed. The pieces of paper in the empty spaces are the names of those killed by Israel’s attack.

Photos from Shehab News Agency’s Facebook page.

Deaths in Gaza: the facts
Super-informative take on how the death tolls in Gaza were calculated, and debunking some of the statistical claims made by those wildly supporting Israeli government policies e.g. assuming, like the BBC did, that substantially more men being killed as civilians meant the attacks couldn’t be truly killing “random civilians”.

Deaths in Gaza: the facts

Super-informative take on how the death tolls in Gaza were calculated, and debunking some of the statistical claims made by those wildly supporting Israeli government policies e.g. assuming, like the BBC did, that substantially more men being killed as civilians meant the attacks couldn’t be truly killing “random civilians”.

On the back of a further Block The Boat success with Vancouver also turning away a Zim ship at least once, here’s some guidance from our American allies in the struggle from the Free Palestine Movement. Obviously some is US-centric (e.g. the laws around pickets) but still some useful learnings in there! For more on Block The Boat, see our other post.

A handbook for blocking ships
Following are some suggestions for actions of this type, based on our experience thus far.  No doubt others can offer more, so as to expand the group knowledge.  We are not including information of a confidential nature, but only that which the police and port management can reasonably be expected to anticipate.

1.  Points of blockage.
Until now, no group has tried to prevent a ship from docking at the port, nor does this seems likely.  The gates to the berths, through which there is entrance and egress seem to be the best points, with the intention of closing access for the workers.  Sometimes/often a berth is accessible from a neighboring berth although it may be forbidden to use such access in normal circumstances.  Leave no stone unturned.

2.  The workers.
There is no more important relationship than with the workers.  Intelligence from inside, and especially real time intelligence, from workers and other personnel, whether they are working the ship or doing another job, is immensely valuable.  If possible have off duty or former workers on the picket line.  They can provide invaluable advice and information.
The workers also have the most to lose.  Always remember that they are losing wages by not working.  Many probably have no opinion about our issue and are often forbidden by contract from acting on such opinion in any case.  However, they can refuse to work when the work site is in turmoil.  This is usually determined by a union arbiter when the workers are under contract.  Otherwise, it is sometimes left to the individual worker.
Workers may not have a position on our issue, but many are strongly averse to crossing a picket line.  Furthermore, if they are in contract negotiations or are dissatisfied with management, they may welcome a legitimate excuse to cooperate with a port slowdown.  Some picketers have suggested doing some fundraising to try to help offset the loss of wages, and to volunteer to help with worker issues.
Learn to recognize who is a worker and who is management or other staff.  This is usually by means of a union sticker on the car, which can be circulated to the picketers.  No one should cross a picket line, but this applies more to workers than to other personnel.

3.  Communication.
We have nothing to offer beyond the obvious.  A text alert system is an excellent way to mobilize volunteers on short notice, but you can be sure that the Israeli/Zionist hasbara trolls will sign up, as well as the police.  The usual social media are also extremely useful, especially if information is being dissimulated regularly.  Our reports, information and narrative need to grab as much of the public attention as possible.  It is good to cultivate press contacts and issue press reports, but the local MSM will be there anyway, if the story is even modestly compelling.

4.  The picket.
Obviously, numbers of picketers are paramount.  No need to tell you how to form alliances.  Although the actions are local, ask your contacts across the country and across the word and especially in Palestine to push whomever they know to participate.  Provide shuttles and transportation where possible.  Parking is often not permitted in the port area, so shuttles can be important.
Bicycles are also extremely valuable.  They can monitor all the gates and coordinate activity.  They can also be walked on the picket line, taking up space and making the line look bigger.  The same is true of signs, banners and flags, when the pickets are few.  Bullhorns also magnify the presence and are good for group communication.
The picket needs to be loud and boisterous, especially when workers and their cars approach.  The purpose is to give a good reason not to cross the picket line.  However, if workers defy the line, we have to accept their choice.  It is not for us to put ourselves in their position.  You may wish to consider flyers for both the workers and the picketers.  Music and a live band are a great help.  Food and water is helpful, but many of us find it preferable to fast on the line so that less water is needed and there is less need to access toilet facilities, which may be distant.  Wear a hat and avoid overheating.
It is good to have a few people, and especially off duty or former workers, to try to talk to the workers in their cars as they approach.  Cheer loudly and yell “Thank you” when they drive away.

5.  The police.
the police are generally permitted to lie and use force to achieve their objective, but the public (us) also has rights.  It is a big advantage to have legal counsel present.  Photo documentation can also be important, both for evidence and publication.
Our experience is that we we be allowed to express free speech rights in public areas and that the officers may try to clear a path for vehicles to enter and exit.  Obviously, we have no objection to exiting, but it is our understanding that the police have the right to clear an entrance path.  Our job is to convince the workers not to use the path.
Often, the presence of the police is itself a deterrent to workers.  Remember that workers also sometimes find themselves on the picket line.  If they see a huge number of the police personnel in formation at a gate, they might actually be less inclined to enter. This can be encouraged by testing the limits. Sometimes some of the uniformed officers will be kept in vehicles and pulled out only as needed. Larger numbers are needed to form a path for vehicles when picketers are blocking the way.

These suggestions are just a start and by no means exhaustive.  Others will undoubtedly add plenty of additional advice. Hopefully, the fact that a handbook is even motivated is an indication that this historic movement is just beginning to sweep the nation and the world.

On the back of a further Block The Boat success with Vancouver also turning away a Zim ship at least once, here’s some guidance from our American allies in the struggle from the Free Palestine Movement. Obviously some is US-centric (e.g. the laws around pickets) but still some useful learnings in there! For more on Block The Boat, see our other post.

A handbook for blocking ships

Following are some suggestions for actions of this type, based on our experience thus far.  No doubt others can offer more, so as to expand the group knowledge.  We are not including information of a confidential nature, but only that which the police and port management can reasonably be expected to anticipate.

1.  Points of blockage.

Until now, no group has tried to prevent a ship from docking at the port, nor does this seems likely.  The gates to the berths, through which there is entrance and egress seem to be the best points, with the intention of closing access for the workers.  Sometimes/often a berth is accessible from a neighboring berth although it may be forbidden to use such access in normal circumstances.  Leave no stone unturned.

2.  The workers.

There is no more important relationship than with the workers.  Intelligence from inside, and especially real time intelligence, from workers and other personnel, whether they are working the ship or doing another job, is immensely valuable.  If possible have off duty or former workers on the picket line.  They can provide invaluable advice and information.

The workers also have the most to lose.  Always remember that they are losing wages by not working.  Many probably have no opinion about our issue and are often forbidden by contract from acting on such opinion in any case.  However, they can refuse to work when the work site is in turmoil.  This is usually determined by a union arbiter when the workers are under contract.  Otherwise, it is sometimes left to the individual worker.

Workers may not have a position on our issue, but many are strongly averse to crossing a picket line.  Furthermore, if they are in contract negotiations or are dissatisfied with management, they may welcome a legitimate excuse to cooperate with a port slowdown.  Some picketers have suggested doing some fundraising to try to help offset the loss of wages, and to volunteer to help with worker issues.

Learn to recognize who is a worker and who is management or other staff.  This is usually by means of a union sticker on the car, which can be circulated to the picketers.  No one should cross a picket line, but this applies more to workers than to other personnel.

3.  Communication.

We have nothing to offer beyond the obvious.  A text alert system is an excellent way to mobilize volunteers on short notice, but you can be sure that the Israeli/Zionist hasbara trolls will sign up, as well as the police.  The usual social media are also extremely useful, especially if information is being dissimulated regularly.  Our reports, information and narrative need to grab as much of the public attention as possible.  It is good to cultivate press contacts and issue press reports, but the local MSM will be there anyway, if the story is even modestly compelling.

4.  The picket.

Obviously, numbers of picketers are paramount.  No need to tell you how to form alliances.  Although the actions are local, ask your contacts across the country and across the word and especially in Palestine to push whomever they know to participate.  Provide shuttles and transportation where possible.  Parking is often not permitted in the port area, so shuttles can be important.

Bicycles are also extremely valuable.  They can monitor all the gates and coordinate activity.  They can also be walked on the picket line, taking up space and making the line look bigger.  The same is true of signs, banners and flags, when the pickets are few.  Bullhorns also magnify the presence and are good for group communication.

The picket needs to be loud and boisterous, especially when workers and their cars approach.  The purpose is to give a good reason not to cross the picket line.  However, if workers defy the line, we have to accept their choice.  It is not for us to put ourselves in their position.  You may wish to consider flyers for both the workers and the picketers.  Music and a live band are a great help.  Food and water is helpful, but many of us find it preferable to fast on the line so that less water is needed and there is less need to access toilet facilities, which may be distant.  Wear a hat and avoid overheating.

It is good to have a few people, and especially off duty or former workers, to try to talk to the workers in their cars as they approach.  Cheer loudly and yell “Thank you” when they drive away.

5.  The police.

the police are generally permitted to lie and use force to achieve their objective, but the public (us) also has rights.  It is a big advantage to have legal counsel present.  Photo documentation can also be important, both for evidence and publication.

Our experience is that we we be allowed to express free speech rights in public areas and that the officers may try to clear a path for vehicles to enter and exit.  Obviously, we have no objection to exiting, but it is our understanding that the police have the right to clear an entrance path.  Our job is to convince the workers not to use the path.

Often, the presence of the police is itself a deterrent to workers.  Remember that workers also sometimes find themselves on the picket line.  If they see a huge number of the police personnel in formation at a gate, they might actually be less inclined to enter. This can be encouraged by testing the limits. Sometimes some of the uniformed officers will be kept in vehicles and pulled out only as needed. Larger numbers are needed to form a path for vehicles when picketers are blocking the way.

These suggestions are just a start and by no means exhaustive.  Others will undoubtedly add plenty of additional advice. Hopefully, the fact that a handbook is even motivated is an indication that this historic movement is just beginning to sweep the nation and the world.

From the ruins of our towns and cities in Gaza, we send our heartfelt appreciation to all those who stood with us and mobilized during the latest Israeli massacre.

In the occupied West Bank, Israel has embarked on one of its largest illegal land grabs in decades by confiscating another 1,000 acres of Palestinian land to expand its illegal colonies.

Now, our battle to hold Israel accountable for its fresh war crimes and crimes against humanity has begun. The outcome of this battle to end Israeli impunity will determine whether Israel’s latest assault will be yet another stage in Israel’s “incremental genocide” of Palestinians or the turning point that will bring an end to Israel’s status as an entity above the law – the world’s dangerous pariah. The outcome of this battle depends on you.

Two months after its 2008–2009 massacre in Gaza, Israel’s prize was an upgrade in trade relations with the European Union. By 2012, western powers in cooperation with the UN Secretary General had effectively prevented all investigation by the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC) into the war crimes and crimes against humanity that Israel committed during the attack.

During the most recent massacre, on 2 August 2014, three days after the occupation forces bombed the designated UN humanitarian shelter in Jabaliya refugee camp, killing 20 civilians and wounding at least 150 people as they slept, the US Congress approved $225 million in additional military aid to Israel. The following day, the occupation forces bombed another UN shelter in Rafah killing ten civilians and injuring dozens.

Also during the massacre, Germany sold Israel an attack submarine with nuclear capability, and the United Kingdom refused to freeze its arms sales to Israel. These and other forms of criminal complicity from world governments and official bodies pave the way for Israel’s ongoing genocidal attacks. It is up to people of conscience and all those who seek peace with justice worldwide to make sure this complicity ends now.

We urge you to stand with the Palestinian people in its entirety and to demand that Israel be held accountable for the war crimes and crimes against humanity it has committed and continues to commit against the Palestinian people everywhere.

We urge you to intensify boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns to further isolate Israel economically, militarily, academically and culturally.

Intensify BDS against Israel in all fields, including by taking the following actions:

  • Working to have arrest warrants issued against Israeli war criminals and for them to be tried before your courts.
  • Pressuring governments to impose a comprehensive military embargo on Israel.
  • Pressuring governments to suspend all free trade and bilateral agreements with Israel until it complies with international law.
  • Building effective direct action against Israel and Israeli companies, such as the inspiring Block the Boat actions that prevented Israeli ships from unloading in California and Seattle, and the occupations of Israeli weapons company Elbit Systems’ factories in the UK and Australia.
  • Working within trade unions to raise awareness about Israel’s regime of oppression and engaging in effective BDS measures such as stopping handling of Israeli goods, divesting trade union funds from Israel and complicit companies, and boycotting complicit Israel trade unions. The trade union movement has a proud history of successful campaigning against apartheid in South Africa, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions has joined Palestinian trade unions in calling for trade union action to end Israel’s impunity.
  • Holding to account those corporations and retailers that support and profit from Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid, including by boycotting their products and taking creative and direct action. The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) has suggested a list of corporate criminals to target.

The majority of the world’s people are waking up to the reality of Israel’s rogue regime of oppression and racism. For the rest of what is supposed to be the UN’s International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, demand an end to Israel’s criminal impunity. Stand with Gaza, and act for freedom, justice and peace in Palestine.

Issued by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) and the following Gaza organizations/unions:

  • Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
  • University Teachers’ Association in Palestine
  • Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (umbrella for 133 orgs)
  • Medical Democratic Assembly
  • General Union of Palestine Workers
  • General Union for Health Services Workers
  • General Union for Public Services Workers
  • General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers
  • General Union for Agricultural Workers
  • Union of Women’s Work Committees
  • Pal-Cinema (Palestine Cinema Forum)
  • Herak Youth Movement
  • Union of Women’s Struggle Committees
  • Union of Synergies–Women’s Unit
  • Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees
  • Women’s Studies Society
  • Working Women’s Society
  • Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
  • Gaza BDS Working Group
  • One Democratic State Group

Palestinian Poetry on the Underground

On the 25th August, activists from London Palestine Action read Palestinian poems on the London Underground as a solidarity action.

Members of the public were handed bookmarks and gave the Palestinian poetry a good reception, clapping, reading the information on the bookmarks and with some commenting that they support Gaza and Palestine.

The poems were followed by information about the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the current attack on Gaza.

The following poems were read out:

The Earth Is Closing On Us by Mahmoud Darwish

Running Orders - Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

As well as My Fast Bike by Saed J. Abu-Hijleh and Martyr by Zuhair Abu Shaib.

You can do this action too! Download the bookmarks we used here. And copies of the poems here.

The action was inspired by the brilliant Librarians and Archivists for Palestine, who carried out a Gaza Subway poetry action earlier this month.

Why should those in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle also oppose NATO?
Cooperation between Israel and NATO continue to deepen. And there’s pressure within NATO to take this further.
Turkey still blocks Israel from actually attending NATO summits – because of the refusal to apologise for their 2010 massacre on the Turkish Gaza flotilla boat – but you can be sure Israel’s friends will be vocal on its behalf.
A few examples:
NATO head on cooperation with Israel (Jan 2014)
Shimon Peres visits NATO to share “knowledge and technological abilities” (Mar 2013)
"Israel, already a de-facto member of the alliance, maintains close ties with several member states" (Haaretz, Aug 2012)
Other reasons to stand against NATO

Why should those in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle also oppose NATO?

Cooperation between Israel and NATO continue to deepen. And there’s pressure within NATO to take this further.

Turkey still blocks Israel from actually attending NATO summits – because of the refusal to apologise for their 2010 massacre on the Turkish Gaza flotilla boat – but you can be sure Israel’s friends will be vocal on its behalf.

A few examples:

Other reasons to stand against NATO