At the request of some of our members, we met up this weekend (Saturday 27 September) to share skills and ideas about direct action: why we do it, how we do it, and what we can do in the future.

Long story short, it was a massive success, empowered loads of people, and will almost definitely generate some great ideas in the coming months for how we can effectively challenge Israeli apartheid together. We may also share some of the resources on here.

It’s not just us that <3 direct action, and think it is a legitimate and useful tool against Israeli apartheid and occupation.

Just in the past week, Bay Area activists have (again!) blocked an Israeli ship from unloading any goods, and our allies in Melbourne shut down two buildings owned by war profiteers Lockheed Martin.

Hopefully one day soon, this direct action will “get the goods”…

Thales UK, drone parts manufacturer, is closed for business until further notice!

New solidarity group Glasgow Palestine Action is starting pretty well: by shutting down a factory for Thales UK,  who make drone components.

They’d love solidarity and support. They need us to go down and show solidarity with them and the people of Gaza. The factory’s at: 1 Linthouse Rd, Govan, G51 4BZ (nr the Clyde Tunnel). In their words, “come down any time today!”

GOOD WORK, GLASGOW! The more direct action, the better. For more on why they are doing this, read their press release.

Stop Arming Israel! Palestine solidarity protest at Elbit Systems arms factory
During July and August 2014, 2,150 Palestinians were killed as Israel carried out another massacre of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza strip. Entire neightourhoods were destroyed and mosques, market places, UN relief compounds and schools were deliberately targeted.
There was no safe place for the 1.7 million people in Gaza to take shelter from the Israeli bombardment. Israeli unpiloted planes, known as drones, carried out over 800 major strikes. Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company, supplied many of the drones used by the Israeli military.
Through its subsidiary UAV Engines, Elbit Systems operates a factory in Staffordshire. The company regularly exports military equipment to Israel. Elbit is also a part of the U-TACS partnership manufacturing the Watchkeeper drone for the Ministry of Defense.
Nine campaigners occupied the rooftop of the factory in August. The occupation closed the factory for two days, costing Elbit tens of thousands of pounds, preventing a shipment of components from being exported to the US and shining a spotlight on the flourishing military cooperation between the UK and Israel.
During the attack on Gaza, Palestinian organisations called for a two-way military embargo on Israel. The call demands an end on all military exports to Israel and of purchases of military equipment from Israeli companies.
Israeli companies were the largest exporters of drones globally in 2013. Israeli drone technology has been sold to over 50 countries worldwide. Israeli war crimes against Palestinians are used as a marketing strategy for Israeli drones which are sold as ‘battle tested’, which means they have been tested on the bodies of Palestinians in Gaza.
We are calling for people from across the UK to join a demonstration at Elbit’s UAV Engines factory to demand a military embargo on sales to Israel and from Israeli companies and to demand the closure of the factory.
The demonstration is being held to coincide with the Boycott Israel Network’s gathering in Coalbrookdale, a short distance from Lichfield. We are calling for local groups to arrange transport.
Date: Friday 17th October 2014Time: 1-3pmPlace: Shenstone
Supporting groups:
Anarchist Action Network
Boycott Israel Network
Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Brighton Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign
Bristol Against the Arms Trade
Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Campaign Against Arms Trade
Child Victims of War
Corporate Watch
Coventry Friends of Palestine
Disarm DSEi
Drone Campaign Network
In Minds
International Solidarity Movement London
Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods
London Palestine Action
Manchester Palestine Action
Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Smash EDO
Stop NATO Cymru
Stop the Arms Fair Coalition
Walsall Network for Palestinian Rights
West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Stop Arming Israel! Palestine solidarity protest at Elbit Systems arms factory

During July and August 2014, 2,150 Palestinians were killed as Israel carried out another massacre of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza strip. Entire neightourhoods were destroyed and mosques, market places, UN relief compounds and schools were deliberately targeted.

There was no safe place for the 1.7 million people in Gaza to take shelter from the Israeli bombardment. Israeli unpiloted planes, known as drones, carried out over 800 major strikes. Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company, supplied many of the drones used by the Israeli military.

Through its subsidiary UAV Engines, Elbit Systems operates a factory in Staffordshire. The company regularly exports military equipment to Israel. Elbit is also a part of the U-TACS partnership manufacturing the Watchkeeper drone for the Ministry of Defense.

Nine campaigners occupied the rooftop of the factory in August. The occupation closed the factory for two days, costing Elbit tens of thousands of pounds, preventing a shipment of components from being exported to the US and shining a spotlight on the flourishing military cooperation between the UK and Israel.

During the attack on Gaza, Palestinian organisations called for a two-way military embargo on Israel. The call demands an end on all military exports to Israel and of purchases of military equipment from Israeli companies.

Israeli companies were the largest exporters of drones globally in 2013. Israeli drone technology has been sold to over 50 countries worldwide. Israeli war crimes against Palestinians are used as a marketing strategy for Israeli drones which are sold as ‘battle tested’, which means they have been tested on the bodies of Palestinians in Gaza.

We are calling for people from across the UK to join a demonstration at Elbit’s UAV Engines factory to demand a military embargo on sales to Israel and from Israeli companies and to demand the closure of the factory.

The demonstration is being held to coincide with the Boycott Israel Network’s gathering in Coalbrookdale, a short distance from Lichfield. We are calling for local groups to arrange transport.

Date: Friday 17th October 2014
Time: 1-3pm
Place: Shenstone

Supporting groups:

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&#8217;t be truly killing &#8220;random civilians&#8221;.

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”.