Protest at Israeli drone factory in Birmingham planned for July 2015 – everyone welcome!

24/06/2015

Activists standing in solidarity with Palestinians will attempt to shut down an Israeli arms
factory in England next month, on the anniversary of Israel’s military operation ‘Protective Edge’, which caused massive  destruction and loss of life in the Gaza strip last summer.  And to counteract the violent nature of the factory, the protest will take the form of “a creative and positive space that meets the needs of justice and solidarity, and not the needs of Israeli multinational corporations that export death for profit.”

Last year, news of the Israeli attacks on Gaza led to demonstrations such as nine activists who occupied the roof of he UAV Engines Ltd factory in Shenstone, near Birminham, which is owned by the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems. They shut down the drone engine factory for two days costing the company more than £180,000.

Rooftop protest at Elbit Systems last year.  This year's planned even will be far more peaceful and suitable for all the family.

Rooftop protest at Elbit Systems last year. This year’s planned even will be far more peaceful and suitable for all the family.

This year, on 6 July (the anniversary of the start of the onslaught on Gaza), a more organized demonstration  at Shenstone is planned.  “Block the Factory” will “be transforming the space around the arms factory, converting it from a site of destruction into a fun, creative and child-friendly environment”.

Elbit Systems makes engines for drones, surveillance equipment for the militarized USA/Mexico border and the Israeli Separation Wall, which breaches international law and stretches for hundreds of miles, dividing families and confiscating large swathes of fertile Palestinian land as it goes.  Elbit Systems is just one part of the massive arms industry that makes Israel  the largest per capita arms exporter in the world. Israel is the world’s second largest exporter of military drones, selling thousands all over the world.  And who makes the engines for the drones?  UAV Engines Ltd, whose factory is in Shenstone, near Birmingham.

From Mondoweiss.net:

‘Block the factory’ aims to turn the space around the factory into a fun, creative and inspiring place, rather than one associated with death, destruction, and injustice. Whether it’s by telling stories or holding workshops, making art or flying kites (not drones), playing music or sharing food together, it will be a space for activists to build support networks, find new allies and make new friends.

This mass action is part of the wider Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions  campaign (BDS) and the Stop Arming Israel Campaign, which call on the UK to end its extensive collaboration with the Israeli weapons industry and to institute a two-way arms embargo.  Many groups are involved in the day so far, including:

Boycott Israel Network, NUS Black Students’ Campaign, West Midlands PSC, Drone Campaign Network, Coventry Friends of Palestine, Smash EDO, Manchester Palestine Action, Glasgow Palestine Action, Campaign Against Arms Trade, Stop The Arms Faircoalition, War on Want, and London Palestine Action

The organisers want to make this an inclusive and family friendly affair, believing that diversity makes us better and stronger. So, whether you have never been on a protest before or are a seasoned activist, whether you are disabled, an older person, a younger person, whether you have five children or none, you are encouraged to come and help make this the biggest, most beautiful action yet at an arms factory in the UK.

Better still, there are ways to get yourself or your group actively involved. That could be running a workshop or a creative space, playing music or organising food, or even creating an activity session for children. The organisers stress that the action is what people make it, and welcome ideas and input.

Getting to the demo

Shenstone is a small village outside Birmingham, accessible by National Rail trains. If you are coming from outside Birmingham, this generally means travelling to Birmingham New Street and changing there.

Trains run roughly every 20 minutes from Birmingham New Street, and tickets cost around £4.50. Earliest trains are at 06:01 and the last train returning to Birmingham is at 23:32.

More info at www.blockthefactory.org.

blockthefactory.org


Israel kill a woman and child. Completely justifiable, of course…

20/08/2014

After 8 days of relative quiet in Gaza, an Israeli air strike killed the wife and son of the Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif. As the attack was targeted at Deif, Israeli military consider the Hamas commander’s home as fair game. They have tried to kill Deif several times. They use air strikes as a method of assassination, and of course a missile will kill not only the intended target but also anyone near him. This is what happened overnight (20 August).

Scene of the air strike that killed the wife and child of Mohammed Deif

Scene of the air strike that killed the wife and child of Mohammed Deif

I wonder: if Hamas bombed the home of an Israeli commander and killed his family, would Israel shrug its collective shoulders and say “Fair enough”? Or would they condemn it as an evil terrorist attack slaying innocent children etc? What do you think? Seriously, I’d love to know your opinion. Please let us know via Comments.

Using air strikes to carry out assassinations is a cowardly act. Israel is known to have efficient special forces and other soldiers. So when they want to kill a particular military individual, why don’t they send in troops to find and shoot him? Why do they prefer to use missiles launched from fighter planes or drones, which will kill arbitrary people in the area, such as innocent passers-by or, as in this latest case, non-combatant family members? To me it seems plain: the much vaunted Israeli Defence Force is commanded by cowards. Much better to kill 100 children than to risk losing a single soldier.

I do not support Hamas, or the Al-Aqsa Brigades or Islamic Jihad. But Israeli arrogance and cowardly aggression makes me sick. And the fact that only 6% of Israelis recently polled think that too much force is being used against Gaza makes me wonder why this so-called free, developed democratic state gets so much support from the UK and other governments. Israel is a blustering, cowardly terrorist state.

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Palestinian “Day of Rage” sees violence and deaths spread to West Bank

25/07/2014

Today, Friday 25 July 2014, has been dubbed a “day of rage” by Palestinian factions. And at time of writing this (15:30 GMT), up to 6 Palestinians have been reported killed and scores injured by Israeli soldiers and settlers. The violence and killings have spread to the West Bank, where previously it was mostly concentrated in the Gaza Strip (a captive war zone, where Israeli and Egyptian border blockade allows Gazan militants nowhere they can retreat to other than their homes – then the Israelis pummel the residential areas with airstrikes and artillery fire, and blame the Gaza fighters for any civilian casualties that ensue – a disgusting “justification” for deliberately targetting homes, hospitals and schools).

46-year-old Hashem Abu Marieh was killed in the Palestinian village of Beit Ummar near the flashpoint southern city of Hebron by Israeli soldiers.

A 26-year-old man was also reported to have died in Hebron from gunshot wounds.

A group of settlers opened fire on protesting Palestinians after they threw stones at their car near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian security sources said. An 18-year-old Palestinian named as Khaled Oudeh was killed.

Shortly afterwards, Israeli troops arrived at the scene and clashed with the Palestinians, firing live bullets and tear gas. The Israeli army fire killed a second Palestinian, 22-year-old Tayyib Oudeh, the security sources said, adding that three other Palestinians were injured by live fire.

Friday’s violence followed major clashes on Thursday, when 20,000 people took part in a march from Ramallah towards East Jerusalem in protest over the bloodshed in Gaza. Two Palestinians were killed and several hundred injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers, with 120 treated for gunshot wounds. [all from the Guardian]

And in Gaza the violence has continued. Israeli air force jets struck 30 homes in the Gaza Strip on Friday morning, killing a leader of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad and his two sons. There were heavy firefights between IDF ground troops and Hamas fighters. Israel confirmed that one of their soldiers was killed, and reported that 35 rockets were fired from Gaza, 10 of which were intercepted by its Iron Dome missile defence system.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, has called for a ceasefire, after several meetings with the US secretary of state, John Kerry, and Egyptian officials in Cairo aimed at ending the 18-day conflict that has killed more than 845 people, most of them Palestinian civilians. His office released a statement saying: “On this, the last Friday of Ramadan, I call for an immediate, unconditional humanitarian pause in the fighting in Gaza and Israel. This pause would last through the Eid al-Fitr holiday period.”

French lawyer Gilles Devers announced he had lodged a complaint at the International Criminal Court on behalf of the Palestinian justice minister accusing the Israeli army of war crimes. “Israel, the occupying power, is carrying out a military operation which in principle and form violates the basis of international law,” he said.

The Israeli security cabinet is review the ceasefire proposal and to discuss the option of expanding its eight-day-old ground operation in Gaza.

The Israeli airstrike on the home of a leader of Islamic Jihad and is 2 sons will no doubt be defended by Israel on the basis that it was a legitimate attack on the militant leader and it is that militant’s own fault that he was using his family as a “human shield”. I wonder: if the Palestians in Gaza had more accurate rockets, and destroyed the homes of Israeli commanders and politicians, killing those targets’ families in the process, would Israel accept the attacks as legitimate war actions? Or would they denounce the killing of the families as “terrorism”? Don’t worry, that was a rhetorical question. I know damn well what Israel would say. Their position is: if Palestinian civilians are killed by Israeli attacks, Israel says it’s Hamas’ own fault for hiding amongst civilians; if Palestinians kill Israeli civilians, it’s a terrorist attack.

Here’s a map, showing how Israel has devoured and settled Palestinian territories between 1946 and 2000. It misses out changes since 2000, but I think you’ll get the idea:

Fragmentation of Palestinian territory 1946-2000

Fragmentation of Palestinian territory 1946-2000. Map from here.

Will UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon’s call for a ceasefire over Eid be listened to? I doubt it. This is going from bad to worse to even worse, inexorably approaching “worst”. Israel, look at yourselves. Is it right for the IDF to fire live rounds at stone-throwing youths and men? Is it right for Jewish civilian settlers on traditionally Palestinian land to kill stone-throwing demonstrators? If Palestinian militants are in civilian areas, is it right to shell those areas indiscriminately? Is it right to attack UN schools and hospitals containing thousands of civilians? Hundreds or even thousands of Palestinian civilian deaths, tens of Israeli deaths. I’m not saying this should be balanced with more Israeli deaths; what’s needed is less Palestinian deaths. Is this really too much to ask?

UPDATE 18:20 GMT
Israel’s cabinet on has unanimously rejected a US-backed proposal for a week-long “humanitarian pause” in the offensive on Gaza after 18 days of fighting that has claimed more than 800 Palestinian lives.

So, why the rejection? Judging from earlier rejections of ceasefire proposals, Israel probably will claim that any cessation of hostilities would give Hamas time to regroup and consolidate. This, despite the fact that the Kerry/Ban Ki-Moon proposal would have allowed Israeli troops to remain behind to to continue destroying cross-border tunnels.

The ceasefire would probably have been a non-starter anyway, as Hamas had already signalled its opposition to the terms of the US plan, which it deemed too favourable to Israel. It signals to the rest of the world that neither Israel nor Hamas are ready to stop the senseless slaughter. But that isn’t much of a surprise. And it shows that the USA (via Kerry) and the UN (via Ban) are running out of working ideas.

A ceasefire will come, eventually. But it will leave the situation in a worse position than ever before the Israel-Fatah agreement. Today’s protests, violence, and deaths in the West Bank show that Palestinian opinion is swinging towards a stronger stance against Israel, which Fatah will ignore at its peril. And then what? Back to intifadas? Full-scale occupations? Suicide bombings in Tel Aviv?

Bunch of idiots. The region will ignite into flames again if both sides (Israel especially) don’t move positions. Israel whines that Hamas refuses to recognize Israel as a legitimate state. But so what? Does Israel recognize Hamas as a legitimate political entity? No. They’re all “terrorists”, on both sides. And I would be quite happy to see them “terrorize” each other to extinction, if not for the innocents trapped between them. Irrational, insane bastards with guns and bombs. Like most governments, when I come to think of it…

Oh yeah, interesting piece in the Guardian: “In Gaza, Hamas fighters are among civilians. There is nowhere else for them to go.” Read it. And stop whining about “human shields”. Remember: Israel say how they have to attack residential areas, hospitals etc, because that’s where Hamas is holed out. But that’s bullshit. Israel don’t have to bomb the civilian areas. They choose to.


Bloody Israeli terrorists

20/07/2014

As Israel’s “anti-terrorist” actions in Gaza enter their second week, I’ve decided to point out (again) that Israel is a terrorist state.

Back in the day of the British Palestine Mandate, one of the major anti-British, pro-Israeli state terrorist organizations was Irgun (aka Etzel), who wanted a Jewish Israeli state to be formed, laying territorial claim to Mandatory Palestine and the Emirate of Transjordan. One of their later leaders was Menachem Begin. a terrorist who later became a “respectable politician”.

Menachem Begin

Menachem Begin

From Wikipedia:

The Irgun has been viewed as a terrorist organization or organization which carried out terrorist acts.[3][4] In particular the Irgun was branded a terrorist organisation by Britain,[5] the 1946 Zionist Congress[6] and the Jewish Agency.[7] The Irgun believed that any means necessary to establish the Jewish State of Israel, including terrorism, was justifiable.[8]

The Irgun was a political predecessor to Israel’s right-wing Herut (or “Freedom”) party, which led to today’s Likud party.[9] Likud has led or been part of most Israeli governments since 1977.

And who is the leader of Likud? Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu

Also, Wikipedia points out that Irgun members were absorbed into the Israel Defense Forces at the start of the 1948 Arab–Israeli war. So, if Irgun was a terrorist organization, surely the IDF is also a terrorist organization. The “soldiers” who are killing Palestinians (including civilians, women and children who have never engaged in anti-Israeli actions) – surely these IDF “soldiers” are terrorists. A fact which is borne out by the IDF’s indiscriminate slaughter of those who live in Gaza.

Please please please do not think I am anti-semitic because I point out these facts. I know that some people think that any criticism of Israel is anti-semitism. but anti-semitism is (according to many sources including the US Department of State) as “hatred toward Jews—individually and as a group—that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity.” I have absolutely no problem with Jews. I don’t even have a problem with “terrorists” per se (“one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” etc). I have a problem with people who lay claim to land because “God gave it to them” and who slaughter non-combatants in defence of that “claim”.

Sorry if I’m harping on tiresomely about this. But Israel’s actions in Gaza are really pissing me off; and my dog is sick and tired of me moaning at her about it all the time.

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“Knock on the roof” absolves Israel over civilian deaths? Yeah right.

15/07/2014

Stung by international criticism of their airstrikes in civilian residential areas in Gaza, Israel has adopted a “knock on the roof” system to warn civilians that their homes are going to be destroyed, launching a less destructive missile on the roofs of target buildings so anyone inside can evacuate before the real bombs come. Alternatively the Israeli Defence Force will phone with a warning. Thus Israel claim that they are doing all they can to avoid killing civilians.

I find this rather disingenuous. In the Guardian, Peter Beaumont spoke to 2 victims of this “warning” technique. Dr Nasser Tatar, director general of Gaza’s largest medical facility, the Shifa hospital, had his home and private clinic destroyed.

He says he had just returned to his family on Sunday night after working a week straight at an overwhelmed hospital short of resources. “We’ve had tens of deaths and hundreds of injured. I needed to be at the hospital,” he says. “It was just after the time for breaking the Ramadan fast at 7.50pm.

“The IDF called my nephew with a 10-minute warning saying that they planned to destroy my house. Because it took him several minutes to find me, it was less than 10 minutes. I got my family out quickly and warned my neighbours to take care. Then they hit my house with a rocket and then a second.”

And Beaumont witnessed a “knock on the roof” attack. He writes:

In a side street in Gaza’s Shati camp, an Israeli warning missile has just “knocked on the roof” of Alaa Hadeedi’s house, filling the road with a thin mist of smoke. A few ambulances have rushed to the scene and are waiting 100 metres or so from the house. Behind them, a crowd of wary neighbours gather to watch.

There is a sudden shout as someone hears the sound of the second missile – a live bomb this time – and the crowd surges backwards. Alaa Hadeedi’s house explodes in a billowing cloud of concrete and wood fragments.

A driver by trade, Alaa Hadeedi – who was not at home when the missile hit – stored gasoline inside his house. It ignites in an orange fireball

Israel claims this method of “avoiding civilian deaths” is a careful and humane practice, its drone operators and pilots holding back against the risk of collateral damage. But the fact remains that most of the casualties have been civilians. And now Israel has warned residents of northern Gaza to evacuate the area – a chilling warning.

During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the IRA almost routinely phoned warnings to targets and the police and army before setting off their bombs. Did the warnings make the bombings okay? If I tell someone that I’m going to punch their child in the face, does the warning make the assault okay?

Israel is a terrorist state. So when will the UN sanctions and US military action going to start?

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Israeli “terrorists” bomb Palestinian “terrorists” including innocent civilians women and children “terrorists”… when will press and politicians stop calling everyone “terrorists”..?

12/07/2014

As of today, 12 July 2014, Israeli bombings and airstrikes on Gaza have killed over 120 people, and 920 people injured. Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu says that the targets are all terrorist-related, and Hamas is responsible for any civilian deaths by putting legitimate targets like rocket launch sites and command and control centres in residential areas. However, one of the tactics being used is trying to kill Hamas leaders by bombing their homes, therefore killing the Hamas officers’ families. There are also reports of purely civilian locations being attacked, including a charitable association for the disabled in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza where 2 civilians were killed. Various politicians including US president Obama have urged Israel to call a ceasefire. But Netanyahu has declared that the dramatically-named “Operation Protective Edge” will not stop until Hamas stops launching rockets at Israeli targets.

A big problem with Netanyahu’s statement is that it is not just Hamas that is firing rockets into Israel. Hamas is the official government of the Gaza Strip, but there are other groups who are involved in attacks. So if Hamas did stop its hostilities, rockets would still be fired from Gaza and Netanyahu would carry on with his brutal aerial assault that has been going on for more than 4 days now.

Another problem is the rhetoric that the Israeli authorities use. They call Hamas “terrorists”, even though Hamas has been officially in charge of Gaza throughout the long blockade of the Gaza Strip. Hamas obviously has support from the Strip’s population, otherwise it would have been removed from power long ago. Netanyahu would do well to remember that the Likud party he leads is directly descended from the Irgun terrorist organization responsible for atrocities like the King David Hotel bombing in 1946, in which 91 people were killed, many of them civilians, of various nationalities. Also it can be argued that “Operation Protective Edge” is itself an act of terrorism, as the Israeli forces are at best indifferent to the fact that they are killing civilians; it is probably more accurate to say Israel is deliberately killing civilians in an attempt to damage Hamas credibility in Gaza. The Israeli attacks are completely out of proportion to the rocket attacks that are the supposed provocation.

Hamas are popular, and in any case there are other groups firing rockets. And informed commentators have said (for instance on the BBC Radio 4 “Today” news programme) that Hamas has large stocks of weaponry and can probably carry on its attacks for months. If Netanyahu really wants to get rid of Hamas, he is going to have to order a ground invasion of Gaza. How long will his popularity and credibility last when Israeli conscripts start returning in body bags?

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Israeli authorities have told lies? Well whoopy-sh*t, whoever would have thought such a thing possible?

05/06/2010

So it would seem that Israeli commandos did not shoot activists on the Gaza aid flotilla ships only in self-defence. Autopsies on nine Turkish men killed on board the Mavi Marmara aid freighter show that victims had been shot from behind, and some had been shot repeatedly in the back of the head. The Guardian reports:

The results revealed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, said Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the council of forensic medicine.

The autopsy reports have heightened the pressure on Israel to allow a full, independent inquiry into what happened. Andrew Slaughter MP, a member of the British government’s all-party group on Britain and the Palestine said: “”Given the very disturbing evidence which contradicts the line from the Israeli media and suggests that Israelis have been very selective in the way they have addressed this, there is now an overwhelming need for an international inquiry.”

Israel is trying to downplay the significance of the autopsy results. An embassy spokesman in London claimed that the number of bullets found in the bodies did not alter the fact that the soldiers were acting in self defence. “The only situation when a soldier shot was when it was a clearly a life-threatening situation. Pulling the trigger quickly can result in a few bullets being in the same body, but does not change the fact they were in a life-threatening situation.” This explanation is nearly compelling… if you ignore the details of the autopsies. For instance a 19-year-old man, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. All but one of the bodies examined had been shot multiple times. And these were all direct shots, not ricochets. Dr Haluk Ince, the chairman of the council of forensic medicine in Istanbul, said: “All [the bullets] were intact. This is important in a forensic context. When a bullet strikes another place it comes into the body deformed. If it directly comes into the body, the bullet is all intact.”

Israeli sources are trying to portray the flotilla activists as terrorists. But that is a ridiculous notion. Check out this account from one of the activists – are these the words of a terrorist?

As the controversy rages on, another freighter carrying aid is approaching Gaza. Israeli authorities have said that if the Rachel Corrie changes its course and goes to the Israeli port of Ashdod, Israel will take the aid material and deliver it to Gaza for them. But the aid workers don’t trust Israel, and they are continuing direct to Gaza. So, another confrontation is going to happen. I wonder how many innocent men and women will be murdered by Israeli soldiers this time?

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