Westside Action

a motley crew of anarchists and activists from Bristol, Bath and South Wales

Archive for palestine

Big Up to the Student Occupiers !

With over 30 separate university occupations in the UK (surely a record!), a message of support to those at (locally) Bristol UWE, Cardiff and Plymouth Universities have managed to cut through the legendary British student apathy.

Reports below:

Bristol UWE

WE students have occupied part of the Frenchay Campus in solidarity with the people of Gaza. The occupation is the latest in wave of student occupations at more than 25 universities across Britain in the past few weeks. The UWE students are demanding that the university breaks its links with the arms industry and condemn the presence of the Raytheon arms company at the Bristol Business Park it co-owns. In a gesture of solidarity with the people of Gaza, Students of the University of the West of England, Bristol, have passed a motion of support for the people of Gaza and are currently engaging in a peaceful occupation of a space within the University. We will as a group not be engaging in any efforts to disrupt the education of our fellow students at UWE. This is following the recent atrocities that have and continue to take place in the Gaza Strip & occupation of the West Bank. We as students ourselves wish to offer our unity and support to our fellow students in the region during these hard times. We have proposed a set of demands of the University including scholarships for Palestinian students, a boycotting of Israeli goods, support for fundraising for DEC, and a condemnation of Israeli Actions in the region

Cardiff Uni

Cardiff Students Occupy University for Gaza

Tuesday 24th February 12pm
Photos available on request
Contact 07886543863

Today Cardiff University students demanded their university immediately divest from the arms trade, by occupying the main building on campus. Students are currently locked in the Shandon lecture theatre and are refusing to leave until the university responds to their demands.

Cardiff University invests in companies that supplied Israel with weapons used in the recent attacks on Gaza. The occupation is in opposition to the University’s investment in the arms trade and to the atrocities committed in Gaza, where 1.4 million Palestinians are blockaded in a semi-autonomous apartheid state.

The occupation, the first of its kind in Wales, followed a Books not Bombs protest at midday where students brought along a book to signify their support for education, not war. Israel’s indiscriminate targeting of civilians has seen human rights abuses on a vast scale and many schools and universities there reduced to rubble. The students currently occupying are acting in solidarity with those whose education has been jeopardised by the crisis.

A student who is currently occupying the university said:

“I am ashamed that Cardiff University is helping fund the horrific violence in Gaza the consequence of which is the obliteration of education infrastructure in another, poorer part of the world. I don’t want the money I pay for my education contributing to the destruction of someone else’s. Our thoughts from the occupation are with the people of Gaza, who have lost so much.”

The action at Cardiff is the twenty-eighth UK student occupation to have taken place in the last few weeks. This unprecedented wave of student dissent has seen many universities capitulate to occupier’s demands and review their investments in arms companies.

Plymouth Uni

Around 20 students from the University of Plymouth have occupied room 202 of the Smeaton building, in the middle of campus.

Our demands are as follows:

1. That the University of Plymouth issue a statement condemning the recent and continuing atrocities perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza strip. The University should officially denounce the attacks on civilians, the systematic obstruction of humanitarian aid and the targeting of academic institutions, hospitals, places of worship and international peace keeping facilities.

2. That the University of Plymouth cease to invest directly or indirectly in companies complicit in human rights abuses in the Gaza strip and internationally.

3. That no Israeli goods or goods produced by companies that have directly funded the State of Israel be sold on campus.

4. That the University of Plymouth provide complete financial scholarships for six students from Gaza University which has been bombed by the Israeli military.

5. That any surplus educational resources available to the University of Plymouth are provided to Gaza University and that the shipping of these resources be fully paid for by the University of Plymouth.

6. That there be no legal, financial, or academic measures taken against anyone involved in or supporting the occupation. All those involved will be guaranteed free movement in and out of the occupied space, with open access to electricity and internet.
We await your response to organise a formal meeting between delegates of our occupation and with university management to negotiate these demands.

To keep up with things as they progress, check out our blog at: http://plymouthunioccupation.blogspot.com/

For more information, email plymouthunioccupation@gmail.com

Support the EDO Prisoners!

Prisoner Addresses at foot of report

Three people (two of whom are from Bristol) were remanded in custody by Brighton Magistrate’s court on Monday as they faced charges in relation to the break in and decommissioning of ITT-EDO MBM late Friday night in protest at the company’s supply of components used by the Israeli military in Gaza.

7 men have so far been charged with Burglary and Criminal Damage and those who entered a plea said they were not guilty. The CPS said they expected to charge another arrested woman as soon as she was released from hospital after being injured during the action.

One man from Brighton who was arrested outside the factory premises and states he had no knowledge of the intentions of the decommissioners was remanded till a committal hearing in the Crown Court next week, another man from Brighton was bailed not to return to the city and given curfew conditions.

In the afternoon two men who had admitted intending to smash up the factory in a video made before the action and posted on the internet were remanded, while three others were bailed not to return to the city with other conditions including not to protest against ITT EDO MBM.

The CPS said the company estimated the cost of material damage at £250,000 before any loss of business was taken into account. The threshold of £10,000 is required to justify a Crown Court jury trial.

Three of the arrested were remanded into custody at Brighton Magistrates court on Monday, They are:

Christopher Osmond VT7548 HMP Lewes 1 Brighton Road Lewes East Sussex BN7 1EA

Elijah Smith VP77551 HMP Lewes 1 Brighton Road Lewes East Sussex BN7 1EA

Robert Alford VP7552 HMP Lewes 1 Brighton Road Lewes East Sussex BN7 1EA

Please now start sending letters of support to keep their spirits up. We will try and find out what can be sent in to this prison, but envelopes, stamps, paper, postal orders and newsletters are usually ok

Advice on what you can do to help:

e- mail smashedo@riseup.net

ideas on prisoner support: http://bristolabc.wordpress.com/

gaza update – thurs 15th jan

WARNING ! POST BELOW CONTAINS VERY DISTURBING PICTURES

Just spoke to OJ. Yesterday they went to a rural area nearby where she worked last time she was in Gaza. There was an incursion there on Tuesday, troups entered and left again. They started bulldozing her friends house while she and her family were still inside, when she and another group of women and old people tried to escape the area troups proceeded to directly attack and nearly kill them 4 times in one day. OJ documented the remains of a white phospherous flare and did interviews. Fida is currently writing a piece about it for the Guardian Weekend. OJ’s writing a short factual report out soon on palsolidarity.

Then they went to the hospital in Kahn Younis and interviewed one of the doctors who has been seeing injuries that are made by weapons he’s never encountered before, including bullets that create 50cm wide exit wounds. OJ said that she hadn’t slept for a couple of nights, or eaten that day, and colapsed when she saw the intesive care ward. I mention this because I doubt she will in her report. But she says she was so knackered last night she slept through the shelling, and today they have some electric so are getting on with phone interviews to Russia (!? and other places)and report writting.

She sent me the following email first thing yesterday morning-

Received this from a guy I know from Rafah in 2003 (he was with James Miller when he was killed). NB – Very shocking photos of children at the end. The type you’re not likely to see in mainstream media. The type that show the truth.

Love and rage

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

n550296671_1898334_7111

n550296671_1899028_70902

“ I left Gaza , by a miracle, only 4 months ago. I can’t imagine what would happen to me, my wife, and my two small children if we were there during these bloody attacks and bombings which have not spared any inch in Gaza .

Part of hiding the truth from the American and the Western public is the U.S media’s practice of purposefully prohibiting showing real pictures of the crimes in Gaza. If these were Israeli casualties there would be plenty of pictures, but because they are Palestinian casualties, the American media will not show the images.

Before I came here, I knew that the American media was biased, but I never expected that it is biased to the extent that the oppressed are turned into the oppressor, and that reporters don’t feel ashamed to justify the killing of civilians. “

I’ve attached some of the accompanying photos which I haven’t already seen in UK papers, in case they are useful to people on forthcoming demos. While UK press hasn’t been as appalling as the US, there’s still a very concerted media machine that is frantically spinning. On Tuesday one of them had a spanner in its works.-

Activists disrupted the offices of the British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) in central London. The lobby group’s media centre, which is playing a key role in Israel’s public relations operation during the assault on Gaza, was shut down as protesters occupied the building.

Photographs of civilian casualties from Gaza were pasted on to the computer screens of public relations executives, phone lines cut off to halt the organisation’s media rebuttal unit and leaflets thrown out of window on to the main road and handed out to staff pressing them to confront the truth about the human cost of Israeli aggression.

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/01/418434.html

There was a benefit gig that did a live link up with OJ and Eva and raised two grand in London earlier in the week and a Free Gaza banner hang off the pier in Brighton. For those who’ve not yet seen today’s news on Free Gaza, here it is-

(Mediterranean Sea, 15 January 2009) – The Israeli navy today threatened to kill unarmed civilians aboard a mercy ship on its way to deliver medical supplies and doctors to besieged Gaza.

The Free Gaza Movement ship, SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, left Cyprus Wednesday morning carrying doctors, journalists, human rights workers, and parliamentarians.

At roughly 3am UST (1am GMT), in international waters 100 miles off the coast of Gaza, at least five Israeli gunboats surrounded the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY and began recklessly cutting in front of the slow-moving civilian craft. The Israeli warships radioed the SPIRIT, demanding that the ship turn around or they would open fire and “shoot.” When asked if the Israeli navy was acknowledging that they intended to commit a war crime by deliberately firing on unarmed civilians, the warships replied that they were prepared to use “any means” to stop the ship.

An earlier attempt by Free Gaza to deliver doctors and medical supplies ended on 30 December when Israeli gunboats deliberately and repeatedly rammed the DIGNITY, almost sinking that ship. Rather than endanger the lives of its passengers, the SPIRIT is now returning to Cyprus.

Israel’s reckless and shocking threats against an unarmed ship on a

mission of mercy are a violation of both international maritime law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which states that “the high seas should be reserved for peaceful purposes.”

CALL the Israeli Government and demand that it immediately STOP attacking the civilian population of Gaza and STOP using violence to prevent human rights and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.

Mark Regev in the Prime Minister’s office:

+972 2670 5354 or +972 5 0620 3264

mark.regev@it.pmo.gov.il

Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence:

+972 3697 5339 or +972 50629 8148

mediasar@mod.gov.il

The Israeli Navy Spokesperson:

+ 972 5 781 86248

———————————–

To finish, this is Sharon’s most recent post-
Last night, Monday, at about 5am, one of our calls was to Jazeera Hotel in Al Mina (the port area) which had been shelled by Israeli ships. When we first arrived it seemed there was no-one there, but eventually the medics retrieved the two caretakers from under the rubble. 50 year old Faieq Moshtaha had shrapnel injuries but was able to walk and was put into our accompanying ambulance, 33 year old Helmi Moshtaha had shrapnel inuries and a deep head wound and was stretchered into my ambulance.

I filmed the first bit of this but then had to stop to help staunch bleeding; they might post the footage up on the ISM website but it’s not the best quality. (My voiceover sounds like I’m stoned, but it honestly is just lack of sleep!) Living by the sea as I do, I know the shells are usually followed by another lot of shells five minutes later, and I was really thinking the medics were going to get hit before they got Faieq and Helmi out, but all was well. As I held a compress to Helmi’s head I noticed something strange. If you have a woodburning stove, like I do, you often burn yourself mildly, and the hairs on your hand go all crisp. All of the hair on Helmi’s head was like that.

Tonight, Tuesday, just before I came on shift, I caught a ride with S that turned unexpectedly into the pickup of the body of a resistance fighter. This was in fact the first time in all these days since I began riding with the ambulances, that I saw a fighter in my ambulance. Since it was just the two of us I helped to haul what was left of him – which didn’t involve a head or the top of his torso – onto the stretcher. I was glad of the darkness that blurred the details, though it also made me very aware that our every move in this apparently empty wasteland was probably being observed. Back at the hospital I discovered that in the basement there is a man who washes and dries any of your clothes that have got blood on, within an hour.

For the medics here, it seemed this episode meant I had crossed some sort of line that brought me a little closer to their own lives. Several asked me if I had been afraid, and I gave the answer I’ve given you, but with the increasing feeling that not to be afraid is meaningless when it’s probably just because you really don’t quite get what awful things can happen to you and your friends and family. I have started to answer apologetically, “I’m not afraid, but I’m sure I should be.” Later on into the night, medic E asks me more specifically what I had felt when seeing the shaheed resistance guy. I think about it for a while and say,

“I think my strongest feeling is that I am very sad that any of us can do this to each other. Any human to any other human, no matter what reason. And, I feel respect for the strength of someone who does this job.”

He begins to talk to me about his own feelings. He is 36, has been a medic for ten years. He has a wife and four children. He says he has never seen anything as bad as these days, in that time. And he says a lot of the time he is very frightened. Sometimes so frightened, if the area is dangerous, that he almost can’t bring himself to continue to drive towards the call-out location. He describes a call-out during the night that we had both been on (perhaps thinking I had observed this hesitation) saying that he first thought he couldn’t do it; he had to stop, talk himself through his fear, and then continue with the collection, expecting a rocket to blow him apart at any moment. It seems that with the drone surveillance technology, they really can send rockets with your name on.

Arafa was a good friend of his, he told me, and described phoning Arafa’s wife several times since his death. He tries to talk to her but she can’t stop crying.

His family worry about him very much; when he visits his parents his father begs him to take a different job. But this job is important to him and he knows someone must do it. He tells me that if he came across an injured Israeli he would treat him with the same care he would anyone.

I want to hear more, but at this point that, in true Palestinian style, some of the others start getting actually distressed about the fact that there is hot food next door and I am not there eating it. It isn’t good enough that I can come and have some later, or that some can be put aside for me; it doesn’t matter that this is an important conversation, I am A Guest And I Must Eat Now.

Tonight, we collect two men carrying a little girl of 13 months. She is still warm, but EB finds no pulse. If I understood correctly, she has had breathing difficulties since she was born, and in the rocket attack that just happened, her mother held her so tight she wasn’t able to get enough air. I ask to clarify this story several times because I want to think I’ve misunderstood.

At one point tonight I come out of the Disaster Management room and am confronted with a family of about 12 small children, 1 old women, and a couple of young women, all on a sofa and all looking at me with mute appeal. The effect is so overwhelming I have to retreat back into the Disaster room again. Ambulance convoys were allowed to come up from Rafah today, and it seems this family caught a ride; whether they’re here to return home or to stay with relatives because Rafah is under attack is unclear. Shortly after we load them all into an ambulance and drive them to their destination.

This appears to be a bit of town that our driver considers extremely dangerous. They have all started smiling, he is getting more and more stressed, and the fact that they are all shouting directions at him does not help. We manage to suppress all but one set of directions, and then tip out the family at their door, trying to do it all at top speed. Our driver screeches off, shouting in one-part jest and three-parts panic that we are crazy to be here at all, that look! there isn’t even a cat or dog on these streets, they have too much sense, that this is all a game to the Israelis, a computer game, that we and our ambulance are just blips on their computer screens, that they’ll destroy us just for fun.

In the light of dawn, we collect an old woman and a young man from a shelled building down near Gaza beach; I clean the young man’s head wound. A couple of times tonight, I’ve look round for the medic and realised I’m it.

By the way – it turns out the triplets (Abdullah, Mohammad, and Samih) are about 28 days old, and have been separated from their family ever since their birth. They needed hospital care at first, but now could go home – except their home is in Khan Younsis, which is cut off. Their poor mother is phoning every day. They are getting great care here, but an incubator is a poor replacement
for a mother’s arms.

Gaza Update -Tues

This is taken from a conversation I just had with OJ-

We’re driving to the ambulance station at the moment to try and sort out riding with the crews, the bureaucracy of it has been dragging on for days now. Fortunately the guys in the north managed to get theirs sorted before the incursion started, but we’re still working with the Red Crescent to try and get it established here. We’re also hoping to ride with the local hospital ambulances. We heard that on Sunday, when the phones were down, that they wanted us to accompany them but couldn’t get through. The army have set up a base at the airport outside of Rafah, and there were some people injured in the area, but I think they managed to reach them. It’s very quiet here compared to the north, still no troops, just air strikes.

There was another big multiple strike on the border this morning, really loud. But there’s such a sense of suspense here that we talk about ‘just another air strike’. It’s so different in the North. Apparently yesterday Ewa went to the Reuters media building in Gaza city and was on the 10th floor when it was hit by seven strikes. I don’t know how she got out ok but she did.

We then talked a bit about the horrific stuff going on around Jabalia, but that’s contained in Sharons blog which I’ve pasted below.

To see earlier reports check http://talestotell.wordpress.com

OJ put me in the direction of a former peace worker who’s forwarding some of the ISM reports to a couple of MP’s, one of whom is a cabinet minister. I can’t quite believe I’m saying this, but MP’s might be as good a place to try as any at the moment.

6pm: To Al Awda hospital, run by the Union of Health Work Committees. It normally has a 50 bed capacity but has been stretched to 75. E and Mo interview Ala’a, the medic from Jabalia RC who was injured when Arafa was killed yesterday. The story goes as follows:
It was about 8.30 am Saturday morning in Jabalia. Five teenagers found themselves under shell attack and tried to get away. Three escaped. One, Tha’er, 19, had his foot blown off. His friend Ali, also 19, tried to pick him up and carry him to safety, but was shot in the head and killed. It took 75- 90 minutes before a Jabalia Red Crescent ambulance could reach them. Medic Arafa, 35, and Ala’a, 22, carried Tha’er to the ambulance, and then went back for Ali’s body. As they closed the van door, they were shelled.
Ala’a says “I felt nothing – just that I was flying in the air and then falling.” Other ambulances evacuated all. Arafa, who was married with 5 children, had a severe chest wound with most of one lung gone and only survived 2 hours. Ali’s head was blown off. Ala’a is now in hospital with severe shrapnel wounds all over, especially chest and legs. Tha’er survived but also now has several lacerations to back and body from shrapel.
Arafa was a teacher for the UN, gave medic training, and volunteered as a medic after being one professionally earlier.

7pm: We arrange to sleep in shifts at Al-Awda hospital. V and I crash. E, A and M hitch a ride with the first RC ambulance that turns up, out to Karmel Adwan hospital, the Red Crescent’s second new base since evacuating their centre. The base is a few blankets in a corridor, but there is tea sometimes.

11pm: E comes back to sleep, V and I ride with O’s ambulance to Karmel Adwan. O has a scarf wrapped round his knee, he was shot there some years ago and has pain in cold weather. I talking A and Mo into going to back to rest, but fail to convince EJ. The night turns out to be quiet. Unfortunately, I soon understand this is because a) a lot of Jabalia people have run away, and b) Israel is not letting the ambulances collected most of the wounded that do call for help.

2pm: we collect a woman in labour. Back at the hospital, I chat to Om, who is a nurse but volunteers at the Al-Assyria Centre that the Union of Health Work Committees runs. Also to M, in a hospital bed. He is 23, six months married, and made the mistake of standing next to the Jabalia mosque that was bombed two days ago. He is now recovering from abdominal surgery.
Everyone has naps in the ambulances. EJ and I are being called hourly by the BBC to contribute to news bulletins, “live from Gaza”.

5am: we hear that there has been a threat to bomb Al Wafa hospital which I understand is a centre for the disabled.

7.15am: we collect a man seriously injured by rocket explosion from a house in Sikha St, Jabalia; I doubt he has more than minutes to live, but he is still alive when we reach the hospital.
Injured woman having panic attack9am: we collect a woman whose home has just been shelled, she is having a panic attack and I am not clear on her injuries. Back at the hospital people are loudly grieving for two recent dead. These may be the nearly dead man my ambulance collected and another I saw arrive, both horribly mangled by rockets and the now-familiar grey colour.

9.30: we hear that Beit Hanoun is almost completely occupied by the Israeli army, as is the nearby small town Zahra which commands the north/south road. The north (us) and the south (F, G, and OJ in Rafah) may now be cut off from each other. We check in by phone, making contingency plans.

10am: Mo’s sister calls to tell him his village of Khosa is being shelled; the farmland in the centre which is surrounded by housing. “There’s nothing there, just people’s homes.” he tells us. He says there are now Israeli tanks in the Attatta and Shaimah areas of Beit Lahia. This is 1km inside the border, and 2km away from us at Jabalia. He says tank invasions used to take main roads, but he expects this time they will do what they did in February; bring in bulldozers and go directly through the houses.
He tells us that today Palestinian phones are receiving recorded messages from the army, saying “To the innocent civilians: our war is not with you, but with Hamas. If they don’t stop launching rockets, you are all going to be in danger.”

11.50 Call to near Gaza beach, turns out to be a mistake. Instead we pick up a family with two little children who are evacuating, sat on the side of the road, worn out from carrying bags. We passed Beit Lahia UNRWA school earlier, it is filling up with refugee families. Like Naher El Bared all over again.

Boy in bread queue collapses

Boy in break queue collapses

N draws my attention to one more extremely crowded bread queue, and then we discover a young teenage boy in the queue has collapsed from exhaustion; the medics treat him to the extent they can. 4pm: F calls to say they’ve heard Al Awda hospital has been shelled. I ring EJ. She says a structure immediately beside it received two shells; one person was injured, the man who lent her his jacket last night. He has shrapnel to the head and she says he isn’t looking too good. A apparently caught the shelling on his camera. We wonder if we should head back there to be again with Jabalia RC instead of Gaza city RC. But Gaza city lost 3 of their medics yesterday.

Latest:
There have been two separate reports about Israeli attacks on funeral tents. We are trying to confirm deaths and injuries for one. The second of the funerals attacked was medic Arafa’s yesterday afternoon; 5 people were injured.

We have also had reports that in the Zaytoun area two days ago, Israeli soliders rounded up a group of people into two houses; women and children into one, men into the other, where they were kept for two days. Then this morning at 11am Israeli forces shelled the houses. We have heard the number of deaths as between 7 and 20. One was a seven year old boy whose father was interviewed on TV while holding his body. We are trying to find out further details. It is getting very hard to keep up with this insanity.

We asked the Jabalia Red Crescent admin person how much of the emergency calls Israel is not letting them go to. These are in areas where co-ordination must be made with the invading forces via the Red Cross to enter. He said they are not being allowed to attend to about 80% of the calls from the north, covering the Beit Lahia, Beit Hanoun, and Jabalia area.
Shall I repeat that?
80%.
Eight of ten people calling for help are being prevented from receiving it.

BREAKING NEWS: RAYTHEON BLOCKADED: WEDS 5TH NOV

raytheon-0132

Five protesters managed to evade detection this morning by disguising themselves as work men and when at the front doors of Raytheon, One Protester, A former British Soldier chained and D locked himself to the front doors of the offices in the Bristol Business Park, Frenchay, Bristol. The Police finally arrived around 9:00 when agitated workers could not get into work, to plan the building of more illegal weapons which are being used in illegal conflicts around the globe including Palestine and Iraq.

chained

chained

So Protesters are still there, any support would be welcome at Unit 510, Bristol Business Park, Off Coldharbour lane, Frenchay. Opposite the U.W.E Campus. Every Thursday between 3pm and 5pm we will be squatting the roundabout at the entrance to the business park. For a noise demonstration, banner drop and information share come and show your support for the campaign with no name thats not going away until Raytheon do.

raytheon-0311

Enough is Enough!

You can get any UWE (U) bus to frenchay. they go from town, gloucs rd, trinity and clifton