Sunday, May 09, 2010

Nakba week

*** Nakba Week 2010 ***

PalSoc, Arab Cultural Society, Oxford PSC and Oxford Society for Medicine have organised a week of events to commemorate the Nakba and show our solidarity with the Palestinian struggle:

Monday 10th May: An evening with acclaimed Israeli director Eyal Sivan and his latest film 'Jaffa, the Orange's Clockwork'.
Place: Nissan Lecture Theatre, St Antony's College
Time: 8pm - 10.30pm

Tuesday 11th May: Oxford Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) meeting -
with a report from a member of the Viva Palestina convoy to Gaza.
Place: Oxford Town Hall
Time: 7.30pm

Wednesday 12th May
: Palestinian 'Dabke' dance class - learn how to dance this traditional Palestinian dance, for absolute beginners!
Place: Meet at the Lodge, Wadham College
Time: 8pm beginners, 9pm intermediates

Thursday 13th May: Healthcare Under Siege - panel discussion on the experiences of leading surgeons and medical experts on the challenges facing healthcare in Palestine.
Place: Bernard Sunley Theatre, St Catherine’s College
Time: 6 - 8.30pm

Saturday 15th May:
Supermarket picket - leafleting to raise awareness of illegal settlement goods sold in British supermarkets.
Place: Waitrose, 9-11 Old High Street, Headington OX3 9JT
Time: 2pm

Nakba Vigil - Candle-lit vigil and public reading of the names of villages destroyed in 1948
Place: Cornmarket Street, adjacent to St. Michael's church
Time: 6pm

*** Nakba Week 2010 ***

This week marks the 62nd anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, the catastrophic events of May 1948 when Zionist colonisers ethnically cleansed 750, 000 Palestinians from their land and declared the creation of the state of Israel. Now, 62 years later, Palestinians continue to suffer at the hands of this brutal colonial power: having massacred 1500 civilians in Gaza last year, Israel continues to tighten its strangulating blockade on the territory, systematically starving 1.5 million people in an act of collective punishment that has been condemned across the world; in the West Bank Palestinian civilians protesting the continued occupation are shot dead for taking part in non-violent protests; while in occupied East Jerusalem Israeli planners have approved 50,000 new homes for illegal settlers intent on colonising what remains of Palestine.

Join us for Nakba week 2010.


Sunday, May 02, 2010

some candidates responses

I have posted the candidates responses just as they are, tempting as it is to add comments. Please send me any other responses you recieve.

Andrew Smith

Thank you for your email about the plight of the people of Palestine. My stance has been one of clear and consistent support for the right of the Palestinian people to their own viable independent state, based on the 1967 borders, alongside a secure Israel.

I have called many times for an end to the military occupation of Palestinian territories and to the blockade of Gaza, for human rights to be respected, and for the withdrawal of Israeli settlements. Following the attack on Gaza I called in the House of Commons for the perpetrators of war crimes to be brought to justice, and I have continued to press Ministers in support of universal jurisdiction when such crimes are alleged.

I pressed and spoke in Parliament in support of the campaign for accurate labelling of goods from Israeli settlements which were previously being imported as “produced in Israel.” I was also glad to see the Government's ruling that the importers of such goods are not entitled to the benefits of any British or EU trade agreement with Israel or with the Palestinian Authority.

I believe that arms components should not be exported to conflict zones or to situations where they could be used for internal repression and have raised this with Ministers with particular reference to Israel. I was glad that the Government cancelled export licences for components used in the attack on Gaza, though it is worth mentioning that Israel obtains 95% of its military imports from the United States.

If I am re-elected I will continue to work in every available forum for peace and human rights in Israel and Palestine, and for the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.

It is crucial that effective international pressure is exerted on Israel over the question of the illegal settlements, which are a key barrier to progress in the peace process which is so urgently needed.

With best wishes,


…I had been a campaigner against Saddam Hussain's barbaric dictatorship since the 1980s, back when he was using chemical weapons against the Kurds and allied with the Americans. For that reason, his breech of UN resolutions, and because of the evidence available at the time, I did support the initial operations in Iraq. I agree with David Miliband that if we had known at the time that the intelligence was wrong, I would have opposed the war. I regret that more was not done to distance Britain from the American government under George Bush, and that our efforts to get the Americans to work with the international community to stabilise the Middle East by creating an independent and viable Palestinian state were not successful…

Steve Goddard
Thank you for writing to me about the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign's election pledges. I feel strongly that we have responsibility as a country to engage with this issue, to help work towards a settlement which will create a more peaceful and secure middle east.

Violence and violations of international law must be condemned on both sides, and there should be no special cases for indvidual countries. There needs to be a negotiated settlement which recognises the existence of both states, mutually recognised, based on the situation before 1967. The Liberal Democrats urge Isreal to end the blocade on Gazza, which is against its self interest and only serves to encourage extremism.

We would suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement and all Britians arms dealing with Isreal for the suration of the Gazza blockade. We also support the government's plans for clear labelling of goods from the West Bank, so that consumers can tell whether the goods were produced by settlers or palestinians. A full ban on settlement goods should slso be considered.

Thank you again for taking the time to write to me.

Best Wishes,
Steve Goddard

Sushila Dhall
Yes, I am very much in support of your six election pledges to support
the Palestinian people. I have spoken and campaigned as a Green Party
member on these points and will continue to do so, no matter what the
outcome of the election.

With best wishes,

Sushila Dhall
(Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East)

Evan Harriss
Thank you for your communication concerning the situation of the
people living under Israeli occupation. The Israel-Palestine conflict
remains one of the world’s most difficult political problems. Britain and
the international community have a responsibility, as well as a wider
self-interest, in helping to bring about a settlement and creating a more
peaceful, secure and stable Middle East.
The Liberal Democrat position in relation to this situation is as

*Call on Israel to end its violations of international
law, including ending its illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza* -
we condemn all acts of violence and urge all parties to negotiate a lasting
settlement to this crisis. A sustainable solution will only be reached in
the context of two separate Israeli and Palestinian states, mutually
recognised and internationally accepted, and within borders which are
and based on the situation before the 1967 conflict.**
*Oppose any attacks on universal jurisdiction and
support bringing those responsible for war crimes to justice* - we are
opposed to any dilution of the law that would help those suspected of war
criminals evade justice. If there are flaws in the current system we
support changes in legislation, but only following a thorough judicial
review. There can be no special cases for individual countries.** · *Work to end the siege on Gaza* - we urge Israel to end the blockade. Israel’s blockade of Gaza is against Israel’s own
enlightened self-interest and only encourages extremism.**
· *Call on the government to ban the import of
settlement goods* - we support Government plans for clear labelling of
imported goods from the West Bank, so that British consumers know whether
goods are from Palestinian or settlement producers. We believe a full banon
goods from settlements should be considered.**

· *Call on the government to suspend the EU-Israel
Association Agreement* – we believe that the EU should suspend existing
trade agreements until the blockade of Gaza is lifted.**

· *Call for an end to Britain’s arms trade with
Israel*- we believe that the EU should suspend arms sales until the
blockade of
Gaza is lifted.**

Julia Gasper
Would you:- 1. Call on Israel to end its violations of international law, including ending its illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza? A. I will call on both sides to end violent and terrorist acts, and I will not condone them on either side. Both sides have been provoked and the problems can only be solved by diplomacy. I do not condone the expansion of Israel beyond the borders originally agreed in 1948. They are systematically pulling down Palestinian houses at night and then building new ones for Israelis so that the owners of the old ones are rendered homeless or even killed and have no legal redress. This is completely inexcusable. We hope eventually that Israel will become a non-racist state and that homeless Palestinians will get some compensation. 2. Oppose any attacks on universal jurisdiction and bring those responsible for Israeli war crimes to justice? A. I believe that everyone responsible for war crimes on either side should be held responsible. But a policy of recrimination may be counter-productive and serve as a barrier to settlement. 3. Work to end the siege on Gaza? A. I am very concerned about human rights violations and the predicament of oppressed people anywhere in the world. 4. Call on the government to ban the import of settlement goods? A. Some form of sanctions could be a way forward. Labelling any imports from Israel (fruit juice for example) might be a start as consumers could take the initiative. 5. Call on the government to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement? A. Such decisions can only be taken by the EU. They tell us what to do, not the other way around. If you want us to be able to act independently, vote UKIP and regain our independence. 6. Call for an end to Britain’s arms trade with Israel? A. I am fully in agreement with this, and with an international ban on supplying arms to either side. It was very disturbing to learn that during the recent conflict in Gaza, British firms supplied Israel with weapons or components of military systems. What is the point of sending Tony Blair as a Peace Envoy when we are selling them arms? The best thing really would be to try to prevent weapons or ammunition reaching either side, but that requires concerted action by the whole international community.