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Villages of Bedouin citizens of Israel are under constant threat of demolition; one has been destroyed 63 times and re-built each time by the villagers (photo: Deror Avi/Commons Wikimedia).

Palestine supporters get organised in Hastings

This Thursday sees the inaugural meeting of a Hastings branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign at the White Rock Hotel. Chris Cormack spoke to Rachel Lever, one of the founder members of the branch, to find out more about their aims and objectives.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is a broadly based organisation that works for peace and justice for Palestinians, in support of human rights and against all racism. PSC  campaigns for Palestinian rights, including the right to self-determination and the right of return, and to oppose Israel’s occupation and violations of international law.

Palestine steadfast in its demands (photo: Wissam Nassar/Maan).

Rachel Lever believes many parallels can be drawn with the South African anti-apartheid movement, and that the PSC  can give support to the Palestinian resistance by working on its call for  ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions‘ (BDS) to expose racist Israeli policies and isolate Israel culturally, diplomatically, financially and commercially.

By exposing Israel’s abuses of international law, human rights and civil rights, and insisting on equality before the law,  this campaign has very successfully highlighted Israel’s abuses and countered pro-Israel propaganda, according to Rachel. If Israel fails to respect and address such legal and rights issues, it risks isolating itself from its Western supporters in the same way that South Africa did.

The Hastings PSC branch would work alongside the Hastings Friends of Yatma, a West Bank village, to promote awareness of the facts surrounding the plight of Palestinians and the abuse of so many of their basic rights.

The first meeting should start with a beginner’s guide to the “conflict”: how things got to the present stage, what the solidarity movement is doing, and what’s on the agenda for the Palestine resistance movement.

Palestinian flag on Free Gaza boat (photo:Free Gaza movement/Commons.Wikimedia).

 

Then the meeting will open up to a wide-ranging discussion on what Hastings can aim to achieve, using its creative talent, to produce posters, photographic exhibitions, film shows, performance and music, all the while not ignoring  the more mundane business of keeping the town well-informed via press, leaflets, lobbying, networking and talks.

Finally, organisational issues will be addressed: a task-based core group is proposed  to promote smooth running and efficiency, and some thematic working groups should be set up on issues such as child prisoners, the siege of Gaza, the Negev Bedouin, and maybe the “Palestine right to fish”.

Rachel wonders whether Hastings, with its iconic but stressed fishing fleet, might find some common cause with the fishermen of Gaza, who have been restricted to working within three nautical miles of shore. On 4 January five fishermen were shot at by Israel’s navy, leaving nine bullet holes in the boat, some below the water-line.

Rachel states that such armed attacks against Palestinian fishermen, sometimes resulting in deaths or injuries, in arrests, seizures of boats and destruction of fishing gear, are common and documented by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Consequently the total catch has fallen by 42% since 2000 and the number of registered fishermen has dropped from 5,000 in the 1980s to 3,000 today (UN figures). Rachel regards these abuses as a form of collective punishment – yet another abuse of the rule of law.

The inaugural meeting of Hastings branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign takes place at 7pm on Thursday 16 January at White Rock Hotel, 1-10 White Rock, Hastings, TN34 1JU.

Posted 13:13 Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014 In: Campaigns

1 Comment

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  1. Peter

    We have to condemn terrorism in the middle east: http://goo.gl/HSYSAi

    Comment by Peter — Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 @ 23:30

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