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Peace Camp for Palestine

Campaigners are planning to hold a 48-hour peace camp outside a local arms company later this month. Gabriel Carlyle reports.

Hastings & Rye Palestine Solidarity Campaign (HRPSC) and Hastings Friends of Al-Mawasi will be holding a 48-hour peace camp outside General Dynamics’ factory in Telford Road, St Leonards, 29 June – 1 July.

The camp will be open for people to come at any time to attend talks, workshops or performances from 12 noon Saturday (29 June) to 12 noon Monday (1 July).

It will feature talks on the global arms trade, workshops on banner-making and poetry writing, music from Jude Montague, Allie K Stewart and Sam Brown,and crafts for all ages including a group weaving project (see below for full schedule).

The organsiers are encouraging anyone who is planning to camp overnight to register in advance on Eventbrite, in order to help with the event planning.

Free food will be served on Saturday and Sunday evening at 6.30pm – with priority for those who have booked to stay. There will also be a portaloo and basic water and tea-making facilities throughout the day. A number of spare tents are currently available for people to stay in with cardboard matting.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own lunches, snacks and sleeping bags, as well as anything else they might need in order to be comfortable such as a camping chair or sleeping mat.

The event will finish with a closing protest rally at 8am on Monday 1 July.

Hastings & Rye Palestine Solidarity Campaign say that there intention is to use the last weekend before the election to demand ‘that our politicians put an end to Britain’s complicity in genocide and stop companies like General Dynamics from arming Israel.’

Both the Tory government and the Labour opposition are pretending to be in favour of an immediate ceasefire while attaching conditions that would enable Israel to justify a continuation of its brutal war (after a brief ‘humanitarian pause’). Neither Labour nor the Conservatives have called for an end UK arms sales to Israel.

Public backs arms embargo

A arms embargo on Israel is supported by a wide-range of NGOs, including Amnesty International, Christian Aid, Oxfam and Save the Children. In a UK poll conducted this April, 68% of those surveyed said they would support a ban on arms sales to Israel. A majority of supporters from all of major political parties would support such a ban, with even 56% of Conservative voters agreeing.

According to the American Friends Service Committee: ‘General Dynamics supplies the Israeli military with a wide variety of weapons, including various bombs. The company’s technologies are also integrated into Israel’s main weapon systems, including fighter jets and armored combat vehicles … For years, these weapons have repeatedly been used against Palestinian civilians, resulting in numerous casualties as well as mass destruction of homes and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, and water and electric systems.’

Three local people will stand trial at Hastings Magistrates Court on 27 August, for a peaceful blockade of the General Dynamics factory back in February.

Full schedule


12 noon to 6pm: Banner / poster making drop-in workshop

12 noon to 6pm: Children’s art space co-ordinated by Hastings Parents for Palestine, with activities based on symbols of Palestine – sunbird, cactus, watermelon

1 pm to 2 pm: Palestinian resistance and international solidarity with Palestinian activists and a student from the Sussex University Gaza encampment

2 pm: Drumming performance by YYPPFD

2 pm to 5 pm: Principles of Non-violent Direct Action workshop with Mima Bone from Extinction Rebellion

5 pm to 6 pm: Know your rights: protests, boycotts, freedom of speech, direct action Q&A with protest lawyer

6.30 pm: Food

6 pm to 9 pm: Music, including Allie K Stewart


10 am to 6 pm: Children’s art space co-ordinated by Hastings Parents for Palestine, with activities based on symbols of Palestine – sunbird, cactus, watermelon

10 am to 1 pm: Lino cutting and printing drop-in workshop with local artist Emily Johns. Bring your own t-shirts or bags to print on and use Emily’s beautiful designs or learn how to make your own (plan to be there for at least an hour if you want to design and cut your own lino print)

10 am to 11 am: Poetry workshop with Jennifer Bell on the theme of peace with particular reference to the situation in Palestine.

11 am to 12 noon: Media Propaganda about Gaza workshop with Milan Rai (editor of Peace News). ‘The mainstream media has effectively supported the Israeli attack on Gaza in the way it’s framed the conflict (for example, accepting without question the ‘self-defence’ justification) and in the way it has treated the party political debate (for example, not challenging Labour’s dishonest twisting of ‘immediate humanitarian ceasefire’ to mean just ‘brief pause in Israel’s campaign’). Milan Rai is the author of Chomsky’s Politics (Verso, 1993) and will be applying Chomsky’s Propaganda Model of the media to recent coverage.’

1 pm – 2 pm: Can we vote for Gaza on July 4th? Speaker from the Muslim Greens and Phil Colley, Workers Party candidate in Hastings

3 pm to 4 pm: Myths of Israel: ‘The most moral army’ and ‘the only democracy in the middle east’ with Tom Andrews, who has documented settler violence during the olive harvest in the West Bank; Jasmine Rushby, a trade union and LGBT activist; Teresa Thornhill, lawyer and author of Making Women Talk: The Interrogation of Palestinian Women Security Detainees.

4 pm to 5 pm: ‘As a Jew…’ Personal Reflections on Israel/Palestine by members of Hastings Jews for Justice

5 pm to 6 pm: The Global Arms Trade with Anna Stavrianakis, author of ‘Taking Aim at the Arms Trade: NGOS, Global Civil Society and the World Military Order’ and Andrea Needham from the ploughshares movement and author of The Hammer Blow: How 10 Women Disarmed a War Plane.

6.30 pm: Food

6 pm to 9 pm: Music including Sam Brown


8 am: Protest rally with speeches from local campaigners.

Peace Camp for Palestine, Telford Road, Hastings TN34 9NJ
12 noon, Saturday 29 June – 12 noon, Monday 1 July
More info here.

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Posted 18:41 Wednesday, Jun 19, 2024 In: Campaigns

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