Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Ceasefire NOW!

Three months of war against Gaza

In this short period, Israeli bombing has killed at least 24,000 people in Gaza. In addition, more than 7,000 are missing feared buried under rubble. This means that more than 1% of the population has been killed. An increasing number of legal experts are describing this as genocide. South Africa’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) proceedings in the Hague charging Israel with genocide make a compelling case. Laurie Holden of the Hastings & District Palestine Solidarity Group writes.

This has been a war on children. Over 11,000 of the dead are children – that’s more than the entire school population of Hastings. And at least 25,000 Palestinian children in Gaza are now orphans because of Israel’s bombing.

It was stated at the ICJ genocide case: “Each day, over ten Palestinian children will have one or both legs amputated, many without anaesthetic.”

General Dynamics rally

Local opposition to the war

There has been no pause in local opposition to Israel’s crimes with rallies, marches, vigils and information stalls. There have been demonstrations at the local General Dynamics’ factory: the company is a major supplier to the Israeli military. There have been pickets at the offices of local MPs: Sally-Ann Hart and Huw Merriman. Despite increasing pressure, both MPs have refused to call for a ceasefire. Rarely can there have been such a large disconnect between the views of the governing classes and those of the people: a YouGov poll found that an overwhelming 76% of adults in the UK support an immediate ceasefire. This divide extends to those who hope to join that ruling elite: Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate, Helena Dollimore also refuses to call for a ceasefire.

The local Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has been stepping up the campaign to boycott Israeli products. After a morning targetting Israeli products at the Ravenside Retail Park, a tour of supermarkets in Hastings town centre resulted in every Israeli product taken off the shelves at Marks and Spencers, Tesco and Sainsburys. Baskets and trolleys ended up full of Sabra hummus and grapefruit, figs, dates and avocados from Israel.

The Palestinian-led BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement targets both Israeli companies and companies that are complicit in its crimes. So there have been pickets at the local Barclays office; the bank has £1.3 billion investments in armaments companies that supply the Israeli military.

BDS victories are being notched up all the time: recently PUMA announced that it will drop its sponsorship of the Israeli Football Association. BDS applies to sport, culture, music and the academic world.

Local actions were documented in a recent Hastings Online Times article:

Fundraising for Gaza

Local fundraising has contributed to urgently needed projects. The Gig for Gaza in December at the East Hastings Sea Angling Association raised £3,000. This has been shared between Medical Aid for Palestinians and Hastings Friends of Al-Mawasi. The funds that were sent to Al-Mawasi, a town in southern Gaza, were used to buy solar panels.

Al Mawasi solar panels

On 11 October Israel turned off both the water and electrical supply to Gaza. This has had tragic, fatal results, particularly in Gaza’s hospitals. That’s in the hospitals that are left: Israel has destroyed the majority. With solar panels the Al-Mawasi community can now use electricity to pump fresh water and also to use them for charging phones and lights.

The campaign is now collecting funds for urgently needed tents. The area is filling up with refugees: 1.9 million people, nearly 85% of the population, have been forced out of their homes and are living in camps, tents, some out in the open without shelter.

The project between Hastings and Al-Mawasi has now been going for more than two years. Its supporters hope and expect that the council meeting 24 January will make the twinning link between the two towns official. More information on the twinning project:

More information about Palestine solidarity actions can be found at the PSC website:

Instagram page:

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Posted 10:08 Tuesday, Jan 23, 2024 In: Campaigns

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