Welcome to the website of Liverpool Friends of Palestine.
The worldwide pandemic of the coronavirus has not in any way halted the oppression of the Palestinians. It does however place severe restrictions on our solidarity actions in this country. While the crisis lasts we will not be organising any public events or fundraisers. The urgency of the situation nonetheless remains the same and we will here list a number of things you can do.
On other pages you will find out more about the issues. You’ll also find some recommendations of books, films and so on and some links to other organisations. There’s a ‘basic history’ in the ‘Palestine’ section and there’s even a quiz to test your knowledge!
Elsewhere on the net, we have a Facebook page and you can just follow this link. You can also follow us on Twitter at @Livfop.
LAND DAY AND THE VIRUS
All our lives have been turned upside down by the present coronavirus crisis. Can we ask you though to give a moment or two in the next few days to show your support for the Palestinians? The coronavirus has got to Palestine as it has everywhere else and nowhere will it be more than a threat than to the people of Gaza. It is essential that medical supplies get through to a people who have been besieged for over ten years and where medical services are already stretched to breaking-point.
Ordinarily we would organise an outdoor demonstration – we had one planned for this Monday – but it is not practicable to do so. Instead, we are asking you to join in these actions from home:
Saturday 28 March, 12noon to 2pm – Join in a digital day of action for Palestine and help to create a ‘twitter storm’. There is more information and some suggested materials here: https://www.palestinecampaign.org/digital-day-of-action-for-palestine/ . Let’s try to get #EndTheSiege and #ExistResistReturn trending. Palestinians keep a keen eye on the internet and appreciate all the support that people show.
There is also online a ready-made letter that you can sign to the Foreign Office on lifting the siege of Gaza, it is here: https://palestinecampaign.eaction.online/endthesiege
Monday 30 March, 5 to 6pm – this is Palestine Land Day (named after a demonstration and massacre in 1976). On this day there is an ‘online rally’ organised by Jewish Voice for Peace. There will be several speakers including Ben Jamal the General Secretary of Palestine Solidarity Campaign. You can take part using a programme known as Zoom (free to download) and you can book in using this link: https://secure.everyaction.com/9pnBCBhldUyUN6PmeXOljw2
Finally, if you are able to spare a donation, the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians have launched an emergency appeal to support their work against the virus in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. The appeal is on the front page of their website which is here: www.map.org.uk.
UP AGAINST THE SYSTEM
The BBC’s Storyville series recently broadcast an illuminating documentary A Lawyer Without Borders. It is about Israeli lawyer Lea Tsemel who is a fearless advocate for Palestinians who face political trials in Israeli courts. The programme (92 minutes) is available on iPlayer HERE until about Easter.
TRUMP’S PLAN FOR PALESTINE
President Trump’s much-trailed plan for Palesine was finally released to a sceptical world on 28 January and it makes depressing reading It endorses the position of the Israeli government on every issue and makes only half-hearted promises of a Palestinian state (which are subject to conditions that no one thinks can be fulfilled). You can find the whole plan HERE and our leaflet about it HERE. The plan has been roundly rejected by the United Nations Secretary General, the EU foreign policy spokesman and most other bodies. The British Government has given it a cautious welcome.
SOME MOVEMENT BY HSBC
The banking giant HSBC has come under a lot of pressure for the loans it makes that prop up the Israeli arms trade and finance the oppression of the Palestinians. So it was good to see that the bank has withdrawn its financial support for the Israeli arms firm Elbit (which has factories in Britain). That is however only one small step. HSBC continues to do business with over a dozen companies selling military equipment and technology used in human rights violation, including Caterpillar (whose bulldozers are used in demolition of Palestinian homes and properties) and BAE Systems (whose weapons are used in war crimes by Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other repressive regimes). The campaign to end HSBC’s links with these companies continues.
It feels a long time ago that the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 2334 on 23 December 2016, declaring settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem to be a ‘flagrant violation under international law’. You can read the full text of the resolution HERE. But it remains a matter of record thanks to the United States abstaining rather than vetoing it.
However, it is business as usual when Israel’s settler-led government passes legislation that allows for legalisation of settlements built on stolen Palestinian-owned land and starts on further settlement activity. There is plenty of international condemnation but the United States gives a green light to further house demolitions and land-grabbing in East Jerusalem and all over the West Bank.
THE BEAUTIFUL GAME
If you need any reminding of why racism has no place in sport, watch THIS TRAILER for the documentary ‘Forever Pure’ on the Israeli football club Beitar Jerusalem. It is a withering critique of a club that prides itself on having no Arab players. Just to make the point, the club recently renamed itself Beitar Trump Jerusalem!
Elsewhere in the footballing world, the Israeli FA has been under pressure to exclude six of its member clubs that are based in illegal settlements. See HERE for a detailed investigation by Human Rights Watch. A ruling from FIFA (the international federation) has let them off the hook but the issue remains live.
As Israeli football clubs take part in European competition, so the protests follow them. The biggest demonstrations have been at Celtic Park where demonstrators held Palestine flags aloft in defiance of UEFA officialdom (and later raised over £150,000 for Palestinian charities).
THE ISRAEL LOBBY
Labour apologists for Israeli apartheid were well and truly caught out by THIS DOCUMENTARY made by Al-Jazeera. A six-month investigation in 2016 by an undercover reporter produced compelling footage of an Israeli embassy official openly discussing setting up pro-Israel groups and ‘taking down’ politicians up to and including a Government minister. Needless to say there were cries of outrage about the programmes but all the complaints made to Ofcom were dismissed. In fact the programme won a CINE award in the USA.
Then it was the turn of the Conservatives. The then Development Secretary Priti Patel visited Israel, spent much of her 2017 ‘holiday’ meeting several Israeli government officials and came back with plans to divert British aid money to help Israel’s war effort against Syria (by funding hospitals in the occupied Golan heights). Whoops, the story got out and she had to resign. Was she acting alone? She is now Home Secretary.
Al-Jazeera have since made an expose of the Israel lobby in the USA. It was kept under wraps for some time but eventually leaked out and can be found on the website of the Electronic Intifada HERE.