Welcome to the website of Liverpool Friends of Palestine.
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.
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. The urgency of the situation nonetheless remains the same.
Friday 29th to 12 noon on Sunday 31st – online screening of The Tower, an animation film on life in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, hosted by Medcal Aid for Palestinians. Book tickets (from £10) HERE and watch it any time before noon on the 31st.
Thursday 7th, 6.30pm – Overview: the reality of life for Palestinians, a virtual reality tour organised by Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy and PSC. Register free HERE for this and for further tours at 6.30pm on the 12th and 18th.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
And Still We Rise, online rally hosted by Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Running time 96 minutes, watch it HERE.
Britain’s Colonial Legacy in Palestine, webinar (72 minutes) hosted by Palestine Solidarity Campaign (26 August), watch it HERE
House of Commons debate on Israeli annexation plans and settlements (24 September) – watch it HERE, it begins at 15.14.
Palestinians in Britain – a 9-minute presentation by Akram Sal;hab and others was broadcast by Channel 4 and can be seen HERE.
HELP PALESTINIANS FIGHT THE VIRUS
The impact of the COVID-19 virus is that much greater when medical services are thin on the ground or when your community is under siege and/or occupation. The authorities on the West Bank and in Gaza are making a much better job than Britain in containing the virus and keeping down the numbers affected. But materials are still in crucially short supply. We would encourage you to spare a donation to one of these two charitable agencies:
- Medical Aid for Palestinians have special programmes in Gaza, the West Bank and in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Their appeal is on the front page of their website which is here: www.map.org.uk. Their special briefing (23 July) on COVID19 and the systematic neglect of East Jerusalem can be watched online HERE.
- The Middle East Childrens Alliance supports projects for Palestinian children and rerugees from Syria. Their special appeal for medical supplies for Gaza is on the front page of their website which is here: www.mecaforpeace.org
There is every sign that the Israeli government and its extremist settler fringe are taking advantage of the worldwide preoccupation with the coronavirus and stepping up their seizure of lands and attacks on Palesinian farmers. The aerial spraying of chemicals on agricultural land is one example. The customary army incursions into peoples homes risk spreading infection. A complaint has also been made to the UN Security Council that Israelis have thrown medical waste into Palestinian villages.
A series of short films on the impact of COVID-19 on Palestine is being produced by Mondoweiss and can be seen HERE.
AMERICAN PLANS FOR PALESTINE – WILL THEY CHANGE?
President Trump’s much-trailed plan for Palestine was finally released to a sceptical world on 28 January and it makes depressing reading You can find the whole plan HERE and our leaflet about it HERE. In line with the Trump plan, the Israeli government announced its intention to annex large parts of the West Bank on or after 1 July. The implications of that announcement are well spelt out in THIS BRIEFING from CAABU. The reaction worldwide was so negative that annexation has been ‘delayed’, although the expansion of settlements and the destruction of Palestinian houses and villages continue.
Trump clearly has had a plan for the region as a whole. It was the USA that announced that Israel was for the first time establishing diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. These new relations do little more than recognise openly the collaboration between regimes that has been going on for some time. They will do little if anything to lessen Israel’s isolation as an apartheid state.
Will the election of Joe Biden as US President make much difference? Both Biden and VP Kamala Harris are known supporters of Israel, but they will not forget that Netanyahu openly supported Trump. Biden is expected to change tack over Yemen and Iran. Here’s what his manifesto says about Israel:
“Democrats believe a strong, secure, and democratic Israel is vital to the interests of the UnitedStates. Our commitment to Israel’s security, its qualitative military edge, its right to defend itself,and the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding is ironclad.Democrats recognize the worth of every Israeli and every Palestinian. That’s why we will workto help bring to an end a conflict that has brought so much pain to so many. We support anegotiated two-state solution that ensures Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state withrecognized borders and upholds the right of Palestinians to live in freedom and security in aviable state of their own.Democrats oppose any unilateral steps by either side—including annexation—that undermineprospects for two states. Democrats will continue to stand against incitement and terror. Weoppose settlement expansion.We believe that while Jerusalem is a matter for final statusnegotiations, it should remain the capital of Israel, an undivided city accessible to people of allfaiths. Democrats will restore U.S.-Palestinian diplomatic ties and critical assistance to thePalestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza, consistent with U.S. law. We oppose any effort tounfairly single out and delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through theBoycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement, while protecting the Constitutional right of our citizens to free speech”
SUPREME COURT VICTORY FOR BOYCOTT CAMPAIGN
At the end of April the Palestine Solidarity Campaign scored a decisive victory in Britain’s Supreme Court. The British British Government had introduced ‘guidance’ in 2016 to stop local authorities dsiinvesting from companies involved in Israel’s repression of the Palestinians. PSC took them to court and has come out with a ruling that those regulations are illegal. You can read the full judgment HERE.
PALESTINIANS IN ISRAELI POLITICS
After three elections in a year, Israel’s Parliament was still deadlocked. Sitting Prime Minister Netanyahu and his Likud party remained the largest grouping but their coalition with racist settler parties was just short of a majority. The way was open for Benny Gantz and the only-slightly-less-racist Blue and White coalition to take power… BUT this could only happen with the support of the Arab Joint List (which gets the votes of Palestinian and other progressive Israelis). The Joint List were getting ready to hold the balance of power… but the plan was too much for some members, who said they would not join a government that relied on Palestinian support. Cue collapse of Blue/White’s ambition and the formation of a Netanyahu ‘unity government’ with Gantz and the almost-defunct Israeli Labour Party. Business as usual has contninued with the expansion of settlements and the destruction of Palestinian homes. Yet another election is to come in March.
A TALE OF TWO SLAPPERS
Back in January 2018 the world watched as an Israeli military court sentenced the 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi to eight months custody. She had slapped an Israeli soldier who was invading her home village of Nabi Saleh. Her sentence hearing was enlivened by an Israeli peace activist Yifat Doron who slapped the military prosecutor in the courtroom. Yifat was prosecuted for this action: unlike Ahed, she was not held in prison awaiting trial and it was only in May 2020 that she received a prison sentence of… eight months. Yifat said this in court: “I will never regret the fact that I stood alongside my friends and acted according to my moral compass. It is a badge of honour to join a list of women whom I respect and admire who have been convicted of violent crimes in the Zionist court.”
FROM BALFOUR TO BANKSY
A documentary has recently been put up online showing a wide range of views from occupied Palestine, with the aim to discover the long-term effects of the British Empire’s colonialist enterprises. “we question the actions of Israel on occupied Palestinian land and its discriminatory policies towards Palestinians in general.” Running time is 71 minutes, you can watch it all HERE
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. You can sign an online petition linked at the foot of this page.
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. Even the signing (in 2012) of two players from Chechnya (who were Muslims) led to widespread protests. Just to make the point, the club renamed itself Beitar Trump Jerusalem! More recently, the club has been partially bought by a sheikh in Abu Dhabi and the racist fans have made their disapproval clear.
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 supporters regularly display Palestine flags.. A more recent appeal to Scotland supporters, made on the eve of an international fixture, is HERE.
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.
PETITIONS YOU CAN SIGN
Close the Israeli arms factory in Oldham
A call to close the Elbit arms factory and to convert it to peaceful use is HERE.
Oppose Israeli annexation of the West Bank
A statement for members of Labour to sign is HERE.
Children in Military Custody
Call for an end to the mistreatment of Palestinian minors in Israeli military detention – a petition is HERE.
Stop an eviction in East Jerusalem
Call on your MP to sign Early Day Motion 529: You can make the request from HERE. See the page on Early Day Motions elsewhere on this site.
Recognise the state of Palestine
Call for the British Government to recognise the state of Palestine – the petition is HERE.
End the siege of Gaza
A petition to end the 13-year Israeli blockade of Gaza in thelight of the coronavirus crisis is HERE.
Stop Arming Israel
Call on the bank HSBC to stop funding the arms trade with Israel: a standard email is HERE.
Give Puma the Boot
Ask selected football clubs to break sponsorship ties with Puma as Puma sponsor Israel’s national football association. A standard email is HERE.
Keep Palestine on the map
Googlemap simply does not mention Palestine at all. The petition to include is HERE. The petition now has over a million signatures.