Zionists ban free speech - universities collaborate

manchester3 Andrew McCoy
Manchester University FRFI Society demonstrating in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners. Pic: Andrew McCoy

Using the pretext of the government’s Prevent strategy, universities across Britain are suppressing support for the Palestinian people on student campuses. This became evident during the annual ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’, which takes place during March in universities across the world. Such censorship has received vociferous support from Zionist organisations emboldened by slanderous media labelling of opponents of the Israeli colonial-settler state as anti-Semites.

Anxious to comply with a letter from Universities Minister Jo Johnson titled ‘Tackling anti-Semitism on campus’, which called on them to subject Israeli Apartheid Week events to special scrutiny, several universities cancelled or obstructed student Palestine solidarity activities:

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Palestine: Zionists tighten their grip

Trump Palestine Jerusalim

Trump’s election as US president has given confidence to the Israeli right that their plans for settlement expansion will not be held back. Three days after the Washington inauguration the Zionist regime announced the construction of 2,500 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank. The fact that many of these are planned for the illegal Beit El settlement near Ramallah, the site of settler violence against protests by Palestinians living in the area, shows that Israeli leaders expect no significant constraints from the new US presidency. The plans come as Israel accelerates house demolitions and land grabs in historic Palestine and proposals to annex other illegal settlements. Trump’s stated aim of moving the US embassy to occupied Jerusalem has become another flashpoint for Palestinian protests. Louis Brehony reports.

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RCG branches join call for freedom for Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian political prisoners

FREE AHMAD SA’ADAT!

VICTORY TO THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE! - NO TO IMPERIALIST WAR!

RCG (Revolutionary Communist Group) and Samidoun supporters helped organise a day of protest on 14 January as part of an international day action for the release of Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian political prisoners. South London RCG held a street meeting in Brixton, raising awareness of the case of Sa’adat and other Palestinian political prisoners while activists in the East London neighbourhood of Whitechapel led an open mic sound system.

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President-elect Donald Trump: friend of Israel

The farce that was the US elections provided no real choice between two reactionary candidates. Nowhere was this more evident that in their policy towards Palestine. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump guaranteed the continued alliance of the US government with the Israeli occupation with unconditional support for the expanding number of illegal Israeli settlements.

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Palestinian Prisoners: On the Front Lines for Freedom

As we write, Ahmad Abu Fara and Anas Shadid have been on hunger strike in Israeli prison for over 57 days. Imprisoned without charge or trial under ‘administrative detention’, the two have refused food since 25 September in order to highlight their demand for freedom. In doing so, they are part of a long collective and individual tradition of Palestinian hunger strikes in Israeli prisons, demanding freedom, justice, and engaging in coordinated struggle against prison abuse and oppression.

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Victory for Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed – step up the solidarity

We salute the victory of Palestinian political prisoner Bilal Kayed, whose 71-day hunger strike in Ramle prison resulted in the Israeli state agreeing to release him in December 2016. His protest against continued imprisonment under ‘administrative detention’, without charge or trial, highlighted the treatment of many more locked up under the Zionist regime. In a letter from prison Bilal wrote:

‘The prisoners are yesterday’s strugglers and tomorrow’s leaders...I remind you that there are still those prisoners who are fighting a vicious battle against this occupier that does not understand anything but the language of challenge...I remind you of the two Balboul brothers and Malik Al Qadi, and bless the victory of Ayed Al Heraimi, which is no less than my victory and the victory of others. I call upon you to stand with them in their struggle until the battle of hunger is victorious against the arsenal of the occupier. Inevitably, they will win.’

The RCG supports the Samidoun (‘steadfast ones’) campaign for the release of all Palestinian political prisoners and argues that the issue of detainees is central to building a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. At a rally in solidarity with Bilal Kayed in Manchester on 17 August comrade Shadi Daana told crowds:

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Boycott Israel! Free Bilal Kayed! Free all political prisoners!

On Saturday 23 July 2016, on London’s Oxford Street - Europe’s busiest shopping area - protestors held a loud and colourful demonstration demanding the release of Bilal Kayed, a Palestinian political prisoner who is now in the second month of a hunger strike.

The protest was organised by the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) and took place outside the flagship store of Marks and Spencer, Britain’s biggest corporate supporter of Israel. The RCG has organised pickets outside Marks and Spencer for more than 14 years because of the company’s historical links with the zionist movement, and its continuing economic ties with Israel. The 23 July picket was dedicated to the cause of Bilal Kayed and all Palestinian prisoners.

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Why is solidarity with Palestine under attack? Speech to London RCG meeting 15 June 2016

Anti Zionism

This talk will be in two parts; the first dealing with Zionism and the second with Palestine solidarity.

First of all, let’s look at Zionism. When we are called ‘racists’ or ‘anti-Semitic’ for supporting Palestine, we say ‘no we are not anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish, we are anti-Zionist’. But what IS Zionism? And why should we be against it? This is not a definitive history but hopefully it will be a useful snapshot and background.

The Zionist movement developed in 19th century Europe against a background of centuries of varying levels of persecution of Jewish minorities. It was a middle class movement which sought to build a ‘Jewish nation’, on the so-called Jewish ancestral land of Palestine. Despite some romantic notions about kibbutzim (communes), for the majority of Zionists, this was to be a nation with all the same class relations in it as prevailed in the European countries where Jews were located, but one in which they, who were currently held back by racism, could progress to the top and run the show.

Zionism grew, and was actively encouraged to grow by the bourgeoisies of the oppressor nations, in specific opposition to the other rapidly developing movement of the time – Marxism and communism.

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Solidarity with Palestinian prisoners

Solidarity with palestinian prisoners

On 24 April 12-year-old Dima Al Wawi was released from prison. She had been arrested on her way to school and accused of carrying a knife. She was imprisoned in Israel’s notorious HaSharon women’s prison, an overcrowded and filthy gaol, where food is insufficient and often infested with insects, women are routinely denied sanitary items during menstruation and threats, beatings, humiliation and sexual violence, and internal body searches are standard. HaSharon is one of five Israeli prisons run by G4S, which also provides guards at Israeli military bases, and services and equipment to Israeli checkpoints. Dima ‘confessed’ to wanting to ‘stab a Jew with a knife’ and was subsequently convicted of attempted voluntary manslaughter and illegal possession of a knife. Her parents were fined NIS8,000 (£1,488). Israeli children under 14 are not given prison sentences, however a separate military law enables Palestinian children as young as 12 to be gaoled. Nazia Mukti reports.

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Israeli fascists reshuffle

While British politicians, opportunists and the ruling class media have been whipping up a frenzy to try and smear any opposition to Israel as anti-Semitic* a real and largely unreported crisis is engulfing the Zionist regime. In May, Moshe Ya’alon quit as defence minister in Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government over disagreements about 'manifestations of extremism, violence and racism in Israeli society'. His replacement by the notorious racist Avigdor Lieberman confirms the rightward direction of the Zionist government. His appointment also raises the question whether the government will reject the opinion of army chiefs that another open war on the Palestinians would be unwinnable. Because of its increasing international isolation, the Zionist ruling class is split over its response to Palestinian resistance.

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RCG commemorates al Nakba 2016 with rolling BDS picket

On Saturday 14 May, Victory to the Intifada (VTI) led a rolling BDS picket on Oxford Street, London, to commemorate al Nakba, ‘the catastrophe’ that began in 1948 when Zionist terror groups massacred and expelled Palestinians from their land with the backing of British imperialism. 

The occasion took on added significance because of recent attempts by Israel and the British ruling class to criminalise the BDS movement, that has seen the few critics of Israel in the Labour party purged in a transparent ploy to conflate anti-semitism with anti-Zionism.

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Palestine - British Zionists lead witch-hunt against the boycott movement

Zionist prime minister benjamin netanyahu

Palestine British Zionists lead witch-hunt against the boycott movement
Labour’s ‘Mayor’ savages Corbyn: Party star Khan damns leader over anti-Semitism
(Daily Mail, 20 September 2015)
Jeremy Corbyn ‘impotent’ as he fails to halt Labour’s anti-Semitism
(The Telegraph, 16 March 2016)
‘Most Jews can’t trust Labour’: Jeremy Corbyn under fire from senior Jewish figure
(Evening Standard, 17 March 2016)
Anti-Semitism a major problem in UK universities, says former co-chair of Oxford University Labour Club
(The Independent, 17 March 2016)
Labour and the left have an anti-Semitism problem (Jonathan Friedland, The Guardian, 18 March 2016)
Lord Levy ‘may quit’ Labour over party’s failure to condemn anti-Semitism (The Express, 20 March 2016)

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Palestine: youth lead the resistance

Sit-in protest at Shuhada Street checkpoint in Occupied Hebron

The new year has seen a continuation of street protests across Palestine against Israeli settlement building and fascist violence. Zionist occupation forces and Palestinian Authority (PA) collaborators have tried to destroy a resistance movement which is being led by the youth. Despite an apparent thaw in relations with President Obama in the run-up to the US presidential election, Israel remains an embarrassment to its backers who favour negotiation with Palestine’s comprador elite. The PA, propped up by the capital and security training of the EU, US and, more recently, Saudi Arabia, faces its own crisis. Declarations by Majed Faraj, the PA director of intelligence, that the Authority had stopped 200 resistance actions and arrested 100 Palestinian activists, will only accelerate the search for an alternative to the PA.

The Palestinian Health Ministry released a list of 162 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire on demonstrations and Zionist invasions into the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip between 1 October and 25 January; two more were not included because they had been identified as being shot dead carrying out knife attacks. By 1 January, 14,070 Palestinians had been injured in the West Bank and 1,347 in Gaza, by teargas, rubber bullets, live ammunition and severe burns. During this wave of repression, the Palestinian Red Crescent medical association reported 337 Israeli attacks on its teams, including 96 instances of violent damage against ambulances. The names and ages of those who have died shows the youth and working class character of the uprising, with the majority under the age of 25 and from areas suffering severe poverty and low employment. By the end of 2014, the combined youth unemployment rate in the West Bank and Gaza had reached almost 40% for young men and 63% for young women. In May 2015, unemployment in Gaza was the highest in the world at 43% and rising. Young Palestinians in the occupied territories have nothing to lose and everything to fight for.

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Palestine ‘15 points of rioting every weekday’

Palestine has once again exploded in protest and popular resistance against racism, settlement-building and violent incursions by Israeli occupation forces. While the rumblings of a new intifada (uprising) have not yet developed to directly challenge the EU- and US-backed Palestinian Authority (PA), the movement has underlined the economic and political crisis facing the Zionist regime. Disputes between the Israeli military and Prime Minister Netanyahu over how to handle the regular attacks by Palestinian youths have become particularly intense.

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Hands off Al Aqsa! Jerusalem is Palestinian!

The Israeli state is in crisis.[1] The catalyst of this crisis has been the undefeated resistance across Palestine, steadfast in the face of continuing Israeli repression. Now the Netanyahu government is forcing an 'Anti-Terrorism' bill through the Knesset (parliament), increasing the occupation state's repressive powers and criminalising a wide variety of resistance activities. This comes as a wave of violent incursions by the army and racist settlers attempts to impose Israel's total control of the Al Aqsa mosque area. Palestinians are stepping up their protests against the Zionist colonisation of Jerusalem.

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Israel out of FIFA

On 29 May, the head of the Palestinian Authority’s Football Association, Jibril Rajoub, withdrew a motion calling on FIFA’s congress to suspend Israel from the association. He did so despite repeated statements that nothing would stop him from pursuing the ban. Angry protests on the West Bank and in Gaza followed his unilateral decision. An online petition demanding his sacking states that ‘This decision has caused enormous damage to the Palestinian cause and sports…The Palestinian people need serious leaders who are capable of achieving the right to self-determination’. His action also pulled the carpet from under Football Against Apartheid, an international campaign calling for the exclusion of Israel from all international football which noisily lobbied the congress in support of the Palestinian motion.

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Fascism and the colonisation of Palestine

The re-election of Benjamin Netanyahu as Israeli president has created turmoil for the Zionist regime. Squeezed between a right-wing electorate and a US government favouring negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, Netanyahu's new Likud government has already been forced to alter its plans, dropping proposals for a racist bus ban for Palestinian citizens in Israel. To maintain the support of US and EU governments, the Israeli colonisation of Palestine must appear more 'liberal' or pro-'peace.' Iran is potentially an important ally for the imperialists and Israel's anti-negotiation stance is unwelcome.

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Palestine: Resistance the only way forward

Months of failed negotiations between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel came to an end in December as the UN Security Council voted against a resolution on Palestinian statehood. Louis Brehony reports.

The PA plan had called for a peace deal to be reached within 12 months and an Israeli military withdrawal from the West Bank (to be replaced by a ‘third party’) by 2017. Despite the weakness of the resolution, which was backed by France, China and Russia, it proved to be too much for Israel’s international sponsors as the US used its veto and Britain abstained. On 31 December, a day after the defeat, the PA signed up to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon confirmed that Palestine will officially become a member on 1 April 2015. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas had held emergency meetings with the Fatah and PLO leaderships in the hours before.

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Israel: a racist settler state

The decision of the Israeli Cabinet on 23 November 2014 to place a Jewish Nation Bill before the Israeli parliament has confirmed once more the racist core of the Zionist project. If approved, it will legalise the de facto position of Palestinian people living in Israel as second-class citizens. Full citizenship will only be open to Jewish people; the Bill would also downgrade the status of Arabic as the second official language. The Bill comes in the wake of intensifying Israeli repression against Palestinian communities over the past few months stretching across the West Bank, Jerusalem and into Israel itself. Bob Shepherd reports.

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Palestine - Zionists renege on ceasefire agreement

protest in Ramallah on the West Bank in July against the Israel onslaught on Gaza

As we go to press, Israel has already reneged on the terms of a ceasefire agreement it signed with Palestinian representatives on 26 August. Under the terms of the agreement, Israel was supposed to reopen its border crossings to allow building material into Gaza for the massive reconstruction needed. This has not happened. The fishing limit for Gaza fishermen was to be extended to six miles; the Union of Gaza Fishermen stated that Israeli gunboats had ‘been firing at fishermen every day since the ceasefire agreement was signed’. The Zionists are doing what they always do when faced with a setback: delay and obstruct. They now want to restrict the scope of a second round of talks to security questions rather than topics decided on in the first round such as the opening up of a seaport and airport for Gaza and prisoner release. Bob Shepherd reports.

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50 days of terror: Israel’s onslaught on Gaza

 PFLP mass march and military rally in Gaza

On 26 August, after 50 days of bombarding Gaza by land, sea and air, Israel agreed a permanent ceasefire with Hamas and the Palestinian resistance. The onslaught on Gaza had become a massacre, leaving over 2,100 Palestinians dead and over 11,000 injured. Despite the carnage, the Zionists had failed to achieve their shifting war aims. They had not been able to stop the rocket attacks, there is no evidence that they had located or destroyed the network of defensive tunnels which, according to Prime Minister Netanyahu, spread like a spider’s web under Israel itself, and they had certainly not been able to destroy the military infrastructure of the resistance in Gaza. Most importantly, the Zionists had been unable to shift the balance of Palestinian power away from Hamas and the resistance towards Mahmoud Abbas and his pliant pro-imperialist Palestinian Authority (PA).

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VTI joins boycott Israel picket from Oxford St to Blair's house

Below is a video of activists from London RCG, Victory to the Intifada and those who joined the action outside Downing St on 6 September which then took on a rolling picket up Regents St and Oxford St to businesses which sell Israeli goods like Boots, M&S, Tommy Hilfiger, and banks like Barclays which sell weapons to Israel.

 

Video of activists from VTI and those who joined the action outside Downing St on 6 September which then took on a rolling picket up Regents St and Oxford St past businesses which sell Israeli goods like Boots, M&S, Tommy Hilfiger, and banks like Barclays which sell weapsons to Israel - or HSBC which underwrites the Israeli state budget. We also passed McDonalds which donates to organisations which legitimise the construction of Israel and US occupation of the Middle East. FREE GAZA! LONG LIVE PALESTINE! VICTORY TO THE INTIFADA! [ab]

Posted by Victory to the Intifada on Monday, 8 September 2014

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Solidarity with the Shenstone 9

On 5 August a group of activists from London Palestine Action (LPA) occupied the roof and chained shut the doors of a weapons factory in Shenstone, north of Birmingham. The factory is owned by Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Engines, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military company and the world’s largest producer of drones. Drones produced by Elbit Systems have been used in the massacre in Gaza, and the Shenstone factory produced engines that were exported to Israel in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The occupation lasted until the evening of 6 August, shutting down production for two days.

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On the streets (and in M&S) in support of Gaza

19 July, Manchester: Marks & Spencer invaded by protesters

FRFI has always stood in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for national liberation and has held numerous pickets, public meetings and film showings since the start of the second Intifada in September 2000. From the start of the current onslaught on Gaza, FRFI has been joining with others in mobilising support across the country for the people of Gaza.

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Catalunya: Solidarity with Palestine! Stop complicity!

In Catalunya, as in Europe and across the world, the movement in solidarity with the Palestinian people is growing. Tens of thousands of people in Barcelona and cities and towns across the Autonomous Community have taken part in protests and actions since the latest slaughter in Gaza began. The strength of the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is also increasing, demanding an immediate end to collaboration between the governments of both Catalunya and the Spanish state with the Zionist regime. However, the BDS movement is also exposing the role of the Zionist regime in repression within Europe itself. Solidarity with Palestine must be central to the social movements fighting austerity at home. JOEY SIMONS reports from Barcelona.

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Gaza: Days of rage - ‘Either we live in dignity or we all die’

On the night of 7/8 July 2014 Israel launched its latest terrorist onslaught on Palestine. ‘Operation Protective Edge’, a campaign of military terror and collective punishment against the people of Gaza, is aimed at political submission. The Zionist state stepped up its assault when, on the evening of 17 July, it began a ground invasion. Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz declared ‘Despite the fact it will be hard, complicated and costly, we will have to take over Gaza temporarily, for a few weeks, to cut off the strengthening of this terror army.’ As we go to press, however, it is evident that the Zionists are failing to meet their objectives. Bob Shepherd reports.

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Onslaught on Gaza: ‘Take to the streets…intensify the boycott!’

On the night of 7/8 July Israel launched its latest racist onslaught on the people of Palestine ‘Operation Protective Edge’, a campaign of military terror and collective punishment on the Gaza Strip, designed to bomb the Palestinian people into political submission. The death toll is rising rapidly with over 160 dead and over 1,000 injured within the first five days of bombardment with an estimated 25% of the casualties being children. Israel claims their campaign of terror is necessary to stop Hamas 'rocket attacks' and is backed up in this grotesque parody of the truth by Britain, the US and their pro-imperialist media corporations. The destruction of Gaza and the brutal human cost being paid by Palestinians has nothing to do with ‘rocket attacks’ and everything to do with crushing the growing spirit of anti-occupation resistance in Palestinian towns, cities and refugee camps. This military assault is a political campaign. The US plan to 'negotiate' new terms for the occupation is dead and buried. The attempt to pacify Palestinians to follow a Palestinian Authority which rejects resistance has failed. A new uprising is under way in Palestine.

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Palestine: Fatah-Hamas talks

Reconciliation talks that are taking place between Hamas and Fatah follow months of ‘peace’ negotiations between Israel, the US and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Throughout, Israel has maintained the Gaza blockade, violently invaded the West Bank, killed civilians and activists, increased arrests, bulldozed hundreds of homes and continued to build settlements. In talks opposed by many Palestinians, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has offered more concessions to Israel, proposing a three-year ‘transition’ period to keep Israeli troops in the West Bank after the announcement of a Palestinian state. For Abbas, the reconciliation talks are an attempt to recover some credibility and support from the Palestinian people; for Hamas, they offer a way out of its isolation in Gaza. Louis Brehony reports.

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Palestine: repression and resistance

In March, Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas went to Washington for talks about US Secretary of State John Kerry’s ‘peace’ plan. Negotiations between the Israeli occupiers, their US sponsors and the unelected Palestinian leadership, have done nothing to stop illegal Zionist settlements, house demolitions and land grabs, maintaining Israel’s total control of the borders and water and energy supplies to the Occupied Territories. Even the trickle of Palestinian political prisoners released in ‘goodwill gestures’ looks likely to stop, as chief Zionist negotiator Tzipi Livni claims: ‘There was never any automatic commitment to release prisoners unrelated to making progress in negotiations’. Meanwhile, Israel is intensifying its daily war on Palestinians in the West Bank, through murder, detention and terror. Gaza remains blockaded and is regularly bombed, with no US, EU or UN opposition. No wonder ordinary Palestinians are rejecting negotiations and rebuilding resistance. Louis Brehony reports.

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Zionism: racism without end

Confident that it can act with impunity, the Zionist state continues to treat the US-sponsored Peace Talks with complete contempt while treating thousands of African asylum seekers with racist brutality.

At the end of 2013, a third batch of 26 long-term Palestinian prisoners was released in line with the terms of the Peace Talks. In response, on 10 January 2014, the Israeli government announced the construction of around 1,400 housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The decision met with ritual criticism from EU countries, Britain, France, Italy and Spain calling in their respective Israeli ambassadors to rap their knuckles. This in turn was met with manufactured outrage by the Israeli government. Foreign Minister Lieberman condemned their supposed support for Palestine and grotesquely announced: ‘Israel is making great effort to allow the dialogue with the Palestinians to continue and the position these states are taking, beyond it being biased and unbalanced, is significantly harming the chances of reaching an accord.’

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Gaza: Humanitarian crisis intensifies

‘Gaza is quickly becoming uninhabitable’

It is now one year since the 21 November 2012 ceasefire agreement that ended the eight-day Israeli bombardment of Gaza during which at least 165 Palestinians were killed and hundreds injured. Living conditions for the people of Gaza have continued to deteriorate despite Israel’s agreement to open the border crossings. A report issued by Oxfam entitled Gaza: one year since the ceasefire, the blockade goes on, states: ‘The blockade has devastated the lives and livelihoods of Gaza’s population: 80% of people in Gaza receive international aid, 57% of households are food insecure, exports are virtually nonexistent, many basic services are barely functioning and unemployment is over 35% and rising.’ Bob Shepherd reports.

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