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Welcome to the latest networking and discussion tool for activists and social change workers throughout Australia living and working for a just, sustainable and nonviolent world.

It’s aim is to facilitate useful and relevant discussion and information about nonviolence events, trainings, and important messages from international networks such as Nonviolence International, International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), Peace Brigades International(PBI) and the Nonviolent Peaceforce.

See About for more details. Feel free to add comments.  If you want to post anything of public interest on noviolent politics, theory, philosophy and lessons from struggles here and around the world please feel free to contact Admin for instructions or to become a regular author for nonviolencenet.

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Australian activist’s arrest in Ramallah ruled illegal

International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activists to face first hearing, Supreme Court rules arrests illegal

The Israeli Supreme Court handed down its verdict last week regarding
the arrest of International Solidarity Movement activists Bridget Chappell (Australia) and Ariadna Jove Marti (Spain) from Ramallah on February 7, 2010. See this Canberra Times article.
Australian ISM activist Briget Chappell

Australian ISM activist Briget Chappell

The decision ruled that the arrests were illegal, but refrained from further comment on which Israeli department was responsible. Chappell and Marti’s first hearing in the Tel Aviv District Court regarding their deportation orders will take place at 3p on Monday, March 22. The illegality of their arrests will be pursued in this case.

A panel of three judges’ decision issued last week declared that the arrest of Australian and Spanish nationals Chappell and Marti in Area A of the Palestinian Authority (under full Palestinian civilian and military control under the 1994 Oslo Accords) was illegal, but did not specify whether it was the military’s invasion of the ISM’s media office in Ramallah or the activists’ subsequent transferral to Oz Immigration Unit custody at Ofer military camp (still in the Occupied Territories, where immigration police hold no jurisdiction) was the condemnable issue.

The judges stated that the case, opened on February 8, which saw the release of Chappell and Marti on bail, had now been exhausted in the Supreme Court and all remaining issues were to be pursued in Tel Aviv’s District Court.
Chappell and Marti’s lawyers Omer Shatz and Iftah Cohen filed an appeal in the District Court against the deportation orders that still apply to the activists, who are currently permitted to remain in Israeli until the end of legal proceedings.
“We will continue to press the issue of their arrest in the District Court, as we feel it was not sufficiently resolved in the Supreme Court case,” said Omer Shatz. “In addition to the appeal against the deportation orders and the bail conditions of their release, in the hopes that they can return to the West Bank.”
The activists were ordered to pay 3000NIS each for their release, in addition to the condition that they may not return to the West Bank thereafter. The condition, though not uncommon, highlights severe ironies in the Israeli authorities’ and court’s handling of the case in their removal from the Palestinian Authority to Israel, on charges of outstaying their Israeli visas and the subsequent order to remain in a country for which they hold no visa. The Palestinian Authority, under the Oslo Accords, has the jurisdiction to issue visas and handle issues of immigration within its own territory, but so far has never exercised this authority.
The first hearing of Chappell and Marti’s case in Tel Aviv’s District Court will be heard on March 22 at 3pm. The original date set for April was moved forward at the request of the prosecution, indicating a desire on the state’s part to remove the activists from the country as quickly as possible, considering the media attention they have gained since their release and the re-commencement of their solidarity work on the Israeli side of the Apartheid Wall. When asked if the activists may face deportation after this hearing, Shatz commented that “it’s unlikely, but there is a small chance the case may be thrown out after this hearing and Chappell and Marti’s deportation orders will be applicable to them immediately thereafter. It’s obvious that the state is keen to have them out of the country. We have the success of the Supreme Court verdict on our side, however.”
The activists regard the Supreme Court verdict as a victory and an important, if symbolic, step in the fight against Israel’s violation of national and international laws in its attempts to silence or remove those active against the occupation. “We must demonstrate to Israel that we will resist the crackdown on the popular resistance, and that we cannot be taken down so easily,” says Chappell. “On the ground, we have continued our work with Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem such as Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan. I’m steadfast in my resolution to remain here as long as I can, for the political ramifications of our case and to continue my role as an international activist in Palestine’s popular struggle.”
A force of 20 armed Israeli soldiers invaded the ISM’s Ramallah office on February 7 in a night raid operation, arresting Chappell and Marti, who were then subjected to interrogation and detention in Givon deportation prison. Almost one month before, ISM media co-ordinator Eva Novakova was kidnapped from her Ramallah apartment in a similar raid and deported to the Czech Republic. Novakova’s lawyers have since successfully obtained a verdict from the Israeli courts that this operation was illegal. Israeli attempts to deport foreigners involved with Palestinian solidarity work are part of a recent campaign to end Palestinian grassroots demonstrations, which involves mass arrests of Palestinian protesters and organizers.
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-led  nonviolent resistance movement committed to ending Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land.  We call for full compliance with all relevant UN resolutions and international law.

For specific media inquires such as interview requests, photo usage, etc. please email the ISM Media Office at media@palsolidarity.org

From ISM Media Release. Saturday 20 March 2010.
See also: an article written by Bridget here.
Posted in International actions, Legal, police and the courts, Solidarity actions | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Waihopai Ploughshares trial

The trial of the three Waihopai Ploughshares activists is set to begin in Wellington, New Zealand on the 8th March 2010.

The trial will begin almost two years since  three members of a Christian Ploughshares team entered the Waihopai spy base and used sickles to deflate one of the two 30 metre domes covering satellite interception dishes. They then built a shrine and prayed for the victims of the war with no end – the so-called ‘War on Terror’ led by the US government which also controls the NZ taxpayer funded Waihopai base.

There have been over 100 Ploughshares actions over the last twenty years around the world. Ploughshares direct actions are linked through the common factors of: entry to locations connected to military activity, Christian prayers and most involve some form of property destruction. (See Statement below)

Like all Ploughshares action around the world, the three activists facing court have a well cordinated support group on the outside. The Wellington Ploughshares Support Group  and the wider Peace Movement Aotearoa (PMA) have a range of activities, rallies and prayer vigils and public meetings  planned to take place before and during the trial and have called on Australian, New Zealand and international activists to lend their support.

The Waihopai Ploughshares Support Goup have requested peace, justice and faith groups organise a support activity in their community, town or city, or place of worship – keeping in mind and respecting the nonviolent philosophy of Ploughshares.

Good background information about Waihopai Ploughshares action is available at http://ploughshares.org.nz and http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/plshares.htm and information about the Waihopai spy base is at http://www.converge.org.nz/abc/waihopai.htm

You can contact the Wellington Ploughshares Support Group c/o email pma@xtra.co.nz

* Statement of the Waihopai ANZAC Ploughshares, 30 April 2008

They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift sword against nation; and there shall be no more training for war. Isaiah 2/4

This morning, 30 April 2008, we entered the Waihopai Spy Base near Blenheim.

Our group, including a Dominican Priest, temporarily closed the base by padlocking the gates and proceeded to deflate one of the large domes covering two satellite dishes.

At 6am we cut through three security fences surrounding the domes – these are armed with razor wire, infrared motion sensors and a high voltage electrified fence.

Once inside we used sickles to cut one of the two 30-metre white domes, built a shrine and knelt in prayer to remember the people killed by United States military activity.

We have financed our activities through personal savings, additional part-time employment and a small interest-free loan from one of our supporters.

We are responding to the Bush administrations admission that intelligence gathering is the most important tool in the so-called War on Terror. This war will have no end until citizens of the world refuse to let it continue. The ECHELON spy network including Waihopai, is an important part of the US governments global spy network and we have come in the name of the Prince of Peace to close it down.

The base is funded by New Zealand tax payers and located on New Zealand soil which makes New Zealand a target through our association with the UKUSA intelligence cooperation agreement.

Five years ago the Clark government opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq. Yet at the same time the Bush administration was using the National Security Agencys ECHELON system, of which Waihopai is an integral component, to spy on UN Security Council members so it could more easily swing them in favour of an invasion.

Posted in International actions, Legal, police and the courts, Solidarity actions | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vindaloo Against Violence: Nonviolent Solidarity over Dinner

So when did going out for dinner become an act of nonviolent solidarity?  Well, when enough people decide to do something creative and collectively in order to make a stand against violence.

Mia Northrop, a 35 year old, web designer from inner Melbourne had an idea whilst having dinner with her husband at her local Indian Curry house.  Like many Melbournians, they were concerned about the high-level of racially motivated assaults, stabbings and even murders of Indian and Pakistani taxi drivers, students and night workers in the community, including a fatal stabbing of a 21-year-old Indian graduate, Nitin Garg in January this year.  The violence is not all hate-motivated, but a lot of it has been and any violence at all has been becoming increasingly intolerable.  Southasian students in Australia have told journalists how racist slurs and aggressive behaviour have often made them feel threatened in public spaces.  Gautam Gupta, from the Federation of Indian Students of Australia (FISA), says that “Bloody Indian, go back home” is a commonly used insult during many of the attacks.  There has been street protests, marches and vigils and increasing international media and diplomatic attention to the issue.

The idea that came to Mia and her husband was to put a callout for people to have dinner at any local Indian restaurant on the same night – February 24th, 2010. “Imagine if on one night thousands of people did this kind of decentralised flash mob and all turned up to Indian restaurants as a way of embracing the Indian community and showing solidarity’?”

Mia set up a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter account. She’s been ”absolutely overwhelmed” by the response.  Over 10,000 people have ‘registered’ at the action’s website to hold or go out to dinner on the night.  Restaurants across Melbourne are already booked out and many schools and companies have registered it as an event. The blogosphere, particularly the vast online culinary/foodie networks, have been spamming the idea along with Curry recipes.

Some rare critiques have labeled it a silly idea, “Self-indulgent shit that will only exploit already underpaid workers so white people can feel good about themselves” one blogger states. It’s certainly not going to stop any violence. So why do it?

“I’m under no illusion that this is going to solve racism or or stop attacks,” Mia has  said, adding “It’s a small gesture, but when it’s made by thousands of people simultaneously, I think it sends a really powerful message.”

“It’s really not about the food. A night out at Indian restaurants is just a vehicle to tap the silent majority to put it across that they are against such attacks” Ms. Northrop told the Hindu newspaper.[1]

There are many ways in which communities can respond to racism and to direct violence. Often, police and authorities prefer communities under threat to remain invisible and present a smaller target. Police in Melbourne have called upon Indian students to ‘dress poorer’ and try not to travel at night. Debate in the mainstream media has often focused upon the strained ties with India and the impact upon Australia’s foreign student market. The message is that victims are partially to blame and we must leave it to the police to solve.

However, communities often utilize a range of nonviolent tactics to highlight the violence, mobilise support and reduce the fear associated with hate-motivated violence. Community education campaigns, speak-outs, public meetings, marches and vigils. In Melbourne last year, Indian community members gathered at suburban train stations to meet and escort young students and workers home from late night shifts and study. Taxi drivers have twice occupied a major intersection of the city over night after the deaths of Indian taxi drivers. After the murder of Nitin Garg, friends, community members and even local residents formed a candlelit procession along his final walk to the place where he was stabbed.[2] Some Indian students and taxi drivers have referenced Gandhi – whose Shanti Sena (Peace Army),  responded to Hindu-Muslim communal violence in India with well coordinated teams of highly trained volunteers and inspired numerous global efforts.[3] In many cities around the world Gay, Lesbian and Transgender communities have organised street patrols to actively deter and intervene in attacks.  Act UP held powerful candlelit vigils at sites where gay people had been attacked or killed. Reclaim The Night marches are held every year around the world since 1976 to mobilise, protest and build resistance against sexual violence against women. One night in Melbourne’s Flemington, African mothers spontaneously came down out of the high rise flats en masse to protect their children after a series of police assaults on young African men in the area.

Solidarity actions by those not directly affected by the violence are perhaps not as well known but have also been common around the world. White Ribbon Day (on November 25th) was created by a handful of Canadian men in 1991 on the second anniversary of one man’s massacre of fourteen women in Montreal. They began the campaign to educate and urge men to speak out against violence against women.

In Billings, Montana in 1993, there was a spate of anti-Semitic hate crimes by local neo-Nazis. After a brick was thrown through the window of a Jewish house because it displayed a stencil of a menorah, local residents organised through their church, a Christian church, to display menorah’s in their own windows.  By the next week menorahs were in windows of hundreds of houses. The local paper printed a huge cut out menorah and called for readers to put it in their windows. By the end of the week up to ten thousand homes in Billings were displaying the menorah as an act of solidarity with their Jewish neighbours.[4]

Like many of these initiatives, Vindaloo Against Violence is simple, creative and is initiated by ordinary people, rather than authorities. It provides an avenue to draw in people who may not march but are concerned enough to take action. Most importantly, the action may serve to provide a degree of solidarity to those who are threatened. On a community level these actions break the attacker-victim monopoly that the violence creates. It sets up an alternative story of community and solidarity.

The violence against those in Melbourne of Indian or South Asian background is in the spotlight at present. But the racism and violence of the streets is only the most visible face of racism. Australian National University data shows fresh graduates of Indian or Asian background have 64 per cent less chance of finding permanent employment in their chosen fields.  The deeper structural tenets of racism are much harder to act against and take much more than short term actions.  Mr Gupta of FISA has said, “Australia as a society gives full democratic rights to everyone.  [However,] the inherent racism is such that many new and emerging communities are locked out of many services and institutions….. social inclusion remains an issue for the community.”[5]

But Mia Northrop seems to recognise this. In an interview with the Mumbai Mirror she said. “Everyday Australians don’t accept racially-motivated violence. I think we want to shift the focus from what Indians need to be doing to protect themselves, to finding out why is this happening in our society. Who are the people who are doing this? Let’s try and diffuse this criminal behaviour and get to the core of it. Flush out the reasons or the issues behind it.”[6]

To get involved in go to http://vindalooagainstviolence.wordpress.com/

Or RSVP at the Facebook event page http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=266109388050&ref=nf

Or follow @VagainstV on Twitter 

Anthony Kelly

February 2010


[1] http://beta.thehindu.com/news/international/article104681.ece

[2] http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/vigil-marks-stab-victi-nitin-gargs-death/story-e6frf7jo-1225816097337

[3] http://www.markshep.com/nonviolence/GT_Sena.html

[4] Light in Montana: How one town said no to hate, Jo Clare Hartsig and Walter Wink. Untne Reader July August 1995

[5] http://www.fisa.org.au/content/fisa-welcomes-support-indigenous-australians

[6] http://www.mumbaimirror.com/article/4/20100130201001300209024605455eac/Aussie-serves-up-food-for-thought.html

Posted in Nonviolence in Australia, Other, Peacebuilding, Solidarity actions | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

interTactica: Invest in Strategy

Just like riots, spontaneous acts of defiance and improvised strings of actions are mere brush fires: quickly ignited, quickly extinguished. When you’re always reacting, you end up disempowered.

Civil resistance is not magic. It may succeed, or it may fail. But don’t leave it to chance. Read the entire blog post online!

http://www.newtactics.org/en/blog/philippe-duhamel/invest-strategy

interTactica [English] http://www.newtactics.org/en/blog/philippe-duhamel

interTactica [Français] http://www.newtactics.org/fr/blog/interTactica

Steps to StrategyStrategic principles


1. Learn all you can about strategic nonviolent conflict

2. Gain a profound understanding of the situation

3. Set concrete, unifying objectives

4. Pick clear, symbolic symbols of problem & solution

5. Outline phases and intermediate steps

6. Plan a campaign for each phase

7. Anticipate moves by the opponent

8. Vary tactics (sequence methods of protest, non-cooperation, intervention — concentration, dispersion)

9. Build successes along the way

Posted in Nonviolence theory, Training and education | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Australian peace activist in Gaza

Dear friends,

He wasn’t like the other boys I met here in Gaza today. This boy, balanced on a piece of concrete jutting out of a high mound of rubble, had his arms folded and just looked at us.

Other boys run towards you and cry “Hallo mister” and they laugh, make funny poses for the camera and carry on. But the boy on the rubble was still. He stared in silence. His face defiant. His large, dark eyes piercing. He stood as though he was waiting. Waiting for us to do something perhaps, to say something. Just waiting.

The boy, perhaps nine or ten years old, was standing on wreckage where his house used to be. Now his family camps in a tent in the midst of the smashed concrete and tangled iron. He is no doubt waiting for his home to be rebuilt, but the siege of Gaza means his family cannot access the raw materials required to do so. “How can we rebuild when we haven’t had a sack of cement in four years?” one head of an NGO  asked us.
 
Our group, a contingent of the Gaza Freedom March, was on a tour of Gaza’s neighbourhoods devastated by the Israel Defence Forces attack on Gaza this time last year. Operation Cast Lead killed about 1400 people, 288 of them children and destroyed more than 3,500 homes.

This was unlike your average city tour, today the commentary was chilling, the scenes raising more questions, creating even more tears. “You can see where three houses used to be,” our guide says pointing to a large empty space along a busy street.

“Here is the Schiffa Hospital where 700 victims were brought on the first night of the attack. Those factories over there are closed because of the siege. And up ahead a school.” He points to a massive mess of concrete and steel where 1000 children used to go to learn. “And on your right a tall apartment tower ripped in two by an Israeli missile, 15 innocents dead at this spot, and in this sports gym 50 dead, and here you can see more tents where the families are sleeping where their houses used to be and in this neighbourhood there were 200 killed.” And so it goes on and on.

As we walked through the remains of a bombed out sports/entertainmen t complex right on Gaza’s beachfront, Ahmed, our guide – a smartly dressed, well spoken young man – wanted to tell us the story of Houda Ralia. A girl of nine, she was swimming at the beach when missiles struck,  Houda rushed back to her family who were on the beach. She saw them killed right in front of her. Mother, father and four brothers.

After an hour of proving this detailed account of last year’s attack, Ahmed sighed, “however long we talk about the suffering, it will never be long enough.”

It’s rainy, windy and cold here, the families in tents have a winter to endure and, because of the siege, no prospect to be in a home by next winter.
Hours after I saw him, I still feel the stare of the boy on the rubble – the boy who is not playful with us because he’s angry, he’s tired and he‘s homeless. His stare haunts me because I know that he knows.

He knows the reason he won’t have a home by next winter is because the international community has allowed the siege of Gaza, an illegal and morally reprehensible blockade to continue with barely a comment from our political leaders. UN Human Rights Rapporteur for Palestine, Richard Falk says that because there has been no meaningful international pressure coming from Governments it is up to civil society, you and me, to step in.   

There are many reasons we should step in, because of the 288 children killed last year, the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe caused by the siege, the physical and mental trauma of the population, but also for the boy in the rubble.

The boy in the rubble is waiting. Until he feels some hope he will maintain his defiant stance, his challenging stare.

He wants to be playful again, but he’s waiting for us to end the silence that has left his community in a state of constant struggle.

This little boy from Gaza city, living in a tent surrounded by the rubble where his house used to be, folds his arms and stares in our direction because he is waiting for us to act.

May his eyes haunt us until we do.

Your pilgrim
Donna

Foreign activists staged a sit-in to protest against Egypt's stance. PS: Meanwhile in Cairo, our colleagues are maintaining a powerful protest against the Egyptian Government’s refusal to allow the 1300 or so activists there to join us in Gaza. Many have been barricaded in their hotels by riot police, others have been injured by police at a peaceful protest in the city. This is receiving world-wide press coverage, although I perhaps not in Australia?

PPS: Marches to commemorate last years attacks and call for an end to the siege were held on both sides of the Israeli-Gaza border as well as in Cairo and all around the world.  

PPPS: “When we know you people, outside of Gaza care about what happens to us, that brings us hope.” human rights leader in Gaza to our group.    

More information and latest updates at: http://www.gazafreedommarch.org/

Posted in International actions, Peace and Anti-miltarism, Peace Teams, Solidarity actions | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Message from the Gaza Freedom March

Australian activist and Gaza Freedom March member writes:

Dear Friends,

We’re not heading for the Promised Land, but I do have some sympathy for the ancient Israelites as they struggled to leave Egypt a few thousand years ago. We don’t require the Red Sea to part, just to be allowed to get on the road to the northern town of Rafah and cross the border into Gaza , but the Pharoah, President Mubarak, and his heavily armed men will not allow us.

The Gaza Freedom March has attracted about 1400 people from around the world to Cairo in a bid to cross the border and break the siege of Gaza , by entering with aid and solidarity. For five months organisers have been negotiating with the Egyptian authorities to allow the entry of the marchers at the Rafah border. The negotiations were positive and amicable. Egypt had already allowed CodePink, the US women’s peace group organising the march, to have seven delegations enter Gaza just this year. But a few days before the scheduled entry, Egyptian authorities announced they would not give permission for this one.

By then most participants were already in transit. We can speculate the many possible reasons for this, but just to give you an idea of the kind of police state Mubarak runs here, this is what Gaza Freedom Marchers have had to contend with: – Egyptian authorities withdrawing permits from bus drivers so that they could not drive the buses we booked to Rafah for Monday morning. – Withdrawing a permit to hold an orientation meeting at a Catholic School in Cairo . – Announcing we are not allowed to meet in groups of more than six people. – When we tied messages and flowers as a memorial for those killed in Gaza on a busy bridge, police and security forces ripped down the notes and flowers. We when asked “what is the reason?” the reply was: “we don’t need a reason.” – to avoid the meeting rule organisers booked feluccas (boats) to sail on the Nile River so we could receive briefings in groups of 25. Authorities shut down the boat hire company so we could not even get on the boats. – Instead we stood on the footpath by the river and held our candlelight vigil, about 400 of us, surrounded by hundreds of riot police. – Still unable to meet, we decided to gather in the busiest square in Cairo and just started. Police were not amused and asked organisers to stop talking, but the feisty CodePink women just kept going and we were able to do some organising.

This was a great outcome and locals were bemused and very supportive. – Various groups have tried to leave Cairo for the border but have been turned away at checkpoints and had their passports confiscated – Bus companies have been ordered not to drive any internationals towards the border area. – As a protest at having their buses cancelled, a French delegation of about 300 have camped outside their embassy for the last 3 days and nights, surrounded by about 1000 Egyptian riot police. – We occupied the plaza outside the UN offices in Cairo on Monday for five hours and ignored initial orders to disperse, we then were barricaded in by lines of hundreds of police.

We are under constant surveillance by less-than-subtle security agents who wear dark glasses and talk into their collars or walk-talkies – We were invited to a demonstration organised by local Egyptian activists to protest Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Egypt today. It was an honour to be in solidarity with these brave activists who risk much to be so outspoken. Again we were surrounded by hundreds of armed riot police and security agents. Despite all this intimidation, participants are still passionately focused on the main issues: ending the illegal siege of Gaza , and lobbying our Governments to take diplomatic action to allow that to happen.

We have a large group of people here currently on a hunger strike, led by 85 year old Holocaust survivor Heddy Epstein. The Australian contingent went to the Australian Embassy in Cairo today and demanded to present our concerns about the Australian government’s silence on the crisis in Gaza .

After some time we were granted a meeting with the Ambassador. She acknowledged that the humanitarian situation in Gaza was “utterly tragic” but that the Australian government had no influence on the policies of Egypt or Israel . She warned us about the dangers of entering Gaza and we reminded her of UN head in Gaza Richard Falk’s recent exhortation saying that since the international political community has failed Gaza , it is now time for civil society to step in and act. And so we are here hoping to do that.

There’s a group from the women’s delegation that is lobbying the President’s wife, Suzanne Mubarak, who is the head of a humanitarian organisation, to intervene and allow the international contingent through, considering we are carrying a large amount of humanitarian aid. We still hope to get to Gaza and will continue to call on the Egyptian government to let us leave Egypt – please Pharaoh let us go, we wish no plagues of locusts to come upon you, only justice and freedom for Gaza, for Palestine and for your people.

Your pilgrim

Donna

For latest news and updates see www.gazafreedommarch.org

Posted in International actions, Peace and Anti-miltarism, Peace Teams, Solidarity actions | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Australians to join Gaza Freedom March

A small team of Australians are heading over to Gaza for a international cross-border solidarity action.

Sydney based peace activist Marlene Obeid, a member of the Canterbury-Bankstown Peace Group, will be traveling Christmas Eve to the Middle East to join a peace convergence – the Gaza Freedom March.

Ms Obeid and another 13 Australians will be part of a contingent of approximately 1,000 peace activists who have signed up to take part in
this world event called in solidarity with the Palestinian people and to put an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

The march is scheduled to depart by 31 December from Izbet Abed Rabbo, an area devastated during last winter’s Israeli assault, and head towards
Erez, the crossing point to Israel at the northern end of the Gaza Strip.

The local peace activist told The Torch: “The Gaza Freedom March is inspired by decades of nonviolent Palestinian resistance.

‘Israel’s siege of Gaza is illegal and inhuman. Palestinians of Gaza have
exhorted the international community to move beyond words of condemnation. Yet, the siege of Gaza continues’, Ms Obeid added

The march is timed to coincide with the first anniversary of the devastating Israeli attack that killed 1,434 Palestinians in Gaza, the vast majority civilians.

By heading towards Erez, organizers wish to highlight Israel’s responsibility for the siege, a point emphasized in the UN-commissioned
Goldstone report that found Israel responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“Erez is the main gate from Gaza to the Israeli apartheid state,” Ms Obeid said, “so marching there is also a signal of rejection by internationals
of the actions of the Israeli apartheid regime.”

This peace world march is being endorsed by well-known intellectuals and
authors, such as Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Tariq Ali, Alice Walker;
filmmaker Oliver Stone and many more.

The Canterbury-Bankstown Peace Group is part of the collective coordinating the Sydney Vigil of Sunday 27 December 2009 starting at 5.00pm at Sydney Town Hall and which forms part of the Gaza Freedom March world activities.

For donations and more information access: http://www.gazafreedommarch.org/

Posted in International actions, Solidarity actions | Tagged , | 1 Comment