by Katie Miranda
Because the Palestinian struggle is very important to me on a personal level and I know the same is true for all of you, I knew you’d want to see this.
Maybe you’re unsure how best to use your time and resources in support of the struggle given Israel’s recent war on Gaza. Maybe you’re wondering where the movement is winning and how to support that, or maybe you’re wondering what areas still need a lot of work. Read more
Stop ZIM Action Committee
October 2, 2014
Brothers and Sisters of ILWU Local 10,
We, members and supporters of the Stop Zim Action Committee, want to express our gratitude to Local 10 members, who in the best tradition of the ILWU, upheld the principle of labor solidarity by honoring our picket line against the ZIM Shanghai on September 27.
We were protesting the Israeli government’s genocidal bombings of Palestinians in Gaza that killed over 2,100 people, mostly civilians, as we had informed Local 10 members by leafleting at the union hall. Thanks to your support, day and night, we were able to send a clear message to the Israeli government that when they slaughter innocent Palestinian people, their ships will be targeted by protest actions. This is consistent with ILWU Local 10’s position of defending the rights of Palestinians.
Three of the picketing protesters were Local 10 retirees who were organizers of ILWU’s historic 1984 anti-apartheid action in San Francisco. One of them announced to a rally at the picket at SSA’s Berth 57 that an announcement had been made at the dispatch hall requesting longshoremen not to take jobs on the ZIM ship. The rally broke into thunderous applause as it was reported that only one job was filled.
We know ILWU doesn’t have a longshore contract yet and actions like this can be taken by the union without legal retaliation from the employer. There could not have been a stronger showing of support than longshore workers refusing to take a dispatch to the ZIM ship. In return for your solidarity we offer to mobilize ourselves and others from the community to be on your picket line if successful contract negotiations are not achieved and ILWU goes on strike. We’ve got your back!
An Injury to One is an Injury to All!
Stop ZIM Action Committee
Israel and Hamas agreed to a set of conditions for a ceasefire on August 26th, after Israel had killed more than 2,100 Palestinians in Gaza – mostly civilians, more than a quarter children – and destroyed much of Gaza’s infrastructure, housing, hospitals, schools and water supply.
Israel claims it does not “occupy” Gaza, yet it has complete control of Gaza’s land crossings, seacoast and air space. Israel severely restricts Palestinians’ movement and their access to food, medical supplies, and construction materials.
In 1984, protesting against South African Apartheid, the Bay Area longshore workers union, ILWU Local 10, went on strike for 11 days against the Nedlloyd Kimberley, a ship carrying South African cargo.
In 2010, responding to the deadly Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, Local 10 honored a picket of an Israeli-owned ZIM ship by 1,200 community and labor activists, refusing to unload the ship for 24 hours. In August 2014, Palestinian, community and labor activists, in an historic victory, blocked the Zim Piraeus for five days and forced it to leave the Bay with most of its cargo still on board.
We ask the ILWU to carry on its long historical tradition of opposing injustice and honoring community picket lines. Let’s keep the pressure on and continue this tradition of labor blockades against oppression.
Please come to a sustained community and labor activist picket beginning on September 27th to stop the Zim Shanghai from unloading or loading any cargo – from when it arrives in Oakland until it leaves. This will also send a message to stevedoring companies such as Stevedore Services of America (SSA) who are pushing for concessions right now against longshore workers who are working without a contract.
Picket Lines Mean Don’t Cross!
An Injury to One is an Injury to All!
Solidarity with the Palestinian people!
Stop ZIM Action Committee
Text “Join” to 88202 for alerts on ship location and picket status
A “sustained picket” means we will picket the Zim Shanghai from when it arrives until it leaves the Bay.
Morning assembly: 5am, West Oakland BART (starting September 27th)
Afternoon assembly: 4:30pm, West Oakland BART
Carpools will be available from West Oakland BART to the picket site. The ship is expected at the SSA terminal in the Port.
Typically, each picket will last only a few hours until longshoremen decide not to cross the picket. It may last longer depending on the situation. Volunteers are need for all shifts, but especially morning shifts and the first day (morning of September 27th).
Please check your phone/Twitter/FB for updates on the ship location and picket status, particularly the day before. ZIM may delay the ship’s arrival to avoid picketers.
Unions around the world, including the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (Gaza) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) have called for action against Israeli Apartheid.
We are asking that longshore workers honor this picket line as they have done before for the Zim Piraeus, and other ships such as the Nedlloyd Kimberley which carried cargo for the oppressive and discriminatory Apartheid regime of South Africa in the 1980s.
We understand the ILWU is currently in contract negotiations with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and that there is no contract in effect at this time. Further, SSA is one of the most aggressive stevedoring employers in the PMA going after the ILWU on work rules and concessions. ILWU longshore workers in the Pacific Northwest have been fired for work stoppages over health and safety violations despite the fact that there is no contract in effect. Working now under no contract as negotiations continue, there is more opportunity and reason to take action on behalf of workers and the community.
There is no arbitration procedure without a contract and longshore workers cannot be compelled to cross a labor and community picket line to comply with a contract. Honoring a picket line of the Israeli shipping line ZIM actively supports the Palestinian people, and shows that union members care about what happens to others who suffer discrimination and oppression. Supporting the community in this struggle further strengthens community support for the ILWU in fighting to keep the hiring hall, work rules, and other benefits union members have.
ILWU members should be aware that Israeli unions actively discriminate against Palestinians – who make up a significant portion of the labor force within Israel. As many of you are well aware, longshore workers in San Francisco and the entire West Coast established the hiring hall after the strike in 1934 to end discrimination in hiring based on union membership and race.
Download flier here
by Jaime Cader
This last summer during the months of July and August, I had the opportunity to stay in Lebanon, Jordan and Jerusalem. The majority of my stay was in southern Lebanon in the city of Tyre for one month and ten days. I went to join other English language teachers who were volunteering for the LEAP (Learning for the Empowerment and Advancement of Palestinians) Program. We were divided into working at two separate refugee camps: Bourj Al Shamali and Rashediah.
For me it was a wonderful experience to have worked with the children of the Rashediah camp. We were given lesson plans to use in the classroom, however we had the freedom to add other material, etc. Personally I found the lesson plan subjects too advanced for my students, so I emphasized in a part of my classes the memorization of basic verb conjugations, plus I had them learn the song “Going on a Weegee Hunt.” We also had recreational activities with the kids, like an outing to a river where we also danced and sang.
Before we actually started teaching the classes, we had orientations classes and we heard two elderly men speak about what they remembered when they were forced by Zionist forces to leave their villages in Palestine. The first speaker was a man by the name of Yousef who was born in 1928 in the village of Loubiyeh, next to Tiberius. He said that prior to the Nakba they had lived well with the Jews. He also commented that the British are mainly to blame in replacing the native population with others. In 1948 he never thought that he was leaving his homeland for good. His village was being bombed and the surrounding villages had their inhabitants exiled. The British were arming the Haganah, they had a close cooperation with them.
Yousef mentioned that he has a son in the United States and children in other countries. His children in all of those countries have the citizenship of those nations, however his children in Lebanon were not given Lebanese citizenship. He tells his children never to forget their homeland and that they should return. He reminds his granddaughter that the family is from Palestine. Some of his family members have gone back to see what remains of the village.
The second speaker was Ataya Osman (this is what I heard of his name, he may have another name with these). He was from the area of Safed and he was 15 years old when he left Palestine. He related that there was a demolishing of villages and that the British helped the Jews to take over. He commented that the entire world watched and no one helped us… He also commented “Everyone knows about the Palestinian situation, but no one does anything.”
Ataya recounted how the Zionist army entered his village, and how the villagers did not have weapons. The Zionists had advanced weaponry and told them that they had to leave, thatthey would be able to come back. There was a 4:00 a.m. massacre in another village where 400 people died. Thus when they saw things like this in the other villages, they decided to leave. Ataya was exiled to the Golan Heights in Syria in 1948. After 1967 he had to transfer to Daraa (where some of the main anti-Assad protests started). He said it was better for Palestinians in Syria than it is in Lebanon. In Syria many worked in companies. He would like to return to Syria where he has most of his daughters -if it becomes safe to do so.
Ataya added that since 1948 the United States has not helped the Palestinians and no European country has done anything to stop the Israelis. He said,”Where is justice? Recently a child was burned in the West Bank. Where are the human rights? There are no human rights!” He concluded by saying that the United States wants the Palestinian predicament to remain like this. “If they wanted to pressure Israel, they could.”
As Ataya referred to previously, Palestinians in Lebanon for the most part are not given Lebanese citizenship. In comparison to their previous situation in Syria and their present one in Jordan, Palestinians face many hardships in Lebanon. In most instances they are not even allowed to work as a taxi driver. I heard the story of a Palestinian who was fired from his job in a company in Beirut simply because people complained that he spoke Arabic with a Palestinian accent. This is precisely the reason why the LEAP Program started the summer English classes, so that Palestinian students could learn English well enough to pass an exam that will give them the opportunity to further their education and thus find better employment.
One night while I was in Tyre, I heard bombs going off along the Lebanese-Israeli border. Flares also were shot into the air so that the Israeli military could see what was on the ground. This was during the time of Israel’s attack on Gaza. I thought for a while that perhaps we would hear word that our stay in Lebanon would have to be terminated because of the situation. Fortunately that did not happen.
The organizers of the LEAP Program also took us to see other places in Lebanon such as Beirut, Byblos, Baalbek, the caves of Jeita, a border area between Lebanon and Israel, and the ruins of a crusader castle in the village of Arnoun, near Nabatiyeh, a city that has an annual Shia Muslim commemoration.
On learning more about Arnoun, I learned that it along with the rest of southern Lebanon was occupied by Israel in 1982. The Israelis did not leave until May of 2000. The upper area of Arnoun was completely destroyed by the Israelis. This is the area surrounding the ruins of the castle. Some areas of the lower part were also destroyed. Stone walls were put up in the lower part and the villagers had to walk through these corridors. Check points were placed in several parts of southern Lebanon and some were manned by the Southern Lebanese Army which worked in collaboration with the Israeli army.
Back at the Rashediah refugee camp, on July 18, 2014 we had a screening for the students of the film Flying Paper, which is about children in Gaza who broke the Guinness World Record as to the number of kites up in the sky all at the same time. I met many nice individuals at this camp, and besides the classes we had the opportunity to work on community projects like the dental health education day, and as previously stated we also had recreational activities.
On August 10, 2014 I left Lebanon to go to Jordan. I specifically went to visit two friends, one Palestinian and the other a Syrian refugee. I also wanted to confirm something at the Al Wehdat Palestinian refugee camp which is actually I would say, a neighborhood in Amman. What I also got confirmed there was also true for the Dheisheh Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank, as with the camps in Lebanon -and that is that the land on which these camps are located is rented by the United Nations from the respective countries in which they are located. So the residents of these camps do not own the land on which they live.
The very next day after arriving in Jordan, I traveled to go to Jerusalem. At the border check point I witnessed how a Black woman who worked for the Israeli border patrol would yell at Arabs who mistakenly entered an area the wrong way. Perhaps this woman was also an Israeli… In any case, I spoke to her in English to inquire where the restroom was and she pointed to the way. She did not look as mean at me as she did to the others, surely in part because I spoke to her in English. Most likely she was rude to the others because she had to prove to the white Jews that she could do her job among other things.
I was separated from the rest of the people after it was discovered that I had been to Lebanon. I waited quite some time before I was asked to go to a room for further questioning. Before that time arrived however, I believe that it is possible that a spy was sent my way as a man approached me and happily said “Welcome to Palestine!,” to which I did not answer. He asked me if I spoke Arabic and I said -not really. I did not want him to know that I knew at least basic Arabic. Finally I was asked to enter the room. I was not asked many questions and to my surprise I was given a permit to stay in Israel until the month of November, however I would not be allowed to work. I later commented what had happened to a Palestinian in Jerusalem and he said that I was given a permit because the Israelis want me to spend money here.
While in Jerusalem I made a trip to the Dheisheh refugee camp near the city of Bethlehem. This time I made an effort to see more of Bethlehem and I visited the Palestinian Heritage Center/Museum. In my report published last year, I made a comment about a beverage that I drank in Jerusalem and how I did not like it because it was too spicy hot. This last summer I learned that the liquid in the bottle that I had purchased is supposed to be mixed with water… So I realized my mistake. The drink is called aseer louz, an almond refreshment.
One late evening while on the third floor of the house where I was staying in Jerusalem, I felt the effects of tear gas that the Israeli police or military threw. What happens is that Palestinian teenagers cause some disturbances and then the Israelis come in with their brute force. In the same house one day I saw a group of kids, the oldest being 13 years old, going through youtube.com to view the atrocities that the Israelis commit against the Palestinians. So at a very young age these kids know what is going on and they know how to look for the information. When I was at that age, I was mostly oblivious to the real details of what was happening in the world.
After that tense night in Jerusalem, I was happy to return to Jordan the following day. The situation of Israel’s attack on Gaza has caused tourism to go down in the region. I found Palestinian shop owners and workers anxious to sell their merchandise.
Back in Amman I was finally able to see my friends. Murad is a Palestinian, an intellectual I would say, and he speaks English and Spanish. Mohammad is a Syrian refugee who lives with some of his family members in Amman. His father and another sibling have been unable to join him because the Jordanian government has put a stop to Syrians emigrating to the country. Mohammad hopes to emigrate to northern Europe.
After flying out of Jordan, I went to Madrid, Spain to visit yet more friends and to do a little cultural research over there. Several blocks from where I was staying there is an Islamic Cultural Center with a mosque. I visited some areas where I lived years ago, such as a neighborhood which is close to the Pirulí television tower, which is a prominent feature in Madrid. I also discovered a government center that houses Moroccan youth who are without their families. The agency seemed to be similar to the Children and Family Services in the San Francisco Bay Area. At that center one of the office workers was a Spaniard that spoke Arabic, and one of the guards was an Algerian while another one was Romanian.
All in all, it was an educational and enlightening experience to have travelled to the Middle East and to continue to connect with Arabs and “Berbers” in Spain. I made several more friends in Lebanon and in Jordan, and I made some contacts in the Jerusalem area. Hopefully I will return to the Middle East next year to teach English once again.
I don’t want to explain to you what the occupation is”, Nariman Tamimi told us, “I want you to come and see the occupation and tell me what peace is”. In this short video, Nariman, Bassem and Manal from Nabi Salih, a small village on the Westbank, talk about the Israeli occupation, the land- and watergrabbing by Israeli settlements, and the resistance of their village against it. Recorded on July 28, during Israels attack on Gaza – operation ‘protective edge’.
At 19:00 Beit Hanoun Hospital was hit by an Israeli tank shell. Inside the hospital are 61 medical staff, civilians, three patients and two ISM volunteers Charlie Andreasson and Fred Ekblad, both from Sweden, who are all trapped inside.
Israeli soldiers are in the area, approximately 150 meters behind the hospital. Gunfire can be heard in the area.
We need you to call your own representatives to demand that they fulfill their obligation to insure that Israel adheres to international law and immediately cease to target medical staff and facilities. Read more
reposted from the Washington Report on Mid East Affairs
Bloody violence has descended once again on the Palestinians living in Gaza. American-made Israeli jets have dropped bombs on Palestinian homes, businesses, a mosque, and even a rehabilitation center for the disabled, threatening the already-tenuous existence of Gazan families. Despite the pleas of the United Nations, UNRWA, UNICEF, the Arab League, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary William Hague the Israelis and Hamas have not agreed to a ceasefire. Innocent civilians of Gaza are paying the price for this violence. Read more
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