After a year of ferocious debate, the New South Wales Greens decided on December 4 to retreat from supporting the global pro-Palestine Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. It does not mean the NSW Green Party has abandoned all support for the Palestinian struggle for justice, but it marks a setback for the left inside the Greens and the pro-Palestine movement in Australia.
Israeli officials suspect that France-based megabank BNP Parisbas has pulled out of Israel due to pressure from Palestine solidarity groups, even though the bank itself has denied this. Israeli paper Haaretz reported on 24 November: “The powers that be are furious at BNP Paribas for shuttering its operations in Israel, and suspect it is acting due to Arab and anti-Israeli pressure in France, the bank’s home base.
On November 25, a group of around 50 Palestinian, Israeli and international activists protested against Israel's apartheid separation wall near the village of Bil'in in the West Bank. Weekly protests in the village have been taking place for six years. Residents also protested the arrest of Ashraf Abu-Rahma, a young activist from the village, who has been detained for three weeks.
On Palestine's Independance Day, November 15, seven Palestinian activists and one journalist were arrested after boarding an Israeli bus headed for Jerusalem from settlements within the West Bank. The action and arrests highlight the similarities between Israel's system of oppression in Palestine and the era of Jim Crow segregation in the United States' south. Campaign spokesperson Hurriyeh Ziadah said: "Both white supremacists and the Israeli occupiers commit the same crime: they strip a people of freedom, justice and dignity.
Update, Nov 11: Free Gaza Australia said this morning that Freedom Waves to Gaza activist Michael Coleman has been released from detention and has been deported back to Australia. Free Gaza Australia says fourteen Irish Palestine solidarity activists are still held by Israel. Coleman is due to arrive at Sydney airport at 4.30pm today where friends, family and supporters will welcome him back. * * * Free Gaza Australia released the statement below on November 9. * * *
Two civilian boats, the Canadian Tahrir (“Liberation”), and the Irish Saoirse (“Freedom”), carried 27 people from nine countries to try to reach the beleaguered Gaza Strip to challenge Israel’s ongoing criminal blockade of the territory. On November 4, the two ships were illegally boarded by the Israeli military in international waters. All passengers, including Australian activist Michael Coleman, were detained by Israel.
Israeli has launched a series of air strikes on the Gaza Strip since October 29. ABC.net.au reported on November 2 that Israel was preparing its military for a ground assault on the besieged territory — home to about 1.5 million Palestinians. At least 11 Palestinians have been killed, ABC.net.au said. Officials on both sides said at least seven members of Palestinian group Islamic Jihad (JI) had been killed,
Electronic Intifada (EI) brought together three stories in early October that paint a vivid picture of the need for a cultural boycott of Israel. This certainly is no surprise, given that EI is without a doubt the best source out there on the Palestinian struggle. Still, it seems worth connecting the dots. First is United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's threat to withhold aid from global aid programs crucial to Palestine's infrastructure and culture.
A confusing feeling passed through me after hearing about the exchange of 1027 Palestinian detainees for the only Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who was held captive by the Palestinian resistance fighters. I don’t know whether to feel happy or sad. Gazing at the faces of the prisoners’ families in the solidarity tent in Gaza City on October 18, I see a look that I have never seen before: eyes glittering with hope. Thinking about those women whose relatives are most likely to be released and seeing their big smiles makes me happy.
The sense of joy was palpable in the streets of Gaza on October 18 as hundreds of Palestinian prisoners jailed by Israel returned home. It was a remarkable day in the life of the territory’s 1.6 million Palestinians. During the past five years Israel has levied a heavy price on Gaza's civilian population for the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by Palestinian resistance fighters. It has been extracted with Israel’s warplanes, tanks, bulldozers and relentless siege.