17th July 2011
Raising funds and awareness for Plant-a-Tree in
From August 3rd to 7th, the Aberdeen branch of Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign will be walking 84 miles along the path of Hadrian's Wall, raising funds for the Plant-a-Tree in Palestine project. The route of the walk has been selected because of symbolic similarities with Israel's Separation Wall in the Occupied Territories, and Roman efforts to contain a rebellious Scots population during the Roman occupation of Britain. Emperor Hadrian ordered the construction of the wall between Wallsend on the east coast and Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast in 122 AD. According to Aelius Spartianus, writing in the 3rd century AD, Hadrian wanted to “separate barbarians and Romans”.
On the 9th July 2004 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found that “the construction by Israel of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its associated régime are contrary to international law”. The Wall has a huge negative impact on Palestinians in the West Bank, destroying the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people by eradicating agricultural land and separating farmers from their crops and resources. The Wall, 85% of which lies within the West Bank itself, also blocks access to health services, schools and neighbouring communities. Israeli NGO Bimkom found that the Wall's route “almost totally ignores the daily needs of the Palestinian population”. The 2004 ICJ ruling further noted that Israel was obliged to abide by international law, and therefore to stop construction of the wall and destroy the sections which have already been established.
By choosing to walk this route, campaigners aim to raise awareness of the injustices that are caused by the construction and continued existence of the illegal barrier that separates Palestinians from their families and land.
The walk will be raising funds for the Plant-a-Tree in Palestine project. This initiative seeks to support the on-going struggle of Palestinians to sustain and rebuild their land by providing resources for villages to plant trees that are indigenous to Palestine's natural environment and agricultural life, and is part of the wider Stop the JNF campaign. The JNF owns 13% of land in Israel, and leases it only to people of Jewish heritage. Human Rights Watch has said that Israel's close involvement with the JNF "makes the state directly complicit in overt discrimination against Arab citizens in land allocation and use". The JNF enjoys charitable status in 50 countries across the world, though its status in the UK is currently being challenged by a motion to parliament, EDM 1677. The JNF was recently dealt a blow when David Cameron became the first Prime Minister in 110 years to not be a patron of the organisation.
If you'd like to sponsor us please write a cheque made out to Aberdeen SPSC and send it to M Martin, SPSC Aberdeen, Aberdeen, 21 Broadfold Drive, AB23 8PJ or by Paypal below:
Day 1 (Wednesday 3rd August) Walk from Wallsend to Harlow Hill (approx 17 miles)
Day 2 (Thursday 4th August) Walk from Harlow Hill to Old Repeater Station, approx 2 miles west of Brocolitia Fort (approx 19 miles)
Day 3 (Friday 5th August)
Walk from Old Repeater Station to Greenhead (approx 17 miles)
Day 4 (Saturday 6th August)
Walk from Greenhead to
Day 5 (Sunday 7th August)
For information on possible accommodation options send us an email and we'll get back to you.
Israeli best-selling author Shlomo Sand will speak on his book
The Invention of the Jewish People
Thursday August 18th 7.00pm for 7.30pm start
STUC Building, 333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow G3 6NG
Shlomo Sand will also be speaking at Wordpower's Edinburgh Book Fringe and the Edinburgh International Book Festival
"Countering official Zionist historiography, Sand questions whether the Jewish People ever existed as a national group with a common origin in the Land of Israel/Palestine. He concludes that the Jews should be seen as a religious community comprising a mishmash of individuals and groups that had converted to the ancient monotheistic religion but do not have any historical right to establish an independent Jewish state in the Holy Land. In short, the Jewish People, according to Sand, are not really a "people" in the sense of having a common ethnic origin and national heritage. They certainly do not have a political claim over the territory that today constitutes Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem."
Leon T. Hadar in Middle East Policy
"Extravagantly denounced and praised" New York Times
"The outrage surrounding Sand's book in Israel has positioned him as an enemy within, an arch-revisionist working out of the university of Tel Aviv. Sand's contentions – that much Zionist history derives from deeply unreliable sources and that Jewish identity is essentially defined by religion rather than race or nationalism – are thorough and reasonable, but this has not prevented his attackers from claiming he wants to write Israel out of history. Sand's arguments are considerably more subtle; he does not question the right of Israel to exist; rather, he calls for a more rigorous examination of the premises on which that existence is based and suggests that they require redefinition."
Lisa Hilton in The Independent
"It was the year's biggest helping of humble pie. Less than a month after a heated takedown of Shlomo Sand's "The Invention of the Jewish People" in the Financial Times, the very same reviewer, writing in Italy's respected business daily Il Sole 24 Ore, offered the book qualified praise, calling it his book of the year. So distinct was this follow-up appraisal, it could have been written by a different person...The critic in question, British historian Simon Schama, did not offer a reason for this about-face..."
Joel Schalit in Jewish Daily Forward
Shlomo Sand is also speaking at Word Power bookshop on Wednesday 17 August 2011 at 1.00pm
Word Power Books
43-45 West Nicolson Street
Audrey Gray, 77 years old, from West Chitington – retired nurse, social worker, former Ecumenical Accompanier and current Methodist local preacher
Pippa Bartolotti, 57 years old, Deputy Leader of the Wales Green Party – Pippa was arrested on Friday 8 July after being allowed through passport control and then speaking to press about friends being detained by Israeli authorities
Mick Napier, 64, university teacher and chair of Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, lives in Edinburgh
Ian Stewart-Hargreaves, lives on Isle of Lewis
Frank Thomas, 66, lives in Edinburgh, retired statistician
Les Levidow, 61, member of Jews Against Zionism and the British Committee for Universities of Palestine (BRICUP)
Anne Gray, 66, retired academic from London, Green Party activist
Dee Murphy, 56, (Irish) lives in Swansea, founder member of Swansea Palestine Community Link
John Lynes, 83, retired university lecturer, Quaker and a member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, Christian CND, World Development Movement and University and College Union
Val Kitchen, 68, from Tonbridge
Joy Cherkaoui, community worker from Dumfries and Galloway
Joyce Giblin, from Wales
Statements from some of the
Les Levidow has been opposing the Israeli Occupation through various campaign groups since the 1980s. These include: the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP), Jews for Boycotting Israel Goods (J-BIG) and Jews Against Zionism (JAZ). During the first intifada he was a member of the joint Jewish-Palestinian editorial group of the magazine Return, which opposed the Israeli Law of Return and supported the Palestinian right of return. He is author of relevant articles such as ‘Zionist Anti-Semitism’ (1991) and ‘The Zionist Origins of the War on Terror’ (2006). He is joining the Palestine Justice Network delegation in order to learn from civil society networks about ways to oppose the Occupation and build a free
John Lynes, retired university lecturer in architecture.
“Between 2002 and 2009 I worked with the Christian Peacemaker Team (www.cpt.org) in the West Bank and in
John Said, “I am taking part because I want us all - including Palestinians and Israelis - to live free from fear, from violence and from oppression. I know I may suffer imprisonment, and am ready to accept the consequences of my decisions in the hope that children in the
Anne Gray, Retired academic (sociologist/economist) from
Audrey Gray is a 77 year-old from
Audrey said “I was determined to go again, I want to make a difference in some small way. In the past 20years I have made 7 pilgrimages to the region and lived on the
The situation has become more desperate, as further restrictions of movement have been imposed. Along with others I have been invited to stay in
Joy Cherkaoui has a community work background and now works for
Joy has chosen to accept the invitation to visit
Mick Napier is a University lecturer based in Edinburgh and is chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. He is UK co-ordinator of the "Welcome to Palestine" initiative.
Speaking by phone before being transported to a prison facility near Tel-Aviv on Friday, Napier, chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign said, “By their actions,
12-14 August 2011, from Friday 6pm until Sunday 1pm
Weekend accommodation: youth hostel (£32) or camping (£8) + Meals for whole weekend: £5 min donation
Discussions will include:
Arab revolutions are transforming attitudes across the entire region; Palestinian refugees have peacefully marched through Israeli minefields to get back to the areas they were driven from by Zionist militias.
European governments have always worked against the Palestine solidarity movement. They have consistently used their media to hide or downplay solidarity campaigns while spending vast sums supporting Israel as well as regional dictatorships that work to prevent any effective Arab solidarity movement emerging. Today, these same governments can still find the money for war while asking millions to accept cuts and unemployment to undo chaos caused by banks.
We have no ready-made manual to steer us through the exhilarating rapids of this revolution. The weekend in Glen Prosen will be your opportunity to join in a discussion and shape the ideas so necessary to provide effective solidarity to the Palestinian people.
Register for the weekend by Paypal below or send a cheque enclosed with your details to:
Scottish PSC, c/o Peace & Justice Centre, Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4BJ
Cheques should be made payable to 'Scottish PSC'. Please mark the envelope 'Scottish PSC Residential Weekend'.
Friday 8th July 2011: NO EMBARGO
UPDATE: MOST INTERNATIONALS SUCCESSFULLY BOARD FLIGHTS TO TEL-AVIV; WARNED TO EXPECT IMMEDIATE DEPORTATION ON ARRIVAL.
DESMOND TUTU CALLS FOR ARMS EMBARGO AGAINST ISRAEL
Most airlines appear to have ignored calls from Israeli authorities to refuse travel to around 700 European and US participants of the “Welcome to Palestine” initiative that aims to highlight Israel’s effective blockade of the West Bank.
Israeli authorities have threatened to deport all participants on arrival at Tel-Aviv, but participants say they will appeal deportation and the attempt to deny them entry to
Israeli media reports numerous arrests of Israeli supporters of the initiative who had gone to the airport to welcome the participants. The Jerusalem Post reports that pro-Palestinian activists who had held up signs inside the terminal saying ‘Welcome to
Before boarding his Heathrow to Tel-Aviv flight, Mick Napier, the UK co-ordinator of the initiative, said, “We are pleased that all British citizens have been able to board their flights, and are united in our commitment to appeal any attempt by
Amongst the British participants are retired university lecturers, and a retired nurse from
Val Kitchen, 68, from Tonbridge and a participant of the ‘Welcome to
Protests are taking place at French airports after some 50 of the French participants were stopped from boarding, but elsewhere only one or two participants are reported to have been denied access to their flights.
Organisers of the
Notes for editors:
SEE previous press release with background here:
An earlier version of this media release wrongly attributed a quote by Walden Bello to Desmond Tutu, who have both called for an arms embargo against
1. “Welcome to
The English-language section of the French website can be accessed here: http://bienvenuepalestine.com/?page_id=232
According to the group:
However, having nothing to hide, and coming with totally peaceful intentions, we have decided that we are no longer willing to lie in order to do something that no other state would consider illegal.
Government agencies have been informed, and the Israeli authorities have been forwarded all information on our intentions.
Contrary to claims that we aim “to spread chaos at Tel Aviv airport”, our only aim is visit Palestinian families, share their daily life for a week, visit the towns, villages and refugee camps, discover the difficulties encountered by their inhabitants, and experience their culture and expectations.
2. The date of the 'fly-in' was chosen to coincide with the 7th anniversary of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling in 2004 that Israel's West Bank wall, which today almost completely encircles the city of Bethlehem, is illegal.
The ICJ ruling can be found here: www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/131/1677.pdf
3. Tutu’s support for arms embargo on
See Global BDS Movement:
4a. The UK co-ordinator of the initiative is Mick Napier, who, along with the majority of international participants, is due to arrive in Ben Gurion Airport on Friday July 8th.
Mick Napier is the chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and can be contacted on:
00 44 (0)7931200361
5b. Sofiah Macleod is the UK-based contact for press enquiries.
Sofiah Macleod: + 44 (0)7958002591 or + 44 (0)131 620 0052 or + 44 (0) 7401631658
6. Updates will be available on:
and Twitter @scottishpsc
“700 pro-Palestinian activists plan to land in Ben-Gurion”
8. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netenyahu “has ordered Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to exert all efforts to prevent an infiltration into
Haaretz, Wednesday 6th July 2011:
9. Statement from Netenyahu’s office:
"This planned event is a continuation of the attempts to undermine Israel's right to exist and to attempt to breach its borders and sovereignty by sea, land and by air," according to the MAAN news agency.
Maan News Agency, Tuesday 5th July 2011:
10. Haaretz, Thursday 7th July 2011:
11. Jerusalem Post report of arrest of Israeli Activists:
“Aharonovitch: 100 activists expected to land in
The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is not unique -- whatever the news media may suggest. Lorenzo Veracini argues that the conflict is best understood in terms of colonialism. Like many other societies, Israel is a settler society. Looking in detail at the evolution of other colonial regimes -- apartheid South Africa, French Algeria and Australia -- Veracini presents a thoughtful interpretation of the dynamics of colonialism, offering a clear framework within which to understand the middle east crisis.