Exeter Palestine Solidarity Campaign

 

Welcome to the Exeter Palestine Solidarity Campaign Website. Last updated: 17 January, 2010

Gaza War Crimes Talk

On October 15th at the University of Exeter an audience of over 100, mostly students, came to hear:

- Jenny Linnel on her year as a volunteer in the ISM (International Solidarity Movement) in Gaza.

- Sameh Habeeb, a Palestinian freelance photo-journalist, on the Gaza massacre of last December January.

Of especial interest was the first-hand witnessing of what does not get into the media.

For instance, we saw remarkable film taken from Gaza fishing boats.  The Gazans have every right under international law to fish up to 12 miles out to sea from their own coast (and under the Oslo accords they have 20 miles).  But when Pa;estinian fishing boat under attackthey go 1 or 2 miles out they are regularly harassed by Israeli gunboats.  This takes the form of water cannon (laced with chemicals), shooting at the boat and nets, seizure and impounding of the boats (to damage the engine etc.), and shooting at the fishermen.  This last does not take place when there are international observers present (just one example of the vital work that these heroic people do).  Despite the great dangers, the fishermen continue to fish, as the only way of feeding their families.

This is of course all completely illegal.  It shows what can happen when there is a complete 'culture of impunity', when the military know that whatever they do, they will not be held to account.

Israeli gunboat prepares to fire powerful watercannonBut why are they doing it?  There is no security rationale.  The idea that the fourth most powerful military in the world is threatened by a few fishing boats is laughable.  And anyway, security would require searching, not shooting etc.

Only two alternatives remain: either it is just collective sadism, or it is part of a deliberate policy of making life so intolerable for the Palestinians that eventually they will want to leave (slow-motion ethnic cleansing).  It would be just one of innumerable comparable measures (like destroying the tanks in which Palestinians collect rain water).

Jenny's first-hand account, together with film of the fishing boats being harassed by the gunboats, was very compelling.  A lot of students went away with a much clearer idea of what the Israel-Palestine conflict is about.  The meeting also included a call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.

Further information on Israeli's attacking Palestinian fishing boats

Gaza Today blog

EPSC expresses gratitude to ISM Gaza Strip for the photos.