Aug 21, 2010

Canada's Postal Workers are on Board: Send your Gaza mail on the Canadian Boat to Gaza!

(Toronto and Montreal, Aug 19, 2010) – Canada's Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) got the message across last week that cutting off mail delivery to Gaza is another abusive measure intended to heighten the suffering and hardship of the besieged residents of the occupied strip.
The Canadaian Boat to Gaza Campaign salutes the union and its workers for their solidarity with our campaign and with the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom. We look forward to working with Canada Post and CUPW to facilitate in the best way possible the delivery of mail to Gaza.
"The Canadian Boat to Gaza is eager to carry mail to Gaza if the ban is not lifted soon" said Sandra Ruch, spokesperson for the Canadian Boat to Gaza. "We will make every effort to deliver any mail we get to the postal authorities in Gaza. We ask senders to limit mail they send us to unsealed postcards of greeting and support to loved ones keeping in mind that it, as well as the rest of our cargo, may end up in Israeli hands if our boat is pirated."

CUPW called on Canadians to back efforts to break the siege by sending their Gaza-bound mail via the Canadian Boat to Gaza. The Canadian Boat to Gaza is urging those who wish to break this ban to send with us postcards with messages of support to the besieged strip. Article 25 of the fourth Geneva Convention guarantees the right to personal correspondence with family members under occupation.
"As postal workers, we know very well that cutting off mail creates suffering and hardship for people, who are isolated from their loved ones," said Denis Lemelin, National President of CUPW. "How many more abuses will the people of Gaza have to endure?"
Get the message through. Send your mail with us,
Send your postcards (only) for people in Gaza to
Canadian Boat to Gaza
C.P. 92087, Portobello
Brossard, Quebec
J4W 3K8
Media Contact
Ehab Lotayef
Stéphan Corriveau
514 586-6810

Isolate Israelis and let them pay for their endless aggression

Relations between Israel and several Western states have been strained since January. The United Kingdom and Australia both expelled Israeli diplomats in reaction to the illegal use by Mossad agents of their passports in Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s killing in Dubai. The Polish authorities arrested a Mossad agent accused of involvement. The UK, France, Spain and Italy have demanded firm action over the flotilla attack. On June 14, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, cancelled a trip to the Paris Arms Show, having been warned that pro-Palestinian groups would seek his arrest.
Meanwhile, the boycott movement against Israel, already active, has gained astonishing momentum. Israeli officials are now frequently targeted at universities in Europe and America, forcing them to cancel lectures. This week 76 distinguished Indian academics, including the writer Arundhati Roy, signed a call for the cultural and academic boycott of Israel. They have joined the well-established British academic boycott of Israel movement, BRICUP, and a growing US academic boycott group.
A cultural boycott of Israel movement is also developing; the Pixies, Klaxons and Gorillaz recently cancelled concerts in Israel. Prominent writers Alice Walker and Iain Banks are also boycotting Israel. Banks has refused to have his books translated into Hebrew, as has Jordan’s Queen Rania whose book for children has just been published.
Dockworkers in Sweden, Norway, India and South Africa are refusing to handle Israeli ships. In San Francisco, bay dockworkers delayed Israeli ships for 24 hours, unheard of in the United States. Britain’s Unite union has resolved to boycott Israeli companies, and there is a mounting movement in Europe and the US for divestment from companies such as Caterpillar, which work to support Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Individually none of these acts is likely to threaten Israel. It is their collectivity and the speed with which they are spreading and increasing that is important. Beneath the official level of Western governmental support for Israel, there is private disquiet about Israeli conduct. And at the popular level, there is a sea change in opinion: where Israel was once seen as the victim, it has now become the bully. In the UK, for example, the strength of popular sympathy for Palestinians is striking. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the same is happening elsewhere.

West Bank boycott campaign impacting settlement economy

Grassroots Palestinian boycott campaigns across the occupied West Bank to take Israeli settlement products off the shelves of local stores have made an impact on the Israeli settlement economy, to the unease of the Israeli government, noted the Israeli daily Haaretz this week ("Palestinians 'adamant about continuing boycott on settlement goods'," 8 August 2010).

From the tightly-packed communities in refugee camps, to the sprawling urban areas in major cities, to the rural countryside, Palestinians have galvanized around campaigns to promote locally-made products and locally-harvested food instead of a myriad of items made in illegal settlement colonies on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority (PA), for its part, has produced pamphlets listing Israeli settlement-made products and delivered them to thousands of homes across the West Bank, urging Palestinians to buy Palestinian products and warning that trading of settlement products risks legal prosecution. But grassroots, local community initiatives have been working independent of the PA for years as activists have organized to educate and support business owners in making responsible choices in purchasing and selling merchandise.

Haaretz reports that the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor has asked the PA to cancel the boycott, citing supposed violations of international trade rules and feigning concern for Palestinian laborers who work in the settlements.

International trade laws do not apply to consumer boycotts, however, and the Israeli settlements themselves are entirely illegal under international law, including Articles 46 and 55 of the Hague Convention; Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and UN Security Council Resolution 465. The illegality of Israel's settlements was reaffirmed in the 2004 ruling of the International Court of Justice at the Hague ("Israeli settlements fact sheet,"Palestine Monitor, 15 March 2010).