Global security firm G4S sells off bulk of its business in Israel

December 6, 2016

g4s-domino-final_0

As reported on bdsmovement.net, the world’s largest security company, G4S, announced last week that it is selling most of its Israeli business after an effective campaign against the company, waged by the Palestinian-led, global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights, caused it “reputational damage.”

“We have succeeded to push one of the world’s largest corporations into selling its key business in Israel,” said Rafeef Ziadah, speaking for the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) . “Our globally coordinated campaign has had a real impact. We will continue campaigning until G4S ends all involvement in violations of Palestinian human rights.”

French multinationals, Veolia and Orange, and Ireland’s largest building materials company, CRH, have all exited the Israeli market since September 2015, mainly as a result of BDS campaigning.

“A domino effect is at play here,” said Ziadah. “Some investment fund managers are recognizing that their fiduciary responsibility obliges them to divest from international and Israeli corporations and banks that are complicit in Israel’s persistent violations of international law.”

G4S is a British security company that helps Israel run prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are held without trial and subjected to torture and ill-treatment. It is also involved in providing equipment and services to Israeli military checkpoints, illegal settlements and to military and police facilities.

The international Stop G4S Campaign has cost the company contracts worth millions of dollars in Europe, the Arab world, South Africa and elsewhere.

G4S’s list of lost clients includes private businesses, universities, trade unions, and UN bodies.

Despite the sale of its subsidiary, G4S will remain directly complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights through Policity, the flagship national police training centre it co-owns, and the settlement-profiteer Shikun & Binui group.

Israel’s police operates in occupied East Jerusalem, instead of the Israeli military in the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, serving as the guardian of Israel’s illegal annexation, protecting the illegal settlements, and oppressing the city’s Palestinian population.

The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights also celebrated the victory,  while committing to keep targeting G4S given its ongoing role in Israeli police training and settlement construction in Palestine; guarding the Dakota Access pipeline construction; aiding ICE and Homeland Security with immigrant deportations; running youth detention facilities and providing prison technology as part of the U.S. prison industrial complex; and other repression worldwide, as outlined on the intersectional g4sfacts.org website released by the US Campaign and its partners earlier this year.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network stated:

The announcement is a victory, first and foremost, for the Palestinian prisoners’ movement, whose hunger strikes and other collective struggles inspired years of boycotts and divestments in solidarity. G4S is the world’s second-largest private employer, and was pushed into this action by the mobilization of people’s movements in response to its involvement and complicity in the persecution and torture of Palestinian political prisoners. During the campaign, G4S has lost contracts in the Arab region, South Africa, Latin America, Europe, the United States and elsewhere as a result of its involvement in the imprisonment of Palestinians.


Israeli Apartheid Week 2014 Full Schedule

February 20, 2014

THE SIXTH ANNUAL EDMONTON ISRAELI APARTHEID WEEK
MARCH 10 – 14, 2014

*** ALL CAMPUS EVENTS FREE ***

Palestine Solidarity Network presents a week of presentations, workshops, film screenings, and cultural events in solidarity with Palestine and to raise awareness around the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid.

All IAW 2014 events are open to everyone, and are free of charge. We look forward to seeing you there!

Edmonton IAW 2014 is organized by Palestine Solidarity Network with support by the Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG) and the Breath in Poetry Collective.

MONDAY, MARCH 10

Apartheid:  What’s in a Name?
Featuring Yasmeen Abu-Laban and Abigail Bakan
Monday, March 10 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Education Centre South Room 254
87 Avenue at 113 Street, University of Alberta Campus
(Click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event!

The term ‘apartheid’ is an Afrikaans word adopted by the ruling National Party to refer to legalized racism in South Africa from 1948 until the democratic multi-racial elections of 1994 ushered Nelson Mandel to power as President. In addition, apartheid is a term enshrined in international law as a crime against humanity, and it is also a term that has been used to refer to policies and practices which have generated racialized inequality in many diverse countries. When applied to the state of Israel, however, the term is mired in contention, signaled by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2014 state visit and speech in the Israeli Knesset (Parliament). This talk examines what is at stake in the name ‘apartheid,’ and assesses the relevance of the South African experience and apartheid analysis to the Israeli context and to Palestine solidarity.

About the speakers:

Dr. Abigail B. Bakan is Professor and Chair of Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Her research is in the area of anti-oppression politics, with a focus on intersections of gender, race, class, political economy and citizenship. She is also the co-author of several articles on the Israel/Palestine conflict and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Her articles have appeared in journals including: Race and Class, Signs, Politikon, Feminist Review, Social Identities, Rethinking Marxism, Socialist Studies, Atlantis, and Studies in Political Economy.

Dr. Yasmeen Abu-Laban is Professor of Political Science at the University of Alberta. Her research interests centre on the Canadian and comparative dimensions of ethnic and gender politics; nationalism, globalization and processes of racialization; immigration policies and politics; surveillance and border control; and citizenship theory. In addition to her published scholarly articles and book chapters she is co-editor of Surveillance and Control in Israel/Palestine: Population, Territory and Power (2011), co-editor of Politics in North America: Redefining Continental Relations (2008), editor of Gendering the Nation-State: Canadian and Comparative Perspectives (2008), and co-author Selling Diversity: Immigration, Multiculturalism, Employment Equity and Globalization (2002). Dr. Abu-Laban serves on the editorial board of Canadian Ethnics Studies/Études ethnique au Canada and has served on the Board of the Directors of the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA), as well as the CPSA Diversity Task Force.

TUESDAY, MARCH 11

Poets Against Apartheid – A Night of Rouge Poetry
Tuesday, March 11 (8:30 – 11:00 pm)
Rouge Lounge
10111-117 Street
(Click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Join us at Rouge Lounge for our annual night of spoken word and performance poetry relating the liberation struggle of the Palestinian people. This night will leave you inspired to share the stories of struggle with others and to be part of the growing movement against the injustice of apartheid in Palestine.

The night will feature a Breath In Poetry Slam night featuring local poets starting at 9:00. After the Slam will be a set of Poets Against Apartheid starting at 10:20 featuring local poets performing original works of poetry on Palestine, as well as readings in both Arabic and English of works by Palestinian poets.

If you are interested in performing during the Artists Against Apartheid set, please email Sara at shussein07@gmail.com.

$5 donation at the door will support the Poetic Aid fundraiser on Friday, March 14. Sorry, no minors.

The evening is presented in collaboration with the Breath in Poetry Collective.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12

The Bottom Line: Economic Action for Human Rights
Film Screening and Discussion
Wednesday, March 12 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Telus Building Room 236/238
Corner of 111 Street & 87 Avenue, University of Alberta Campus
(Click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Since its launch in 2005, the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) has become a powerful global movement to compel the Israeli government to “recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law.” Modelled after the successful global movement of BDS against apartheid in South Africa, the BDS campaign is the most tangible means to support the Palestinian people. Join us for a screening of the documentary The Bottom Line, about the successful economic campaign against South Africa and a discussion about how to support the BDS movement against Israeli apartheid.

The Bottom Line, part of the acclaimed documentary series Have You Heard From Johannesburg, tells the story of the first-ever international grassroots campaign to successfully use economic pressure to help bring down a government. Recognizing the apartheid regime’s dependence on its financial connections to the West, citizens all over the world, from employees of Polaroid to a General Motors director, from student account-holders in Barclay’s Bank to consumers who boycott Shell gas, all refuse to let business with South Africa go on as usual. Boycotts and divestment campaigns bring the anti-apartheid movement into the lives and communities of people around the world, helping everyday people understand and challenge Western economic support for apartheid. Faced with attacks at home and growing chaos in South Africa, international companies pull out in a mass exodus, causing a financial crisis in the now-isolated South Africa and making it clear that the days of the apartheid regime are numbered.

THURSDAY, MARCH 13

Palestinian Political Prisoners: Apartheid Injustice
Featuring Charlotte Kates, coordinator of Samidoun Prisoner Solidarity Network
Thursday, March 13 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Telus Building Room 236/238
Corner of 111 Street & 87 Avenue, University of Alberta Campus
(Click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Over 5,000 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli prisons: of all ages, genders, and political affiliations. Palestinian prisoners are subject to a separate legal system – the Israeli military courts, which convict 99.74% of the Palestinians brought before them, on charges ranging from membership in one of countless prohibited organizations, to incitement, to participation in resistance. Night-time arrest raids, extended interrogation, medical neglect and physical abuse are common. Palestinians can be held without charge or trial for years at a time. At the same time, Palestinian prisoners have been a center of resistance to Israeli occupation, apartheid and racism: engaging in hunger strikes and other struggles that have captured the attention and the solidarity of Palestinians and of people around the world. Join us to discuss who the Palestinian political prisoners are – and what we can do to support their struggle for freedom.

About the speaker:

Charlotte Kates is the coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and an organizer with the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign Vancouver. She is a graduate of Rutgers University School of Law and is a member of the National Lawyers Guild International Committee.

This event is supported by the Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG).

FRIDAY, MARCH 14

Diagnosis, Efficient Treatment, and an Optimistic Prognosis for Palestine
Featuring Dr. Ghada Ageel and Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh (via Skype from Palestine)
Friday, March 14 (Noon – 1:30 pm)
Education Centre South Room 262
87 Avenue at 113 Street, U of A Campus
(Click here for map)

Help spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Dr. Qumsiyeh will talk to us about the current situation, share his vision of a future for all the people who live in the land of Canaan, and address how Canadians can help to bring about a new situation of peace and justice.

“This is not mission impossible,” John Kerry, the US foreign Secretary, announced early this year, speaking of his latest effort to rejuvenate the Palestinians/Israeli peace process.

Dr. Ageel will address the questions of  where this latest round of talks is headed. What makes Kerry optimistic about reaching a framework agreement before May 2014? And why do many people disagree with him? And above all, how many plans, road maps, proposals, initiatives, processes, solutions, accords, and framework agreements do Palestinians need to have? Why have endless rounds of peace talks never led to peace? And finally, what is the future for the Palestinian/Israeli conflict: a two-state solution, one-sate solution or apartheid?

About the speakers:

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities. He previously served on the faculties of the University of Tennessee, Duke and Yale Universities. He was chairman of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People and serves on the board of Al-Rowwad Children’s Theater Center in Aida Refugee Camp. He published hundreds of refereed articles and several books including “Mammals of the Holy Land”, “Sharing the Land of Canaan: human rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle” (English and Spanish) and Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment (Arabic, English, French, forthcoming in Italian). He also has an activism book published electronically on his website. His main interest is media activism and public education. He gave hundreds of talks around the world and published over 200 letters to the editor and 100 op-ed pieces and interviewed on TV and radio extensively (local, national and international).

Dr. Ghada Ageel is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. Her research interests focus on rights-based approaches to forced migration, Palestinian refugees in comparative perspective, oral history, women’s studies, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the permanent status issues involved in the Middle East peace process. Dr. Ageel’s work has been widely published in several newspapers, magazines and journals worldwide, including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Hill, CNN, BBC, The Guardian, Journal for Palestine Studies, Palestine Chronicle, Occupation Magazine and many Arabic newspapers throughout the Middle East.

In addition to her book with Dr. Ibrahim Abu Jaber, Maisam Eid, et al “Jurh Al-Nakba: Part 1” (The Wound of Nakba, Part 1), Um Al-Fahem, Centre of Contemporary Studies, 2003, Dr. Ageel is currently working on a book project: The Palestinian Nakba and Israeli Apartheid : The Law and The Experience. She is also active in Faculty4Palestine-Alberta.

 


Canada’s Support for Apartheid South Africa

December 10, 2013

mandelahoc

With the Canadian media rewriting the history of Canada’s relations with apartheid South Africa as the world mourns the death of Nelson Mandela, author and activist Yves Engler offers an insightful article into the true nature of the relationship between Canada and the apartheid regime.

Our shame: Canada supported apartheid South Africa
Yves Engler

It’s enough to make one who knows even a little history gag.

The death of Nelson Mandela has led to an outpouring of vapid commentary about Canada’s supposed role in defeating South African Apartheid. “Canada helped lead international fight against Apartheid”, noted a Toronto Star headline while a National Post piece declared, “Canada’s stance against apartheid helped bring freedom to South Africa.”

Notwithstanding this self-congratulatory revisionism, Canada mostly supported apartheid in South Africa. First, by providing it with a model. South Africa patterned its policy towards Blacks after Canadian policy towards First Nations. Ambiguous Champion explains, “South African officials regularly came to Canada to examine reserves set aside for First Nations, following colleagues who had studied residential schools in earlier parts of the century.” Read the rest of this entry »


Action: Defend Addameer and Raided Palestinian Grassroots and Civil Society Institutions

December 11, 2012

This action alert has been issued by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network:

At 3 a.m. on December 11, Israeli occupation forces raided the offices of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, and the Palestinian NGO Network. Click here to take action to defend human rights defenders!

The offices were ransacked, their doors broken in, their computers and hard drives confiscated and their materials damaged, confiscated and destroyed. These Palestinian human rights defenders are on the front lines in defending the rights of Palestinian prisoners, organizing Palestinian women, and coordinating Palestinian civil society in the face of the Israeli occupation. Click here to write Israeli officials in protest.

Addameer reported that this was the first raid by the IOF since 2002, when the Addameer office was raided during the invasion of Ramallah. “Our imprisoned colleague Ayman Nasser told the Ofer military court, ‘I will pursue the just cause of the prisoners even if the price is my own freedom.’ This is what we confirm following the Israeli raid,” said one message from Addameer (see Electronic Intifada report).

It should be noted that this attack comes on Human Rights Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The blatant violation of Palestinian human rights is but the latest in a long string of attacks on the Palestinian movement and its popular organizations.

Said Addameer in its statement, “Addameer believes that this brutal assault is part of the constant targeting of the association’s staff and mission to defend Palestinian political prisoners. Since 2002, Addameer has been subjected to raids and attacks and arrest campaigns of staff members in past years. Most recently, Addameer’s researcher, Ayman Nasser, was detained on 15 October 2012 and is charged for supporting Palestinian prisoners and detainees and calling for their freedom…Addameer believes that these ongoing attacks aim to destroy the legitimacy of non-governmental organizations, and by disregarding our status as human rights defenders, raiding and ransacking resources and arresting staff members, they delegitimize human rights work and normalize the attacks on our offices.”

Other attacks on Palestinian human rights defenders was noted, including travel bans imposed on Addameer board member Abdullatif Ghaith and prohibition of Addameer lawyers from visiting prisoners in Israeli jails, as well as Israeli targeting of journalists during the aggression on Gaza. It should also be noted that the Union of Agricultural Work Committees were also recently the target of series of arrests against grassroots organizers of farmers in the West Bank, part of the ongoing campaign of harassment and targeting of Palestinian civil society.

TAKE ACTION!

The US and Canadian governments have been staunch defenders of ongoing Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights. It is urgent that people around the world take action to defend Palestinian human rights defenders and demand an end to the attacks on Palestinian grassroots and civil society organizations!

1. Write immediately to Israeli officials and demand an end to the persecution of Palestinian human rights defenders. Click here to send a letter now.

2. Contact your government officials and demand an end to the persecution of Palestinian human rights defenders. In Canada, call the office of John Baird, Foreign Minister, and demand an end to Canadian support for Israel and justice for Palestinian prisoners, at : 613-990-7720; Email: bairdj@parl.gc.ca. In the US, call the White House at 1-202-456-1111 and call the State Department at 1-202-647-4003. Demand that Canada and the US take a stand and stop supporting the attacks on Palestinians. (See Facebook event for call-in campaign)

3. Join a protest or demonstration outside an Israeli consulate to defend Palestinian grassroots and civil society organizations. Organizing an event, action or forum on Palestinian prisoners on your city or campus? Use this form to contact us and we will post the event widely. If you need suggestions, materials or speakers for your event, please contact us at samidoun@samidoun.ca. 

4. Join in the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Boycott Israeli products, and academic and cultural institutions until all Palestinian rights (including the right of refugees to return, to be free from occupation and for full equality) are fulfilled – including freeing the thousands of Palestinian prisoners behind bars and implementing Palestinian human rights.


Thaer Hlahleh, Bilal Thiab and Other Prisoners Reportedly Agree to End Hunger Strike

May 14, 2012

Just after midnight on May 15 (the day Palestinians mark the Nakba, or catastrophe), a deal has reportedly been struck to end the hunger strike, which for Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Thiab had reached its 77th day.

Below is the Electronic Intifada’s Linah Alsaafin’s blog on how she heard about the deal from Thaer Halahleh’s family.

EI’s Ali Abunimah also blogs about the deal here, offering the warning, “Media reports of an overall deal, which have cited almost exclusively Israeli and Palestinian Authority sources, should be treated with caution and are difficult to independently verify as Israel severely restricts the access of media, lawyers and family members to prisoners.”

You can also read about the deal via Al Jazeera English, Ma’an News Agency, Huffington Post, Haaretz, and the New York Times.

What Thaer Halahleh’s family told me about his release brings joy, but raises troubling questions

At around 1:30am Palestine local time I was lying on my side in my bed trying to sleep and doing my best to ignore the queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach as I thought about how the 64th commemoration of Nakba Day would pan out.

My phone suddenly vibrated jarringly. I grabbed it and the name of the last person I expected to call me was flashing on the screen: Abu Thaer Halahleh, the father of Palestinian hunger striker Thaer Halahleh. I immediately answered.

What I learned in the conversation was a cause for both joy, and serious concern about a pattern of pressure to isolate prisoners and coerce them into accepting deals.

“Hello?”

“Hello…is this Um Muhammad?”

“No, this is her daughter. Is that Fathiya?”

“Yes, it’s me, Thaer’s sister.”

My heart stopped. I thought she had called to tell me Thaer had died. She cleared her throat. “I just want to tell you…I’m happy to tell you that Thaer has taken the decision to end his hunger strike in the morning.”

My heart swelled. “Tell me more!” I almost shouted.

“He will be released on 5 June after Israel signed a contract promising not to renew his detention… during that time he will receive medical aid to help his recuperation.” Fathiya was bubbling with happiness.

“What about Bilal Thiab and the other hunger strikers?”

“I’m not sure yet about Bilal…Thaer called my family in Kharas at around 12:45 am to inform them of the news. People in Kharas fired their guns in the air at 1 am when they heard the news. The mosques’ loudspeakers carried the call of ‘Allahu Akbar’ at that time too. My family immediately called my father to tell him the news but he didn’t believe him. Thaer was allowed to make another call to my house, and we almost didn’t pick up because it was a private number…anyway, talk to my father.”

“Uncle! This is fantastic news!” I said to Abu Thaer.

“Yes, my daughter, thank God. You heard he was to be released on 5 June?”

“Yes…tell me, how did he sound on the phone? What was it like talking to him again after two years?”

“His spirits are high, and his voice…well you know, it’s a good thing he can even talk after 77 days on hunger strike. But one thing he said struck me hard. He told me that if I wasn’t satisfied with his decision he was ready to continue his hunger strike.”

I asked him if he knew more information. He told me that all administrative detainees signed a deal with the Israeli Prison Service (brokered by an Egyptian mediator) to end their hunger strike in return for getting released once their detention was up, with Israel promising not to renew their detention.

“This means that Bilal Thiab will be released in August, because that’s when his administrative detention ends,” Thaer’s dad said.

Bilal was arrested on 17 August 2011.

“I don’t know if Bilal will be released on August 17 or not,” continued Thaer’s dad. “You know how it is with the occupation. They will find any excuse to postpone the release of a prisoner even by a few days. Thaer’s administrative detention ends on May 27 but he is getting released a week later.”

Deal raises new questions over role of Jawad Boulos and pressure on hunger strikers

The deal was struck after midnight, in the Ramle prison hospital. It is not known for sure whether Thaer and Bilal’s lawyer, Jamil Khatib was present, but Jawad Boulos, the lawyer who conducted the deals for Khader Adnan and the even murkier one with Hana al-Shalabi was there.

Israel has consistently denied prisoners access to their lawyers of choice, so there is special reason to be concerned when Israel allows lawyers who do not represent the prisoners into the room.

On 14 May, Maan News Agency reported that Issa Qaraqe, a Palestinian Authority minister, had told media that Boulos had been dispatched to Ramle Prison to speak to Thaer Halahleh and fellow long-term hunger striker Bilal Diab.

The Egyptian mediator, the Higher Committee for prisoners, and the Israel Prison Service officials were also there.

Boulos was the key figure in the deal which ended up with Hana al-Shalabi being banished to Gaza for three years on 1 April in exchange for releasing her from administrative detention.

Boulos and Palestinian Authority officials claimed that this was al-Shalabi’s “choice,” but this was challenged by Hana’s father and by Hana herself in an interview with The Electronic Intifada:

In her comments to The Electronic Intifada, al-Shalabi demanded that her lawyer [Boulos] clarify to her and to the public the controversial circumstances surrounding the deal to send her to Gaza.

Al-Shalabi’s account casts doubt on the claims that it was her “choice” and confirm that she may have received misleading information in order to induce her to accept the deal.

Is there a pattern here? It does look like Israel and those working with it to end the strike are creating conditions where prisoners are isolated from family, their own legal representation and independent medical personnel and then a “good cop” lawyer of Israel’s and the Palestinian Authority’s choice is brought in to pressure them to accept a deal.

This has now become a pattern with Boulos and there must be clarity and accountability.

A deal, but is it a victory?

Thaer’s father was speaking to me outside on a street, waiting for a taxi to take him back home to Kharas in Hebron. He hadn’t slept for three days.

“You better prepare the mansaf,” I joked.

“Of course. I’ll be waiting for you and your mother to come down to Kharas,” he laughed.

The fact that Thaer and Bilal and the other six hunger strikers in their second or third month without food will survive is a cause for great happiness. Yet this deal doesn’t seem like a victory.

Thaer and Bilal have vowed over and over again that they will not end their fast until immediate freedom or martyrdom, and with the involvement of Jawad Boulos in the arrangement similar to that of Khader Adnan’s, there seems to be more to it than meets the eye.


Palestinian Hunger Striker Thaer Halahleh Told He “Could Die Any Moment”

May 10, 2012

Below is the Electronic Intifada‘s latest update (May 10) on the mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners. To support the hunger strikers, you can:

Thaer Halahleh has been told he “could die any moment,” by an Israeli prison doctor, as the gravely ill Palestinian who is held without charge or trial by Israel, completed his 73rd day of hunger strike.

Meanwhile, there have been continued solidarity protests in Palestine against international neglect of the estimated 2,000 Palestinian hunger strikers, and new expressions of solidarity.

Read the rest of this entry »


Today! March 7 Israeli Apartheid Week Events

March 6, 2012

Women’s Perspectives on Occupation and Apartheid
Featuring Rela Mazali (via Skype), Anat Matar (via Skype), and Ghada Ageel
Wednesday, March 7 (Noon – 2:00 pm)
Telus Building Room 236/238
Corner of 111 Street & 87 Avenue, University of Alberta Campus

(Click here for map)

Help us spread the word! Invite your friends to the Facebook event.

Three women — both Israeli and Palestinian — active in solidarity with Palestine will share their stories and perspectives on the occupation and how to move towards a just resolution to the question of Israel/Palestine.

Rela Mazali will focus on the militarization of Israeli society. Militarization — continuous and pervasive — is one of the central processes characterizing society and state in Israel. It is a social-political process which is arguably central to every settler society and state engaged, as all of them are or were, in the systematic displacement, dispossession and subjection of an indigenous population. A society practicing or undergoing militarization maintains a state of readiness for, and acquiescence with or even support for, combat, conflict and war, to which it accordingly consents to allocate a huge chunk of its resources, including the bodies, minds and lives of its children. In order to achieve and reproduce, such acquiescence, support and consent in a militarized society, in order to perpetuate and justify this continual social process, militarization obviously requires an image of The Enemy, a proverbial “other,” which it repeatedly constructs and finds ways of providing. So, for instance, in 2008, after Hamas observed an extended period of ceasefire, it was Israel that decided against a renewal, preferring instead to step up its illegal summary executions of Palestinian leaders. This aspect of militarization is obvious and visible. But it’s only from a feminist perspective that another, vital component of ongoing militarization becomes visible and obvious. Militarization requires and produces not just The Enemy but, in addition, an-Other Other: “Her,” a feminized, idealized image of the vulnerable, soft, gentle, warm woman whom the soldier has to protect. Rela’s talk will outline some of the major implications of militarization in the settler society she is part of and lives in, touching particularly on some of the gendered phenomena in militarized Israeli society. She’ll also talk about the feminist activism resisting the reality of deep-running militarization.

Anat Matar will focus on the issue of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails. There are currently over 4000 Palestinian prisoners classified as “security” prisoners in Israeli jails; over 300 of them are administrative detainees, i.e., detainees held in prison without charge or trial – sometimes for years. Anat’s talk will shed some light on political persecution, on the conditions of these prisoners and detainees, on several special groups of prisoners (veteran prisoners – including Israeli citizens, organizers of demonstrations, members of the legislative council), and also on the lack of interest of the Israeli public in this issue. She will also offer a comparison between the Israeli attitude towards Palestinian prisoners and its attitude towards Palestinians in general – since the latter, too, all of them, are taken merely as “threats” rather than autonomous human beings craving for freedom, independence and political self-control.

Ghada Ageel will focus on the impact of military occupation and an apartheid regime on Palestinian people’s basic and fundamental rights to food, life, land, education, health care, parenthood, safety, and freedom. From a woman’s perspective and through lived stories, Ghada will shed light on the odd and oppressive limbo that Palestinians, both in West Bank and besieged Gaza, endure on a daily basis and will tell a tale of a nation that has been made to live with broken hearts, expecting to grieve at any minute.

Among the questions that Ghada will attempt to answer are: What does it mean to be a refugee in one’s own land, stateless with no citizenship, no rights and no power over one’s own or ones family’s lives? What does it mean to be directly connected to an endless conflict that impacts every single aspect of daily life? How does it taste to live under hardship, humiliation and devastation all day/every day? How does it feel to be deprived to see one’s husband, father, brother or son for years and perhaps decades? How possible is it at all to plant seeds of hope amid these exceptional circumstances of suffering and dispossession?

About the speakers:

Rela Mazali is an author, an independent scholar, and a feminist anti-militarist activist from Israel. Active against Israel’s occupation since 1980, one of the founders of the New Profile Movement to Civilize Israeli Society (in 1998) and the Coalition of Women for Peace (in 2000), one of eight women from Israel nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize by the 1,000 Peacewomen project, a member of the Jury of Conscience of the World Tribunal on Iraq in 2005, co-founder and co-coordinator of the disarmament project, Gun Free Kitchen Tables in 2010. Rela’s latest book is Home Archaeology (in Hebrew 2011), and she is also the author of Maps of Women’s Goings and Stayings (2001), WhaNever (in Hebrew 1987). Among her recent articles: “A Call for Livable Futures,” “Telltale Maps: Narrated Resistance in a Jewish Palestinian Contact Zone,” and “Ethnically Constructed Guns and Feminist Anti-Militarism in Israel.” (aia Skype)

Anat Matar is a senior lecturer at the Department of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University, and a longtime anti-occupation activist. She presently sits on the steering-committee of Who Profits? – Exposing the Israeli Occupation Industry, and is the chair of the Israeli Committee for the Palestinian Prisoners. She recently edited, along with Adv. Abeer Baker, a collection of analyses and testimonies about Palestinian political prisoners, entitled Threat – Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel. (via Skype)

Dr. Ghada Ageel is a third generation Palestinian refugee. She was born and raised in the Khan Younis Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip, were she attended high school and completed a BA in Education. In 1999, Ghada won the Jerusalem Studies’ Scholarship of the University of Exeter in Britain, where she completed her Master’s degree in Middle East Politics, and her PhD in Refugees Studies. Sine then, Ghada has worked with several organizations and institutions in Canada, UK and Palestine. She currently lives in Edmonton and works at the Canadian Red Cross.

Also presented as part of Feminist Edmonton’s Feminist Week.