Donation from Cornwall

On 17th March 2018 the committee of the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly National Union of Teachers met to watch a video made for us by SOS Gaza Children, a charity based in the Gaza strip in Palestine. The committee had earlier decided to make a donation of £250 to the charity, to support traumatised children growing up in Gaza with their basic needs and to improve the quality of their difficult lives.  As an elected body we have a responsibility to make sure any donations we make go to the intended recipients, so we asked SOS Gaza to send us an account of how they spent our money. This video was their response.

The video was very moving as it showed all the families receiving bags of food provided by our donation, but the team also told us how other hungry families who were not on the team’s list had turned up at the distribution point and demanded food, which the team could not give. Such was the desperation of these families that they even tried to take food by force. Luckily no-one was hurt but the team was shaken and shocked by what happened.

We discussed sending a further donation. The SOS team was asking for money for medical expenses, clothing and food for impoverished children and also trying to plan a school outing and to construct a safe children’s play area. The committee then agreed to pledge a further £250 to go towards a school trip for the children to enjoy and get some respite from the harsh conditions of their life. We also publicised the SOS campaign through our newsletter across Cornwall.

Unfortunately, what followed was an escalation of violence and deprivation as the massacres of the Great Return March began, and President Trump cut UNWRA relief funding for Palestine. The team was working tirelessly to meet the needs of local impoverished children and families, but were desperately short of funds. So we agreed that in these urgent conditions SOS Gaza should use our latest donation wherever the need was greatest.

We urge any readers to support the work of this young Palestinian team in trying to improve the lives of children in Gaza, working under the most difficult conditions themselves. We salute their courage, endurance and compassion and appreciate the real difference their campaigns make to the lives of deprived and traumatised children and families.

We in the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly NUT will continue to work with other organisations in Cornwall to raise money for children in Gaza until the blockade is lifted and Palestinians win back their basic human rights, freedom, statehood and safety.

Yesterday, our team visited a poor family in Gaza who did not expect us to find them in this situation. Their refrigerator is empty of any food. It was sad to see them.

We gave them the help that allowed us to visit them later. These families need your help, so please donate.

Gaza Insider

An Israeli sniper killed a 21-year-old Palestinian nurse on 1 June. Now, it seems even clearer why Israel’s military deleted a tweet earlier this year. The army wrote that it “know where every bullet landed”, while tackling protestors. But it looks like the bullet that killed Razan al-Najjar could represent a war crime.

Killing protestors

For two months, Palestinians have been protesting the conditions in occupied Gaza where less than 4% of water is drinkable. The Great March of Return rallies also marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel, when  750,000 Arabs were forced out of Palestine. Israel has responded with force, killing at least 121 Palestinians and wounding over 12,000 since 30 March.

War crimes?

A witness told Reuters that medic al-Najjar was running to help a wounded person when Israeli forces killed her. The young woman was wearing a white uniform and “raised her hands high in a clear way, but Israeli soldiers fired and she was hit in the chest”, according to the witness.

Under the Geneva Convention, it’s a war crime to harm unarmed medics with distinctive identification signs. With killings like al-Najjar’s, it’s no wonder the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) thought again about the impression its tweet gave:


למישהו יש צילום מסך?

B’Tselem בצלם بتسيلم


View image on Twitter

In response to the killing of al-Najjar, the IDF said it was looking into the report. The military also claimed that soldiers were acting “in accordance with the rules of engagement”.

But the young Palestinian is far from the only medic shot by the IDF. In a single day in May, Israeli forces injured 18 “clearly marked” paramedics with live fire. Of those 18, the IDF killed Mousa Jaber Abu Hassanein.

Israeli soldiers are killing medics, journalists and protestors with apparent impunity. So it seems clear why the military wants to maintain some ambiguity. That tweet gave the impression that soldiers are acting in line with orders from above. It had to go.


Spain is preparing to live for two days an intense debate that can sign the end of the People’s Party (PP) of the conservative Mariano Rajoy, who leads the minority in the country. On May 31, the socialist leader Pedro Sanchez will officially file a motion of censure against his government, whose outcome will be known the next day.

With our correspondent in Madrid, François Musseau

The hour is serious for Mariano Rajoy. In power since 2011, the head of the Spanish government may well have to pack his bags on a motion of no confidence announced following a corruption case that affects his training, the right-wing People’s Party (PP). In a landmark verdict, the national court of the Audiencia Nacional sentenced 27 ex-PP leaders a week ago to corruption in the scandal known in Spain as “Gürtel”.

In 2016, the Podemos party had already tried a motion of censure against the Spanish government, also for corruption reasons. This time, the situation is very serious: justice has described the PP as an “institutionalized corruption system”. She also questioned the credibility of the Spanish premier when he tried to cover his training, including his former treasurer, Francisco Correa, sentenced to 31 years in prison.

Political alliances?

For all these reasons, on the political spectrum, many parliamentary forces want to support the vote of no confidence: the Podemos party, the Basque and Catalan nationalists but also the liberals of the Ciudadanos movement.

From an arithmetic point of view, this attempt by the Socialist Pedro Sanchez, whose party will formally file the motion of censure on May 31, may succeed. Except that the parties that could support him do not get along. To begin with Ciudadanos, very Spanish, who does not intend to get closer to the Catalan separatists, their great political enemy.

If obstacles exist for this motion of censure, Mariano Rajoy can not help but fear that his last hours at the head of the Spanish government have arrived.

Gaza Insider

Twenty-five Palestinians were killed on Monday morning, 14 May, by Israeli gunfire during clashes between Gazan protesters and Israeli soldiers, according to Gaza’s health ministry. And more than 500 Palestinians were injured Monday in these clashes.

Thousands of protesters gathered at various points and small groups attempted to approach the heavily guarded Israeli border. They tried to attack the fence, threw stones at the soldiers, but were shot in return.

On Sunday and Monday, the Israeli army warned the Gazans in leaflets distributed by the air that they were exposing their lives by taking part in the demonstrations and that the IDF would not allow anyone to attack the security fence, the soldiers or Israeli local residents. “We will defend our citizens by all means, we will not allow the border to be forced,” warned Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

On the occasion of Ramadan, our team distributed Ramadan baskets to some poor and needy families in the Gaza Strip. As usual, with the support of our fellow donors, we extend our thanks and appreciation to all who helped and contributed to the success of this project and to contribute to reducing the suffering of poor families and their children.

Gaza Insider

Israeli authorities must put an immediate end to the use of excessive and lethal force to quell Palestinian protests in Gaza, Amnesty International said as new protests began Friday (April 13th).

After the death of 26 Palestinians, including three children and a photojournalist, Yasser Murtaja, and injuries to some 3,078 others during protests on two previous Fridays, Amnesty International calls once again for independent and serious investigations into reports that Israeli soldiers used excessive force, including firearms, against unarmed protesters, in violation of the law.

“For the past two weeks, the world has watched with horror as Israeli forces use excessive and lethal force against protesters, including children, who are demanding the end of violent policies against Gaza and claiming their right to live in Gaza. dignity. Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said Magdalena Mughrabi.

“The Israeli authorities must urgently change their policies and respect their obligations under international law. Their revolting use of live ammunition against unarmed protesters and the resulting deaths must be investigated to determine whether unlawful killings have occurred. ”

“The Israeli authorities must respect the right of Palestinians to demonstrate peacefully and, in case of violence, use only the force necessary to respond. Under international law, lethal force is legal only when it is strictly unavoidable to protect against an imminent threat of death. ”

Direct witnesses, as well as videos and photos taken during the demonstrations, show that in some cases unarmed Palestinian protesters were targeted by Israeli snipers while shaking the Palestinian flag. or that they ran away from the fence.

Those injured since Friday 30 March include approximately 445 children, at least 21 members of the Palestine Red Crescent emergency teams, and 15 journalists. According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, some 1,236 people were hit by live ammunition. Others were injured by rubber bullets or had to be treated after inhaling tear gas dropped by drones. The World Health Organization was worried that nearly 350 injured people would remain temporarily or permanently disabled. To date, at least four people have had one leg amputated.

On two consecutive Fridays, tens of thousands of Palestinians – men, women and children – gathered in five camps about 700 meters from the fence that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel to reaffirm their right of return. ‘demand the end of the Israeli blockade, in place for nearly 11 years. Although the demonstrations were largely peaceful, a minority of demonstrators threw stones and, according to the Israeli army, Molotov cocktails towards the fence. According to Israeli forces, the people who were killed were the “main leaders” or tried to cross the fence between Gaza and Israel. No casualties were lamented on the Israeli side.

The Israeli army said it would investigate the behavior of its forces during protests in Gaza, but Israeli investigations routinely flout international standards and almost never lead to prosecution. As a result, serious crimes against Palestinians generally go unpunished.

In a statement on 8 April, International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda expressed her concern over the Palestinian dead and wounded, recalling that her office had initiated a preliminary examination of the situation in Palestine.

“There is an urgent need for accountability, not only for this latest wave of violence that is characterized by excessive and lethal force by Israel, but also for all those decades of possible unlawful killings, including extrajudicial executions, and other crimes under international law. ”

The protests, known as the “Great March of Return”, began on the occasion of Palestine Earth Day. Protesters are demanding the right of millions of Palestinian refugees to return to their villages and towns that are now in Israeli territory.

The action of the Palestinians is expected to last until May 15, when they commemorate the Nakba, or “great catastrophe”. This day

Gaza Insider

Gaza is wracked by the siege and aggression. They are confined to death, their patients lying in hospitals without medication waiting for a long time, living in houses without electricity, no food or food, and even a drink of clean water and breadcrumbs has become a rare coin. Kill the sword.

In short, the story of the siege, did not exclude the children and adults, living by one and a half million people in the Gaza Strip and twenty, but the tragedies and repercussions of this scale began to indicate a humanitarian disaster has not witnessed the history of modern humanity.

The Gaza Strip experienced its bloodiest day on Friday for years 17 Palestinians were killed and thousands were injured, the majority by live ammunition, during a demonstration involving 30,000 people along the A border zone with Israel.

This day of the “great march back” was undoubtedly the mark of a strategic turning point. The claim itself was not surprising: it was about claiming the Palestinians’ right to return to the lands they lost in 1948, when Israel was created. In Gaza, out of nearly 2 million people, there are 1.3 million refugees.

But this popular movement, which has taken off on social networks, has appealed to all segments of the Gazan population and is designed to last several weeks. Another notable fact is that Hamas’ presence was unobtrusive, at least apparently, last Friday, when Palestinian flags were mostly out. For the historian Vincent Lemire, finally, the date was also well calculated:

“The demonstration was launched on Pesach, the Passover, there was no policy on the Israeli side to react, the military were the only ones present on the ground: result, they defended the border without thinking of the political consequences “analyzes the author of” Jerusalem: history of a world city “at Flammarion.

Gaza shooting

In Gaza, the strategy of the Israeli army implicated by the large number of wounded by bullets

Since the beginning of the “return march”, nearly 1,500 civilians have been wounded while demonstrating unarmed and on the Palestinian side of the fence.

Gaza Insider

Palestinian protesters evacuate a wounded youth during clashes with Israeli troops along Gaza’s border with Israel, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Friday, April 20, 2018. Thousands of Palestinians joined the fourth weekly protest on Gaza’s border with Israel on Friday, some burning tires or flying kites with flaming rags dangling from their tails. Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops firing from across the border fence, health officials said. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

He guesses what they feel. He understands the conditions in which they target, shoot, wound, sometimes kill.

Nadar Weiman was a member of a sniper squad in the Nahal Brigade Reconnaissance Unit between 2005 and 2008. He became an activist with the Breaking the Silence organization, which collects soldiers’ testimonies, he thinks a lot about the shooters deployed along the Gaza border, facing the protesters.

“They are so close to the Palestinians that they can see the expressions on their faces, in the viewfinder. This is up to about 350 meters.

They are lying on the sand hills. They are not hit by projectiles. They can breathe, think. If the rules of engagement say you have to target the leaders, it’s up to them, 20-year-olds, to decide who they are. ”

Since the beginning of the “Great Return March”, gathering every Friday since March 30, thousands of people along the Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers have killed 39 Palestinians. But the most telling is the number of bullet wounds: about 1,500, according to local medical authorities.

Several cases were filmed, nourishing the image effect sought by Hamas. This large number involves, above all, the rules of engagement adopted by the Israeli authorities. Unlike use, non-lethal means are not privileged. According to the army, the wind would reduce tear gas; Rubber bullets and water cannons would be ineffective because of distances.

A sense of impunity
“It’s SCANDAL to shoot children! The United Nations (UN) coordinator for the peace process, Nikolay Mladenov, was killed on Twitter after the death of a 14-year-old teenager on April 20 with a shot in the head. “The lives of Palestinians in Gaza have always been cheaper than in the West Bank.


Gaza Insider

Hollywood star says she is not boycotting Israel, but she will not accept the “Jewish Nobel” to not be seen as endorsing the prime minister

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party on Saturday called the actress Natalie Portman “hypocritical” after she made it clear that she refused to come to Israel to accept a prestigious award known as the “Jewish Nobel Prize”. because she did not want her presence to be seen as a support for Netanyahu, who was to speak at the ceremony.

“What hypocrisy! Natalie Portman talks about democracy, but she supported the V15 organization that attempted, thanks to funding from a foreign government, to sabotage democratic elections in Israel, “said Likud, referring to a group funded by United States who ostensibly tried to overthrow Netanyahu in the 2015 national elections.

Portman would have made a video for V15 – in response to a “Chuck Norris Made for the Likud” video – but it was never released. The State Comptroller has cleared the V15 organization of any inappropriate political interference in the 2015 election, of which he was accused by Likud.

“Portman speaks about human rights, but participates in festivals in countries that censor films and have a record of human rights records far below Israel’s,” Likud added. in the details.

“No excuse will be able to serve. Portman simply refuses to accept the choice of the people of Israel, “said Likud.

Portman, born in Jerusalem, was to receive the Genesis Award in Israel in June and said in a statement Friday night that her reasons for refusing to participate in the ceremony had been “misinterpreted” by some.

“Let me speak on my behalf. I chose not to attend because I did not want to appear to approve of Benjamin Netanyahu, who was scheduled to speak at the ceremony, “she wrote.

I am not part of the BDS
“I am not part of the BDS movement and do not approve of it,” she said, referring to a global movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, led by the Palestinians.

“Like many Israelis and Jews around the world, I can criticize the leaders of Israel without boycotting the entire nation. I love my Israeli friends and family, Israeli food, books, art, movies and dance. ”

The news of Portman’s decision not to attend the event angered some members of the Israeli political class on Friday.

This was due to the fact that on Thursday Portman, through a representative, told the Genesis Prize Foundation that she felt a “deep distress” at attending the ceremony and that she would not feel comfortable participating in public events in Israel.

To further justify his position, Portman said in his Friday statement: “Israel was created exactly 70 years ago as a refuge for Holocaust refugees. But the mistreatment of those who suffer today’s atrocities simply does not fit with my Jewish values. Because I care about Israel, I have to fight against violence, corruption, inequality and abuse of power.

She added that she intended to “privately support a number of charitable organizations in Israel,” which she will soon announce.

She asked not to “give me comments that did not come directly from me”.

The statements of the actress did not specify what events specifically caused her distress.
They could refer to the Israeli government’s controversial efforts to deport tens of thousands of African asylum-seekers to African third countries where their safety may not be guaranteed.

Much of the American Jewish community has disagreed with the right-wing Israeli government in recent years over Israel’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its support for ultra-Orthodox Jews on issues of identity and religious practices, and his position on African migrants.

An Israeli minister wrote to Portman Friday after his decision not to come to Israel to receive the award, telling the Hollywood-born Hollywood star that she had been deceived by Hamas propaganda and urging her to come see the truth on the spot.

Portman initially accepted the $ 2 million prize at a ceremony scheduled for June.

But on Thursday, the foundation said it had been informed by the Portman representative that “recent events in Israel have been extremely painful for her and she does not feel comfortable participating in public events in Israel. Israel “and that” she can not in good conscience participate in the ceremony “.

Portman will no longer be able to choose the recipient of its $ 2 million prize. On the contrary, it is the Genesis Prize Foundation that will decide where the money goes.

“It seems that the events you are referring to are those that took place on our border with Gaza,” Strategic Affairs and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan wrote in Portman.

“Unfortunately, it seems that you have been influenced by the campaign of media misinformation and lies about Gaza orchestrated by the Hamas terrorist group,” he said, inviting him to visit the border, his communities and Israeli soldiers guarding it.

His invitation came the day of other clashes when some 3,000 Palestinians protested along the Gaza border with Israel, burning tires and flying fiery kites on the other side of the border to set fire to the fields. Israelis, said witnesses and the army. Soldiers responded with tear gas and live fire, killing four Palestinians, including a 15-year-old, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health.

“It is not surprising that you have seen media reports that have distorted the truth and portrayed the recent peaceful demonstrations on the border between Israel and Gaza, and Israel’s response as disproportionate,” wrote Erdan. “It is precisely this story that Hamas was hoping to portray when it organized the protests. Unfortunately, it seems that this story designed by Hamas has had an impact on your decision. ”

Erdan said the truth was that Hamas was using “protests as cover to carry out armed terrorist attacks”.

Erdan urged Portman to come see the situation for herself, warning that the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign was “taking advantage” of her attitude.

Earlier, Minister of Culture Miri Regev had criticized Portman, saying she had “fallen into the hands” of the BDS campaign to isolate the Jewish state.

Regev said she was sorry that Portman had “fallen like a ripe fruit into the hands of BDS supporters”.

She added, “Natalie, a Jewish actress born in Israel, joins those who tell the story of the success and wonderful rebirth of Israel as a dark story.”

Calling Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to cancel Israeli citizenship in Portman, MP Likud Oren Hazan described her as “an Israeli Jew who, on the one hand, cynically uses her origins to advance her career and who, d on the other hand, prides itself on having avoided being enlisted in the Israeli army “.