Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thousands of Israelis protest the Gaza war in Tel-Aviv

Some 7,000 Israelis on Saturday evening protested the war in Gaza under the banner: “No more deaths – Israeli-Palestinian peace, now.” The protest took place in Rabin Square in central Tel Aviv. Slogans chanted by the protesters included “Stop the war,” “Bring the soldiers back home” and “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.”

Speakers included Hadash MK Dov Khenin; an Israeli and Palestinian veteran from the organization Combatants for Peace, Yifat Solel, the head of the Meretz party’s anti-occupation forum; Professor Eva, President of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design; author Odeh Bisharat, former Hadash secretary and Dr. Julia Chaitlin, a lecturer at Sapir Academic College in Sderot and resident of kibbutz Urim, near Gaza. A member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Israel, and union organizer, Alon-Lee Green was the presenter. Channel 2 noted that left-wing Zionist party Meretz as well as the Peace Now organization had opted not to take part in the rally.

Ben Kfir of the Parents’ Circle, whose daughter was killed in a Hamas suicide bombing in 2003, also spoke, refuting the government’s claim that there is no partner for peace among the Palestinians. The speakers criticized the government for its attitude toward peace negotiations, and for resorting to war as a default policy. Demonstrators called for an end to the occupation and the siege on Gaza, and lit candles to commemorate the victims.

Roughly 300 extreme right-wing counter-protesters were on the scene trying to sabotage the main demonstration. A large police presence circled the square in order to keep the sides separate. Eight were arrested.

The invitation to the peace protest read: “On Saturday, the peace camp takes a stand at Rabin Square. The war is taking a heavy toll in lives and injuries on both sides, in destruction and horror, in bombings and rockets. We answer this by taking a stand and making a demand: end the war now!”

“We must end the war and start talking with the recognized Palestinian leadership of the West Bank and Gaza to end the occupation and the siege and to achieve independence and justice for both peoples – in Israel and Palestine.”

“Instead be being drawn, again and again, into more wars and more military actions, it is now time to lead the way to dialogue and a political settlement. There is a political solution. What price must we pay – the people of the South and the other residents of Israel, and the people of Gaza and the West Bank – until we reach that solution? Together, Jews and Arabs, we will overcome occupation and war, hatred, incitement and racism – and offer a path to life and hope.”

Memorandum submitted by the four Left Parties to the Honourable Punjab Governor.

A Delegation of four Left Parties, the CPI, CPI(M) , CPM Punjab and CPI( ML) Liberation met Honourable Punjab Governor and submitted him a Memorandum requesting him to not to give his assent to the Black Bill ' THE PUNJAB PREVENTION OF DAMAGE TO PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PROPERTIES BILL-2014' got passed in the Punjab Assembly by the Akali- BJP coalition government. This bill bans all types protests, march, demonstration and strikes etc without prior permission against the government for genuine and justified demands of the people.
This bill was earlier also passed in the year 2010 but was withdrawn in 2011 under pressure of strong protests from the public.

A copy of the Memorandum submitted by the four Left Parties to the Honourable Punjab Governor.

His Excellency, Shri Shiv Raj Patil,
Governor of Punjab,

Subject : Request for not giving assent to ‘The Punjab Prevention of Damage to Public And Private Property Bill – 2014 ‘ adopted by Punjab vidhan Sabha.

Honourable Sir,
With due regards the four Left parties: Punjab State units of CPI, CPI(M), CPM Punjab and CPI (M-L) Liberation wish to submit to your kind honour as below on the above cited subject for your kind consideration and favourable action.
* That the Punjab Assembly has adopted a Bill ‘The Punjab Prevention of Damage to Public and Private Property Bill- 2014.’ The bill has been submitted to your office for your assent.
* That provisions of this bill are an attack on the fundamental democratic political rights and liberties of the people provided under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. It curbs their voice of organized protest against the anti people policies of the government and other legitimate and genuine grievances, articulated by their organisations.
* That it may be recalled that this draconian bill was got passed by the Akali- BJP Government in the Assembly on October 12, 2010 also. But following strong public protests, it was withdrawn in the Assembly on October 9, 2011 while it was still at the stage of ratification by the Honourable President.