Workers and students stage protests for Palestine

Posted on: November 29th, 2023 by JC
Healthcare workers walkout for palestone at st georges hospital

Healthcare workers at St George’s Hospital rally for Palestine

Several thousand workers and students across Britain joined protests and walkouts for Palestine on Wednesday.

It was the second workplace day of action called by Stop The War, one of the organisers of the London marches.

Over 100 workers and students protested outside Westminster Kingsway College in central London. UCU union members and students at City and Islington College, north London, protested to demand, “Ceasefire now.”

And around 100 held a lunchtime protest outside Tower Hamlets college, east London. Speakers defended the chant, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”—which supporters of Israel smear as antisemitic.

Workers at Stoke Newington School in Hackney, east London, protested outside with Palestinian flags. And NEU union members at the BSix sixth form college in the same borough held signs demanding, “Ceasefire now,” outside.

NEU and Unison union members at a south London nursery school protested outside at the start of the day.

Up to 100 people, mainly college students, attended a STW lunchtime meeting on Palestine in Bury, Greater Manchester. And workers at Bradford college rallied at lunchtime with their UCU union banner.

Around 300 Edinburgh students walked out of lectures for Palestine—the eighth week of walkouts at the university. Members of the EIS, UCU and Unite unions and Edinburgh trades council joined the protest.

A UCU union rep left a staff meeting to join the protest—and gave a speech calling for workers and students to step up action.

At Glasgow university students crashed the graduation ceremony and chanted, “Glasgow uni, shame on you, you have blood on your hands too.”

There was a “die-in” at the London School of Economics (LSE) where students wrapped the university Christmas tree with a massive sign that read, “Ceasefire now.” Students had marched from KCL and SOAS universities to get to the die-in.

Around 150 students walked out of lecture theatres and marched in Birmingham, and another 200 took part in a demonstration at Cambridge university. There were also student walkouts at Leicester and Warwick universities.

Around 25 workers at St George’s Hospital in south London protested outside with Palestinian flags and placards. One health worker, who organised the lunchtime protest, said Israel’s bombing of Gaza is a “crime against humanity and not an act of self-defence”. “We’ve picked our side to stand with the oppressed,” he said.

Health workers at Dorset County Hospital protested at lunchtime alongside supporters of the Islamic Centre and Dorset Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. Workers at Royal Stoke Hospital staged a lunchtime gathering inside, waving a Palestine flag. Staff at the Homerton in east London showed their solidarity with Palestine.

Postal workers in the CWU union at Stansted Airport held up posters that read, “Ceasefire now”.

Around 200 culture workers gathered outside the Southbank Centre in south London. Organisers had stressed the action was “a walkout, a withdrawal of labour and a downing of tools.” And around 30 people attended a protest organised by the PCS union outside the Houses of Parliament.

Some 30 students and workers from the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moore’s university held a protest in university square. Jewish anti-Zionist Saira Weiner—the UCU Left candidate for UCU general secretary—called for union leaders to build the movement for Palestine.

Around 200 students from the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan and Salford universities protested in the city centre. UCU members also joined the protest. Students called out the property company Fisher German, which rents buildings out to the Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems.

The day of action could have been much bigger if the union leaders had pushed for it—but they have been slow at best, an obstruction at worst, over Palestine.

It’s right to take action now and put pressure on the unions to do much more. Everyone should push for whatever action they can win in their workplaces, whether that’s holding up signs inside or a lunchtime protest. If you held up signs inside your workplace this time, can you go further next time? Start talking to people about it now.

And use what action you can get to build support for the more militant action we need—walkouts that defy the anti-union laws and take on Israel’s backers in Downing Street.

Go North East bus strike: keep up all-out action to win more

Posted on: November 29th, 2023 by JC
Striking bus workers on the Unite union picket line at Go North East

Bus drivers on the Unite union picket line in Consett (Picture: Unite North East)

Go North East bus drivers are voting on whether to end their all-out strike after forcing bosses to offer more money. The 1,300 Unite union members began voting on the new pay offer of 11.2 percent on Tuesday. 

Unite leaders have recommended that strikers accept the pay rise, which would see wages go from £12.83 to £14.27 an hour from 1 January next year. There would also be a further rise from 1 July 2024—a minimum of 4 percent or in line with inflation. 

Workers would also receive a 10.5 percent rise backdated to 1 July 2023, and keep the same terms and conditions. 

The indefinite strike has forced bosses to make the inflation-busting offer. But the strikers were fighting for a pay increase in-line with Go North West drivers in Manchester who are on £15.54 an hour. Workers should vote to reject the deal—and strike on for parity. 

Strikers had also been voting on whether to extend their strike. The drivers were on strike for two weeks from 30 September to 20 October before escalating to indefinite action on 28 October. This put immense pressure on Go North East to make an improved offer.

Bosses have tried to undermine the strike with scab labour. City Transport Group is running an hourly scab service in some areas. Go North East has been continuing to run school and some contracted routes, as well as a restored skeleton service in the last few weeks. This is being covered by office workers and managers with bus driver licenses and scabs. 

But strikes have had a big impact, hitting depots in Consett, Gateshead, Hexham, Percy Main (North Shields), Sunderland and Washington.

During the course of the strike, the drivers rejected a 10.3 percent rise by 81 percent on a 93 percent turnout. Workers had backed strikes by 98 percent on a turnout of nearly 85 percent. 

Unite officials and employees protested in London on Tuesday and Wednesday. They targeted the UK Bus Awards and the offices of Govia offices, which has joint ventures with the Go Ahead Group. 

The strikers were right to take all-out action and are right to stay on strike while they vote over the offer. They’ve managed to keep their terms and conditions as well as squeeze the bosses for a higher offer.

They should vote to reject the offer and keep up the strikes to win more. 

A fossil fuel summit

Posted on: November 28th, 2023 by Daire Cumiskey
Sultan al-Jaber is president of the climate summit and the head of the United Arab Emirates' state oil company Adnoc. Photo from World Government Summit

Sultan al-Jaber – president of Cop28 and head of the UAE’s state oil company Adnoc (Picture: World Government Summit)

What do you do if you’re hosting a key climate conference that says it’s about saving the world from the destruction caused by fossil fuels?

If you’re the United Arab Emirates you use your position as the venue for Cop28 to make £175 billion of deals for your oil industry.

The Cop process has always peddled false hopes of change, and protected the fossil fuel corporations. Now that logic has
embarrassingly gone further.

Journalists from the Centre for Climate Reporting obtained documents that included plans for UAE representatives to meet with 27 foreign governments before the conference.

The UAE is the world’s eighth largest producer of oil, which alongside other fossil fuels is the biggest contributor to global

Its oil company, Adnoc, has set aside over £120 billion for expansion in the next five years.

It underlines the Cop process wasn’t set up to save the planet. Instead it has always been where world leaders go to discuss how to maintain fossil fuel capitalism.

And the UAE was one of the first countries in the Middle East to “normalise” relations with Israel and to form a close relationship with the apartheid state in the last three years.

For the UAE and other countries that are locked into a system of imperialist competition, profits come before saving the
planet or opposing war and ethnic cleansing.

And for all the UAE’s corruption, the biggest criminals in that system are the US, Britain and the other Western countries.

Tear down the imperialist system that created Israel

Posted on: November 28th, 2023 by Daire Cumiskey
National protest for Palestine in central London with anti-imperialist placards

Marching for Palestine in central London last Saturday (Picture: Guy Smallman)

The Israeli state and its imperialist backers have relied on two crucial arguments—and both are falling apart.

One claim is that to understand what’s happening in Gaza now, you need only to look at the events of 7 October. In this version, the Hamas assault was impossible to explain except as savage and inhuman bloodlust.

The second is that the scale of the murder in Gaza might be unfortunate, but the victims don’t have the same importance as those Israelis who were killed.

One of the great gains of the last two months of revolt is that many more people know that to understand 7 October, you need to know what came before. You need to know what happened in 1948 when Israel was born in a storm of colonial and racist violence.

The use of murder, intimidation and violence—which drove almost a million Palestinians from their homes as Israel was established 75 years ago—is not some distant memory.

That catastrophe—known as the Nakba—shapes the oppression that Palestinians face today. US and British politicians support for Israeli war crimes is nothing new.

Western powers gave vital support in 1948 and in 1967, when Israel grabbed east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

It underlines how Western imperialism saw Israel as a useful outpost in the Middle East then— just as it does now.

Ruling classes seek to erase such history because it echoes so strongly today. Israel is repeating the ethnic cleansing of 1948 backed by genocidal calls. This is what settler-colonial states do.

The mainstream media doesn’t want to make that connection. But Israel has done it so openly that it has led to vast opposition across the world.

Most of those who’ve taken to the streets know that— although the specifics of truces, ceasefires and prisoner exchanges matter—there is a deeper battle for Palestinian freedom.

The solidarity movement also challenges the second argument about the downgrading of Palestinian humanity and lives. The deaths in Gaza are not some “collateral damage”.

They are as important as anyone else’s deaths, and are outrageous and inexcusable.

As their arguments fall apart, Israel’s supporters are forced back to the claim that those who back the Palestinians are antisemites.

It is the refuge of Israel’s supporters who know they are losing.

But being against Zionism is not antisemitic. Demanding freedom “from the river to the sea” does not call for the elimination of Jews but for an end to apartheid and for a single democratic state.

It is a central part of the drive against inequality, exploitation and oppression across the world. The struggle of the Palestinians should be central for all those who want to tear down capitalism.

And those who back the Palestinians need to be part of confronting that system.

Israel forced to free Palestinian ‘prisoners’ it had taken hostage

Posted on: November 28th, 2023 by Daire Cumiskey
Ramallah 28th Nov, 2023. A Palestinian prisoner is welcomed by friends and family after being released from an Israeli jail, as part of a hostages-prisoners swap deal between Hamas and Israel. Credit: Ayman Nobani/Alamy Live News

Palestinian prisoner released in Ramallah on Monday evening (Picture: Ayman Nobani/Alamy Live News)

Palestinian resistance and global protests at the assault on Gaza have pushed the Israeli state to release some of those it keeps hostage in its jails.

Israel has so far released 150 kidnapped Palestinian prisoners, many of them children, in exchange for Israelis held by Hamas.

Palestinians took to the streets to welcome back those who Israel had stolen from their families.

They waved Palestinian and Hamas flags as they celebrated. Yet even these moments of joy were marred by Israeli terror.

Israeli soldiers fired teargas at families and supporters waiting to greet released prisoners in some places.

Many returnees were teenagers when Israel snatched them for “crimes” including stone-throwing, vandalism and supporting Hamas.

Most were tried by the Israeli army. Adolescent military courts only exist for Palestinian children. There is no equivalent for Israeli children.

In many instances, the children were forced to sign confession documents in Hebrew, a language which many don’t understand.

Israel was also forced to release some of those it says committed more serious crimes, including attempted murder.

Shorouq Dwayyat was arrested in 2016 for allegedly trying to stab an Israeli settler. And Nurhan Awad was accused of stabbing a man with scissors and sentenced to 15 years.

Both have been released. Others now free include leading figures in the resistance and some of those related to them. But thousands more Palestinians remain trapped in Israeli prisons. They too must be freed.

Palestinian prisoners released by Tuesday:
  • Israa Jaabis
  • Fadwa Nazih Kamel Hamada
  • Aisha Yousef Abdullah Afghani
  • Nurhan Awad
  • Shorouq Dwayyat
  • Anwar Safi Ahmed Atta
  • Raja Asaad Raja Abu Qayas
  • Omar Mohammed Abdul Rahim Shweiki
  • Hamada Saed Mustafa Abu Samra
  • Ibrahim Walid Ibrahim Taamra
  • Muhammad Yassin Tayseer Sabah
  • Ahmed Ali Mohammed Al-Sabah
  • Ibrahim Samir Ibrahim Sabah
  • Murad Fouad Abdel Latif Dar Atta
  • Ahmed Walid Mohammad Khashan
  • Shaker Ali Shaker Salem Ballout
  • Wael Bilal Shaker Masha
  • Tariq Ziad Abdel Rahim Dawood
  • Abdul Rahman Mohammed Saleh Hourani
  • Marwah Yasser Rateb Khreimieh
  • Abdulhadi Essam Mohammed Kamil
  • Saddam Amjad Majid Taqatqa
  • Jihad Tawfiq Jihad Yousef
  • Mohammed Ayman Abdel Rahman Araissi
  • Mustafa Mazen Hussein Shehadeh
  • Izz al-Din Anan Hassan Sudani
  • Shadi Mohammed Deeb Abu Adi
  • Yassin Omar Ezzat Hanafia
  • Yousef Mahmoud Salem Sabteen
  • Mohammed Tariq Salim Hawashin
  • Abdul Karim Anwar Zahir Al-Saadi
  • Samed Khaled Mahmoud Abu Khalaf
  • Ahmed Gharib Ahmed Khalil
  • Wissam Marwan Abdel Salam Tamimi
  • Muhammad Nasr Fawzi Sawalmeh
  • Yazan Jabr Abdul-Jabbar Al-Hasanat
  • Muhammad Nizar Nimr Abu Oun
  • Khaled Mohammed Masarwa
  • Yousef Mohammed Mustafa Atta
  • Qusai Hani Ali Ahmed
  • Jibril Ghassan Ismail Jibril
  • Mohammed Ahmed Suleiman Abu Rajab
  • Ahmed Noman Ahmed Abu Naim
  • Baraa Bilal Mahmoud Rabi
  • Aban Iyad Mohammed Saeed Hammad
  • Hatem Mousa Abu Aram
  • Iyad Abdul Qadir Muhammad Khatib
  • Laith Othman
  • Muhammad Mahmoud Ayoub Dar Darwish
  • Jamal Khalil Jamal Brahmeh
  • Jamal Yousef Jamal Abu Hamdan
  • Mohammed Anis Salim Turabi
  • Abdul Rahman Suleiman Rizq
  • Rawan Nafez Mohammed Abu Matar
  • Marah Bakir
  • Malak Muhammad Yusuf Suleiman
  • Amani Khaled Noman Hashim
  • Nihaya Khader Hussein Sawan
  • Fairuz Fayez Mahmoud Albu
  • Mohammed Abu Seria
  • Palestine Farid Abdul Latif Najm
  • Walaa Khaled Fawzi Tangier
  • Mariam Khaled Abdul Majeed Arafat
  • Aseel Munir Ibrahim Al-Titi
  • Azhar Thaer Bakr Assaf
  • Raghad Nashat Salah Al-Fani
  • Fatima Noman Ali Badr
  • Rawda Mousa Abdel Qader Abu Ajamiya
  • Sarah Ayman Abdul Aziz Abdullah Al-Suwaisa
  • Fatima Ismail Abdul Rahman Shaheen
  • Samira Abdel Herbawi
  • Samah Bilal Abdul Rahman Souf
  • Fatima Bakr Mousa Abu Shalal
  • Hanan Barghouti
  • Fatima Nasr Mohammed Amarneh
  • Zeina Raed Abdo
  • Noor Mohammed Hafez Al-Taher
  • Adam Aboudeh Hashn Ghaith
  • Salah al-Din Muhammad Salah Hadra
  • Omar Ibrahim Omar Abu Mayala
  • Muhammad Muhannad Muhammad Abu Homs
  • Montaser Mahmoud Hatem Al-Shousha
  • Abdel Aziz Essam Mohammed Abu Samra
  • Yousef Abdullah Odeh Al-Khatib
  • Ahmed Bashar Juma Abu Alia
  • Nadim Mohammed Hussein Abu Arrah
  • Abdul Aziz Ahmed Shaher Maatan
  • Alaa Mohammed Rushdi Maatan
  • Mohammed Sameh Jawdat Suleiman
  • Abdullah Akram Mohammed Khalil
  • Jawad Tawfiq Yousef Kamil
  • Khalil Firas Khalil Heikal
  • Khaled Abu Asab
  • Muhammad Ghazi Murshid Muhammad Ghazi Salhab
  • Ahmad Nazih Deeb Abu Adi
  • Ayham Mahmoud Musa Nakhleh
  • Salah Omran Mohammed Salah
  • Dajana Mahmoud Musa Attoun
  • Yazan Hussam Ali Abu Qubaita 
  • Hamza Saleh Mohammed Dawood
  • Khaled Mahmoud Al-Alami
  • Yahya Nasrallah Mustafa Asida
  • Mohammed Ghazi Mohammed Nazzal
  • Yanal Haitham Amin Dar Saleh
  • Meshaal Nimr Nayef Bani Jaber
  • Yazan Ayman Abdel Fatti Bani Jaber
  • Mohammad Hani Rateb Haimouni
  • Yasmin Taysir Abdulrahman Shaban
  • Nafuz Jad Aref Hamad
  • Ataf Youssef Mohammed Jarradat

Israeli prisons deny food, water and medicine

Posted on: November 28th, 2023 by Daire Cumiskey
Damon Prison, located on Mount Caramel in Haifa
December 2010

Some prisoners have been released from Damon Prison (Picture: Hanay)

Palestinians returning from Israel talk of horror in the prisons. Laith Othman, a 17 year old from Ramallah was released last week. Soldiers detained him earlier this year on suspicion of throwing an incendiary device.

From the shoulders of supporters that carried him, Othman said, “The feeling of being freed is indescribable. But my happiness is incomplete because many prisoners are left behind.

“The situation inside the jails is really bad. They banned us from leaving the cells. The food was really bad. They kept us hungry.

“They threaten us that if we celebrate upon our release, they will put us back in jail.”

The state has subjected prisoners to even harsher repression since the 7 October attacks, handing over control of prisons to the military. That led to a worsening of already intolerable conditions.

The head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Authority, Qaddoura Fares, said prisoners were being subjected to “starvation and thirst”.

“They are prevented from accessing and obtaining medicine, specific medicines for male and female prisoners suffering from chronic diseases that require and need regular medication,” he said.

He added that physical attacks by prison guards on prisoners had increased, with many inmates reporting broken hands and limbs.

Women in the prison, in Haifa, hit back earlier this month. Guards denied them water and electricity and stopped visitors. Prisoners then threatened hunger strikes if prison guards didn’t restore these.

Shot on way to school then jailed for 8 years

Marah Bakir spent eight years of hell in Israeli jails after being arrested as a teenager.

She spoke out to reporters after her release last week. “It is very difficult to experience freedom and to be released in exchange for the blood of the martyrs of Gaza, and in exchange obtained by the great sacrifices of our people in Gaza,” she said.

Bakir was jailed at just 15 years old in 2015. She was shot by Israeli police on her way home from school, causing permanent damage to her arm and hands.

In a video that went viral at the time, Bakir is seen on the floor in a pool of her blood, surrounded by police officers. The cops then watched her bleed and shouted vile abuse at her as she wept on the floor.

To try and justify their attack on her, officers said Bakir had tried to stab them. Courts then sentenced her to over eight years in prison.

Bakir said authorities denied her surgery, leaving her in constant pain. She was also denied family visits.

While she was still held hostage by the Israelis, Bakir became the elected representative for the women prisoners of Damon prison.

But after the 7 October attacks, prison guards locked her in solitary confinement and stopped her from contacting her family or lawyers.

Sentenced without evidence

Israa Jaabis spent over eight years in prison for a crime the Israeli state had no proof she committed.

In 2015, Jabbis lost control of her car beside the al-Zayyim checkpoint in Jerusalem, leading to an explosion.

The Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer said a fault in the car had caused a gas cylinder to blow up. But the Israelis never investigated what had happened to Jabbis’ car.

Instead they said that Jabbis had tried to blow herself and the car up by the checkpoint. For over 15 minutes, Jabbis was forced by Israeli soldiers to lie on the pavement beside her car as her body burnt.

In 2018 Jabbis appeared in court to appeal against her sentence. She told the reporters after, “Is there a pain greater than this?

“I don’t receive treatment. I have no fingers. I have been here for two years. I don’t see any justification for why I am here in prison.”

Jaabis was one of those released last week.

Oldest resistance prisoner returns

Hanan Barghouti is the oldest Palestinian prisoner released by Israel. Her family is well known to the resistance.

Her brother Nael is the longest serving Palestinian political prisoner. After her release, she told crowds, “We are the owners of this land, Israel are the terrorists, they are the ones who took our land.

“They’re persecuting us, and that’s how they create resistance inside us.

“Resistance, keep going—despite the bloodshed, despite the destruction, despite the homes that have been destroyed—you’ve given us dignity.” She wore a Hamas headband as she spoke to crowds.

Barghouti was arrested in September of this year. The Israeli Ministry of Justice would only say that she constituted a risk to “state security”.

She was placed in prison without charge or a trial and subject to indefinite extensions to her imprisonment.

Round-up: Union leaders must do more to beat Amazon

Posted on: November 28th, 2023 by Yuri
Amazon strikers in hi-vis jackets picket in the rain in Coventry

Coventry Amazon strikers are fighting heroically but need strike to spread across company

Hundreds of Amazon workers took to picket lines in Coventry on last week’s Black Friday — one of the internet retailer’s busiest days. Workers in the GMB union formed solid picket lines and argued with colleagues to join the union and not go into work. They also blocked the road and refused to allow delivery and distribution trucks onto the site.

Strikers were joined by solidarity delegations from the international UNI Global Union network, including striking teamsters’ from California. Also on the picket line were delegates from Germany’s Verdi union and Amazon CGIL union strikers from Italy.

Jessie Moreno, a teamster Amazon delivery driver from Palmdale, California, said, “This isn’t just a US fight. This is a global fight, so we are happy to come here to support our brothers and sisters in the GMB. We have to stand together across the world. If we do so, we can and will win.”

The UNI Global Union brought the international delegations together as part of its “Make Amazon Pay” campaign. The network said there were some 150 actions against Amazon in more than 30 countries last Friday. That includes strikes in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the US, as well as the walkout in Coventry.

GMB general secretary Gary Smith promised “solidarity from the GMB national union.”

But he argued that Amazon’s weak link was not strikes, but the tens of millions of pounds it made from the public sector contracts on Amazon Cloud. And, he said the GMB would push politicians to withdraw those contracts if the firm refused to recognise the union.

International support is welcome, of course. But to be effective, it must come alongside a stronger campaign of strikes in Britain. The only way to win a £15 an hour wage for Amazon workers is through strikes here in Britain, not by relying on action elsewhere.

Smith says the government and public bodies could use their purchasing power to pressure Amazon into conceding union recognition and better pay. This is nonsense. He has no power to make this happen.

Certainly, the Tories are not going to give in to such a demand, but who would trust Keir Starmer’s Labour to do so? Smith’s tactics are a diversion from what is needed.

Victory can only be achieved by spreading the dispute to other Amazon fulfilment centres. Amazon activists must organise themselves to push for the campaign they want. They need to organise meetings in their workplaces and push for strikes themselves.

This is a historic battle, and it can be won—but not if it’s left in the hands of the union leaders.

Richard Milner

Top docs should reject the Tories’ poorly pay deal

A new offer to NHS consultants in the BMA union is designed to choke off one of the few remaining battles from the 2022-23 strike wave. It would see many senior doctors in the health service receiving an extra increase from January, on top of the 6 percent annual rise they have already been given this financial year.

It’s a highly complicated deal, but the one figure anyone needs to know is that the government is putting just an extra 4.95 percent into the pay pot. The in-year pay increase will actually only cost the government 3.45 percent, after the BMA agreed to end one of the merit awards systems consultants can get to top up their basic pay.

The amount individual doctors collect will vary from zero to nearly 13 percent. And the next increase would not be until 2024-25.

The offer comes after consultants in England struck for nine days—the last one was in early October. The BMA was expected to consult with members soon with a result in January. It has agreed to call no further strikes until then.

The union’s leadership is not making a recommendation on the deal. But it’s not telling them to reject it. The offer is a result of the strikes. Without them, there would have been no improvement.

But is a long way short of the consultants’ claim. They should reject it. The government is also in negotiation with the much larger group of junior doctors over pay. They have been involved in numerous walkouts over the past year, but no deal has yet been offered to them.

Against Mini Imperialism

Lorry drivers at the BMW Mini plant in Oxford entered their third week of strikes and overtime bans. The Unite union strikers are battling sub-contracted delivery company Imperial Logistics.

Imperial is threatening drivers with a 20 percent pay cut for a minimum of 19 weeks next year, while BMW rejigs its production lines. Rather than absorbing the loss, Imperial wants to offload the financial hit onto the drivers, deducting a day’s pay per week from their wage slips.

To rub salt in the wound, the company has reputedly offered its office staff an 8 percent pay rise. Imperial has something of a track record. Management have provoked three industrial disputes in the last 18 months. In a classic divide and rule move, Imperial drivers are on four different contracts.

Imperial’s parent company, DP World, made profits of £4.5 billion last year. But bosses there are same ones that sacked workers at P&O Ferries and replaced them cheaper and more vulnerable foreign workers.

Pickets have been buoyed by excellent news of other union action at the Mini plant. According to shop stewards, another Mini plant employer’ s plant workers may soon enter the fray. They have won a ballot for strikes that could start next Monday. If many hundreds of Rudolph and Hellman’s workers walked out that would likely force the plant to close during the strikes.

Visit picket lines at the Oxford Mini plant this Thursday, 7am-12 noon, and again on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday next week.

Geoff Taylor

Israeli terror state itching to unleash more horrors on Gaza Strip

Posted on: November 28th, 2023 by Isabel
Destruction from Israeli bombs in Gaza

Destruction from Israeli bombs in Gaza (Picture: Wikicommons/ Norsk Folkehjelp Norwegian People’s Aid)

Hamas and Israel agreed another two days of truce at the beginning of this week. But Israel’s leaders also threatened to return to the mass killing afterwards. The truce has revealed the extent of the damage done already by Israel, as well as the scale of the human emergency in Gaza.

Hundreds of dead bodies still lay decomposing on the streets, especially around hospitals that had been held under siege by Israeli troops. The assaults on hospitals and healthcare facilities have brought Gaza’s healthcare system to breaking point. Last week Israeli tanks, bombs and snipers attacked the Indonesian hospital and damaged the building so severely that it may never open again.

Only one hospital in the north of Gaza, the Kamal Adwan Hospital, was still receiving patients on Tuesday. Over 80 of those being treated at the hospital desperately needed to be transferred to a better-equipped one. But doctors said this is only possible if Israel agreed to extend the truce.

Patients Professor Ghassan Abu-Sittah, who was treating patients in Gaza, told a press conference that he believed Israel’s attempts to destroy medical services were always part of their plan. “The creation of an uninhabitable Gaza Strip was the aim. The destruction of all the components of modern life at which the health system lies was the main military objective,” he said.

Disease and illness were spreading among those who had been displaced. Those in the north of Gaza only received fresh water on Monday of this week. Water sources have been a target of Israel’s, and it has destroyed many desalination plants and water wells. This has forced people to drink from unsafe water sources, leading to a spike in diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases.

Israel’s attacks have also collapsed food systems that sustain the people of Gaza. Palestinian farmers are struggling to keep their livestock alive due to a lack of water. They have no choice but to abandon their crops because of a shortage of fuel used to pump irrigation water.

And the Israeli bombardment has destroyed many of the shops and markets where Palestinians bought their food. Hundreds of thousands will now be completely reliant on aid. Tamara Alrifai, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said, “If there are no commercial goods in the stores, what we’re doing effectively is actively turning an entire population into a population that exclusively relies on food aid.” 

While the truce allowed for more aid to reach Gaza, the number of aid trucks allowed to cross the border was still half the number that reached it before the war. Israel has let in around 85 tonnes of cooking gas in the last four days, but this has been nowhere near enough. Its brutality has forced Palestinians to burn any wood they can find to both cook food and stay warm.

‘Everything is destroyed. We can’t take it anymore,’ displaced Gazans say

The number of people in Gaza that Israel has displaced is now more than it expelled during the 1948 Nakba, which saw 850,000 Palestinians forced from their land. Over 1.7 million people are displaced within Gaza—around 80 percent of the population.

The Palestinian minister of health said that more than 56,000 Palestinians are also homeless following Israel’s attacks.  Many of those Israel has forced from their homes are descendants of those who were displaced by the state in the first catastrophe. 

Israel’s latest round of slaughter has rained down for more than a month. With the bombing temporarily paused, Palestinians were able to return to their homes. Many discovered that Israeli bombs had turned them to rubble.

Oussama al Bass returned back to his home in Al-Zahra, south of Gaza City. “I came to see if there was anything left, or if there was anything I could salvage. We fled with nothing,” he said as he looked at the ruins of his home. “It’s nothingness, everything is destroyed, everything is lost. We’re tired. That’s enough. We can’t take it anymore.”

Israel is purposefully still starving, killing and injuring as many Palestinians as possible.  But it’s doing more than just slaughtering. It’s also set on destroying anything that sustains Palestinian life, or can support the people who have stayed alive.  Drones captured the levels of destruction in the south of Gaza City.

Israel had flattened residential towers in the Al-Zahra neighbourhood. In the Al-Shati refugee camp, where 90,000 people used to live in a tiny area, Israeli bombs had destroyed countless homes. In almost every part of Gaza, there are similar images being released of neighbourhoods reduced to nothing. 

Bombs have damaged most of the mosques in Gaza, and destroyed public buildings, such as the Rashad Al-Shawa Cultural Center in the Al-Rimal neighbourhood. Israeli tanks have even destroyed trees and targeted places Palestinians use for leisure.  The scale of Israel’s assault should never be forgotten.