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Trial of Anti-Apartheid Protesters

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UK CRIMINAL TRIAL EXAMINES EXPORT CO. CARMEL AGREXCO\'S COMPLICITY IN ISRAELI APARTHEID Defendants in UK criminal court case to be joined by Israeli academic Uri Davis in the call for an economic boycott of apartheid Israel.

Seven Palestine solidarity protesters from London and Brighton were arrested on 11th November 2004 after they took part in a non-violent blockade outside the UK base of an Israeli agricultural export company Agrexco (UK) Ltd, Swallowfield Way, Hayes, Middlesex.

Agrexco is Israel\'s largest importer of agricultural produce into the European Union, and it is 50% Israeli state owned. It imports produce from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The protestors will face trial at Uxbridge Magistrates Court, between the 23rd January to 2nd Febuary 2006. They are each charged with two offences under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. Section 68: (Aggravated Trespass) and Section 69: (Failure To Leave Land). The defence team will be advised by Palestinian QC Michel Abdel Massih of Tooks Chambers.

The protesters will argue as a defence that they were acting to prevent crimes against international law, that are also offences in the UK under the International Criminal Court Act. The defendants will argue that these offences are being supported by Agrexco (UK) .

THE BLOCKADE

In a well planned operation, using wire fences and bicycle D-Locks the protesters succeeded in blockading the Agrexco (UK) distribution centre, blocking all motor vehicle traffic in and out of the building for several hours before being arrested.

THE TRIAL

One of the Israeli expert witnesses in the trial, Dr Uri Davis, will be calling for a boycott of apartheid Israel at a press conference and public meeting on Weds 25th January along with defendants of the trial. They will be joined by Sue Blackwell, who recently spearheaded the AUT campaign in the UK for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions.

Other witnesses at the trial will include Professor George Joffe (Centre for International Studies, Cambridge University) and Palestinians affected by the occupation who will be present in court to give first hand testimony about the effect of Agrexco\'s business in the occupied Jordon Valley.

BACKGROUND

Carmel-Agrexco is 50% owned by the state of Israel, and imports produce from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. At the same time Israeli forces have blocked Palestinian exports on grounds of \'security\'.

Israeli state sponsored settlements have appropriated land and water resources by military force from Palestinian farmers in a deliberate policy of colonial settlement.

In a hearing in September the judge ruled that Agrexco (UK) must prove that their business is lawful.

Before taking part in this action many of the defendants had witnessed first hand the suffering of Palestinian communities under the brutal Israeli occupation, having served as volunteers with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), documenting human rights abuses by the IDF in the West Bank and Gaza, and taking part in non-violent civil
resistance to the occupation organised by Palestinian civilian committees.

The international campaign to boycott Israeli goods is growing across Europe. In December 2005 a whole region of Norway voted to cut economic relations with Israel. The US administration has threatened \'serious political consequences\' against Norway if the boycott should develop into a national policy.

EVENTS RELATED TO THE TRIAL

Monday 23rd January 2006. 1 - 2: pm
PALESTINIAN MEAL AGAINST APARTHEID AND DABKA (Traditional Palestinian dancing) (Press Photo Op) OUTSIDE UXBRIDGE MAGISTRATES COURT (Uxbridge Tube)

Wednesday 25th January 2006. 6.30pm - 7.30pm
PRESS CONFERENCE
ULU, Room 2c, Malet Street, LONDON WC1
with Uxbridge Seven Defendants, Dr Uri Davis and Sue Blackwell

Wednesday 25th January 2006. 7.30pm -
PUBLIC MEETING: \'WHY WE NEED TO BOYCOTT APARTHEID ISRAEL\'
ULU, Room 2c, Malet Street, London WC1, SPEAKERS INCLUDE DR URI DAVIS,
SUE BLACKWELL, LENA GREEN, GHADA KARMI, AND ONE OF THE UXBRIDGE 7


NOTES FOR JOURNALISTS

DR URI DAVIS is a Palestinian-Hebrew citizen of Israel and the UK, He was born in 1943, when Palestine was still undivided and his autobiography, published in 1995, is entitled \"Crossing the Border: an autobiography of an anti-Zionist Palestinian Jew\". For over thirty years, he has worked to expose the truth about Israeli \"democracy\". He is probably best known for his book, \"Israel: An Apartheid State\" (Zed Books) and its sequel \"Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within (Zed Books) which
analyses Israeli legislation establishing that Israel is little short of a herrenvolk democracy -- a state which offers first-class rights only to those recognised as \'Jews\'. He is an anthropologist who, in addition to a PhD in Philosophical Anthropology, also holds a BA in Arabic and Philosophy and an MA in Philosophy. Dr. Davis is an honorary research fellow at the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (IMEIS) in
the University of Durham and at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS) in the University of Exeter.

PROFESSOR GEORGE JOFFE is a visiting professor in Geography at Kings College London, and lecturer at the Centre for International Studies at Cambridge University. Prof. Joffe is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on the Middle East politics in the UK, being widely published in academic journals, as well as quoted in mainstream print, television and radio journalism.

The professor was one of a handful of experts invited by PM Tony Blair to give advice about the effects of a possible Iraq war before it took place. Prof. Joffe has been outspoken in his criticism of the decision to go to war, as well as Israel\'s expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank.
He says in a report commissioned for the Uxbridge case; \"There is no doubt that, under international law, the complex of settlements, interlinking road systems and the Separation Wall are considered to be illegal. Many aspects of them are illegal under Israeli domestic law as well.\"

SUE BLACKWELL is a lecturer at Birmingham University. She will speak at the press conference and public meeting in support of the defendants call for a boycott of Apartheid Israel. Sue Blackwell spearheaded the AUT motion to boycott Bar Ilan because of violations of the 4th Geneva Convention in the illegal settlement of Ariel, Haifa University because of its attacks on academic freedom when a student\'s thesis exposed a massacre of Palestinians, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem because of its evictions of Arab families to expand its student accommodation.

For information on the web about the growing economic boycott of
Israel see:
IMC UK
http://www.indymedia.org.uk
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/11/301360.html
STOP THE WALL
http://stopthewall.org/worldwideactivism/803.shtml
ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4161.shtml
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article4162.shtml
PSC
http://www.palestinecampaign.org
THE BIG CAMPAIGN
http://www.bigcampaign.org/
ISM London
http://www.ism-london.co.uk
ISM Palestine
http://www.palsolidarity.org
(ENDS)


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