Forwarded alert: Manchester University Students’ Palestinian Human Rights Motion

Forwarded alert: Manchester University Students’ Palestinian Human Rights Motion

Forwarded message

Dear All,

Please help Manchester University Students in supporting the motion that
is going to be presented on Wednesday 27th FEb at 1.30pm. Its a Palestinian Human rights motion.

If you have any contacts with MPs please tell them about it and ask them to write to the university explaining WHY they support the motion. This request needs to be acted upon URGENTLY. If you can call the university on Monday morning, do it, if you can’t call then email somebody, if you can’t email someone to help then come down to Manchester University on the 25/26/27th of Feb between 11am and 3pm and help with the publicity campaign. We need to show that this is truly an effort to stand up against oppression, human rights violations and discrimination!!

The motion has no intention of inciting anti semitism, and is based purely on the human rights violations that have been carried out against the Palestinians. Sources are taken from the Independent, Ha’aretz, Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, Rabbis for human Rights, the Israeli human rights group BT Selem and many other credible organisations. The intention of the motion is to make it union policy to campaign for the rights of the Palestinian people, and to recognise the fact they have been living under oppression for over half a century. If more than 50.01% of students at the meeting vote for the motion this WILL HAPPEN. However this can only happen with your help and support.

I urge you to write to the following people as quickly as possible, and
encourage others to do so. The more support we get the better!!!
Contact details are below.

Please make the following points when you call, e mail or write: –

– The motion is about the Student Union to acknowledging the human rights abuses by Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian people, and that Israel is a racist state due to it’s discriminatory laws against Palestinians living IN Israel

– The motion is not about Israel’s right to exist

– It is not about vilifying Jewish students nor about banning the Jewish
society. Indeed the motion mentions “That both Jews and Arabs are outraged by the actions of the Israeli government. Attempts to make this a religious conflict are both irresponsible and cowardly. Both Jews and Arabs must join forces to condemn these crimes against humanity.”

– That you support the motion, for its stand against injustice.

1. Vice-chancellor’s office
University of Manchester
Oxford Road
M13 9PL
0161 275 2000 (switchboard) Ask for the Vice-chancellor.
Jackie Furby (secretary)

2. Owain James
07977 980 853
He is the president of the National Union of Students, NUS, and has said that this motion is a serious threat against the Jewish students.

3.Max Curtis
07811 370 589
Antiracism Secretary of the NUS.

4. Vic Silcock, 0161 275 2952
General Manager of the Manchester University Student Union

5. Linda Devesa, 0161 275 2950
Deputy General Manager of Manchester University Student Union

6. Andrew Perfect, 07931 545 795, 0161 275 2942
General Secretary of Manchester University Student Union. He is elected.

Text of the motion

MOTION 1- Human rights abuses against the Palestinians; the Israeli Apartheid Regime: We are witnessing the most systematic violations of basic human rights of the Palestinians since the apartheid of South Africa.

Proposer: Omayma Al-khaffaf
Seconder: Richard Farrow

” What if we had supported the apartheid regime of South Africa against the majority black population? What if we had lauded the South African leadership as “hard-line warriors” rather than racist…There’s not much difference between Gaza and the black slums of Johannesburg; and there’s not much difference between the tactics of the Israeli army…and that of the South African Police…Fear of being slandered as “anti-Semites” means that we are aiding and abetting terrible deeds in the Middle East.
[Robert Fisk, The Independent Newspaper, 17th April 2001 page 5, ‘When Journalists refuse to tell the truth’]

This Union Notes:

1. “The state of Israel……… will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race and sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, language, education and culture…… and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations,”
[The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, Official Gazette; number 1; Tel Aviv 14.5.1948]

2. The definition of a Semite is: a member of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language including in particular the Jews and Arabs” The Oxford Dictionary.

3. On the 10th December 1948 the General Assembly of the UN adopted a Universal Declaration of Human rights. These are accepted rules and constitute general principles of law or represent elementary considerations of humanity. Israel became a member of the UN on 11th may 1949 and is therefore subject to the Charter.

4. A UN resolution in October 2000 by the Commission on human rights highlighted the concern of the commission at “the widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights perpetrated by the Israeli occupying power….measures which constitute war crimes, flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and crimes against humanity.”


1. The word apartheid is a word from the Dutch Afrikaners word derived from the root ‘apart’ meaning ‘separate’ and ‘heid’ meaning ‘hood’

2. Israel was a supporter of the apartheid system in South Africa, despite sanctions placed on South Africa by the West. “It happily supported the apartheid regime” in South Africa (17th April 01, The Independent.)

3. “I watched in despair as Israel formed itself into another South Africa, trying to defend the indefensible, accusing anyone who disagreed of being ignorant and biased. And I will not be told that criticism of Israel is just a matter of politics, bias, commercial allegiances and anti-Semitism.” Mathew Lewin (Dec7th The Independent)

4. “I am a black South African, and if I were to change the names, a description of what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank could describe events in South Africa.” Archbishop Desmond Tuto, Nobel laureate, observes during Christmas visit to Jerusalem, December 25, 1989. From Israeli daily Ha’aretz, cited in Palestine

5. The NGO Forum accused the state of “systematic perpetration of racist crimes including war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing.” It called Israel “a racist apartheid state in which Israel’s brand of apartheid as a crime against humanity has been characterized by separation and segregation…and inhumane acts.” The declaration was adopted by 3,000 NGOs in 44 regional and interest-based caucuses. (Reuters 2nd Sept 01)

6. “Marks and Spencer supports Israel with $233 million in trade every year.” (Jerusalem Report, 5th June 2000). ” Marks and Spencer sales of Israeli Imports last year amounted to £240 million.” (Jewish Chronicle, 8th December 2000.)

7. “1.Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in Association with others”
“2. No-one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.” Article 17 UN Human Rights Charter.

8. Israel has continued its policy of annexation through means of establishing and expanding settlements, confiscation of property, transferring Israeli settlers into and deporting Palestinian civilians from the occupied territories. A report stated the actions of Israel have violated their obligations as a party to the Geneva Convention

9. ” Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to it.” Article 13

” Everyone has the right to a nationality.” Article 15

10. In April 1948 the Israeli terror squads massacred 254 Palestinians in the village of Deir Yassin. Within a few days half a million Palestinians fled their country. Deir Yassin was one of hundreds of ‘land-clearing operations’. The first President of Israel called it a ‘miraculous clearing of land’.

11.Palestinian refugees make up the largest portion of the refugee population in the world. Two-thirds of the Palestinians are refugees and are not allowed to return home. Israel has not allowed any of the 30,000 Palestinians evicted from west Jerusalem to return to their properties and has redistributed thousands of Palestinian-owned homes in Jerusalem to its own citizens.

12. The fourth Geneva Convention forbids forcible transfer of civilians out of an occupied territory and the movement of the civilian population, of the occupying power, into that territory.

13. The Right of Return expresses the will and the determination of the Palestinians refugees to return to their homes. Right to return has a solid foundation in international law. Article 13 (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) state ‘everyone has the right to leave any country including his own, and to return to his country’.

14. “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.” Article 13 UN Human Rights Charter.

• “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment” Article 23

• “Everyone has thee right to education.” Article 26

15. The territories are consistently closed off as a means of control. Amnesty international expressed concern at the stringent blockade, sometimes including humanitarian goods, of Palestinian towns and villages ordered by the Israeli government.

16. Palestinians are unable to work, to move around freely, and to attend school, to get to hospitals or to obtain water. Inequalities exist in health and education.

17. “Loss of land, restricted water use and limited access to markets are 3 reasons for the inability of Palestinians to expand their agriculture. The labor force is dependant on the Israeli economy; Israel introduced an apartheid system without having to formalize it for the Palestinians had separate geographical and political status.” (David McDowell, The Minority Rights Group)

18. “The Palestinian economy is a servant to Israel’s economy. Palestinians cannot export independently. Closures constitute a stranglehold on the Palestinian economy” (David McDowell, The Minority Rights Group)

19. Schools suffer grossly inadequate facilities. Israeli Arab children lack both sufficient or equal education.

20. Israel allots only 15% of water among all Palestinians. Allowances of resources such as water have been refused to Palestinians civilians, notes the report by the Special committee, “the deliberate policy of economic pressure, such as uprooting of trees, tax raids and administrative harassment has continued.”

21. “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.” Article 7 the UN Human Rights Charter.

• ” No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention ore exile.” Article 9

• ” Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal against him.” Article 10

22. “The Israeli security forces who carry out the extra judicial executions offer no proof of guilt, no right of defense. The Israeli authorities are showing an utter disregard of the right to life,”said Amnesty International

23. Contrasting sentences between Israelis and Palestinians reflect a “deeply rooted culture of discrimination against Palestinians, which permeates the Israeli justice system” Amnesty International said. “People have the right to be treated equally under the law, regardless of which community they come from, yet this clearly does not apply in Israel.” 15/4/01

24. Israel disregards legal process by administrative detention and demolition of family homes for unproven crimes against the state. There has been a lack of regard for the legal rights of the Arab population and also the practice of torture and ill treatment has been common practice during legal processing in Israel.

25. “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” Article 3.

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Article 5 UN Human Rights Charter.

26. Numerous forms of physical violence and ill treatment have been routinely and systematically used against the civilian population. These include:

27. Indiscriminate shootings with live ammunition or rubber-coated bullets by the Israeli army and by armed Jewish settlers.
o Indiscriminate shootings account for 39% of total injuries
o Live ammunition account for 20% of total injuries.

28. Use of illegal weapons against civilian targets including:
o Artillery
o Gas
o Incendiary and cluster bombs and Automatic weapons and anti-Armour (LAU) missiles

29. “Israel is using overwhelming military might against civilian communities. It is blockading Palestinian towns, bombing neighborhoods, and demolishing homes, orchards, and crops, leaving innocent people without food or access to medical care.” Rabbis For Human Rights

30. Israel allows for the arbitrary detention of any Palestinian civilian for up to 6 months without trial. There is no minimum age for arrest or detention and thousands of Palestinians, including children, have been illegally detained.

31. Obstruction and outright denial of access to medical treatment are daily occurrence at the checkpoints

32. Collective punishment can be severe and includes
o Imposition of curfews and sieges on entire villages or urban centres, often for prolonged periods of time
o Raids, home demolitions, blanket closures of schools and universities, and the destruction of property, including agricultural and private land and the uprooting of trees and crops.
o For the past several years, East Jerusalem has been placed off limits to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, despite its economic, social and religious importance to the Palestinian population.

33. “The right to life and to physical integrity is the foundation of all other human rights. The loss of human life is irreversible,” said Amnesty International

34. “Israel security forces appear to have used indiscriminate lethal force on many occasions when their lives were not in danger. We have been saying for years that Israel is killing civilians unlawfully by firing at them during demonstrations.” Amnesty International
35. “The types of weapons used to disperse demonstrators are lethal and should only be used for armed battles, not for maintaining order and security during demonstrations. There is little or no adherence to international standards or even to the guidelines issued by the Israeli occupation forces.” LAW, (Human Rights Organisation)

36. In the first three months of the uprising LAW observed 10,535 injuries, including 2,129 injuries from live ammunition.

37. LAW documented 6,060 of these injuries, of which 57% were hit in the upper parts of the body.504 (41.3%) of the cases documented involved children and only 4% were members of Palestinian security forces.

38. Article 2 of the 1979 UN code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials provides that law enforcement officials shall “respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons” in the performance of theory duties.

39. The official guidelines issued to Israeli troops, “a soldier shall not use firearms against persons except in self-defence or defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury.”

40.Many Palestinians have been killed away from clash points: 18-year-old Areej Al Jabali who was killed as she was hanging out the washing on the roof of her home.

41. Between 2000 and June 2001, over 500 Palestinians have been killed and more and more than 24,000 injured by the Israeli army and settlers.

42. The killing of Mohammed al-Durrah was condemned by the international community.

43. The Guardian reported , “his father, who was hit by eight bullets, had waved desperately at the Israelis on the other side of the junction to let his son live, but the 15 craters in the patch of wall where they were trapped make it plain that the Israelis directed their machine guns on the pair. Rami became their target. So did the ambulance driver who was shot dead when he tried to reach the boy. ”There was still some breath left in him when the he reached the ambulance, but when we opened the doors, they started shooting again.” Said Bassam al Bilbays, who was riding with the medic.’ October 2000

44. Israel’s prime minister who is being regarded as a war criminal is under investigation by the Belgian courts for his involvement and responsibility for the massacre at Sabra and Shatila in 1982.

45. Nearly 20 years ago the man who is now Israel’s Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, sent Lebanese militiamen into the Palestine refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla. When they left 36 hours later at least 800 people lay dead after a rampage of murder, torture and rape. In Israel itself 400,000 people took to the streets in the largest demonstration the country had ever seen. Ariel Sharon was forced to resign as Israel’s defence minister (17 June 01 BBC)

46. The complaints against Sharon are admissible says Brussels public prosecutors office accusing him of crimes against humanity and genocide during the 1982 Sabre and Shatila massacres.The lawyer representing the survivors, said there was, “sufficient evidence to convict those responsible,” adding that “the facts into is case undeniably reveal crimes against humanity”

47. The subsequent Israeli Kahan Commission report stated that Israeli troops surrounding the camps knew what was happening.

48 The Israeli government allows its ministers to voice racist remarks. Israel’s tourism minister referred to Palestinians working and living illegally in Israel as “lice” and a “cancer.” “They arrived here and are trying to become citizens because they want social security and welfare payments,” Zeevi told the radio. “We should get rid of the ones who are not Israeli citizens the same way you get rid of lice. We have to stop this cancer from spreading within us.”

49. The United States used its veto at the UN Security Council to block a resolution calling for international monitors to be sent into West Bank and Gaza


1. International norms and law including UN resolutions should remain guiding principles for all people.

2. “Lethal force should never be used when lives are not in danger” Amnesty International “only if full investigations are made into every killing will human life once again be given a value in Israel and the occupied territories.”

3. “If Palestinians were black, Israel would be now a pariah state subject to economic sanctions led by the United States. Its development and settlement of the west bank would be seen as a system of apartheid, in which the indigenous population was allowed to live in a tiny fraction of its own country, in self administered ‘Bantustans’ with ‘whites’ monopolising the supply of water and electricity. (Observer London Oct 5th 2000)

4. Israel should be pressed to enact laws which offer equal opportunity for both Jews and Arabs.

5. End all means of institutional discrimination, allocating resources on the basis of equality regardless of ethnic identity.

6. Anti-Zionism or criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism.

7. Allow participation of the Palestinian Arabs in all sectors of national life, including government positions, councils and employment.

8. There should be an international investigation into the violence and killings against the Palestinians. The European union must provide international protection, including troops and observers for Palestinians facing Israeli forces.

9. That both Jews and Arabs are outraged by the actions of the Israeli government. Attempts to make this a religious conflict are both irresponsible and cowardly. Both Jews and Arabs must join forces to condemn these crimes against humanity.

10. The Rabbis for Human Rights, like other organizations, bring human rights violations to the public’s attention. They defend the rights of the people and help rebuild the houses that the Israeli government destroys.

11. More than 100 combat reservist soldiers signed a petition saying they would not serve in the occupied territories as commands given had “the sole purpose of perpetuating our control” over the Palestinians. “We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people,” it stated. In September, more than 65 Israeli teenagers signed a letter to the Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, saying that they would refuse to do compulsory military service because of the “aggressive and racists policies of the Israeli government and army”. ( The Independant 1st feb)

12. A total of 94 citizens of Israel have signed a statement expressing support for the various resolutions put at the world conference against racism in Durban, South Africa, denouncing Israeli apartheid. The signatories are either Jewish citizens of Israel, designated to be the beneficiaries of Israel’s inequality, or Palestinian citizens of Israel, designated as its victims.

13. Israeli forces have used excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force against Palestinian civilians.

14. The Israeli government has violated the articles of the UN human rights charter and is therefore subject to legal action.

15. The parties to the fourth Geneva Convention should abide by their obligation under Article 1 and ensure Israelis adherence to the Convention’s provisions pertinent to the territories under belligerent occupation.


1. The Israeli government should immediately stop the excessive and indiscriminate force and collective punishments against Palestinian civilians.

2. The establishment of an international investigation committee based on the United Nations Security Council resolution of Oct 7 2000, to investigate the violations of international humanitarian law committed by the Israeli forces inside the occupied territories

3. Businesses such as Marks & Spenser, selling Israeli goods and contributing financially towards Israel are aiding the Israeli apartheid regime.

4. Selfridges are carrying a range of goods produced on Israel’s illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. These are labeled “Made in Israel” in contravention of EU excise and customs regulations. These settlements have been built on land expropriated from the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. These are illegal under international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.

5. A boycott of these businesses and Israeli goods will send out the positive message that the international community will not tolerate racism, an apartheid system or violations of human rights by any peoples, governments or organisations. This action was taken against South Africa and had positive results.

6. That peace can only be achieved once the Human Rights of all Palestinians are respected, and that third party mediators, observers and a protection force are provided for the Palestinian people to prevent any further abuses of these inalienable rights by Israel.


1. Israel’s violations of international law, particularly UN resolutions. Israel’s policy of willful killing is also a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and is subject to prosecution.

2. The willful killing of Mohammed Al-Durrah, aged 12, shot dead on 30th September while taking cover with his father and all such killings.

3. The imprisonment of Jewish Israeli settlers, who have defended the rights of the Palestinians, including that of Rabbi Arik Asherman arrested while protesting against demolition of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem on 4th April 2001.

4. The unprecedented escalation of Israeli human rights violations against Palestinian children. Palestinian children have been the most severely affected experiencing violations of virtually every right embodied in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

5. The Israeli government, which stands in defiance of 69 UN Security Council Resolutions.

6. The Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for his involvement in the genocide that took place at the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.

7. The massacres of the Palestinian people at Dir Yassin and Sabra and Shatila and the Israeli involvement in these massacres.

8. All forms of racism, ethnic cleansing and anti-Semitism directed at any group of people irrespective of religion or ethnicity.


1. To promote the boycott of companies whose profits are being used to prop up the Israeli apartheid regime and whose products are manufactured on illegal Israeli settlements.
2. Join the national BIG campaign (Boycott Israeli Goods) and boycott Organisations and companies who facilitate and encourage these human rights violations. This campaign was launched in Parliament by George Galloway. Businesses include:
-Marks and Spencer

3. To launch a letter writing campaign to local MPs and leaders including the British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, demanding an investigation into human rights violations against the Palestinians by the Israeli authority.

4. Commemoration and awareness days for the forgotten victims of genocide at Dir Yassin and Sabra and Shatilla.

5. To create a weekly column in Student Direct which is devoted entirely to reporting Human Rights issues across the world.

6. That all members of the executive and council are mandated to write to MPs and organisations such as the UN and NUS at least once every semester to show support for the presence of third party mediators, observers and a protection force for the Palestinian people. Alongside this, they must support a petition to be circulated to the membership of the union urging all parties involved to unsure the protection of the Human Rights of the Palestinian people in the afore-mentioned ways.

7. Raising awareness and understanding on campus through awareness days and weeks.

8. The establishment of a Human Rights Secretary on Union Council and collective.

9. Promote the principles of the UN charter of Human Rights.

” Human Rights are your rights. Seize them. Defend them. Promote them. Understand them and insist on them. Nourish and enrich them. They are the best in us. Give them life.”

Kofi Annan, Human Rights day 10th December 1997.

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