Masafer Yatta is a rural area in the south of the occupied West Bank. It is home to 12 Palestinian communities, consisting of over 1000 Palestinians including 500 children. Palestinians have lived here since long before Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967.
Israel has been trying to steal this land since the 1980s. On 4th May 2022, after more than 20 years of legal battles, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that the Palestinian communities of Masafer Yatta be forcibly removed from this land.
This is a war crime under international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention states that a population under occupation (such as the Palestinians) cannot be forcibly transferred by the occupying power (Israel).
This is also one of the largest forced expulsions of Palestinians since the Naksa of 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza.
This latest move is part of apartheid Israel’s broader strategy to steal more Palestinian land to make way for further illegal Israeli settlements. Over 600,000 illegal Israeli settlers now live on land that has been stolen from Palestinians across the occupied West Bank.
We can help the Palestinian families of Masafer Yatta stand up against this ethnic cleansing. Write to your MP today to ask the Foreign Secretary to apply sanctions on Israel until it stops violating international law.
Campaign coverage in the news:
Is BDS illegal now?
The Queen’s Speech on Tuesday 10th May was about the right of public bodies (e.g. councils) to practise BDS.
However, it’s really important that we stand up for public bodies’ right to practise BDS. Otherwise, we might find that in the future it becomes illegal for individuals to practise BDS too.
So what happened in the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday 10th May?
The Queen’s Speech is where the government sets out its plans for the year ahead.
Prince Charles said that the government wants to introduce laws “prevent[ing] public bodies engaging in boycotts that undermine community cohesion”.
This means that the government want to make it illegal for public bodies to boycott, divest and sanction. The government would do this through an “anti-BDS Bill”.
Why should you sign the petition?
Putting pressure on the government and challenging them is a way to change the course. History has shown us this. The announcement could be a step to criminalise BDS as a whole. If we don’t push to prevent the new laws now, it could eventually affect our individual right. It is therefore important we make a stand and show we do not agree with this legislation by signing the petition in the action tab above.
We intend to hand this petition to Downing street in four weeks.
Al-Aqsa mosque was attacked 7 times in the space of 10 days last month, and these attacks have continued since.
On Friday 15th April, in the middle of the holy month of Ramadan, Israeli Occupation Forces brutally assaulted Palestinian worshippers including women, children and the elderly. They used tear gas, sound grenades and steel-coated rubber bullets. Journalists and medics were also violently assaulted, and worshippers were interrupted during prayer to be forcibly removed.
While Palestinians were being barred and attacked, Israeli Occupation Forces facilitated over 700 illegal Israeli settlers to roam freely around Al-Aqsa. These Israeli settlers want to build a sacred site on Al-Aqsa, and their visits are known as incursions.
Over the last few years, the number of incursions at Al-Aqsa and attacks on Palestinian worshippers have rapidly increased, particularly around the holy month of Ramadan.
These attacks on Al-Aqsa and Palestinian worshippers have continued into May. If this was happening at any other holy site, the world would be in uproar! Instead global governments are silent.
We demand these brutal and illegal actions be condemned. Email your MP now to publicly condemn these attacks and call for sanctions on Israel. (Use the action tab above)
Asda are selling ‘ASDA Extra Special Medjoul Dates’ in stores and online. These dates are labelled from Israel.
Israel is an apartheid state that continues to illegally occupy Palestine. Dates grown in Israel are most likely from Israeli settlements, settlements are built on land stolen from Palestinians and are illegal. Israel has a long history of violating international law, specifically the Fourth Geneva Convention, and it also has a long history of committing war crimes against the Palestinian people.
As we have seen with Russia’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine, companies must not be complicit in the breaking of international law. Asda must stop selling these dates from Israel.
What can you do?
- Email Asda’s Co-Owner requesting they stop selling the Israeli dates ‘ASDA Extra Special Medjoul Dates’. Please use the action tab above.
- Boycott these dates. As we shop for Ramadan, we encourage you not to buy these dates. Let’s not break our fast with dates from stolen land.
Identifying and combatting antisemitism is really important. FOA rejects all forms of discrimination, prejudice, hostility or violence against Jews as Jews (or Jewish institutions as Jewish).
Antisemitism is a significant and ongoing problem, and FOA is committed to recognising and calling out all forms of racism.
The IHRA definition of antisemitism is not fit for purpose because it conflates criticism of the policies and practices of the Israeli state with antisemitism.
This infringes on the political rights of peaceful campaigners who highlight the illegal occupation of Palestine and the apartheid policies and practices of the Israeli state.
The IHRA definition includes a 39-word working definition of antisemitism as well as accompanying examples. It is the accompanying examples that conflate criticism of the state of Israel with antisemitism.
For example, one of the accompanying examples of antisemitism is‘claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor’.
The racist nature of Israel was highlighted in 2019 by previous Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu when he stated that ‘Israel is not a state of all its citizens… Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people – and only it’.
The present Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is also on record claiming ‘I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life and there’s no problem with that’.
Since 1948, Israel’s racist ideology has characterised its policies and practices.
Today there are over 65 discriminatory laws against those who are not Jewish.
To address this and many other human rights violations by Israel, individuals must have the right to highlight them without being branded antisemitic.
Showing discrimination and prejudice by the state of Israel is not the same as discrimination, prejudice, hostility or violence against Jews as Jews (that is antisemitism).
The apartheid state of Israel must not be exempt from being called to respect the human rights of the Palestinians.
Amnesty’s Secretary General Dr Callamard explained that Palestinians are treated as ‘an inferior racial group’ and ‘Israel’s cruel policies of segregation, dispossession and exclusion… amount to apartheid’.
Amnesty’s report marks a consensus among international human rights organisations that Israel is practising apartheid.
For decades, Palestinians have stated that Israel is imposing apartheid from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. In 2021, Human Rights Watch and leading Israeli NGO B’Tselem confirmed this in their reports that exposed Israel’s apartheid system.
Amnesty’s report is 280 pages long and it is based on 4 years of extensive research.
We need to know where our MPs stand on apartheid. As the late Desmond Tutu said, to be neutral in situations of injustice is to choose the side of the oppressor.
Write to your MP using the action tool above to ask two simple questions:
1) Do you support Amnesty International’s report?
2) What steps are you taking to #AbolishApartheid?
Apartheid, persecution and occupation have characterised the state of Israel since its creation in 1948. With the backing of leading international human rights organisations, we must maintain pressure on our MPs to #AbolishApartheid.
UPDATE: Aqsa Week 2023 to be held Monday 13th Feb – Sunday 19th Feb
Aqsa Week is a global initiative to promote the love of Masjid Al-Aqsa.
It is an incredible week for people around the world to create conversation and raise awareness on the centrality of Masjid Al-Aqsa as well as the plight of the Palestinian people. The week includes workshops, talks, activities and shareable content for adults and children, all under the banner of #LoveAqsa.
Similar to previous years, we are calling upon university societies, families, mosques, work places, halaqas, local councils and parliaments around the world to hold events under the banner of #LoveAqsa.
Here are potential ideas of areas your events could cover:
- What is Al-Aqsa?
- What is the history and significance of Al-Aqsa?
- What are the dangers, including human rights abuses, faced by Al-Aqsa and the Palestinians?
These events should also recognise other oppressed and colonised people. Aqsa Week should be used to teach Muslim and non-Muslims of the great heritage of Masjid Al-Aqsa and how to support occupied people across the world.
Last year the event garnered support from various countries and organisations as well as from Palestine itself.
For resources please click on the links below:
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill significantly threatens one of our most basic rights in this country: the right to protest. It first emerged as a response to environmental protests, but it now threatens all protests across Britain.
The Bill includes a range of measures that will make standing up for what you believe more difficult. This includes Palestinian human rights.
Under the proposed Bill the police will be able to shut down any protest that is too disruptive, Stop and Search anyone who might be carrying equipment for a protest and ban certain individuals from any sort of protest. It also includes provisions against locking-on and blocking highways to major routes and motorways.
Certain aspects of the Bill were rejected by the House of Lords in January 2022, so the Bill will now return to the House of Commons to be amended by MPs. We are urging MPs to do all within their power to fight this repressive legislation and protect our right to protest.
Protect the right to protest and raise your voice for Palestine: write to your MP now and urge them to oppose this repressive legislation as a matter of the utmost importance.
For decades, Israel has taken more and more land from Palestinians in Jerusalem, even though Palestinians have lived in Jerusalem for generations. One of Israel’s main methods is the demolition of Palestinian homes to make way for illegal Israeli settlements.
The homes of thousands of Palestinians are under threat. In the al-Bustan area of Silwan in East Jerusalem, over 1500 Palestinians face unlawful home demolitions. In May 2021, the struggles of families in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem made the headlines. #SaveSheikhJarrah is no longer trending, but the struggle continues. In November 2021, the families of Sheikh Jarrah said no to a ‘compromise’ by Israel that their homes be demolished in 15 years. In Lifta, a Palestinian village which has previously faced ethnic cleansing, Israel plans to build luxury homes on stolen Palestinian land.
Since 2004, almost 1000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed by Israel. Sometimes, Palestinians are even forced to demolish their own homes. In August 2021, 17-year-old Ali Burqan was killed whilst demolishing his family home.
According to Israel’s plans, another 6000 illegal settlements are going to be built in East Jerusalem. This must stop. Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes to make way for Israeli settlements is illegal under international law and there must be sanctions on Israel. Write to your MP now to #SaveJerusalem.
Many of us aren’t familiar with the term ‘administrative detention’. But as of November 2021, there were 500 Palestinians suffering from this in Israeli prisons. Administrative detention is when Palestinians are arrested by the Israeli occupation forces and held indefinitely without charge or trial, on the grounds that they might commit an offence in the future.
Numerous human rights organisations have condemned Israel’s use of administrative detention. Israel frequently uses this to target human rights activists, university students, mothers of detainees and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Palestinians can be held without charge or trial for months or even years.
This is illegal: Israel’s use of administrative detention is a form of collective punishment, which is prohibited under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Like other Palestinian prisoners, prison conditions for administrative detainees are appalling. They are subjected to arbitrary beatings, solitary confinement, limited family visits and medical negligence.
This is an ongoing problem which requires urgent action: according to Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, since March 2002 not a single month has gone by without Israel holding at least 100 Palestinians in administrative detention.
We call on MPs to publicly condemn this disgraceful treatment of Palestinians. Write to your MP now to stop Israel imprisoning Palestinians without charge or trial.
UK universities invest £450 million in companies complicit in the oppression of Palestinians. We call on British universities to divest from and end their partnerships with Rolls-Royce PLC, BAE Systems, Booking.com and Hewlett Packard.
Divestment (the withdrawal of investment) sends a powerful message to a company that it should change its ways.
We also call on universities to end their partnerships with these companies: whether it’s the Rolls-Royce Centre at Sheffield or Nottingham’s ‘academic partnership’ with BAE Systems.
Why are we asking British universities to sever their ties with these companies?
- As one of the largest arms producers in the world, Rolls-Royce PLC manufactures parts of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. These are used by Israel to attack civilians in Gaza. In May 2021, four high-rise buildings in Gaza City were attacked. Amnesty says these attacks must now be investigated as war crimes.
- As another of the world’s largest arms producers, BAE Systems works with Lockheed Martin and Israeli company Rafael to make the naval Protestor drone. This is used to maintain the blockade of Gaza, which amounts to collective punishment, breaching the Fourth Geneva Convention.
- Online travel agency com advertises accommodation in illegal Israeli settlemenyts. Booking.com has at least 45 hotel and rental contracts in these settlements. This accommodation is built on the former homes of Palestinians, whose expulsion has been deemed a war crime by the United Nations. For sources, please click here and here.
- By providing the technology for the control systems in Israel’s checkpoints, Hewlett Packard (HP) plays a direct role in denying Palestinians Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. HP also has contracts with the Israeli prison system, despite their ‘severe’ violations of children’s rights according to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Find your university above and email them to end their complicity in the occupation of Palestine.
Students from over 30 universities took part in FOA’s Day of Solidarity on Campus [Monday 29th November 2021].
Check out these videos of support from students calling their institutions to #Divest4Palestine.
In October, Israel designated six important Palestinian human rights organisations as terrorist groups. This is an extremely concerning attack on Palestinian civil society. These organisations record human rights violations, strengthen democracy and protect children, women and farmers in occupied Palestine.
Israel’s decision has been denounced by the UN and leading human rights groups. UN experts have described it as an ‘attack… on human rights everywhere’ and Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have said it is ‘appalling and unjust’. It is a worrying attempt to silence those whose work exposes the apartheid policies of Israel*.
What can I do?
1. Ask your MP to unreservedly condemn Israel’s designation of Palestinian human rights defenders as ‘terrorist groups’ by releasing a statement of support with the six organisations.
2. Support the six organisations. Engage with their work on social media and share your support for them using #StandWithThe6
The 6 Palestinian organisations:
*https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=27702&LangID=E and https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/10/israel-opt-designation-of-palestinian-civil-society-groups-as-terrorists-a-brazen-attack-on-human-rights/#Palestine **https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution