Flying the flag for Palestine
July 10, 2015 by Grace Franklin
Scottish efforts to highlight the illegality and horror of Israeli action against Palestine are having effect around the world. But more can be done. That was the message from a meeting of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign tonight (Thursday 9 July 2015) in Glasgow.
West Dunbartonshire Councillor, Jim Bollan of Alexandria, said flying the Palestinian flag from the Council buildings last year had people ‘queuing round the block’ to take photographs. The Council’s unanimous decision to do that highlighted the suffering of the people of Gaza who were under bombardment from Israel at the time. ‘People got involved, posted it on facebook and social media and showed there can be no peace in Palestine without justice,’ said Councillor Bollan. ‘West Dunbartonshire was the mouse that roared. There was a crazy reaction around the world.’
Former air transport engineer in Gaza, Waseem Abuaglain, said the Palestinian flag being flown on the West Dunbartonshire council building was well received by people in Gaza. ‘When I talked to family and friends there, they were happy because it showed that people outside care. That is a really important message.’
Both speakers emphasised the need for the world to know about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Said Councillor Bolland: ‘More than 520,000 families have been displaced, 20,000 homes destroyed and 244 schools damaged by Israeli attacks. The slaughter continues but both the United States and the UK say nothing. The West stands back and allows this to happen.’
Said Waseem Abuaglain who ‘restarted life’ in Scotland: ‘Electricity is now only available for six hours a day – it was eight. Supplies of everything are only a fraction of what is needed because of the restriction on lorry coming in.’
He said that a three minute warning can be given for a rocket attack but it takes more than that time for people to get out of some of the buildings and get out of the area being attacked. He instanced a family home of five storeys which was flattened. ‘That is only one of thousands of houses destroyed. The people cannot ‘move on’ with their lives. They can only continue to live on top of the rubble for there is no place to go. Gaza is a time bomb, now,’ he said.
He also detailed how the airport – where he once worked – has been destroyed by Israeli attacks. ‘This was a civilian airport with commercial flights from many countries. Not only is it destroyed now, the farms round about it are also destroyed. Israeli bulldozers dug up the runway which cost $60 million.’ He commented that Israeli fears of ‘security’ at the airport were unfounded because the Israelis themselves controlled the security.
Glasgow City Council’s Nice surveillance system which is used in the city centre, was developed by Israel in Gaza and includes the most advanced face recognition techniques. ‘It is a disgrace that it is being piloted in Glasgow,’ said Councillor Bolland. ‘This needs to be challenged.’
Dr Karen Bett who is treasurer of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and who chaired the meeting in Renfield St Stephen’s chapel, said: ‘Scotland by its actions shows that we can change things. We show that Palestine matters.’
The Campaign believes that concerted actions and international pressure including boycott, divestment and sanctions could result in justice and peace in Palestine in the same way such efforts brought an end to apartheid in South Africa.
More information: www.scottishpsc.org.uk a