Sunday, 8 March 2009

Sussex Students Blockade Carmel Agrexco!

Press Release: Carmel Blockaded in Jayyous Solidarity Action

At around 6:30 this morning a group of students from Brighton locked themselves to Carmel Agrexco, the Israeli state owned export company, toprotest against their complicity in the illegal annexation of the WestBank and the repression of students in the Palestinian village of Jayyous.Carmel Agrexco grows and imports agricultural produce (including fruit,vegetables and flowers) from illegal settlements in the West Bank whichare then sold in supermarkets such as Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco andmany others. As such, companies such as Carmel Agrexco are responsible forthe systematic annexation of Palestinian land.In these settlements workers, including children, are known to work inslave-labour conditions, with low wages, inadequate access to food andwater, and no contract. Furthermore, the settlements have not only stolenland, but use up much needed agricultural resources such as water.This action has been done in response to a callout for boycott, divestmentand sanctions against Israel, after the events of 18th February andonwards in Jayyous. On this day, occupying Israeli Defence Force soldiersinvaded the town of Jayyous, where regular protests have been held againstthe building of the apartheid wall, which will annex 5,585 dunums (558.5hectares) of land from the town, much of which is to be used for theexpansion of the illegal settlement, Zufim.75 soldiers and 25 army jeeps invaded the town in the early hours of themorning, conducting house to house raids: throwing sound-bombs at housesbefore forcing families out at gunpoint and ransacking their houses. Atleast 75 people were arrested, the vast majority students, including theentire student Stop the Wall Committee. Those arrested were taken to aschool that the army had turned into a detention centre. Most of thepeople were blindfolded and handcuffed and all were forced to sit instress positions. They were not allowed to eat, drink or talk to eachother as they were taken in for interrogation one by one. They were heldfor as much as 19 hours and 15 young men were taken to Huwarra militarybase on unknown charges. Bulldozers were then brought in which createdblockades at the entrances to the town and the population were put undercurfew for 18 hours.Since then, the village has been invaded two further times, on the secondtime a half-day curfew was imposed on the town. Residents have also beenthreatened with home demolitions.James Robinson, one of the protestors, said “the situation in Jayyous isdemonstrative of the systematic human rights abuses perpetrated againstthe Palestinians for the expansion of the settlements which Carmel Agrexcosupports and profits from”.Press Contact: Katie Phillips 07774083705