This is what Ontario teachers are doing:
Petition to the Board of Directors of the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board
We, members of the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, ask the Board of Governors of the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board to initiate the process that will make the necessary changes in legislation and investment policy which would enable the Plan to:
1. Immediately divest from the following five companies in its portfolio: Lockheed Martin, Finning International, Cement Roadstone Holdings, Siemens AG, and MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates;
2. Become a signatory to the Principles of Responsible Investment Initiative;
3. Divest from, as well as refrain from investing in, any company that contributes to violations of human rights or international law by:
– directly profiting from, or contributing to, the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem;
– providing products or services that contribute to the construction and maintenance of Israeli settlements and/or the Separation Wall, both of which are illegal under international law;
– providing products or services that contribute to or enable violent acts that target civilians.
Knesset Member Yariv Levin, of the right-wing Likud party, together with the pro-settlement group The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, are currently working on an “anti-subversive” bill aimed at anarchists and supporters of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
If approved the law would allow Israel’s Interior Ministry to bar international activists from entering Israel. The law would apply restrictions to anyone who acts against Israel, denies the Holocaust, works to boycott Israel and/or attempts to place Israeli leaders on international trial for what they did in the line of duty, reported Arutz Sheva.
“The suggested legislation would apply to anyone who incites against the country, carries out verbal or physical attacks, organizes hostile activities or tries to interfere with foreign diplomatic and trade relations,” the news daily reported.
“The aim of the bill is to give the country the tools to deal with hostile elements that work against Israel from within the country and who endanger the security of Israeli citizens as well as foreign trade and diplomatic ties,” explained MK Levin.
“Many people why call themselves call themselves ‘peace activists’, along with all other Israel-haters who often are called ‘human rights activists,’ often act against the rights of Israeli citizens and are free to travel in the country without any restrictions,” added Nochi Eyal, director of the Legal Forum.
This is not the first anti-freedom of speech bill aimed at those critical of Israeli policies.
In summer 2010 the Knesset began hearings on a “Boycott Bill” that was meant to discourage participation, particularly by Israelis, in boycotts of Israel.
Under the new law, any group could sue for damages of up to NIS 30,000 from anyone who launched a boycott against them, or incited for boycott, without having to prove that damage was indeed caused, according to the Israeli news daily Haaretz. An additional sum could then be demanded once damages were proven.
The proposal has yet to move past the initial hearing phase.
The family of Jawaher Abu Rahmah mourns during her funeral in the West Bank village of Bilin, 1 January 2011 (Oren Ziv/Activestills)
The following edited press release was issued by the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee on 4 January 2010:
Since yesterday, the Israeli army has been promoting in the Israeli media a mendacious version regarding the events that led to the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah of Bilin on Friday, 31 December 2010. According to the army’s version, Jawaher was not injured by tear gas and was possibly not even present at the demonstration. The army spokesperson did not see fit to publish an official statement on the matter, instead passing the information to the media in the name of anonymous “army sources.”
The facts of the matter — which are supported by the testimony of eyewitnesses who were present at the demonstration, as well as by the ambulance driver who evacuated her to the hospital — contradict completely the army’s version:
Soubhiya Abu Rahmah, mother of Jawaher: “I was standing beside Jawaher on the hill that is near the place where the demonstration took place, when we were injured by a cloud of tear gas. Jawaher began to feel unwell from inhaling the gas and started to move back from the place; soon after that she vomited and collapsed. We took her to the nearest road, and from there she was evacuated by ambulance to the hospital, where she remained until her death. She was not sick with cancer, nor did she have any other illness; and she was not asthmatic.”
Ilham Fathi: “I was on the roof of my house, which is located a few meters from where Jawaher stood. When the cloud of tear gas moved in our direction, I went downstairs in order to close the windows. While I was closing one of the windows, I saw her lose consciousness from the gas and ran over to her, together with Islam Abu Rahmah, in order to pull her away. We picked her up together and carried her to my garden. We called for help and she began to vomit and foam at the mouth.”
Islam Abu Rahmah: “I was standing with Jawaher, her mother and my grandmother in order to watch the confrontation that was going on just in front of us, in the area of the fence. The wind moved the gas in our direction, making our eyes itch and tear up. After that she [Jawaher] began to cough and foam at the mouth. Soon after that she became weak and lay down on the ground. I succeeded in carrying her as far as the Abu Khamis home, about 40 meters in the direction of her house, but then she became terribly weak, vomited violently and foamed at the mouth. She was having difficult breathing and lost her sense of direction. We got a few women to help her by waving a paper fan over her face in order to provide some oxygen. After that she was taken to the hospital.”
Saher Bisharat, the ambulance who evacuated Jawaher: “We received Jawaher near the entrance that is parallel to the fence, which is where the demonstration was taking place. She was still partially conscious, answered questions, and said that she had choked on gas. I took her straight to the hospital” (See the Palestine Red Crescent Society report).
The army has also claimed that the reports about Abu Rahmeh’s injuries started to arrive only several hours after the incident, in the evening. That claim is contradicted by a tweet sent by the nongovernmental organization Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which reported the injury of Jawaher, including her name, in real time (see JVP’s Twitter feed). The tweet was sent at 2:36pm (4:36 am on the West Coast of the United States). Wafa, the Palestinian news service, published a report that includes the injury of Jawaher Abu Rahmah shortly after the event (Four civilians injured and Israeli journalist arrested in Bilin march“).
Also according to “army sources,” which remain anonymous, Jawaher Abu Rahmah suffered from a serious illness, possibly leukemia; the “sources” postulate that she died from a pre-existing condition rather than tear gas inhalation. Several sources reject that claim.
Dr. Uday Abu Nahlah: “Jawaher Abu Rahmah was employed in my home on a regular basis. On Thursday she was at work as usual, healthy, only one day before her death.”
Jawaher had an inner ear infection, which affected her balance, for which she was recently given a CT scan. The radiologist who performed the CT scan, Dr. Hamis Al Sahfi’i, confirmed that the brain scan was normal (see the CT scan results). Jawaher had a minor health issue involving fluids in her inner ear. Her physicians insist that she did not suffer from any illness or from any symptoms that might, if combined with tear gas, lead to her death.
There is not, nor could there be, any indication that Abu Rahmah had cancer; in fact, she was in good health. The director of the hospital refutes the claim that she died from a pre-existing condition:
Mohammed Aida, director of the Ramallah health center where Abu Rahmah received her care: “Jawaher Abu Rahmah died from lung failure that was caused by tear gas inhalation, leading to a heart attack. She arrived at the hospital only partly conscious, and then lost consciousness completely” (See the hospital’s official medical report [PDF]).
Mohammed Khatib, a member of Bilin’s Popular Coordinating Committee: “The army is trying to evade its responsibility for Jawaher’s death with lies and invented narratives that have no basis. They are spreading these lies and invented narratives via the media, which is not bothering to do basic fact checking. Our version is supported by named sources and with medical documents. In a properly functioning society, the army’s version, which has been spread by anonymous sources, would not be considered worthy of publication.”
Archaeologists have found some ancient tools on the Greek island of Crete which they believe might be evidence of one of man’s earliest sea voyages.
The Greek Culture Ministry said in a statement that the tools are between 130,000 and 700,000 years old, about the same age as the shelters on the island’s south coast.
“The results of the survey not only provide evidence of sea voyages in the Mediterranean tens of thousands of years earlier than we were aware of so far, but also change our understanding of early hominids’ cognitive abilities,” the ministry statement said.
The tools were discovered during a survey of caves and rock shelters near the village of Plakias by archaeologists from the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the Culture Ministry.
Such tools were mostly used by Heidelberg Man and Homo Erectus, two extinct precursors of the modern human race, which evolved from Africa about 200,000 years ago.
“Up to now we had no proof of Early Stone Age presence on Crete,” said senior ministry archaeologist Maria Vlazaki, adding that it was not clear where the hominids had sailed from, or whether the settlements were permanent.
“They may have come from Africa or from the east,” she said. “Future study should help.”
The island of Crete separated from the mainland about five million years ago, so whoever made the tools must have reached there by sea travelling at least 40 miles.
The finding does not support the popular theory that human ancestors migrated to Europe from Africa by land, the Associated Press reported.
The previous earliest evidence of open-sea travel dates back to 11,000 years ago in Greece and about 60,000 years worldwide.
The Greek-American archeology team has asked permission to conduct a more thorough excavation of the area. Greek authorities say they will answer later this year.
JENIN — Israeli forces briefly detained one man after they entered the a university residence in Jenin, telling students they were searching for wanted Palestinians.
Soldiers also erected checkpoints around the city, targeting three Jenin-area villages.
Eight military units entered a dorm housing students from the Arab American University, onlookers estimated, but a security guard said he would not allow soldiers to enter rooms in the female dormitory.
When the soldiers reached the women’s dorm, a security guard prevented their access, witnesses said, [the soldiers] then detained him for over an hour.
Residents said troops also raided Kafr Ra’i and Fahma villages southwest of Jenin. Further, the army installed two checkpoints – one between Rummana and Zububa villages west of the city and another between Zabda village and the university, locals said.
An army spokeswoman said one new checkpoint had been installed near Zububa, but that it was later removed. She was not immediately familiar with raids in the area but said she would look into it.
No further detentions were reported.
Israel has increased the demolition of Palestinian homes in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) as part of a “broad policy” to drive Palestinians out of the city, says a new report.
The final months of 2010 saw a sharp rise in the number of Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in East al-Quds, Israeli civil rights group Ir Amim (City of Peoples) said in a statement on Tuesday.
The civil rights group said the rise in demolitions was calculated to drive Palestinians out of the city, AFP reported.
“It is important to emphasize that the issue of home demolitions in Jerusalem is not a neutral enforcement of the law, but rather part of a broad policy that seeks to weaken Palestinian civil society in east Jerusalem and drive them out,” said the statement.
It documented 74 demolitions in east al-Quds in 2010, with the monthly figure peaking in December with 17 incidents.
Israeli forces have demolished at least two homes, in the Sheikh Jarrah and Beit Hanina neighborhoods of the city since the New Year
This is a continuation of the sharp rise in home demolitions in East al-Quds that has been the trend since mid-2010, and more significantly in the last two months of 2010, the group said.
The demolition of Palestinian homes and other structures in East al-Quds and the occupied West Bank happens on a regular basis.
Israel claims the demolitions are only ordered for structures that were built without planning permission.
The Palestinians however say it is virtually impossible to get a building permit, particularly for housing in the city, and Ir Amim said the demolitions were part of a political policy.
Israel occupied East al-Quds during a 1967 aggression and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community.