"ALL FREE PEOPLE...Bring your thunder...Bombard the towers of injustice..."
26 October 2002
On Oct 19, the words of exiled Palestinian poet, Ghazi Hussein had echoed in the ears and minds of 15,000 demonstrators at the STOP THE WAR AGAINST IRAQ - FREE PALESTINE rally held in Glasgow. One week later, a follow-up demonstration organised by the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) successfully disrupted war criminal Shaul Mofaz's fund-raising dinner for the United Jewish Israel Appeal held at the city's Hilton hotel.
Lt-General Mofaz, a hard-core Zionist and former Israeli Occupation Force Chief of Staff - his specialty was orchestrating the butchery at Jenin - was on the first leg of a UK fund-raising tour which aimed to present him as a significant future Israeli political figure.
The SPSC's plan for maximum disruption of the visit began with a 'decoy' crowd of some seventy chanting demonstrators, penned behind barriers some fifty metres from a line of police occupying the Hilton's main entrance.
Suddenly, a huge roar erupted as five hundred 'illegal' banner and placard-waving activists rapidly approached from the north, chanting, blowing whistles and heading straight for the hotel's front doors. The 'decoys' hauled aside the barriers, the two groups swelled into one, then surged up to the hotel entrance for a boisterous and firm confrontation with the flustered police line.
The hotel immediately experienced its first recorded instance of lockdown and closure. No guests could enter or leave the front or side doors, cars were turned away by bewildered hotel staff, and for over two hours, the demonstrators held an 'Occupation' there chanting, "Free, Free Palestine", "Victory to the Intifada", "No Peace without Justice" etc.
The action then evolved into a joyous, elated confrontation as the smiling, energised throng of brown, black, white 'Rainbow People' - all ages, creeds and colours - embraced and locked shoulders to express continuous solidarity and support for their Palestinian brothers and sisters in the West Bank and Gaza's occupied gulags.
The demonstration paused only to be addressed by leading advocates of Palestinian and Arab human rights, MP George Galloway, the SSP's Tommy Sheridan, and SPSC organiser Mick Napier who announced - "The Glasgow Hilton is currently closed for business - this hotel will think twice before hosting war criminals and their supporters here again" - to huge roars of approval.
The arrival of a police helicopter hovering overhead in the night sky did nothing to dampen the crowd's enthusiasm as the high costs of policing the demo would have to be met by Mofaz's UJIF supporters. Uncanny comparisons with what Palestinian towns, cities and refugee camps experience on a nightly basis were also there to be made.
The final climactic moments were the flames leaping from a burning effigy of Generalissimo Moffaz, held aloft on a noose for the benefit of press photographers. The 'Occupation' ended, the demonstrators then moved off on a slow traffic-stopping procession to a rally in Glasgow's Moir Hall.
There, amid speeches condemning Zionist war crimes and urging further actions to build upon today's, the message went out - there will be NO WAR CRIMINALS IN SCOTLAND - all future Zionist activiites will be met with the same disruptions and movement restrictions they routinely impose upon the Palestinian people.
An audio link was also established with Gush Shalom's Uri Avnery in Tel Aviv who expressed his unqualified support for the Glasgow action and told of a joint demonstration held by Palestinian and Israeli peace activists some hours earlier on both sides of Sharon's Wall of Evil.
In retrospect, a final memorable image recorded by this writer was to see the poet, Ghazi Hussein in the middle of the Hilton demo crowd, a look of euphoria etched upon his face as he witnessed the strength of commitment shown for his people in Glasgow that day.
Aftermath report by Zahid Ali (SPSC) - 31 Oct, 2002
Butcher of Jenin forced to flee UK
Shaul Mofaz, responsible for every single Palestinian death under his tenure of IDF chief, was advised to leave Britain by the Israeli embassy after legal proceedings were initiated against him. We note the following:
This is a victory for every person that turned out in Glasgow, Liverpool and Leeds to protest his evil presence in our land.
The catering staff at the Glasgow Hilton, after seeing the massive protest outside, refused to serve the guests at the pro-Israeli fundraiser.
Knowing the crimes he had committed, Mofaz and the UJIA who invited him had to keep the venues secret, fearing the protests his presence would invite. This did not stop protesters in Liverpool, who turned up in great numbers even after finding out the venue only an hour earlier.
Leeds United FC are to be utterly condemned for compromising their race relations record further by hosting him at their Elland Road ground.
Israeli war criminals of Mofaz's ilk should not be welcome in any self-respecting nation. We hope that characters like this will be brought to justice. The trial of Slobodan Milosevic shows it can be done.
The media in the UK has to be brought to account over this issue. Yet again, despite the complaints over the paltry coverage given to the biggest ever rally this country has ever seen (London, Sept 28), the media has shown itself to be more interested in banal trivia rather than substantial issues. Yesterday, Angus Deayton's picture was on every front page - broadsheet and tabloid - yet the investigation into Shaul Mofaz's participation in war crimes only merited a mention in the Independent. Who has caused more damage in the world - Deayton or Mofaz?
On a brighter note, Mofaz running back to Israel with his tail between his legs shows what we can achieve when we set our aims high enough. He has himself now admitted that this state of affairs is now something he will have to get used to.
Despite Mofaz's departure, the legal team representing the families of the victims in Palestine is determined to proceed with the legal case, which is supported by an increasing number of British organizations and personalities that work together to see justice served for the Palestinian victims of Israeli war crimes.
The following is a translated article from Yadi’out Ahranout (Israeli daily Newspaper 31.10.02):
Mofaz arrives in London last week to participate in fundraising dinners.
The Israeli Embassy informed Mofaz on Monday that an Islamic organization has filed for the arrest of Mofaz accusing him of committing war crimes, and urged him to leave Britain before any action is taken. Mofaz leaves Britain for Germany and then Israel.
The Ex-Chief Commander of the Israeli Defence Forces, Shaul Mofaz was forced to cut short his visit to Britain and return to Israel, following the filing of a complaint by a Muslim solicitor, accusing him of committing war crimes. The Israeli Embassy in London was quick to advise Mofaz to quickly leave Britain, in case a warrant for his arrest was issued.
Mofaz had ended a tour of the United States and arrived in Britain upon the invitation of a fundraising Jewish organization. He spoke in Glasgow and on the following day in London. He arrived in Liverpool on Monday and spoke in Leeds on Tuesday. These events were accompanied with mass demonstrations organized by pro-Palestinian and left-wing British organizations, who followed Mofaz around from one city to the next.
However, the real turnaround began on Tuesday, when Imran Khan submitted a 14-page file to the Chief Prosecutor, outlining three main charges leveled against Mofaz: Killing individuals suspected of being Palestinian terrorists, demolishing Palestinian houses and his responsibility for the massacre of innocent women and children. The Muslim Association of Britain announced that it was behind this action.
Khan claimed that the Chief Prosecutor had handed the file to ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ department at Scotland Yard, however, police sources said that they could not confirm this.
It is worth noting that Britain is one of the European countries which have adopted within its legislation, the principles of the International Court of Justice, which deals fundamentally with War Crime cases. Therefore, charges may be brought against any individual in Britain who is accused of committing war crimes, and the Chief Prosecutor may issue a writ against the said individual.
Israeli Embassy advises Mofaz to leave immediately
The Israeli Embassy in London, upon learning of this action, and following a lengthy series of unofficial consultations, decided to issue a recommendation to Mofaz to leave Britain and return to Israel. The Embassy briefed Mofaz on the situation on Tuesday morning, and submitted a detailed report concerning the possible measures which may be taken against him.
Embassy officials informed Mofaz that since his visit to Britain is on unofficial duty, the possible developments in this case become unpredictable. Mofaz was thus advised to leave Britain immediately in order to save himself and the British government a very difficult situation. However, he refused to leave before attending the Leeds function.
Mofaz arrived in Israel yesterday and commented that ‘it seems that this matter will accompany us during the coming phase and I have to learn to deal with it”.
Sources in London told Yadi’out Ahranout yesterday that if Mofaz’s departure from Britain was confirmed, any additional action against him may be dropped.
More on the Mofaz UK visit at: