Palestine campaigners have this morning begun a ‘sleep-out’ in Manchester city centre in support of the 108,000 Palestinians in Gaza who had their homes destroyed during Israel’s 52 day attack on Gaza and to call for a boycott of Kedem, an Israeli shop based in the city centre.
The sleep-out is taking place at a police authorised protest site near to Kedem Cosmetics, an Israeli owned shop that sources the raw materials for its products from the Dead Sea, part of which is Palestinian territory occupied by Israel.
Activists have been organising regular demonstrations calling for a boycott of Kedem. They say that purchasing Kedem products provides financial support to the Israeli military. Kedem is also complicit in Israel’s pillage of natural resources from the Palestinian part of the Dead Sea, campaigners say.
Activities planned at the sleep out include the reading of names of Palestinian children killed during Israel’s 6 week assault on Gaza, educational talks and an opportunity for people to take part in the ‘Rubble Bucket Challenge‘, a Palestinian take on the Ice Bucket Challenge.
Mohammed Ghaleiny, from Gaza said, “Like most families in Gaza, many of my relatives had their homes destroyed and one attack killed 9 members of my extended family. Manchester Palestine Action are doing this sleep-out to highlight the fact that even though the Israeli bombardment has ceased for now there is a dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. Tens of thousands are without adequate shelter and the whole population of Gaza is suffering from severe water, electricity, food and medicine shortages. Even those sheltering in hospitals and UN schools were bombed.”
Sally Pinder of Manchester Palestine Action said, “We can no longer turn our backs on the Palestinians like the British government has for so many years. Israel’s crimes of ethnic cleansing, military occupation and mass murder of the Palestinians in Gaza and the rest of Palestine could not continue without British support and complicit companies in the UK. The boycott, divestment and sanctions is a non-violent grass roots campaign to hold Israel to account for the decades of brutality against the Palestinians.”
Anti-apartheid hero Archbishop Desmond Tutu, supports the boycotts of Israel and while in Palestine he said that Israeli treatment of Palestinians was worse than under Apartheid South Africa. He said, “Ultimately, events in Gaza over the past month or so are going to test who believes in the worth of human beings.”
A long-term truce was agreed last week after the Israeli Defence Force killed over 2,104 Palestinians (at least 465 children) according to the UN office of coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) who also stated that the scale of the damage is unprecedented.