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To date, official diplomacy has failed in enforcing scores of UN resolutions and relevant principles of international law aimed at ending Israel's occupation, colonization, displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people. US-led Middle East diplomacy, favoring military intervention and unilateralism over respect for international law, is also directly implicated in wars and occupation in Iraq and Lebanon, complicit with Israel's colonial regime in Palestine, and actively encouraging division and civil war in the region.

During the latest assault against the village of Beit Hanoun in the north of Gaza, civilians were greatly affected by the brutal practices of the Israeli army during six continuous days. Women in labour gave birth on the road while waiting for permission to go to hospital. Some of the injured bled to death while waiting for the same permission. Four emergency health rescue officers were killed while on duty and wearing clearly visible uniform. Within the last 4 months, the movement of ambulances was greatly hindered by the army.

The recent attacks and re-invasion of Gaza and Lebanon expose the contempt with which Israel treats the UN, its resolution and its own bilateral agreements. We strongly condemn the death, chaos and destruction inflicted upon Gazans and Lebanese, and call upon the students, academics and staff of universities worldwide to collectively condemn these acts and take action to support us in our struggle to end Israeli military aggression and occupation.

The letter, published in the Irish Times on September 16th, has caused a public stir in Israel; the education minister Yuli Tamir has travelled to England to 'verify if they [the signatories] are lecturers who have influence'. With many Israeli academics privately acknowledging that the international campaign for academic boycott is starting to have an effect, two leading Israeli intellectuals - Aharon Shabtai and Tanya Reinhardt - were recently in Ireland talking about Israeli occupation and promoting the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign.

In trade fair that is taking place in Tulkarem city, Palestinian citizens and traders gathered in the refugee camp to buy and sell Palestinian products in a statement of boycott and resistance to the Israeli occupation. Goods produced in the camp itself were on sale, including carob energy drinks, children's clothes and packaged cakes. Local people browsed the stalls while children from the camp entertained onlookers with drumming and dancing.

For more information on the cultural boycott: [url=http://www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=309_0_1_0_C ]Greece pulls out of Israeli Film Festival[/url] [url=http://www.pacbi.org/boycott_news_more.php?id=287_0_1_0_C ]Locarno Film Festival drops Israeli Government Sponsorship[/url] STATEMENT BY KEN LOACH

The statement calls for an end to the war, and an end to the root of the problem in the Middle East which is the continued military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, that has lasted for almost 40 years.

With Israel’s invasion of Gaza on June 27th, 2006, ministries and educational institutions have been destroyed, as has the plant that supplies nearly 50 percent of Gaza‘s electricity. Bridges, roads, dozens of homes, and hundreds of dunams of agricultural land have also been destroyed. Sixty-four elected Palestinian legislators, cabinet ministers and officials have been detained without charge.

Lebanon and Palestine have been enduring Israeli policies of extermination and vandalism for decades. UTA equally condemns the international conspiracy of silence and Arab impotence in the face of the continuous Israeli-American crimes. The Qana massacre was committed on the arrival of the terrorist US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's second visit to Israel in four days so that she could witness first-hand the heinous Israeli crimes committed by American smart bombs, F16s and Apache helicopters.

For us, women of Palestine, we shall never give up our national right to self determination and independence, and we shall never relinquish our right to resist the cruel and criminal policies of the Israeli state against our people in Palestine and Lebanon. Towards that end, we call upon international civil society to shoulder its moral responsibilities and join the growing movement to isolate apartheid Israel through a comprehensive regime of boycotts, divestment initiatives, and calls for sanctions against Israel.

Participants stressed that the goals of the Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip and in Lebanon are evidently much broader than a mere reaction to the capture of Israeli soldiers during military operations by the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance.

In the meanwhile, Israel’s almost forgotten attack on Gaza continues unabated, with total impunity, leaving behind a trail of death, an imminent health disaster, and widespread destruction of vital infrastructure. Again, the pretext that all this criminal devastation, which already caused the death and injury of hundreds of innocent Palestinians, was intended to win the release of one Israeli soldier captured by the Palestinian resistance, does not stand the test of reality or logic.