1 April 2024 PN staff

No evidence group used rape as a weapon of war

Despite claims to the contrary, there is no evidence that Hamas used rape as a weapon of war on 7 October. 

That is the conclusion of months of investigation by Electronic Intifada, the Grayzone, Mondoweiss, YES! and other independent investigators, who have carefully assembled evidence undermining the credibility of key witnesses. They’ve also shown the ‘evidence’ supplied to be very weak. 

An article that persuaded many people that there…

1 April 2024 PN staff

Polls show consistent support for end to Israeli assault

Every poll since the beginning of the massacre in Gaza has found that a majority of people in Britain want in an immediate end to Israel’s assault. 

Even if we subtract those who only support a ‘pause’ in the war, we still find that a majority of British people who have an opinion back an immediate, unconditional, permanent ceasefire, as called for by UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs.

The latest poll, conducted on 12 and 13 February, found that two-thirds of British people (66…

1 April 2024 PN staff

Protests, blockades & direct action

Israel’s brutal war and starvation campaign in Gaza has continued to spark protest across the UK, with large marches and blockades and property damage at arms companies.

In the last two months, the major Gaza-related protests in the UK have been the national ‘Stop the Genocide – Ceasefire Now’ demonstrations in London, involving tens of thousands. The march went to Downing Street on 3 February, to the Israeli embassy in West London on 17 February, and to the US embassy in South London…

1 April 2024 PN staff

'Come back to write another day’

On 13 March, Dr Ray Towey of Catholic Peace Action once again used blessed charcoal to mark the ministry of defence (MoD) in Central London.

He wrote: ‘Trident is Genocide’ and ‘Choose Life Not Terror’ and also drew a cross. Ray was arrested and then de-arrested. ‘Go away and come back to write another day,’ said one of the police officers.

Catholic Peace Action has carried out this ‘Lenten witness’ almost every year since 7 March 1984.

A month earlier, on Ash Wednesday…

1 April 2024 PN staff

US actions threaten peace process

The fragile peace process in Yemen, which has reduced violence in the country enormously over the last two years, is under pressure. The UN secretary-general’s special envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, told the UN security council on 14 February: ‘Rising regional tensions linked to the war in Gaza, and in particular the military escalation in the Red Sea, are slowing down the pace of the peace efforts in Yemen.’ 

The US is risking a major plank of the peace process by listing the…

1 April 2024 Gabriel Carlyle

Ceasefire Now! badges latest

PN has raised over £8,200 so far for Medical Aid for Palestinians, by selling ‘Ceasefire Now’ badges for a donation at the national Gaza marches in London this year. All proceeds went to MAP.

1 April 2024 PN staff

Arms fair opposed

On 5 and 6 March, Bristol PSC and Bristol Stop the War blockaded the Future Indirect Fires arms fair at the Ashton Gate stadium.

1 April 2024 Milan Rai

Join us in Manchester and Edinburgh

In the next few months, we will be organising some readers’/activists’ chats as part of our ‘rethinking PN’ process. These conversations will be about what’s facing the peace movement in the UK, and how PN might be able to help.

Folk have already organised two events: 2pm, Wednesday 8 May in Manchester; and 7pm, Thursday 9 May in Edinburgh. There are limited places and they’re going fast. If you’d like to get on the waiting list, please phone or text us (see below…

1 April 2024 PN staff

Order your copies this May!

In May, we will be taking orders for a new four-page A5 PN briefing setting out the facts about Churchill’s belief in 1944 and early 1945 that a Japanese surrender could be gained without an atomic bomb being dropped and without the Allies having to invade Japan (PN 2667). 

Churchill believed by July 1945 that there were two diplomatic tools with a very good chance of ending the Pacific War, especially if combined. 

In September 1944, Churchill had pleaded with the…

1 April 2024 Milan Rai

No more Gaza lies from Labour or the Conservatives

As PN goes to press, Israel’s war of destruction in Gaza continues, with 32,000 reported deaths, half the people of Gaza on the edge of famine, and a third of the buildings in Gaza destroyed or damaged by the Israeli war machine, according to a UN expert analysis of satellite images.

While the Israeli government continues to threaten an all-out assault on Rafah in the south of Gaza, where 1.5 million Palestinians have been driven by the Israeli attack, there are signs that…

1 April 2024 PN staff

Pontiff praises ‘the courage of the white flag’

Pope Francis caught the headlines in March, calling for negotiations to end the Ukraine War. The pope has made dozens of calls for peace talks in this war, but this is the only time that he’s gained significant attention. This was because the language that he used was distorted into an anti-negotiations weapon, with the claim that the pope asked Ukraine to ‘raise the white flag’ of surrender.

The pope didn’t talk about ‘raising the white flag’ in his recorded interview with Swiss…

1 April 2024 Milan Rai

Israeli units were ordered to prevent the capture of civilian hostages 'at any cost'

Over the past few months, Electronic Intifada (EI) and other independent outlets have gathered together the growing evidence that the Israel defence forces (IDF) deliberately attacked vehicles and buildings on 7 October 2023 when they either knew that Israeli civilians were inside or when there was a significant risk that Israeli civilians might be harmed.

A new Al-Jazeera documentary about 7 October interviews a former British artillery officer, Chris Cobb-Smith,…

1 April 2024 PN staff

A round-up of some recent events that have been recorded and put online

US peace activist and author Joseph Gerson did a talk for PN on 22 February based on his book: ‘Empire and the Bomb: How the US Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World’ (see p15):

Shadow World Investigations, Demilitarise Education, Forces Watch, Declassified UK and CAAT launched their ‘Arms Out Tour’, which offers workshops and films to local groups around the UK:…

1 April 2024 PN staff

Court of appeal rules out 'consent' defence

The high court in London saw two simultaneous unrelated protests in February.

Outside (20 – 21 February), people gathered in solidarity with Julian Assange as lawyers tried to get a further appeal for him.

Inside (21 February), Defend Our Juries organised a 100-person sit-down in the lobby or central hall of the court. There were three separate Citizens’ Juries, considering different questions, including: ‘Why not trust juries to hear the full story?’

Climate activists…

1 April 2024 PN staff

Court case news

We only have room for some court reports this issue but there has been quite a bit of climate action in the last two months. 

We will just mention the ‘Insure Our Future’ Global Week of Action against insurance companies, which saw more than 57 events in 31 countries from 26 February – 3 March, including a classical dance protest outside Lloyds of London on 26 February (see above).

The most high-profile case was Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (21) being acquitted by…

1 February 2024 Milan Rai

US/UK airstrikes on Houthis could condemn Yemen to famine and endless war

The US and Britain are, at the time of writing, at war with the Ansar Allah movement that controls over two-thirds of the population of Yemen and a third of its territory. This war is not an act of ‘self-defence’, it is doomed to failure, it is wrecking the fragile and desperately-needed Yemeni peace process, and it is actually strengthening Ansar Allah, known as ‘the Houthis’ after their first leader.

British forces took part in US-led airstrikes and missile attacks on Ansar Allah on…

1 February 2024 PN staff

Switzerland to host phony ‘Peace Formula’ conference this year

Ukraine continues to push its phony ‘10-Point Peace Plan’, which demands the prosecution and conviction of Russian leaders for war crimes, the seizure of Russian assets to compensate Ukraine for war damage and total Russian withdrawal from Ukraine, among other points, as the precondition for negotiations (PN 2668).

At the Davos summit for the rich and powerful in January, Ukraine persuaded Switzerland to…

1 February 2024 Milan Rai

World Court’s legally-binding order to Israel is a historic first, but still has flaws

Three Palestinian human rights groups issued a joint statement on 26 January welcoming the World Court’s decision to consider whether Israel’s war in Gaza is genocidal, and to order Israel to stop killing Palestinians in Gaza, among other measures.

Al-Haq (based in Ramallah, in the West Bank) and Al Mezan and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (both based in Gaza City, Gaza) described the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ, also known as ‘the World Court’) as ‘a…

1 February 2024 Marc Morgan

Meetings banned, peace campaigner faces charges

One worrying trend even more prevalent in France than elsewhere is the stifling of open public discourse about the situation of the Palestinians, and restrictions placed on the freedom of expression of pro-Palestinian voices and movements.

Even before 7 October, public meetings on Israel-Palestine have been prohibited by the relevant authorities (local boroughs, or departmental Préfets) on dubious public-order grounds.

Since 7 October, the trend has got worse: several…

1 February 2024 PN staff

Protest to challenge removal of legal defence used by Palestine campaigners

Campaigning group Defend Our Juries (DOJ) is planning a mass sit-down in the high court in London on 21 February to challenge the government’s attempt to remove the defence of ‘consent’, used by Palestine Action activists recently to win acquittals (see previous page).

This follows actions outside more than 50 crown courts across England and Wales on 4 December: 500 activists held signs defending the right of juries to reach their own verdicts, independently of the instructions they…