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‘Palestine Place’ comes to London, and the west will never be the same

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Palestine Place in London. (Photo: Frank Barat)

On Saturday 2nd of June, Central London got a facelift.

In one of the busiest part of the city, surrounded by offices, banks and shops, Palestine arrived with a bang.

A group of activists took over one unoccupied building and turned it into “Palestine Place.”

For two weeks, in the city of London, one of the financial and corporate centres of the world, where getting a credit card is as easy as buying a loaf of bread, where individualism, self interest and profit before people have become the main motto– Palestine Place is here to remind people that solidarity, sharing, and caring for the others are still very relevant nowadays and that those concepts should be the basis of creating a better and more equitable world.

So what is “Palestine Place”? Why is it different than anything we’ve seen before and what does it mean for us and the people of Palestine?

The first thing the collective of people that are behind the initiative did was to issue a “political statement.”

The key paragraph justified the action by saying that:

It is mid-2012 and in Palestine the 64 year-long struggle against Israel’s political, economic, and cultural occupation and violence continues with an ever-increasing intensity. The state of Israel, supported by central London’s powerful political elite, continues to control the discourse on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Though it attempts to drown out the voices of millions across the world calling for an end to its racist programme of Zionism, grass roots activists the world over are fighting in solidarity with Palestine, to lay bare the workings of Israeli oppression and so to end it.

The politics of our action of solidarity is unified by the three basic demands of Palestinian civil society in their call for a boycott of Israel (BDS Movement):

·An end to the occupation and colonisation of all Arab lands occupied since 1967.
·Equal Rights for Palestinian Citizens of Israel (1948 Palestine).
·Respecting, protecting, and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their lands as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

One of the ideas behind “Palestine Place” is to bring Palestine home to show everyone that what is happening over there has ripples all over the world and that we too, people of Europe, are suffering from oppression, occupation and colonialism.

Our actions and the actions of “our” governments are important and have an impact far wider than some people would like to imagine.

g4s london
G4S rebranded, London. (Photo: Frank Barat)

Hiding behind “ethical codes,” British corporations such as G4S, with the avail of the British government (guess who runs most of the security for the Olympics?), are actively helping Israel in its daily oppression of the Palestinian People.

While the “people in power” (i.e., ‘people who think that they have some power’) use the old tactics of “divide and rule” and try to create infighting between people of different classes, ethnicities and political views, Palestine Place, is here to remind them that those old tactics are not working anymore. The people, once they manage to break the invisible chains that vulture capitalism has sneakily put them in, know who the oppressor is and will unite and fight against it with all their might.

“Palestine Place” is open to everyone and belongs to everyone. There is no organization behind it and all the activists behind the project are there in their personal capacity. Palestine Place has become a hub of creativity, discussions and possibility for radical change. The decisions on how to run the place are always taken after long meetings where everyone has a chance to speak and express it’s own point of view. ‘Palestine Place’ has no leaders. It is democratic and organic. Everyday, people come here to talk, to listen to speakers, to take part in workshops, to cook, read stories and play music. ‘Palestine Place’ is a place to be. To be oneself, to be with others, to be united.

Even some mainstream newspapers, including in Israel, have started to take notice.

‘Palestine Place’ will only last for 2 weeks, but its impact will empower people for years. We, the people (the 99%), are miles ahead of the elites (the 1%) despite what they believe in their self created bubble.

We have the numbers, the moral high ground, and the will to fight until its over.

At the end of the day, We have the power.

Frank Barat

Frank Barat is a Human Rights activist based in London. He is one of the coordinators of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, a popular tribunal created in 2009 to expose and examine Israel's impunity in regards to its treatment of the Palestinian People. He has edited two books; 'Gaza in Crisis' with Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe, and 'Corporate Complicity in Israel's Occupation' with Asa Winstanley. He has also participated in the book 'Is there a court for Gaza?' with Daniel Machover.

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5 Responses

  1. Boycott Israel on Campus on June 11, 2012, 5:59 pm

    I see you are are edging by millimetres towards BDS actually being demanded on campuses, loud and clear.

    But I am not ready to celebrate yet. This London artwork is very creative, very nice.

    But it’s no substitute for marching into every student government, every local government, every sizeable newspaper, and demanding a total boycott of “Israel”.

  2. Les on June 11, 2012, 6:10 pm

    Great great advertisement. New York’s MTA probably would not have allowed it at the bus stop or in the subway.

  3. mikeo on June 11, 2012, 7:28 pm

    I went down last week. Good vibes. Well done people.

  4. annie on June 11, 2012, 9:40 pm


  5. Steve Macklevore on June 12, 2012, 5:53 am

    ISM London did a great two day training and orientation workshop last Saturday and Sunday.

    They will be giving further trainings (although not at the Palestine Place which closes this week) in the summer.

    Contact ISM London for details.

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