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by Boat, by Bike: UK activists pedal to Palestine (with Photo Essay)

PEDAL | 30.07.2011 19:07 | Flotilla to Gaza | Anti-racism | Palestine | Social Struggles | World

7,000km, 18 countries. PEDAL arrives in the West Bank and joins the Bil'in popular committee for a Bike action against the illegal separation wall and occupation.

A group of UK activists has arrived in the occupied West Bank after cycling 7,000km from London in solidarity with Palestinian and Israeli popular resistance movements.

‘PEDAL – 100 days to Palestine’ left London in March and has travelled through 18 countries linking communities fighting social injustice and responding to the Palestinian civil society call for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions in 2005 (1).

The cycling collective met the Bil'in popular committee (2) today (Friday 29th July) in the West Bank to hear the history of the struggle and tactics used to resist the illegal wall that cuts through the agricultural land of the village.

The popular committee and PEDAL organised a bike action to the illegal wall as part of the weekly Friday protest. The demonstration has been taking place for over six years and, is regularly met with a violent response by the Israeli army. Tear gas, sound grenades, as well as live ammunition fired overhead were all used today.

Abdullah Abu Rahma of the Bil'in popular committee who invited PEDAL said: "By Palestinians, Israelis and internationals standing in solidarity and taking grassroots action- we can end Israel's illegal occupation."

With the Freedom Flotilla 2 and the Welcome to Palestine “Fly-in” actions in recent weeks the cyclists’ arrival adds to mounting pressure from global civil society for Israel to comply with international law and respect Palestinian rights.

PEDALler Jen Peachey said: “We have seen governments around the world actively colluding with Israel's illegal occupation and blockade of Gaza - whether its through US military aid, UK diplomatic silence or Greek coast guards blocking the Flotilla. We do not trust governments to act for us- so we must act ourselves.”

The group of food growers, journalists and community workers has taken part in BDS international days of action and ran educational workshops about the campaign.

British food grower William Ronan added: “We are working with the BDS movement, popular committees and dissenting Israeli organisations to challenge Israel's illegal actions. Today we heard the inspiring stories of the defiant Bil'in resistance to Israel's apartheid, colonization and occupation of Palestinian land.”

PEDAL have been exchanging heritage variety seeds meeting with food growers, farmers and seed savers to make solidarity links around access to land, seed and water.

During the next two weeks the group will be distribute the ‘Seedbank of Solidarity’ (3) and meet Palestinian farmers to discuss how to continue to make strong mutual networks for food autonomy between communities in Europe and the Middle East.




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