Students at Sussex University who have been strongly involved in the Colombia Solidarity Campaign hit the national press as their nine member delegation to Palestine got caught in the Israeli state’s latest onslaught.
The Sussex students are mostly members of the anti-imperialist Che-Leila society. They joined a number of volunteers who had gone to show their solidarity with the Palestinian people under siege, which turned out to be literally the case. That same week saw Israeli forces shoot live rounds at a peaceful demonstration of international observers trying to break the blockade.
Three of the students were in Ramallah on the West Bank, on the day that 200 Israeli tanks rolled in. Speaking over the phone to fellow Socialist Labour Party Youth members in London Sukant Chandan said that one woman and one child were among those killed, and that death toll was increasing by roughly one every hour. As he was speaking on the phone he could hear Israeli gunfire. He also reported that at least 25 people had been injured, and that ambulances were not allowed to go and help the injured. Sukant, was lodged with Dan and Zaki in a house on the outskirts of Ramallah. The previous night they witnessed first hand five tanks (made in the US) and one personnel carrier (made in Britain) rolling past.
Sukant reported that the delegation had met with a number of organisations and activists, and that there was complete unity in the Palestinian resistance: PFLP, DFLP, Fateh, Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, "all these groups have united for the common aim of fighting a people’s war of the Palestinian people for independence and freedom, to overthrow Zionist oppression". He said the delegation was very proud to be in Ramallah, facing occupation and curfew with President Arafat and the Palestinian people united in the Intifada, adding that this occupation will do nothing to end the conflict, only exacerbate it.
Dan Glazebrook’s mother was on television defending her son’s decision to stand with the Palestinians. And between 150 and 200 people came to welcome the students return at Heathrow airport.
Speaking at a rally in London on 10th April Dan Glazebrook said it was good to see newspapers like the Daily Mirror criticising the USA, but it is also important to see BritainÌs responsibility. Palestinian people he met emphasised it was Britain that had caused the problems in the first place. Britain is still backing Zionism, with £11 million arms sales to Israel last year, including rifles, parts for helicopter gunships and the Armoured Personnel Carriers the delegation had seen.
The man from the British consulate had told Dan that the Isarelis should use similar strategies that the British colonial forces had pioneered in Malaya, and launch a ‘hearts and minds’ initiative to win over the natives. He advised the Israeli military that if they said ‘please’and ‘thankyou’ at their checkpoints it would help.