Ken Loach, distinguished film-maker condemns the ill-treatment of Bristol-based peace activist

British film director Ken Loach

Ken Loach, director of much loved and well known films such as Kes, Sweet Sixteen and Land and Freedom – known for repeatedly championing the underdog and revealing the hardships and struggles of those at the bottom of the social hierarchy and a pillar of the Bristol-Palestine Film Festival speaks out on Bristol Peace Activist arrested in Palestine

{jcomments on} Ken Loach says….“Tom Woodhead’s treatment at the hands of the Israeli State should disgust all right-thinking people. How can our Government still have diplomatic relations with a State that consistently shows contempt for international law and the Geneva Convention? Let’s channel our anger at Tom’s treatment so that Israel is shunned by all who care for justice and the rule of law”

Meanwhile Tom Woodhead has pledged to defy possible mis-use of Terrorism Laws on his return to the UK. As reported on UK-Indymedia this morning he will refuse to answer questions if detained at the airport under Terrorism Laws. 

Woodhead, in a statement given from Givon detention centre in Ramla, said that he would risk imprisonment by refusing to give information to the police if they attempt to misuse the act. 

He plans to say: “I have reasonable grounds to believe you only want to interrogate me about my involvement in political movements such as International Solidarity Movement and various campaigns against the arms trade. None of these movements has any credible links to terrorism. I therefore believe the use of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 is a gross misuse of police powers. I intend now to hold my silence in protest against such abuse of power.”

Friends in Bristol praise Tom for his actions in Palestine

Ed, a documentary film producer says “I was helping with the olive harvest in the village of Kafr Quddom in 2007. It’s a beautiful town with lovely people. But we saw how the nearby illegal Israeli settlement was growing like a cancer. A massive greenhouse complex was being built on land stolen from the town, the main road to the nearby city had been sealed off, houses on the edge of the town had been demolished, and a massive scar was being torn across the countryside to build the separation wall. I’m not surprised people there are protesting against this injustice and well done to Tom for helping them” 

Ed goes on to say “Ken Loach spoke at a meeting here in Bristol three years ago when two Bristol citizens who were on the Mavi Marmara aid ship bound for Gaza came within inches of death when it was attacked by Israeli commandoes. Ken made a moving speech likening present day volunteers who go to Palestine to those who went to Spain during the Civil War. And as an interesting parallel, when people returned from Spain they were harassed by the British Authorities just as Tom may be on his return from Palestine.”

Bob, a personal friend of Tom in Bristol says “We were very worried when we saw the photos of the Israeli soldiers using a rock to beat people being arrested. We know all too well of the brutality of Israeli soldiers towards Palestinians and International volunteers.  We’re very relieved to hear Tom’s ok. He’s a real hero.”

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