Seven Arrested for Civil Disobedience

Seven people were arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience in Northampton on October 12. They were calling for peace. One of the people who was arrested was Paki Wieland. The Valley Post spoke with her by phone on October 11 about Israel and Palestine. “I don't condone any violence,” Wieland said. “What Hamas did was an act of desperation. I was in Gaza in 2009. The lives of (the 2.3 million) Palestinians there are terrible. It's like a prison. Now the Israeli army is killing civilians. In 2006, Hamas was elected to govern Gaza. Bush and Cheney refused to recognize them. It was a mistake to not recognize an elected government. So Hamas has no legitimacy. The Palestinian Authority is in bed with Israel. The US gives billions of dollars a year to Israel already. Now the US will give them more. Israel has universal health care. We don't.”

Wieland is part of the group Code Pink.

About 50 people were at a rally in Northampton on October 9 calling on the USA to stop funding Israel's military.

Rachel Weber is a lawyer in Easthampton, Massachusetts and part of the group Jewish Voice for Peace. On October 11 she told the Valley Post, “The Israeli government may have just declared war, but its war on Palestinians started over 75 years ago."

Palestinians this week killed Israelis and vice versa. The USA gives roughly 100 times as much money to Israel as it gives to Palestine. Racism is to blame, according to:

www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/02/israels-apartheid-against-palesti...

Israel is home to about 9 million people. Palestine is home to about 5 million people.

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On October 10, SEIU union spokesperson Marlishia Aho told the Valley Post that about 50 workers at the Northampton hospital held a rally on October 6. About 600 workers at the hospital are members of the union. They want raises.

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In Brattleboro town manager John Potter and the selectboard have no plans to deal with the vast Home Depot and its parking lot that have been vacant for 15 years. Meanwhile dozens of homeless people slept outside in tents in this, one of the rainiest summers ever. “The agenda committee has not seen this as a priority,” Potter told the Valley Post.

Last year Easthampton, Massachusetts passed a fee on vacant commercial buildings.

In 2019 Home Depot spokeswoman Margaret Watters Smith told the Valley Post her company would like to find someone to rent the building and parking lot. Years before that, another Home Depot spokeswoman told the Valley Post the same thing.

In Mashpee, Massachusetts a vacant big box store and its parking lot were converted to a neighborhood that looks like downtown Northampton, with wide sidewalks, parks, small stores downstairs, and apartments upstairs. In Texas, a vacant big box store was turned into a library. In Detroit in recent years, thousands of vacant buildings were turned back into farmland, parks, and forestland.

Planting trees and letting them grow to old age is one of the best ways to stop climate change, which the world's leading scientists say is a major threat to earth's ability to support human life.

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