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Gill Knight, far left, with some of the audience at her talk (photo: Laurie Holden).

Gill Knight, far left, with some of the audience at her talk (photo: Laurie Holden).

Activist gives eye-witness account of life in Palestine

Hastings resident and activist Gill Knight spoke at a packed Hastings Against War meeting on 5 February about her recent solidarity and fact-finding tour of Palestine. John Enefer reports.

Last October Gill joined a camp in the Jordan Valley organised by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and Torat Tzedek, two Jewish-led groups which support Palestinians.

ICAHD campaigns to prevent Israeli forces destroying Palestinian homes, of which it estimates that nearly 50,000 have been demolished since 1967. Torat Tzedek promotes the idea that it is a religious obligation, and especially a Jewish religious obligation, to promote human rights. The group engages in direct action to support the Palestinian people.

At the meeting Gill spoke of accompanying Palestinian shepherds as they attempted to let their sheep graze in the Jordan Valley, something made difficult by the activities of Israeli forces. Gill described how the Palestinian shepherds are routinely handcuffed and blindfolded by the Israelis, before being detained for a few hours. Being separated from their sheep is stressful for the shepherds because the sheep need to drink every few hours or otherwise be at risk of dying through dehydration.

Gill described the disparity between Palestinian and Israeli access to water in the Jordan Valley, with Israel monopolising water supplies for its own agriculture. She talked of Israel destroying Palestinian wells and confiscating water tanks, activities that have been documented in the Amnesty International report on Troubled Waters – Palestinians Denied Fair Access to Water.

Bedouin under constant threat

She touched on the experience of the Bedouin people in the Jordan Valley, describing how the village of Al Hadidiya is not allowed to build or connect to the electricity grid and is under constant threat from Jewish settlers.

The group Gill joined in Palestine participated in building a community centre, harvesting olives in a West Bank village and taking part in field trips. She encouraged people to visit Palestine and to support the work of ICAHD, Torat Tzedek and Medical Aid For Palestinians.

She also urged people to join Hastings Palestine Solidarity Campaign and to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign against Israel, which was launched by Palestinian civil society in 2005. The campaign sums up its aims as working “to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.”

After the meeting, which was organised by Hastings Against War, Gill said, “It is so important that we maintain awareness of the situation as it is not usually reported in the mainstream media. This applies particularly to the most vulnerable of the Palestinian population – the Bedouin. The Palestinians deserve better from us in the UK – we are morally responsible in fighting for a just peace; from World War I onward our governments have been complicit.”

Posted 20:47 Wednesday, Feb 13, 2019 In: Campaigns

2 Comments

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  1. J B KNIGHT

    Disaster Area and Interesting Ethnic Tourism in foreign lands by white English folk. Oh how we are soo superior at our feedback meetings before we return to our socially drab and unthreatened lives of tea and biscuits and the chattering classes.

    As most really say. Fed up of being a topic, curiosity, project and interesting place or “people” to visit on the white middle class English tourist map of curiosity and feigned idle concern. Its a hobby by those who can afford the time and money for a curiosity holiday. Visiting the natives. Feeding back to the social church group of your interesting escapade.

    Comment by J B KNIGHT — Monday, Mar 4, 2019 @ 08:59

  2. GH

    Good work, Gill Knight. More attention needs to be brought to this issue.

    Comment by GH — Wednesday, Feb 27, 2019 @ 19:56

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