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PALESTINE

Tales of a people dispossessed

Two Palestinian women spoke to a large audience at the White Rock Hotel on March 9th, as part of a speaking tour organised with the Camden-Abu Dis group that inspired up to 50 twinnings of British and Palestinian communities.

Raeda from Abu Dis and Amneh from Jenin painted a vivid portrait of life in the West Bank, showing the many obstacles faced by Palestinians each day. Particularly highlighted was the barrier to free movement created by the Wall and its many checkpoints. This wall isn’t a border, but snakes all over the West Bank so that Palestinians are separated into 190 enclaves.

The problems of schoolchildren trying to reach schools and workers trying to access workplaces were made plain with the help of a short film. And we heard harrowing accounts of gravely sick cancer patients, and emergency accident cases, waiting up to four hours to shuffle through the turnstiles.

Just in order to access her own home Amneh says she’s forced to carry a document, and she held up the green piece of paper. She urged people to go to Palestine so they can see for themselves a reality she described as ‘unimaginable’.

Amneh also talked about the way the Israeli ‘security wall’ is assuming control for Israel of fertile land and water resources. She spoke about how historic Palestine has dwindled since the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. A graphic chart showed how water resources have shifted in favour of Israel and its settlements on Palestinian lands. She described the set-up between Israel and Palestine as a relationship in which one side is expected to give everything.

In East Jerusalem, people are brazenly being turned out of their houses and settlers are moved in to replace them. This act of robbery is being highlighted by one family that refuses to go away and has been living on the pavement outside since last year.

Both women urged people to support Palestinians in their predicament.
Raida said that the support of the people in the room meant a lot to her and commented that, in spite of everthing, she still has hope.

The meeting was organised by Hastings Friends of Yatma, a newly formed twinning group. The organisation raised more than £250 from the packed event.

SOME FACTS

♦ New laws brought in (mid-April) will pave the way for thousands of deportations from the West Bank and the removal of solidarity campaigners. Even American organisation J Street, the liberal outriders of Zionism, have condemned it.

♦ 20,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by the military authorities since 1967

♦ Movement by Palestinians on the West Bank is restricted by 600 obstacles. Many roads are only open to settlers or the military. The whole of the Jordan valley (between the West Bank and Jordan) is out of bounds.

♦ The Wall, and the expropriation of land to build it, have been declared illegal by the International Court of Justice.

LINKS

Palestine Solidarity Campaign:www.palestinecampaign.org

Boycott Israel Goods campaign:www.bigcampaign.org

Britain-Palestine Twinning Network:www.camdenabudis.net

Posted 22:02 Wednesday, Mar 31, 2010 In: Campaigns

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