Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Leah Levane

Local woman calls for ‘Justice for Palestinians’

At a recent meeting in Hastings, St Leonards resident, Leah Levane, provided an eyewitness account of life in the occupied Palestinian territories. Those attending heard of her experience of being part of the largest ever all Jewish delegation to visit the occupied territories. Leah was one of 130 Jewish people, mainly from the US, who visited Hebron in May of last year. One of their aims was to restore a Palestinian family to the home they were evicted from 20 years ago. John Enefer writes.

Leah explained that Palestinians frequently face evictions and demolitions of their homes by Israeli forces, rarely being granted building permits and therefore forced to build ‘illegally’ with the risk of their homes later being demolished. Leah described that children can go off to school in the morning and return to discover their homes have been flattened. She explained that Palestinians are expected to pay for the destruction of their homes. ‘The Israeli authorities are putting the Palestinians in an impossible situation’, Philip Luther of Amnesty International has said: ‘Whatever choice they make they face homelessness.’

Leah described her disbelief, during an earlier visit, at witnessing Israeli forces destroying a Palestinian water cistern by dropping stones into it. The destruction of Palestinian rainwater harvesting cisterns has been documented by Amnesty International. In its report ‘Troubled Waters – Palestinians Denied Fair Access to Water’, the human rights group also highlighted the water inequality that exists between Palestinians and Israelis. The report put average daily Palestinian water consumption as reaching 70 litres a day compared with 300 litres for Israelis. It details how some Jewish settlers in the West Bank have sufficient water for swimming pools while Palestinians can struggle to access enough for basic needs.

Jewish people are very active within the global movement supporting the Palestinian people. In Britain groups such as Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the newly formed Jewish Voice for Labour support Palestinian human rights and debunk the notion that doing so is anti-Semitic. In America Jewish Voice for Peace has 51 chapters spread across the country and openly supports the call from Palestinian civil society to boycott Israel as a means of achieving political change.

The delegation Leah Levane took part in was from the Centre for Jewish Non-violence which, in its own words, ‘brings Diaspora Jews to Israel to stand in solidarity with Palestinians in non-violent action against the occupation’.

The attempt to restore the Palestinian family to their home proved successful. The family were evicted from their home – a converted cave – in 1997, but thanks to a massive team effort were able to return to their dwelling, and are still living there now.

Leah urges people to visit Palestine: ‘You’ll be warmly welcomed’, she said. ‘Have a fantastic holiday. Stay in a hotel.’ She recommends that people read up about Palestine and mentioned Haaretz and Mondoweiss as sources of information. She suggests ‘writing to papers when things are covered in a one-sided manner’, and for people to raise concerns about the treatment of Palestinians with the Israeli Ambassador. Leah also suggests fund-raising for Medical Aid for Palestinians, which provides health services and emergency assistance in Palestine.

Hastings Against War members

Hastings Against War members

Fly Kites Not Drones

The meeting was organised by Hastings Against War and also featured a short performance by local singing group Las Pasionarias. On Sunday 18 March, Hastings Against War will stage its annual Fly Kites Not Drones, an international action begun by young Afghan peace activists which highlights the fatalities and injuries caused to civilians by armed drones. Kites will be flown from 11.00am on Hastings seafront opposite the Carlisle pub. Kite flyers of any ability are welcome. There will be a kite making workshop on Tuesday 6 March starting at 7pm at the Quaker Meeting House, South Terrace, Hastings.


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Posted 08:25 Monday, Feb 12, 2018 In: Campaigns

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