Cycling for Palestine – September 2016

We have recently had a report from one of our more energetic members on his cycle ride for Medical Aid for Palestinians in the West Bank last September.

He captured very movingly the mixture of emotions generated by his visit. There was of course the friendship and camaraderie of the riders, the welcome, generosity and humanity of the Palestinians and the captivating landscape and culture shown in, for example the ride down to Jericho, the art on display in Bethlehem and the serenity of the Al Aqsa mosque seen in the setting sun from his bedroom in Jerusalem. Not to mention the break-dancing to traditional Palestinian music by one of the group during a memorable evening in Jericho. There was also the sadness of witnessing the plight of Bedouins, the reality of areas A, B and C in practice, the tragedy and oppression in Hebron and the monstrosity that is the separation wall with its gun towers and graffiti frescos. Fortunately, some Israelis are themselves taking a stand against the government, breaking the silence, and the cyclists met with Yehudi Shaul and colleagues to hear some of the 1000 or more testimonies from ex-soldiers to the abuse, violence and humiliation inflicted on many Palestinians by the Israeli military.

He hopes to meet up again with his cycling companions, as ‘It was a pleasure to cycle with such a great bunch of people from all walks of life, each with a desire to help and stand up for the rights of the people of Palestine. It struck home that many felt strongly about the injustice and suppression even though they had no direct links with Palestine, they just wanted to make a difference, their every action and gesture ensuring the situation is not forgotten.’

We congratulate him on finishing the ride (despite a lack of training on hill climbing!) and raising over £2700 For Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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Evictions from Umm Al-Hiran

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It may be too late to help this man, but please visit the ICAHD website to read more about the clearance of this village to allow the construction of the Jewish town Hiran, and what you can still do to help. Consider writing to the Israeli embassy and/or your MP.

Here is some information from the ICAHD article about this outrageous action by the  Israeli government:

Since August 2015, JNF bulldozers have been working to create Jewish “Hiran” on the rubble of  Bedouin Umm Al Hiran. Umm Al Hiran residents are willing to live in a mixed community with Jewish neighbors, an adjacent community, or anything other than being forced to move into the nearby Bedouin township of Hura, and give up their way of life. In Hura, the very pro government municipality says that they have no room because they have a waiting list of 2,000 for the 140 available plots.  They have gone to court to stop the allocation of plots to others. Advanced negotiations on a mutually agreed upon new location broke down when Israel insisted that the Bedouin move to Hura now, with no agreement, and then they would continue the discussions.  Umm Al Hiran residents fear that if they agree, the government will never speak to them again. Israel’s High Court ruled that justice is with the Abu Al Qian tribe, but they appealed to the Court “too late.”

Now, Israel is speaking to its Bedouin citizens with eviction/demolition orders, fines and threats that they will be billed for the demolition of their own homes. Seventy-four year old Ahmed Abu Al Qian and thirty family members were already pressured to “agree” to move, and are living in tin shacks in Hura. Musa and thirty additional family members are next in line. After that, 98 year old Amna….

Pro-Israel groups influencing British politics – the Al Jazeera investigations

The programmes by Al Jazeera in January 2017 should provide significant insights into the influence of pro-Israel groups on British politics

Al Jazeera Investigations exposes how the Israel lobby influences British politics. A six-month undercover investigation reveals how Israel penetrates different levels of British democracy.

Episode One: In part one, Al Jazeera Investigations reveals how pro-Israel groups are trying to influence Britain’s youth.

Episode Two: In part two, our undercover reporter joins a delegation from the Israeli embassy at last year’s Labour Party Conference.

Episode Three: In part three, our undercover reporter witnesses a heated conversation between two opposing activists. The evidence raises serious questions about whether accusations of anti-Semitism are used to stifle political debate.

Episode Four: In part four, the senior political officer at the Israeli embassy in London discusses a potential plot to ‘take down’ British politicians – including a minster.

The Economic Effect of the Occupation on Palestinians – read the UN report

The economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory could easily produce twice the gross domestic product (GDP) it generates now, while unemployment and poverty could recede significantly, according to this year’s report on UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) assistance to the Palestinian people.

Read in full the report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development