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Published by Palestine Community Foundation, 2020-01-14 06:40:28

Palestine Voice: Issue 4 2020

Palestine Voice: Issue 4 2020

Keywords: Palestine,Palestinian,Gaza,Politics,Cycling,West Bank,Poetry,Embroidery,Students,Street Art,Film,Colouring In

PALESTINE VOICE

ISSUE 4 2020

IN THIS ISSUE: Say Hello to Palestine in 2020 l Ilan Pappé speaks: Balfour to Boris
l Key 48 l Warwick Occupy l Voices of Gaza: Ahmed AlnPaAoLuEqSTQIN&EAVOlICREeflIsescutein4g2o02n0Just Cy1cle


INTRODUCTION

DEAR READER,

Happy New Year!

Thank you all for your generous support and for
what you have done and all that you continue to do
in support of PCF’s work. I am extremely proud and
grateful for everything that we and our partners have
achieved and hope that we continue this into 2020.

It has been an eventful few months for us, to put it mildly. From The PCF team also organised a 10-day cycle visit Just Cycle
celebrating one year of PCF to hosting a panel event examining to Palestine, exposing cyclists to the reality of life in occupied
Britain’s ongoing complicity in Palestinian suffering over the West Bank, meeting communities deeply affected by house
past 100 years. demolitions, annexed land, the Apartheid Wall and the
occupation in general. The group of twelve cycled through
We have sent educational and campaigning resources to over Nazareth, Haifa, Jenin, Al-Faraa, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem,
20 Palestine societies across the country and were very proud Hebron and Jerusalem, meeting Palestine human rights
to have our resources on Freshers Week stalls up and down the groups, local families, journalists, political representatives
country. We also collaborated with three different universities and more. Participants of the trip were welcomed back at an
on three events. The first event was with SOAS Palestine event held at the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith where
Society who hosted Women in Hebron, the second was with we screened a short film of their trip, swapped stories over a
Aston Palestine Society who hosted Yana Shabana who gave Palestinian supper and discussed where the group can take
a talk about her own personal experience as both a Russian their advocacy now they are home. We also launched our next
and Palestinian national living under occupation in the city of advocacy trip Hello Palestine running in October half term 2020.
Al-Khalil (Hebron), the final event was with Warwick Friends of
Palestine Society where we linked them up with journalist and We have a lot planned for 2020 and will be announcing
project manager of We Are Not Numbers, Ahmed Alnaouq. upcoming events and activities very soon so please sign up
to our mailing list to be kept in the loop or keep an eye on our
We also hosted a panel event at the Museum of London made up website and social media pages for announcements.
of esteemed historian Professor Pappé; campaigner and activist
Adie Mormech; criminal barrister and human rights consultant In Solidarity,
Salma Karmi-Ayyoub and Stop the War Coalition’s Shabbir
Lakha. This panel discussion addressed Britain’s accountability
and responsibility for the question of Palestine, looking at realms
such as politics and activism as a means to change the course
on this complicity.

RAZAN SHAMALLAKH
Programme Director
Palestine Community Foundation

Front cover photography by Nayef Hammouri @NayefHammouri

Written and edited by Razan Shamallakh, Natasha Regan and Omar Aziz

2 PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020


CONTENTS

FIND IN THIS ISSUE

4-8 From Balfour to Boris Johnson panel event:
9 British Complicity in Palestine

Palestine (poem) by Fayekah Al-Sous (Um Ayman)

10 Cycling for Justice by Laura Abraham

11 Sunrise Over Bethlehem (poem) by Anne Mosley 4-8

12-13 Impressions from cycling Palestine by Stewart Whitehead ILAN PAPPÉ SPEAKS:
BALFOUR TO BORIS
14 Women in Hebron at SOAS University
15 15
Voices of Gaza: Speaking with Ahmed Alnaouq from
We Are Not Numbers VOICES OF GAZA:
AHMED ALNAOUQ Q&A
16-17 The Key 48 Project
20
18-19 Fact Sheet on Palestinian Cross-Stitch Embroidery
WARWICK OCCUPY
20 Warwick Occupy

21 Student Advocates for Palestine in 2019

22 The White Visitor (poem) by Ahmed Miqdad

23 Shelter (poem) by Aya Ahmed

24-25 Artist in conversation: Anna Laurini

26-27 Palestine in the Diary for 2020

28 Film Review of Palestine’s Oscar Entry It Must Be Heaven

29 Hello Palestine! Itinerary for the 2020 Advocacy Tour

30 Colouring Page: Jerusalem

31 How to Get Involved

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020 3


From Balfour to Boris Johnson -

Exposing & Reversing Britain’s Role in the Oppression of Palestinians

On Monday 18th November
PCF hosted a panel
discussion at the Museum
of London addressing
Britain’s accountability
and responsibility for the
question of Palestine with
Professor Ilan Pappé, Salma
Karmi-Ayyoub, Shabbir
Lakha and Adie Mormech.

As keynote speaker, Ilan Pappé gave an historical The second dimension Pappé outlines as being very strongly connected and this is just one element
overview of Britain’s support for the Zionist project integral to Britain’s historical support for the of the trade connections, financial connection and
of establishing and maintaining a state which holds establishment of a Jewish State was anti-Semitism. strategic connection which inform the British attitude
a demographic Jewish majority in the historic “Arthur Balfour is the one who initiated between towards Israel.”
land of Palestine. He devised five key dimensions 1905-6 a series of legislations in the House of
to Britain’s sustained support for it: religion, anti- Commons to try and prevent Jewish refugees in Finally, British willingness to be led by the US and
Semitism, Islamophobia, neoliberalism and Britain’s Eastern Europe to come and settle in Britain because its interests. “I’m really thinking about American
willingness to be led by the US and its interests. He of pure anti-Semitism.” Bringing it back to the policy after the end of WW2. When Americans set
went on to highlight several historical junctions which present he stated, “with the years passed by since the the principle on which British policy towards the
demonstrate the manifestation of these dimensions Balfour Declaration, we understand that you can be Palestine question should be addressed. There are
in Britain’s policies on the ground. an anti-Semite and supporter of Israel. As you can be really six or seven very short historical junctions
a Christian who believes in the return of the Jews… where you can see all these five elements interplay
Pappé begins by explaining that Zionism itself was because in both cases you get rid of the Jews in your towards Britain’s policy towards Palestine”.
first a Christian evangelical project before it was own vicinity. And that’s the major drive and impulse.
a Jewish one: “In the mid-19th century already And it is important today.” The Balfour Declaration is a place where
leading British politicians in the name of evangelical Christian Zionists, Islamophobic personalities
Christianity were talking about the rights of Jews The third dimension Pappé outlines is Islamophobia, and anti-Semitic politicians like Balfour join
to return to Palestine because it will precipitate the or, “the dehumanisation of the Arab people who forces together to write this letter that promises
second Messiah, resurrection of the dead, getting are largely Muslims”. He emphasises that British something that did not belong to Britain and
us nearer to the end of time”. Exposing how the past colonialism in the Arab world existed before the take it away from the people it belonged.
meets the present, Pappé described how politicians Zionist movement arrived in Palestine, whereby
nowadays still hold the same views, “Some people Britain dealt with the people in the Arab world the “The Balfour Declaration was important not so
strongly believe in it, and some people like Tony Blair same as those of Africa and South East Asia, not as much as the letter that was declared in the House
are still influenced by these kind of religious ideas, human beings, but as people who do not have the of Commons, Britain sent such letters making
not to mention of course the Christian Zionists of the right to their own aspirations for independence or promises, often contradicting promises, during
United States, who are a much more important actor freedom of expression. “It is not surprising that this the First World War. The importance of the Balfour
in influencing global policy towards Palestine, but this Zionist perception of the Palestinians, or the British Declaration was the importance on the mandate in
idea is still there.” perception of Palestinians, was based on the same Palestine, or mandate charter. Not that the mandate
dehumanisation of people of Palestine as a group of system was such an ideal system but at least it was
ILAN PAPPÉ perxopfaetsrsiaotreaotfthGeerUmnaivnerJseiwtyisohf Exeter people whose aspirations to the right of their own a declaration by the international community after
Historian and descent. homeland is not going to be considered as a factor the first world war that people in the Arab world
and an Israeli in forming British policy towards the question of want to be independent, want to express their right to
Palestine.” Just as today in the mainstream media self-determination, it is the duty of the international
and in government reports, Pappé argues the same community to help them become independent. There
racist perception of Palestinians as secondary was a caveat that the interests of Britain and France
persons informs their analysis and attitudes to would be respected and therefore the mandate
Palestinian demands for their liberation. system would allow Britain and France to be involved
in these processes. But eventually Iraq became the
The “very powerful” fourth and recent enemy is the homeland of the Iraqis and Egypt the home of the
role of neoliberalism in informing British policy Egyptians, so according to this principle Palestine
on the question of Palestine. “This is where the should have been the home of the Palestinians.
military industry plays a hidden role sometimes.
In fermenting the relationship between Britain and Incorporating the Balfour Declaration in the
Israel. Where like the Israeli military industry they mandatory system did not allow it to be fulfilled in
view places like Gaza as fields of experiment for the case of the Palestinians. The only reason is this
new weapons so that they can prove their efficiency mixture of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and Christian
for prospective buyers around the world. The Israeli
military industry and the British military industry are

4 PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020


evangelical ideas that did not allow this to happen.” its own people, in order to try and destroy an Arab “And the Israelis rightly understand that once
leader who was committed openly to continuing the Britain would do this U-turn, once Britain is
“Mid 1920s – this is when the British mandate struggle of the liberation of Palestine.” willing to commemorate the Balfour Declaration
changes the land regime in Palestine that for many as an horrendous crime and apologise rather
years allowed people to buy land and sell land “This was a colonialist act, many years after than celebrate it, other countries in Europe will
without moving the tenants who lived on the land for supposedly the British Empire was not there any follow suit.”
centuries. The Zionist movement was the first buyer more. And I think this is also important;
of land in Palestine that did not only want the land the willingness of Britain to stand not only
but wanted also to remove the tenants who lived on against the Palestinian national movement,
the land. For that it needed the British support and but against the will of the people of the Arab
Britain actively supported – what were the first ethnic world to deal with the one open wound of the
cleansing operations.” colonialist and imperialist era that has not
been healed yet, the wound of Palestine.”
“In the mid-1920s when the first Palestinian villages
disappeared long before 1948, due to the change Finally Pappé analyses Britain’s refusal
of land regime, in some cases the British police
and army came to evict the Palestinians from the to play a major role in ensuring and
first plots of land that the Zionist movement had
purchased in Palestine.” defining a European position which shows

Pappé describes the events of 1948 as the “worst responsibility for the fate of the Palestinians. SALMA KARMI-AYYOUB
part of the British responsibility”. “Despite Britain “Britain’s behaviour as a member of the tBhreitiPsahlePsatliensiatinnihaunmcarinmriingahltsbaorrrgisatneirsaatniodneAxtleHrnaaql consultant for
still being responsible for law and order between European Union, Europe or the West – it
November 1947 and May 1948, when according
to the mandatory charter it has to respect the does not have to be the European Union – Human rights barrister Salma Karmi-Ayyoub
dignity, life and property of everyone who lives in and its record of involvement and complicity in the followed with an analysis of Britain’s use of law and
Palestine. Under the eyes of British soldiers and destruction of Palestine and the Palestinian. The legalistic mechanisms to do two things: when Britain
sometimes with the help of British soldiers, the behaviour of that particular Britain at the end of the ruled over Palestine to deny Palestinian national
Zionist movement begins already in February 1948 last century and the beginning of this century, where and collective rights over any part of Palestine and
a massive operation of ethnic cleansing targeting, it could play a major role in defining a European suppress through very draconian means any form of
while the British are still responsible for law and position which shows responsibility for the fate of dissent to the ambitions of Jewish settler colonialism
order the Palestinian cities. Because they knew that the Palestinians. Especially in an age when we the in Palestine, paving the way for Israel’s subsequent
in the Palestinian cities they had the political elite, the know the nature of the crimes committed against policies on the ground.
cultural elite, the social elite, and if you cut the elite the Palestinians. Whether it is in the Gaza Strip, West
from the people you leave them defenceless. Later
on when the 15th May comes, and British forces Bank, or in the Nakab, or the continued refusal to “Ilan mentioned the Balfour Declaration which
leave Palestine and the Jewish State is declared. allow the Palestinian refugees to return.” was issued by the British government in 1917 and
Under the eyes of British soldiers and commanders, because it characterised the Palestinian people as
and sometimes through their facilitation, the city of “That not one British politician until Jeremy Corbyn merely existing in Jewish communities in Palestine,
Haifa was emptied by force from almost all its 75,000 of senior position in British politics… was willing that had only civil and religious rights and no
Palestinians. A similar fate awaited the people of to challenge this horrific formula, apologise to the mention whatsoever of the collective and national
Jaffa, Acre, Beisan and Safad.” Palestinian people, and more importantly formulate rights for the Palestinians. But it did mention
a policy that supports unconditionally the rights of the creation of a Jewish national home, and as
“Eleven Palestinian towns were depopulated in a Palestinians to self-determination and independence Ilan mentioned the Balfour Declaration was then
way that reminds us of the depopulation of towns is a shameful stain in the history of this country.”
in the Middle East today. After 2012 we were all
horrified by the way some of the urban centres of incorporated into the mandate of Palestine.
Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen are destroyed from the
air. How barrels of TNT are thrown from aeroplanes, “And I will finish by saying that it is not surprising in
this was the fate of the Palestinian towns in the time
when there was no television. When nobody filmed the first time when there is a senior politician who is So Britain started essentially this policy of
these things. a decent person, who has fought all his life against denying the existence of the Palestinian
racism and anti-Semitism and believes sometimes people in juridicial sense, a people who had
But this was an urbicide, a genocide of very naively in the equality of people and justice, a right to self-determination and a right
towns that happed in one month in April it is not surprising that when such a politician has to national rights in Palestine and to only
1948 under the eyes of British officials and the potential to become the leader of this country, recognise potential national rights of the
officers when Britain was still responsible Israel is using the Anglo Jewish community to Jewish settler population in Palestine.
for law and order. weaponise anti-Semitism in order to destroy a

Despite acknowledging that it’s far more important to politician which can change not only Britain’s policy
look at Britain’s responsibility between 1917 and 1948
before its continual decline in global power, Pappé towards Palestine, but also Europe’s policy towards The mechanism by which Britain did this was that it
stresses the significance of 1956. “But we should Palestine.” employed something called the concept of ‘sovereign
never forget 1956 Suez Campaign when Britain
misinformed the British government, misinformed “The ridiculous allegation of anti-Semitism is only exception’ in which it said that it, as the sovereign
there because this is a moment of truth for Britain. It power, was entitled to decide that Palestine was a
is not too late, I think that’s the message we get, unique case in which the usual principles for the
mandate systems in other countries at the time,

central to them was the idea that native populations

it is not too late for Britain to feel accountable had the right to self-determination, Britain said it
and responsible for the role it played in the would essentially suspend the application of that
destruction of Palestine and the principle because it saw Palestine as unique.”

dispossession of Palestinians. “Israel argues that Gaza and West Bank are

exceptional in that they don’t have a sovereign.

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020 5


They say that we occupy the territory but they don’t Safad, a town in northern Palestine was under Stop the War Coalition Officer Shabbir Lakha builds
have a true sovereign to which they would revert curfew for around 140 Days at one point in 1938. It a framework exposing Britain’s role as a century-
after occupation and they use this notion to justify is estimated in that time between 1936 and 1939 long enabler of the oppression of Palestinians and
suspending the application of occupation law, they through the promulgation emergency laws, British elucidates how, as Palestine solidarity activists in the
say it doesn’t apply de juro (as matter of law) so the forces killed, wounded, detained or exiled about 10% UK, our primary concern is combatting the British
fourth Geneva convention doesn’t apply in Gaza and of the adult male population of Palestine just to give government’s imperialist policies.
West Bank. As a result Israeli settlement construction you a scale of the scope of the repression.”
is not illegal. So invoking this concept that the “I think ‘from Balfour to Boris Johnson’ is an
situation Israel deals with in the West Bank and Gaza “In 1945 Britain followed this up with what they appropriate title because rather than the neutral
is exceptional and unlike any other, Israel justifies called ‘emergency defence regulations’ to deal with arbiter that is portrayed as Britain’s role in the
suspending the usual norms in order to promote its both Palestinian and Zionist Jewish actions which mainstream, what we’re looking at in actuality is
settler-colonial project. I want to point out a couple of were taking place against British forces at the time. over 100 years of Britain’s continuous facilitation
other laws or legal mechanisms Israel has employed And those emergency regulations gave the British of the ethnic cleansing and oppression of the
to deny Palestinian nationalism, to promote its own authorities this wide range of oppressive powers.” Palestinians.”
settler colonial ambitions which it wouldn’t be able
to do without in a sense Britain having provided “So what I’m trying to say is that Israel In 1917 when Lord Balfour then the Foreign
precedent for doing that.” inherited a series of tactics that Britain had Secretary made the now infamous Balfour
paved the way legislatively and in policy Declaration committing Britain to build a Jewish
Salma goes on to expose how Israel denaturalised terms to suppress the Palestinians, prevent homeland in Palestine, this was done with one
Palestinian refugees it expelled in 1948, bringing in any expressions of Palestinian national primary objective, British imperialism.
a law in 1952 defining Israeli citizens as only people identity and any resistance to Israeli
present in Israel between 1948-1952. And that Israel settler-colonial ambitions.” “Bernard Regan’s book The Balfour Declaration
has never recognised the Palestinian citizens of Israel documents the discussions taking place at the
who remained and were not expelled in 1948 and has “If there are two kind of main pillars of Israeli policy time in the cabinet of the Balfour Declaration and
never accorded them national minority status. to the Palestinians, one is the denial Palestinian show how one of the main impetus for Britain to
self-determination rights, the other is the disregard undertake the commitment was so that it could
So, the latest evidence of this erasure of Palestinian of human life which allows these very repressive control Palestine for the purpose of protecting the
peoplehood and the notion that Palestinians have measures to be taken against those who dissent. Suez Canal and creating a land route across the
self-determination rights in any part of Palestine Those two pillars of Israeli policy were directly Middle East that will allow it to bring the goods
is Israel’s Nation State law passed in 2018, it says inherited by British mandate rule and we shouldn’t exploited from British India to the Mediterranean.
explicitly that the Jewish people are the only people really be that surprised when we see the status of And indeed this declaration was made a year and
with the right to self-determination in the land of British policy towards Palestine today.” a half after the Sykes-Picot agreement with France
Israel and denies any corresponding right to the and Russia to carve up the Middle East for this exact
Palestinian people. purpose of determining trade routes. We should put
to bed the myth that the British government had any
“The other use of law which I wanted to highlight was benevolence in helping persecuted Jewish people.
the use of emergency regulations and the state of As Ilan said it was under Balfour’s government when
emergency in order to pass very draconian measures he was Prime Minister in 1905 that the Aliens Act
to suppress any resistance Palestinians might was passed with the primary objective of stopping
express against their erasure as a people.” Jewish refugees from being able to come to Britain.”

“Britain passed in 1937 an ordering council which SOPHfefoiAcpBelrBe’aIsRt ASLstAosKpemHthAbelyWaanrdCOoragliatinoins,eCr afomrpthaiegSnetarnadt the “Britain was leveraging against the Arab nationalism
gave the British mandate government the authority to Up that it itself had stoked in order to appeal to the Arabs
establish military courts, deport Palestinian leaders, to fight against the Ottomans during the first world
exclude people from reentering Palestine, demolish war and the broken promises made at the time. And
homes as collective punishment, impose curfews and this is the foundation of Israel that Britain laid out
declare whole villages as closed areas. For example

to Trump protests

6 PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020


Audience shows solidarity with Muath Amarneh, 35-year-old journalist, struck in the eye with ammunition by Israeli forces in November at Surif, close to Hebron

and the role that Britain has played until this day. The whose role is maintaining the imperialism in the if Donald Trump’s deal of the century is realised in
tactics used by Britain in suppressing the Palestinian Middle East.” any form and we know that Boris Johnson and our
revolt in 1936-9 are exactly what we see Israel use in government is collaborating and will be part of it.”
Gaza today when suppressing the Great Return March “We need to confront British imperialism head on. Activist Adie Mormech propelled the panel discussion
and the methods of torture used against imprisoned Trump has openly forged an Israel-Saudi nexus into the present, emphasising the need for individual
Palestinians are exactly what we have seen them preparing it for war with Iran and we’ve already seen and collective action through BDS as the most crucial
using today against Palestinians. And of course in the last few months that Israel has played the role step in effecting change for Palestinians once we
since the creation Israel in 1948, Britain has given in bombing so called Iranian targets in Iraq, Syria understand the history and theory.
consistent diplomatic political and military support and Lebanon. And is openly calling for confrontation
which has ensured Israel’s ability to oppress the with Iran. In September, Netanyahu and Mike “I’m involved in the reverse side of angle with
Palestinian people and to do so with impunity.” Pence both visited Boris Johnson to discuss what regards to British complicity in Israel’s crimes
they can both do about Iran. And so we have to against Palestinians and the bottom line is we are all
“We can look at Tony Blair who was appointed the recognise that the possibility of war with Iran is on active agents in this.”
Middle East envoy and based in the aptly named the horizon and that this is entirely connected with
American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem. And we can the Palestinian struggle because at the same time “A crucial point we should never forget – there is
look at our current government headed by Boris as this is happening Trump is giving Netanyahu the a framework. It happened before, it’s not exactly
Johnson who has done everything he can previously green light to pass the Nation State law, escalate the same but in South Africa there was movement
as Foreign Secretary and now as Prime Minister to house demolitions and build settlements. He has around the world, especially in Britain which said we
do everything in his power to support not just Israel legitimised Israel’s claim on Jerusalem and the will cut all ties with the South African white regime…
but the right wing government of Netanyahu. We Golan Heights and essentially endorsed the barbaric There were students never buying Barclaycard, lots
have a Home Secretary, Priti Patel, who was fired mass murder of Palestinians in Gaza, everything of pickets, sporting events picketed and stopped
from her previous cabinet position in Theresa May’s from the blockade to the air strikes, to the sniping and this was ongoing for many years and eventually
government for having secret cabinet meetings with down of Palestinians who were participating in the along with most importantly the heroic resistance
Netanyahu and senior Israeli ministers and was Great Return March. And so the anti-war struggle is on the ground in South Africa, there was actually
caught trying to divert international aid to the IDF in the Palestine struggle, and the anti-Trump struggle movement.”
the occupied Golan Heights. is the Palestine struggle.”
“When Nelson Mandela says our freedom
So what we have is a continuum of British “I was privileged to be in Palestine in June. And is incomplete without the freedom of
imperialism which is a central factor in I saw first hand the sadistic and brutal military Palestinians, when Tutu says in parts it is
the ongoing Nakba for the occupation the Palestinians are living under and I worse than apartheid South Africa having
Palestinian people. can tell you it is getting worse and it will get worse been to Palestine and when Mandla Mandela,
the grandson of Nelson, says its the worst
“I think it’s critical that we understand Israel in this ADIE MORMECH ever apartheid then we know, especially when
context of imperialism so that we can correctly MlHeuactmnucrahenedsritingehrthtPseaalGedasvztoiancaeStteAricwpt.ihoHone.hiassntoawugihntvoElnvgeldiswhiathnd they’re calling for BDS – boycott, divestment
understand, as Palestine solidarity activists, that and sanctions – this is exactly what we can do
our principle enemy is the British government and individually and collectively. It’s a group thing.
the British state and based on that that we can You have to draw the connect between where
understand what we need to do about it.” we’re at here, in England, your lives, what you
can do, what space you’ve got, what juice you
“So there’s a couple of points that I want to make have left after a hard day at work. And
under this framework so that we can understand you make that connect in terms of what it
our role. And the first is that Zionism is racism. It is is that is complicit and where it is we can
a product of imperialism. It may have at some point win campaigns.”
in the 19th century been a debate within the Jewish
community in response to rising anti-Semitism “I was in Gaza for two years so I can make the
in Europe but it is no longer an abstract idea. It is connect very easily. I went there in 2010. I was a
realised in Israel and it is what Israel is, it is an teacher. I taught the Samouni family. They lost
ideology underpinning racist settler-colonialism and 29 members of their extended family in 2009. 29
ethnic cleansing and apartheid, and importantly one members of their extended family. They were

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020 7


rounded up. Their parents were shot and attacked in “And the bombs are unbelievable. It’s like everything I’ve got to say you’re here now, we’ve heard
their houses January 3rd to January 7th. I taught the that is normally stable and solid is absolutely some brilliant speakers tonight, fantastic, but
kids there and I was brought in because there were shaking. It’s mini-earthquakes everywhere. It’s a nothing has changed for Palestine yet until
often no parents around.” population that is mostly kids in Gaza, what do you go you go away and do something about
through let alone if you get a direct hit or not?” this and take on what they have said.
“I was on the phone to them this last week, while
the bombings are happening in Gaza and they’re “During the bombing of 2014, obviously I’ve come “Look I want to get Corbyn in as well believe me,
saying they’re really afraid and of course they’re back by then and we got ourselves together and said I’m out and about, I’m door knocking all over the
afraid because they went through an horrific time. enough. This is crazy, obviously at that time there place! But at the same time you can also have a
There was 100 of them all rounded up in a house. was over 1000 that were killed. There were some direct impact on corporate complicity and that’s
Some had already been killed. Parents already had youth from London Palestine Action and myself and where we won that. It’s going to take more and a lot
been killed. A woman had a baby while they were we went on the roof of another Israeli arms factory of effort, but we can do it. Look at Leeds university
cordoned off in this house. All their houses were in Shenstone, which is Elbit, Elbit owned. It’s called when they divested, that’s because we had national
being bombed. They made one 145 calls to the Red UAV engines and they make unmanned aerial vehicle coordination, we had a big student conference in
Cross and no one was allowed to come because the engines. And Elbit is Israel’s largest manufacturer Manchester and everyone came and learnt the tools
Israeli soldiers were stopping them. This is real. This of weapons. They’re the biggest manufacturer of of BDS which Israel knows is working. Why are
happened. It is unbelievable.” drones. They have had people exclaiming how they pumping hundreds of millions of pounds to try
they’re testing on Gaza.” and stop it?”
I asked 11-year-old Ramona Samouni there and I
said what message do you have for the people in “You have people actually saying for example…the CHAIR - LATIFA ABOUCHAKRA
England and she said, “Take care of your parents, I Head of the Israeli army’s technology and logistics IBnrtietirsnhatPioanleasltOinffiaicnerteaatcthheer,Npautbiolnicasl pEedaukceartiaonndUnion
don’t have any parents any more, I can’t take care said, ‘If I develop a product and want to test in the
of them. field I only have to go 5 or 10 kilometres from my “So please, all I am saying is, take action, front
base and I can look and see what is happening up. Look at what’s happening in Gaza. Look what
“I was also there during the bombing of 2012, during with the equipment. I get feedback. So it makes they’re going through. They’re young kids marching.
Operation Pillar of Cloud. I was in the hospital. The the development process faster and much more I asked one of them, “Why are you marching mate?
kids were coming in one by one to the intensive efficient.’ So their stock increases the more they are You’re going to go to the fence when there’s a soldier
care unit. I was there for a year. There were parents bombing Gaza.” there?” And he said, “Look, I’d rather die standing
outside, screaming, crying, praying for their kids to than die in my bed.” And he said that. This is for real.
be alive and we knew that this 2-year-old Haneen “So we went up there and we closed it for three That’s the choice young kids are making. And if that’s
had just haemorrhaged and we were walking out and days. While I was on the roof of that factory, an Elbit their choice our choice is easier. Whatever our lives
you know this is the bottom line, this is where these owned factory, making engines for drones, one of my are our choice is easier than that and we’ve got a lot
weapons are being dropped, this is the end result students, because I taught in the university as well, more to offer, a lot more to give.”
of the profits that are being made by actually Israeli was killed along with her entire family. By a drone.
arms factories in this country let alone the industry She, her two little babies, her husband and her “We can build the BDS. They’re scared of it, it is
that they are building on the deaths of so many and mother-in-law all killed by a drone. And we’re on top growing. We can definitely hold them to account and
the rivers of blood that are running through Gaza of an Israeli arms factory, Elbit owned. Elbit make take action right here and be successful and finally
even this last week”. we will get a free Palestine. Thank you.”
the Hermes 450 and Hermes 900, most of the
drones are made by them. So who knows if any
component was made while we were on that
factory roof, but we closed it for three days.”

“2200 were killed during those 51 days in Gaza
in 2014, 500 children.”

RAJAB SHAMALLAKH, PCF Chairman, introduces the event “To win campaigns as you know from history it
takes everything and it does need some direct
action as well, and I’m doing it because it’s a
key component of winning a campaign. Look
at civil rights, the anti-apartheid movement,
women’s rights, LGBT rights, anything you
like – everything matters, and the same with
South Africa, of course it did.”

8 PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020


PALESTINE POETRY

Palestine

I speak of the magic of your beauty,
But the lines are not enough,

About the revolution of your steadfast people
Throughout the ages
What shall I say?!

Bless you, oh you, jewel of all homelands
Oh you, land of religions
Oh you, wonder of God
How wonderful you are!

Your high/sublime mountains,
Hug the sky
Your spanning plains,
Are green and proud

Everything in you is generous;
Your sea, your land,
Your valleys, and rivers.

Your warm hugs
Heal the wounds
So everyone is rejoiced
With your fragrant scent.

Written by: FAYEKAH AL-SOUS (UM AYMAN) The photo is from my village of Beit Tima, occupied since 1948. 9

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020


Cycling for Justice

This October I led a group of cyclists around Occupied
Palestine on PCF’s first Just Cycle ride, but we were not just
cycling, we were cycling for justice.

Despite being from very different backgrounds will come along and meet us on the 12th of
and of various beliefs, we were all on the trip January in London where the whole group will
for the same purpose – to listen to people, to be talking about our experiences in Palestine.
see the situation for ourselves, and perhaps But in the meantime, one of our group has
most importantly of all, to take a message of written up his thoughts about the trip and I
solidarity and support to the Palestinian people. think he expresses it beautifully, so I hope you
will read his account in the following pages.
The oldest member of our group was 70 and
the youngest was 18; some of us were great So that leaves me to tell you about the charity
cyclists and some of us (myself in particular!) we raised funds for on this trip – the SOS
could have done with a bit more training; some Children’s Village in Bethlehem. SOS is an
of us were well-travelled and some of us were international charity that supports children
not; but every single one of us was moved who have no parental care or who are at risk
beyond words by the welcome we received. of losing it. Their mission is to ensure that no
Whether we were having lunch with a refugee child grows up alone. Due to the occupation,
family or meeting with a town Mayor, we were many children in Palestine face the loss –
greeted with the biggest smiles and offered the temporary or permanent - of one or both
warmest hospitality. parents, and thousands of Palestinian families
face financial hardship which can have a deep
The cyclists in the group are all wonderful, impact on the children. SOS Children’s Villages
caring people and have become like a family – have been supporting children and families
these trips tend to bring people close together in Bethlehem since 1968, helping children to
in a common bond. We all have so many stories grow up in loving homes with their parents
to tell and photos to share, and I hope people and siblings, and when that isn’t possible,
children can be found a loving home with an
PCF’s LAURA ABRAHAM has been SOS family.
running cycle trips in Palestine
since 2004, when she first organised PCF chose SOS as our designated charity for
The Peace Cycle. The trips have an the 2019 ride and each cyclist raised funds to
excellent reputation on the ground, donate to the Children’s Village in Bethlehem,
fundraised thousands of pounds where we had a very memorable visit on one
for charities and created lasting of the last days of the ride. The group played
advocates out of its riders. with the children, shared songs with them, and
learned what wonderful work SOS is doing in
Bethlehem. The children were thrilled to see
us, and we felt a little guilty that we left them
in a rather excitable state, just in time for the
lovely SOS staff to try and get them settled for
bed! But we are very proud to announce that
the group raised a total of £6,400 and we hope
these funds will help children and families in
need in the Bethlehem area.

This was my sixth visit to Palestine since
2004, and it is horrifying to see the continuous
spread of illegal settlements, the increase in
poverty, the eradication of human rights, and
the tightening of restrictions on movement and
on all freedoms, but it seems to me that as
life is made harder for the Palestinians, they
respond with even more kindness and even
more humour - their zest for life is infectious,
and our group found that even faced with
the starkness of terrible injustice, we felt an
immense sense of joy to be with them. We
felt honoured to be sharing their struggle
and sharing their hope, and we will keep our
promise of telling the world what we have seen.

Why don’t you join us on our next advocacy trip to Palestine in October 2020? See details in this magazine and on our website -
“Hello Palestine” will be a week-long introduction to the land and the people, and I guarantee you will fall in love with both!

10 PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020


PALESTINE POETRY

Sunrise Sunrise over Bethlehem (Thursday 31st October 2019)
over Bethlehem
ANNE MOSLEY travelled on Just Cycle 2019. She
By Anne Mosley lives in London and works as a facilitator and
trainer. She has a particular interest in mediation
This poem was inspired by the fact that Omar, the group’s gentle Palestinian driver in across cultural and linguistic divides and feels
the West Bank, could not join the group in Jerusalem because he has the “wrong” ID. especially drawn to the Palestinian narrative. Anne
got the word Palestine tattooed on her arm at the
Between... end of the trip, and reflected, “Thank you, from the
The crowing of the cocks, depths of my heart, for giving me the opportunity
The ringing of the bells, to start a process of informed understanding, and
And the four-thirty call to prayer, hopefully focused involvement in the people and
The night has been alive. the land whose name I now wear proudly and
Death’s tentacles lie still at day’s dawning. indelibly on my right shoulder.”
Whatever wrong stalks the Land of Palestine Is hidden in plain sight...

Insidious,
Crawling,
Brutal in its banality.
What grossness visits us,
When we turn our demands Into inalienable rights?
Using them as weapons to cleave
A people from their land,
A past from its future,
Creating a present that leaves a man with a holy name Bereft of his capital,
And the rhythm of his soul,
For want of a piece of coloured paper.

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020 11


What a Ride! Cycling Palestine 2019

STEWART WHITEHEAD travelled Wow, what a trip. I almost feel guilty now, as I enjoyed this
to Palestine with PCF on Just experience so much, and yet what we were witnessing was
Cycle 2019. He was a mental an entire country under military occupation, with the people
health nurse for 30 years and is suffering in ways we can barely imagine back home. But
now enjoying semi-retirement. what was it that made it such a wonderful place to visit?

Stewart with Mohammad Zarour from Well first and foremost it was the from the children at the SOS Children's
Palestine Riders Palestinian people. As I said to our Village in Bethlehem, our chosen
wonderful organizer Laura at one point, charity, where we were able to
I've been to 34 countries in my lifetime, present them with the results of our
I've lived in 3, and I have never received fundraising, a sum in excess of £6,000.
a welcome anywhere in the world
like the one we got when we passed I really enjoyed the cycling too. The
through the checkpoint into the West land was, to say the least, rather hilly,
Bank. The people are simply lovely, and we soon learnt that the Palestinian
with so much warmth and love in their definition of 'flat' was not quite how
hearts. I was aware, coming from the we saw it. Maybe, it was a language
UK, that Britain's contribution to the thing, as I think sometimes 'flat' was
Palestine situation in the past was not confused with 'straight'. But we worked
a good one, and current governments together as a team, supporting each
have been complicit in arming Israel other in every way, and my fondest
with weapons that they have used memory was struggling up one of the
against the Palestinian people, toughest hills with a couple of others,
most recently in Gaza. So I wouldn't and the enthusiastic encouragement
have been surprised if we had been we got from the rest of our wonderful
regarded with at least an element of group. We had become like a family,
suspicion by the Palestinians. Not a bit and a family welcomed into the wider
of it, we were welcomed unreservedly family of the Palestinian people. This
and unconditionally, invited into was evidenced by the constant tooting
people's homes, fed with the most of horns ( a normal event on the roads
wonderful food, surprised by amazing in Palestine), but when accompanied by
presentations and cultural events, waves and welcoming shouts we soon
educated in all sorts of ways, and realized that the drivers and passengers
informed so much about people's lives were welcoming us as well, as they
and situations. drove past. If we stopped we were often
surrounded by groups of children (and
We were brilliantly looked after by other well-wishers), interested in our
our guides and drivers, who took the bikes and keen to show off their electric
greatest care to keep us safe on the ones, perfect for the hilly terrain. I got
busy and at times somewhat crazy good at calling "Salaam Alaikum!" or
roads. As we cycled through the West replying with "Alaikum Salaam!" when
Bank, from Jenin to the Al-Faraa greeted by others as we passed. Still,
refugee camp not a great effort considering how good
most people's English was, especially
to Nablus to Ramallah to Bethlehem as the only other word I really mastered
to Hebron and finally to Jerusalem, was “shukran” - there being so much to
we were even given the honour of a be thankful for.
police escort by the Palestinian Police.
We had the loveliest of 'bike doctors' The landscape was amazingly beautiful
accompanying us the whole way on his too, particularly when we looked
bike, also keeping us safe as well as on across the Jordan valley into the far
the road, and taking us out to some of distance, with the light playing on the
the local nightlife too. hills in the most stunning way. The
We also had an amazing welcome olive trees, planted everywhere, had a

12 PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020


beauty all of their own too, especially on them). I saw a settler watching us Then of course there are the more
as they seem to represent the lifeblood in Shuhada Street, and as he turned obvious examples of the apartheid
of the country, with farmers and their away I saw he had 2 handguns in each policy that the Israeli authorities
helpers working away in the fields as of his back pockets. Our guide couldn't impose. Most striking is of course the
we passed. Of course there is also the go with us through there, and she was separation wall, only made interesting
amazing, thrilling and spine-tingling obliged to return to the checkpoint by by the amazing street art that adorns
experience of visiting some of the another route to retrieve our vests. We it in Bethlehem and other places.
most famous religious and historical visited the house near Duma where a There is a lot more, but I hope this
sites in the world, of visiting mosques family had their house burnt down by gives an indication of what happens
and churches, of having the chance settlers while they were still inside. The when a people are the victims of cruel
to wander around ancient towns and mother and father died later in hospital and unjust historical decisions made
to explore the markets and traditional while the baby was burnt to death in the around them, live in illegally occupied
Arab souks, and of being able to visit house. Only their older son survived, territories, and are exposed to policies
and experience the stunning city of with massive burns. Most of our group which enable and encourage constant
Jerusalem. was in tears listening to what happened violence and intimidation, and human
in this house, which was kept as it was, rights abuses by the authorities, all of
Now comes the hard part! This as a reminder. which are largely ignored by the rest of
trip was not just a 'jolly'. We were the world.
there to listen, experience There were many examples, and I
and learn, and in spite of found it upsetting to think there were I hope to return one day to
the incredible resilience and places we could go to that the people Palestine. I most particularly want
positivity of our hosts, the who lived there couldn't. It was plain to return to a free Palestine, where
harsh reality of their lives to see that there is a campaign of the people are free to live with their
was all there to be seen. intimidation going on consistently Jewish neighbours in peace, and
Many live in refugee camps, to make people's lives as difficult as with the same rights as everyone
and have done so since 1948 possible, with the ultimate aim of else. I think it will happen, but I
and the Nakba. Our host at driving them out. It will fail, but it is don't think it will happen without a
the Al-Faraa camp was born awful for them. Some of our group also continuing and sustained struggle,
there. Many of the families we were on the receiving end of abuse and a change of attitude and action
met had sons in prison. There from settlers and were put through an throughout the world.
were pictures on walls and unpleasant ordeal at Ben Gurion airport
houses everywhere of people on their departure, being ordered out of
who had died or been imprisoned. a taxi at gunpoint by soldiers who then
There were experiences alluded to if questioned them repeatedly, searched
not fully described that talked of the their bags, damaged their Palestinian
tensions and fear. There were fields of gifts, and interfered with their electronic
olive trees that had been burnt; there devices. It was a taster of what life is
was palpable caution and tension near like for the people of Palestine.
checkpoints and settler areas. There
was evidence of the violence inflicted
on residents living below settlers in
Hebron, with debris as large as breeze
blocks dropped on residential areas
and streets below. We got a very minor
dose of the experience of Palestinians
in Hebron where we were shouted at, at
a Shuhada Street checkpoint by a very
aggressive security official (I'm not sure
if he was a soldier or police) and had
our high-viz vests confiscated (probably
because they had the word Palestine

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020 13


Embroidery Co-Operative Stirs Students at SOAS

I’m not a violent woman,
but I Fight with my tongue.

On a Wednesday evening
in October, Laila Hasan
proved this true in front of
a packed audience at SOAS
University, speaking about
the hardships and injustices
of life in Hebron, the most
segregated city in the world.

PCF hosted Laila in partnership with SOAS what’s become their signature purses around
Palestine Society, and after hearing what Laila in the air, with the tongue-in-cheek phrases
had to share, we then had the opportunity ‘men can do something’ on one side and
to look through and buy some of the hand- ‘women can do anything’ on the other.
embroidered products made by women from
the Women in Hebron co-operative. Laila lived well up to standards of Palestinian
hospitality, inviting the entire audience to
At almost 60 years old, Laila would prefer not come and stay with her, in order to see
to be having to come to the UK all the time, Palestine for themselves. “My house is open
armed with suitcases of products to shift. for you all! I will give you food! Just come and
She’d rather be at home in Palestine, enjoying see how it is.”
life with her six children. But with their shop
in the Old City more and more under threat Laila also reinforced the resistance element
due to settler pressure, this is her best of embroidery. When you sit with the women
chance to keep business going. A business embroidering, she explained, they tell you
that sustains the livelihoods of hundreds of their story. “About her life, about her children,
Palestinian women and their families from if they’re in prison, if they got killed.”
across the South Hebron Hills.
“If we lost our heritage, we already got lost.
“I should have my rights. I should have my We never can find ourselves again.” Laila
freedom, like you,” she told the room of says people suggest she change her business
mostly students, who responded with a round to other things, but she wants to protect
of concurring applause. Palestinian heritage for the new generation.

After beginning her talk with a short video She will not give in to the occupation and
contextualising the situation of Hebron, where its desire to stamp out Palestinians and
500 largely international settlers live in the Old Palestinian heritage alike. “It’s never forever”
City, protected by an army of 2000 soldiers, she repeats throughout the evening, a rousing
Laila reminded the room, “This is what we shout of resistance.
face every day. Not just for a five-minute
video. 24 hours a day!”. Thank you to SOAS Palestine Society for
partnering with us on this event.
Laila Hasan runs the Women in Hebron stall
at the market in Hebron’s Old City. Asked by This March PCF will host three members
an audience member if her job was made of Women in Hebron in a university
even harder by not only being Palestinian but speaking tour across the UK. Get in
being a Palestinian woman, Laila responded touch if you would like to host an event.
in her strong-willed manner, “It’s not easy
being the only female at the souk. Not easy.
But it’s easier for me because always I want
to do more than the man will do!” Laila waved

We created a Fact Sheet on Palestinian Embroidery for the event, which you’ll find in the middle of this magazine.

Inspired to help, we are now selling some of Women in Hebron’s embroidery through our online shop:
etsy.com/uk/shop/PalestineCommunityUK

14 PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020


Voices of Gaza - We Are Not Numbers

Q&A with Ahmed Alnaouq

AHMED ALNAOUQ is a Jerusalem in my life. I feel like this is heaven literally. But I ever felt there are other people who are not Palestinian
Palestinian from Gaza at the same time, we the Palestinians in Gaza love Gaza so or Arab but also support the Palestinians. It was a turning
studying a masters in much and we say sometimes when we are abroad, we are point in my life.
international journalism on a haunted by Gaza. So every day I miss Gaza, I long for Gaza.
Chevening scholarship at the I long for my family. It is now Christmas and everyone in After that we decided to not be silent. We started We Are Not
University of Leeds. He is a my university goes back to their homes to meet with their Numbers to amplify the voices of those suffering in Gaza.
project manager for the Gaza family but now I can’t. I can’t go back to my country to spend We started with 20 writers but now have 200, including many
team of We Are Not Numbers. Christmas. I can’t go back to my home even though my from the West Bank and a few of them from the Palestinians
mother is dying and I have to see her before something bad living in Lebanon. We want people to look at us like we
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE A YOUNG PERSON LIVING IN GAZA? happens. are normal human beings who have talents, successful
This is hard for me to answer because I have lived in Gaza stories, who are people just like them but are suffering at
all my life. For me the whole world was in Gaza. When you I am really happy with my studies, really happy with my the same time. We have published over 800 stories and
are born there and have experienced wars, siege and all the university, really grateful for the Chevening scholarship, made award winning films. We started the first English
other crises people in Gaza endure, you just think that the everything is going so fine. Literally these days are the best journalism academy in Gaza. And these writers now write
world must be like this because you are never allowed to days of my life and I am enjoying every second, every minute for international media organisations and get paid for it. We
leave. I thought that everything that’s going on is universal, of my life here but at the same time I really miss my family. help them generate their income through the writing.
normal, and everyone in the world faces it. Sometimes I My mother is terribly sick and I really want to see her.
get emotional when I talk about it because it’s just terrible. Five years ago when I lost my brother I was very depressed,
But my perspective changed when I was 21. After I started CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT WE ARE NOT NUMBERS? but now we have We Are Not Numbers and I started
working with We Are Not Numbers and talking with In the 2014 war on Gaza I lost my brother and most of my educating the west about Gaza I now fear death, not for
foreigners I saw that our life is different to the life of other friends in an air strike. It was a devastating experience. I myself but because I want to live. I want to advocate more
people around the world. I then felt like I was living in a was 20 at the time. In Palestine during the war when you for the Palestinians. This gave me a reason to live. I am
prison. The best description of it is like living in a prison your lose someone, your home or family no one would actually very happy and proud of myself for achieving what we have
whole life. talk to you and you would be alone because everyone lost already.
someone, everyone has their own problems. When I lost my
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR ATTEMPTS TO LEAVE GAZA brother and my friends I was devastated I was depressed WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ACTIVISTS FOR
PREVIOUSLY? I used to spend my time at the graveyard and there’s only PALESTINE CAN DO IN THE UK?
Having produced a documentary with We Are Not Numbers thing I wanted which was for me to be killed like my brother I feel that what activists in the UK should do is educate the
about life in Gaza which won an international award in just to get rid of this life because it made no sense to me. British people about what is going on in Palestine. When
Washington DC, I attempted to go there to talk about it. But they know that Israel is a racist criminal state the least they
when I left Egypt, I was not granted the US visa so I had to can do is join the BDS and that will hurt Israel a lot and
stay in Egypt for a bit and my residency permit ended while maybe make Israel end its occupation or pressure Israel to
I was there. I ended up in a prison for a month because stop the human rights violations against the Palestinians.
an Egyptian officer accused me of something I did not do.
I had my passport confiscated. Despite winning so many
international awards in Morocco, Tunisia, Malaysia, Turkey
and the US I’ve never been able to go because of the siege
and not being able to get a new passport.

It’s been a dream for me to come here [to the UK] because At that time a friend of mine talked to me and asked me
I studied English literature, and all my studies have been how I was. I said I was fine. She said no, tell me something
about England, the UK, the history, the civilisation and real, tell me how you feel. I was persuaded by her to write
literature. The day I got my scholarship was the hardest in my story and we published it. So many people came to me
my life because I couldn’t go as I couldn’t get a passport. moved by it and gave me support. That was the first time
After 9 months of failed attempts I finally got one. But the
Israelis would not give me a permit to go through Erez
[crossing] so I had to pay my way through Egypt. I went to
Egypt first, then to Amman to get my UK visa and then finally
reached the UK. It was the best day of my life breaking out of
the prison to complete my masters.

The hardest part for the Palestinians is not for students
but for medical patients. My mother is a late stage cancer
patient and she is suffering a lot now. We struggled to get
her permit to travel to Jerusalem to receive treatment as the
Israelis were not allowing her to go there. After too many
negotiations we managed to get her a permit but the doctors
in Jerusalem said my mother cannot be treated because it
was too late.

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO FINALLY BE IN THE UK? From the Film 'Six Miles Out' by the We Are Not Numbers team
When I first came to Leeds I said this must be heaven, how
can someone be sad when he is living in this city? It was
amazing, it was lovely. 24 hours electricity a day, clean water,
ability to travel. If I wanted to cross Gaza and go to the West
Bank it’s impossible. I’ve never visited the West Bank or

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020 15


KEY48 -

We will wear this everyday until Palestine is free
and every Palestinian returns with their key

A key belonging to a Palestinian refugee from Haifa, KEY48 is a student created and student The Story of the Key
currently waiting to return in Ein El Helwe Refugee led campaign with no political, religious, In 1948 Zionist terrorist gangs and
Camp in South Lebanon, alongside a KEY48 or other affiliations. In January of 2017 extremist groups ethnically cleansed and
our Palestine Society at the University destroyed over 500 Palestinian towns and
Palestinian refugees fleeing to refugee camps in of Westminster decided that we wanted villages, renamed them, and repopulated
Lebanon in 1948, just after the catastrophe of Al-Nakba. to create the ‘Palestinian version of the those towns and villages with Jewish
poppy’, essentially create a symbol that immigrants in order to create Israel.
we could wear everyday and attach to our Palestinian refugees fled for their lives,
clothes, something that would symbolise leaving everything behind except one thing,
the plight of Palestinians, and for us the key to their homes, with the belief
nothing was more important, nor more that one day they will return. Palestinian
symbolic than the key of return, than, refugees to this day still have these keys,
KEY48. We wanted to keep the hope of and pass them onto the next generation in
the Palestinian Right of Return for over 7 the hope that they will be the generation
million refugees alive, as well as that returns. The catastrophe of 1948
advocate its legal grounds. created the world’s largest as well as the
world’s longest waiting refugee population,
The Palestinian Right of Return is legally from being both internally and externally
outlined in UN Resolution 194: displaced. Today there are over 7 million
‘The Palestinian refugees wishing to return Palestinian refugees, who are denied their
to their homes, should be permitted to do Right of Return. The majority of these
so at the earliest possible time, as well refugees are forced to live in refugee
as compensation to be paid, for property camps either in Gaza, the West Bank, or
lost, by the government or authority in Lebanon, Jordan or Syria, where they
responsible.’ (UN, 1948) are not recognised as citizens, have laws
that directly discriminate them for being
UN General Assembly Resolution 3236: Palestinian and are forced to live in a
‘The inalienable right of Palestinians to vicious cycle of both violence and poverty.
return to their homes and property from
which they have been displaced or uprooted The Creation of KEY48
and calls for their return.’ (UN, 1974) In 2017 our Palestine Society collaborated
with Olive, a youth organisation focused
Israel’s denial of the Right of Return for on the empowerment of Palestinian youth
Palestinian refugees amounts to a war in the UK, and we collectively made it
crime, and an act of aggression, as Israel’s happen, and created our first batch of
admission to the UN was conditional on KEY48’s. We had our official KEY48 launch
its acceptance of resolution including UN at the University of Westminster in October
Resolution 194. 2017, and had Palestinian refugees host

Palestinian refugees from Gaza, Lebanon, and Jordan KEY48 Launch 2017
who have all kept their keys from 1948, waiting to return.

16 PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020


Ahed Tamimi supporting KEY48 Al Jazeera News Reporter Jamal ElShayyal wearing KEY48 live on air

the launch, perform at the launch, and had confusion. We believe the best way to do this KEY48 Today
Palestinian refugees wearing KEY48 for is to deconstruct the conflict analogy, and In just two years after our launch, we have
the first time and demanding their Right replace it with three clear demands, and KEY48’s being worn in over 33 countries,
of Return. We also wanted KEY48 wearers these three demands is what you’re calling including the US, Chile, Zambia, Morocco,
to be at the forefront of Right of Return for when you wear and support KEY48. As Palestine, Russia and Japan. We have
advocacy, so if a person sees them wearing these three demands immediately disqualify journalists, to singers, to MP’s, to Ahed
KEY48, they can explain to them why they the media’s conflict myth. Tamimi all wearing KEY48 and demanding
are wearing it, why they are calling for the the Palestinian Right to Return. We have
Palestinian Right of Return and why the When we wear KEY48 we are demanding: hosted over 15 events about the Right of
person asking them why they’re wearing Return, and in 2020 we have big things lined
it, should call for it too. A huge part of 1 An end to the illegal military up that we hope you can be a part of with us.
KEY48 for us, is to educate and to inform, blockade of Gaza
to use social media and other platforms to We hope you can join us in wearing KEY48
give Palestinians the platform to explain 2 An end to the illegal military everyday until Palestine is free and every
what is happening in Palestine, and to not occupation of Palestine Palestinian returns with their key.
further feed the biased media’s pit of conflict
3 The Right of Return for ALL
Palestinian refugees

The KEY48 team all wearing KEY48 and calling for the Palestinian Right to Return

Farah Koutteineh Fawziya Haque Wissam Yasser

To get more information on KEY48 and to get your own KEY48 visit: www.key48.com

A huge part of KEY48 is education, and we utilise social media to educate and inform KEY48 wearers
about what’s happening in Palestine, in Palestinian refugee camps, and current news:

@officialkey48 @officialkey48 @KEY48

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020 17


TAT R E E Z PALESTINIAN
CROSS-STITCH
EMBROIDERY

Tatreez dates back
3000 years in the
Middle East

In its modern form, it has survived in Palestine
through generations under Ottoman, British
and Israeli rule, as a form of expression and
resistance for Palestinian women.

Techniques

In the 19th Century there were two main
embroidery regions in Palestine – southern
Palestine and Galilee – each with a distinctive style.
Every village then has its own distinctive style.

The main technique was (and still is) cross
stitching. But Bethlehem uses a distinctive method
of couching with silk and metallic cord.

Reoccuring ‘Foreign moon’ ‘Moon with feathers’
Symbols ‘Cow’s eye’ ‘The baker’s wife’
and Motifs ‘Mill wheel’
‘Bachelor’s cushion’
Tatreez patterns are mostly ‘Old man’s teeth’
geometric shapes, but also include
motifs from the daily, rural life of ‘Crab’ ‘Old man upside down’
Palestinian women, such as: the
cypress tree, bunches of grapes,
birds of paradise or a rainbow.

The geometric designs were given
creative and humorous names,
with the most traditional patterns
shown here.

18 PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020


Glossary The Culture

Satin = “Atlas“ “We embroidered the side panels for such a long time!
Taffeta = “Heremzi“ Remember Halimeh, when we were pals?
We embroidered the chest panels for such a long time!
Royal = “Malak“ Remember Halimeh, when we were girls?”
Fabric = “Kermesot“
Dress = “Thob“ Lyrics of a nostalgic wedding song from former
village of Beit Dajan, near Jaffa, recalls the long
The Nakba process of preparing the ‘wedding trousseau’.
through Tatreez
A Thob Malak
Rachel Dedman’s exhibition Labour of Love showed or Malekeh
how the Nakba played out through Palestinian
women’s embroidered clothing. One dress on display The best dress for a bride is traditionally
was given from one refugee to another just after the contributed by the groom to the ‘wedding
Nakba, and had been stitched with an UNRWA aid trousseau’, and commissioned from professional
rice sack to fit the recipient's size. embroiderers, mostly based in the Bethlehem area.

Intifada Dresses

During the Intifada, Palestinian women
embroidered symbols of resistance onto the
dresses, such as rifles and the Palestinian flag.

Tatreez Factsheet www.palestinefoundation.org.uk

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020 19


Power to
Warwick Occupy!

Taking direct action against institutional racism and Islamophobia on
campus, students at Warwick University took over their Student Union for
30 days and 29 nights last term, becoming known as Warwick Occupy. After
no response to their demands for a month, on 18th of December, they had
victory, inspiring students around the country that direct action works.

Their protest received recognition from Malia minority groups who have come in solidarity
Bouattia in Middle East Eye who wrote about with Palestinians and understand their
how students can fight back to reclaim free struggles. The community in our occupation
speech. PCF were pleased to arrange for of the Students’ Union is a diverse one,
Ahmed Alnaouq, a Palestinian journalist and uniting in the face of injustice, against all
the project manager of We Are Not Numbers forms of racism, islamophobia, and other
to visit the students to deliver an inspiring systems of oppression. It includes members
talk, which you can watch the whole of on the from Warwick Friends of Palestine, Warwick
Warwick Occupy Facebook page. Arabic Society, Warwick For Free Education,
Warwick Pride, Warwick Anti-Racism, and
Half way through the occupation on Day 14, Warwick Anti-Sexism, as we all collectively
Hadeel spoke to PCF on behalf of Warwick push for institutional change and a shift in
Occupy on what has ignited this movement: discourse surrounding Palestinians. Amongst
our demands is the implementation of certain
Morale is still high and people are still motivated, aspects of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.
but everyone is also exhausted. We haven’t been We have demanded the divestment from the
able to have much sleep and proper food, but Israeli occupation and the boycott of all brands
the sense of community is amazing. We have that are complicit in the oppression of the
been organising talks and activities within the Palestinian people such as Hewlett-Packard
occupied rooms to keep people engaged and to (HP) and Caterpillar. We have also demanded
make it intellectually-nourishing. that the university publish their investments
after having previously refused to reveal them
We have had talks about gendered islamophobia upon a Freedom of Information Request from
& we’ve had painting nights & tomorrow one the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. Students
of our occupants is giving a talk about how who are paying tens of thousands of pounds
the British education system is still racist and each to this university have a right to know
colonial. We want the occupation to not just be what their money is being invested into and
about fighting against the institution but also be whether their fees are being used to further
intellectually stimulating and educational. dehumanize and subject a colonized people.

Our movement, Warwick Occupy, was Palestinians, whether they are living in the West
established on the evening of the 19th of Bank, Gaza, or have been displaced elsewhere,
November following the University and Students’ have grown accustomed to discrimination and
Union’s decision to ignore students’ requests to having their struggles ignored. Hence, we as
cancel a talk given by IDF Colonel Dror, hosted Palestinian students, are overwhelmed and
by the Jewish Israeli Society and sponsored shocked to see so many students and staff
by the Islamophobic and racist organization members from the international community join
StandWithUs. Prior to the event, there was a in solidarity with us to help us make our voices
request directed to the Students’ Union and heard. The rights of both Palestinian refugees
the University of Warwick to cancel the talk, and Palestinians living under occupation have
signed by almost 300 people including students, historically been criminally ignored by the
academics, and student societies’ executive international community, so seeing allies and
members. Their refusal to cancel the event led to oppressed groups stand in solidarity with us
a student protest in solidarity with the Palestinian has filled us with hope. This movement in
people to send a message to the University and solidarity with Palestine has recently become a
Students’ Union that we will not be silenced, and national movement in the United Kingdom, not
that giving a platform to an official of a military just at the University of Warwick, and Warwick
that has violated human rights and international Occupy is proud of all the connections that it has
law is unacceptable on our campus. The established – both national and transnational.
protest then proceeded to the Students’ Union Our occupation has also coincided with the
Headquarters and a spontaneous decision was University and College Union strikes, in which
taken to start an occupation of certain SU offices faculty members are demanding their right
since our SU deems the Israeli occupation of to secure non-precarious labor from the
the Palestinian people acceptable. And thus, our University. The UCU at Warwick has expressed
movement Warwick Occupy came to be. Our solidarity with our movement, and we have
occupation is here to stay until the Students’ been greatly supported by faculty members.
Union and the University agree to our demands. This coinciding of various movements in our
Warwick Occupy is a movement intended to fight university and across the country to fight
institutional racism against Palestinians and all against all forms of inequality, whether social
ethnic minorities. or economic, is a testament that to abolish a
harmful hierarchal system, those at the bottom
This occupation has been supported not have to unite as they demand their right to
just by Palestinians, but by many different equality, security, and freedom.

Written by HADEEL HIMMO on behalf of Warwick Occupy. Hadeel is Campaigns Officer for Warwick Friends of Palestine.
On Facebook and Twitter: @WarwickFOP @WarwickOccupy #WarwickOccupy

20 PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020


Student Advocates
for Palestine in 2019

Yana Shabana speaks at Aston

Aston Palestine Society

As ever students across the country have citizens in their own country. After her shared Leeds Trinity University Palestine Solidarity Group Freshers’ Fair
been busy advocating and campaigning for a experience, the floor was opened for questions
free Palestine this academic year. Students at from the audience which were all answered in
King’s College London Action Palestine Society, great professionalism, whether they derived
University of Leicester Palestine Society and from pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli narratives.’
Warwick: Friends of Palestine Society have
all stood resilient in resisting the invitation of On Day 17 of Warwick Occupy’s takeover of our Israeli Apartheid Week previous posters
Israeli Occupation Forces Lt. Colonel Eyal Dror Students’ Union we linked up journalist Ahmed
being invited to speak on campus. Warwick’s Alnaouq with Warwick Friends of Palestine
stance against the normalisation of apartheid, Society for a talk. Ahmed is project manager
settler-colonialism and racism on campus for the Gaza team of We Are Not Numbers, an
is an inspiration to us all as their occupation organisation devoted to Palestinian youth telling
of rooms in their Student Union remains the human stories behind the numbers in the
strong since it began on November 18th and news which has published over 800 pieces and
announced its victory on December 18th. We many documentaries. Ahmed gave a powerful
stand in solidarity with them and commend and heartfelt account of the murder of his
them on their struggle. brother and friends in 2014 after being struck
by an Israeli missile as well as recounting his
This term we sent educational and experience of being unjustly incarcerated in
campaigning resources to over 20 Palestine Egypt whilst attempting to leave Gaza to receive
societies and were delighted to see them in a prize at Washington DC Film Festival.
use on Freshers’ Fairs from Oxford to Glasgow,
Westminster to Leeds. We also collaborated A big congratulations to University of
on three events. The first was in October with Sheffield Palestine Society for their
SOAS Palestine Society who hosted Women in achievements so far this year:
Hebron (turn to page 14 for a full write up). The
second was with Aston Palestine Society who “Our campaigns this year attracted a lot of
hosted Yana Shabana. Aston PalSoc president attention, and we were reported on news by
Shadi Abdelaziz told Palestine Voice: BBC Sheffield Radio, Sheffield Live as w¯ell
as Forge Press, we have also met with the
‘Yana gave a talk about her own personal and University Executive Board and discussed
unique experience as both a Russian and first steps with the chancellor to divest from
Palestinian national living under occupation unethical companies. This is also without
in the city of Hebron in the occupied West mentioning that Sheffield was first city this year
Bank. She highlighted the water shortages to recognise Palestine as a sovereign state.”
that Palestinians endure as a result of the
illegal Israeli settlements as well as the abuse YAZAN KHADER
that Palestinian children face when they go President of University of Sheffield
to school. She emphasised the way in which Palestine Society
Palestinians are treated as second class

UPCOMING PALSOC EVENTS WOMEN IN HEBRON VOICES FROM GAZA

ISRAELI APARTHEID WEEK In March we are bringing over and touring It is fantastic that there are
members of Hebron’s cooperative Women currently young students
This year’s IAW will take place around in Hebron around universities throughout studying with us in the UK
March 21st, the day of commemoration the UK. They will tell personal stories of from Gaza. We want to help
for South Africa apartheid’s Sharpeville living through decades of Israel’s violent bring them to your campus
massacre. Under the theme ‘United occupation in Hebron whilst empowering to amplify their voices and
Against Racism’ this is a crucial local women through selling their #ReclaimtheNarrative. Get in
opportunity to raise awareness of the embroidered goods. This is not to be missed! touch to organise an event.
rife anti-Palestinian racism in British Email [email protected] to
society and further embed our cause secure your PalSoc’s date on the tour.
into the wider anti-racist movement.

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020 21


PALESTINE POETRY The White Visitor

AHMED A. MIQDAD You start the year
Following his contribution to our last issue We with your white snow,
Are Not Numbers, we sent copies of Palestine your white color refers
Voice to Ahmed in Gaza and were pleased to the purity and optimism
that they reached him. Here he is with a copy
on the beach. Even a siege isn’t enough to with hope to bring
stop the spread of poetry, words, resistance peace, love,
and ideas. We’re delighted to publish another
from the published poet and teacher. quietness and stability.
22 PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020
You have come as a guest,
you are a very quick visitor
that brings presents and gifts

and the most important
you cover the land

with your bright snow
that buries the miseries and suffering.

Erases the red blood
that was blended with sands
which hides the shredded bodies

over the Palestinian lands
which witness the crimes.

Removes the fragrant scent
of the beloved ones,

because of your frozen air,
and heals the broken hearts,

with your white bandage.

You are so beautiful,
when your snow

covers the branches of olives
and turns the Yellow Dome

into a white one.

I know your white heart,
so compassionate and sympathetic,

especially to the homeless
who seek shelter in tents.
Please, make your snow

as their cozy beds,
and your bitter coldness
as their warm covers.

Their land was stolen,
their trees were cut down
and their children are suffering
please, keep them warm.


PALESTINE POETRY

SHELTER by AYA AHMED A place giving temporary protection from Let your voice be heard
bad weather or danger It’s the only thing you have left
Aya Ahmed is a 20-year-
old Iraqi student from But you don’t hear your siblings cry at night Said a little bird
London currently studying When they’re hiding under bombshells holding each When flying over the border
genetics at the University Between Mexico and the states
of Leicester. She heads other so tight witnessing thousands of infants
the publicity & media team As the lucky ones fertilise the ground they used to walk Being treated like inmates
at her university’s Islamic
society. Aya found passion on their hope is a star
in poetry at a young age Others put their hands up and wish they’d just be gone a million light years away
as it helped her deal with Let’s not forget the flames
a range of topics that she The next door neighbour, her brother and son
found difficult to articulate Pressed up against the wall On the 14th of June
in general conversation. their temples on the gun Fuelled by profit margins
One of her goals is to Now that’s quite the tune
publish a book in the The lines on their palms read legends of old Said the journalist to his friend
near future. See a fully As their sacred homelands story is told When writing about the news as
illustrated version of this Grenfell burned to ashes
poem on her Instagram Between rubble, shrapnel and baby’s shoes Picture frames and nike shoes
@thrilla_manillah ‘The Muslims strike again’, declares Fox News But nothing is more deafening
The pages bound together with pain and oppression
Than death; it’s silence
And you wonder why 300 million people The wispy crispy remains of
suffer from depression?
natural political violence
Red congealed meanders between every other chapter If I didn’t have faith
It’s funny
I would say the end is near
I though death was just a famous I mean
Paid actor
You see why wouldn’t I? When
half the world is in fear
It’s easy to ignore the pain and the anger Fear of becoming a by-product of society
When every year there’s another better iPhone camera Fear of shedding a tear
Fear of being forced to cement books between walls for
China’s largest panda Hundreds and thousands of years
Government propaganda And now as the days go by
I find it harder and harder to say
How many stanzas That all I can ever truly do
Should it take until Is kneel down and pray
So put your hands up
Our contusions Palms facing the sky
and fusions of
To the Rahman
injustice The Raheem
illusions Maliki yawm al deen
And midnight intrusions into For only He truly knows
Innocent The pain their eyes have seen
Palestinian homes Ya Rabbi please protect us
Come to an end From the evil and unseen
Where’s the revolution? And always try to keep us on
our voices? Alsirat’ul mustakeem
When will they be heard?
Shouldn’t take a genius or a Ameen
mathematical nerd
To work out the formula for peace and freedom
Isn’t going to come from us sitting down and weeping no
So please

I beg

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020 23


24 PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020


Artist in Conversation: Anna Laurini

ANNA LAURINI has gained notoriety over the last few years as one of the most
distinctive urban contemporary artists to burst onto the London scene. Anna
earned a fine art diploma at Central Saint Martins and attended life drawing at
Art Student League, New York. Her work has been exhibited in London, Tokyo,
New York, Milan and Paris but her street art can often be found spontaneously
appearing in spots throughout Europe. Her work is inspired by Picasso and
Matisse and she is a great advocate for Palestine. annalauriniblue.com

HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED WHY IS THE PALESTINIAN CAUSE SO
IN THE PALESTINIAN CAUSE? IMPORTANT TO YOU?

The Palestinian cause is so much a I feel like it is about time the world
humanitarian cause, you only need wakes up to Israel’s nefarious
to be a human to realise how Israel’s activities and injustices towards the
oppression and apartheid is brutal, Palestinian people. In a way we are
unacceptable and against any basic all Palestinian and victims of the
human rights. It makes me cry just growing oppression of an increasingly
thinking about it. I will always be a unaccountable establishment which
supporter of the Palestinian cause, influences the world around us,
and it is indeed an honour for me to systematically oppressing us and
donate my art and to help spread the feeding us with misinformation.
awareness.
WHAT ROLE DOES ART PLAY IN THE
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO PALESTINE? STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM?
DOES YOUR ART FEATURE IN
PALESTINE? Street art is powerful and it is a
universal language. It can speak to
I'd really love to go to Palestine and anyone. I personally believe street
paint and help the people as much art and art in general should always
as I can but my concern is that as I'm aim towards beauty and harmony just
so passionate and impulsive I would like nature does. Two things in my
find it too difficult to stay silent when opinion which are greatly needed in
witnessing the everyday injustices our reality.
Palestinians endure from the Israeli
Occupation Forces.

I really cannot stand and tolerate
any atrocity and injustice, which
Israel is pursuing daily against the
Palestinians. It would be difficult for
me not to speak out and react.

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020 25


Palestine in the Diary

JANUARY Sunday 12th January
Stories & Supper from Cycling
SUNDAY Palestine at Irish Cultural
Centre, Hammersmith, London
12 (6-8pm). Free tickets and info:
justcycle.eventbrite.co.uk
WEDNESDAY Thursday 27th February
Talk with Dr Erin Dyer Saxon on Wednesday 22nd January
22 Palestine: Identity, Conflict and Protest the ADS arms dealers
Religion, St Albans Cathedral dinner with Campaign Against
FEBRUARY (7:30-9pm) £6 students/£10. Arms Trade. 6:30pm at Grosvenor
House Hotel.
MARCH
Saturday 25th January
SATURDAY Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Annual General Meeting at
7 Conway Hall, Red Lion Square,
London (9:30am-5pm)
SATURDAY
Friday 28th February
21 Lecture: 1871 Survey of
Western Palestine Revisited:
26 PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020 the visible and the hidden with
Salman Abu Sitta, Founder and
President of Palestine Land
Society. SOAS, free (5:30-7pm)

Saturday 7th March
Foundation for Al Quds Medical Schools in
Palestine (FQMS) host a Gala Dinner at the
InterContinental London Park Lane (£95-
£150)

Sunday 8th March
International Women’s Day. Look out for our
event celebrating Palestinian women!

Saturday 21st March
Israeli Apartheid Week is based around this
date this year, the International day against
racism and racial discrimination and the
anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre in
apartheid South Africa. The IAW theme this
year is ‘United against racism’. Watch out
for incredible Palestinian student activism
across the world.

Monday 30th March
Land Day


Let’s look ahead at what 2020 has in
store for Palestine events in the UK...

APRIL Friday 10th April
Film Screening of 1948: CREATION &
FRIDAY CATASTROPHE followed by discussion,
curry and refreshments. Hosted by
10 Streatham Labour Film Club. 21 Effra
Parade, London SW2, Free. (7-10pm)

Thursday 23rd April - Saturday 23rd May
Ramadan. Keep an eye out for our
Palestine themed iftar.

MAY Friday 15th May: Nakba Day

FRIDAY

15

REST OF THE YEAR SO FAR

Hello Palestine!24TH - 30TH OCTOBER 2020 HALWFETEEKRM

Let us introduce DAY 1 ARRIVAL
you to Palestine
- come and see Acclimatisation,
the land & meet dinner, and
the people. overnight in
Nazareth

NAZARETH DAY 2 DAY 3 JENIN & AL FARA

Learn about Learn about
human rights for refugees,
Palestinians living detention and
in ’48 (Israel) and imprisonment, and
visit some of the about Palestinian
culture, and enjoy
ancient sites of a walk through
Nazareth the stunning
countryside of
NABLUS DAY 4 the West Bank

Learn about DAY 5 BETHLEHEM
education
Learn about
in Palestine the wall, land
and about the confiscation and
distribution of checkpoints, and
visit the SOS
resources Children’s Village
and the Nativity
BATTIR & HEBRON DAY 6 Church

Learn about rural DAY 7 JERUSALEM
Palestine and walk
through the UNESCO Learn about home
World Heritage site demolitions in the
of Battir, and see the Holy City and visit
unique situation in the Holy sites
Hebron as we learn
about its non-violent

resistance

DEPARTURE DAY 8

We will transfer to Tel Aviv airport for departure.

This trip is organised by Palestine Community Foundation (PCF)
AND supports SOS Children’s Village - CONTACT US TO APPLY NOW

1 0P3A0L0E7S77TI1N7E77VOICE [email protected] pWalienstteinre2fo0u1n8d/1a9tion.org.uk palestinefoundation.org.uk/hello-Palestine

July/August Saturday 24th - Café Palestina continue film
The Big Ride 4 Palestine in Friday 30th October screenings on Wednesday
London and Manchester Hello Palestine PCF advocacy tour nights, monthly Friday & Sunday
supper clubs and weekend
Levantine Arabic classes

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020 27


Palestine’s Oscar entry a look at global exile and
“the Palestinisation of the world”

“I’m sorry, but your film’s just not… Palestinian enough,” said the French producer
to the Palestinian film maker, proving post-colonial discourse alive and kicking.”

As the credits rolled on the UK premiere of It himself to roam, tanks glide inexplicably through Asked whether this is something Suleiman has
Must Be Heaven – recently selected as Palestine’s the streets and cops ride about looking ridiculous, experienced himself trying to get his films made,
2020 Oscar entry for the category of International fighting crime on Segways. In New York, Elia he confirms it used to happen all the time, and
Feature Film – the film was met with rapturous satirises American gun violence, in a scene that even with this film the unusual narrative structure
applause by the London Film Festival audience. grows more and more surreal as he suddenly and humorous nature was a sticking point. “To the
realises that everybody around him is nonchalantly producers, at this point in history, there is no way
The man whose lovable face we had followed carrying a weapon, with machine guns slung that Palestinians laugh. They get tortured, they get
on screen through his circular ambles through casually over school children’s shoulders, and arrested, so they are victims, therefore we as other
Palestine, Paris, New York and back to Palestine weapons continually growing larger and more ex-colonials are coming to save them.”
once more, took to the stage, with a head of greying destructive in size.
hair, endearing smile and film-maker garms “They don’t want you to say what you want to say,
including thick lenses, black converse, scarf, long Suleiman is making a point about a growing global they want to say what they want to say about you.”
black coat and over-the-shoulder satchel. violence. “The character escapes from one place to
find himself in the same place wherever he goes, “A Palestinian has to stay in his own cage and
This is Elia Suleiman’s fourth feature film and, he which is kind of the way I feel these days.” should not talk about Paris or New York,” he felt
tells us straight away, his favourite to make. Not was their verdict. Despite of course so many
because it’s objectively the best, but because he “There is a sense for me that this is the thousands of Palestinians experiencing their
felt happy making it. “I felt free… cheerful and Palestinian-isation of the world.” Palestinianness as part of a global diaspora.
laughing all the time.” The film seems to have paid off with this largely
There is no way to escape your homeland. Palestinian audience at least, with much recognition
It Must Be Heaven is less of a narrative story, more on screen with aspects of their own experience.
a set of stitched together absurd and comedic And by the end of the film, despite everything, There were hearty self-aware laughs when, at a
scenes, stunningly shot and sparse of script. In Suleiman finds himself heading back to his Palestinian panel event in New York, the chair had
fact, Suleiman’s character speaks a total of two home in Palestine, back to battling with the same to ban the audience from clapping too much for
lines in the film and not till about two thirds in, annoying neighbour who steals the fruit from his each speaker, as they’d run out of time to hear what
when he answers a New York taxi driver about lemon tree. anybody had to say. He limits them instead to an
where he’s from. Perhaps emphasising how his absurd sounding single one clap per person.
Palestinianness is at the forefront of his identity, Suleiman recalls his younger self having sought
and worth speaking for. He even scores himself a after a sort of global citizenship, a feeling that he It Must Be Heaven may fall flat for many of its
free ride for being from Nazareth, “like Jesus!”. could belong anywhere and “become at home viewers. Either for the subtle, Chaplin style
wherever I go.” Now in his more senior years, he humour not landing for them, or because it is in
With Suleiman’s first three films having been set reflects that he failed at this task. Yet with a spout some ways one big in-joke for Palestinians and
in Palestine, exploring the notion of “exile in my of optimism, he says he sees it more in today’s their experience of the world.
own land”, this film is set on what Suleiman calls younger generation of Palestinians, who seem to
a global canvas, across Palestine, France and have come closer to this goal. But it is also a take on one older man’s isolation
America. “This is my global exile.” and loneliness; the warmest connection Suleiman
“Their Palestinianism is stemming out of belonging makes in the film is with a sparrow, who flies into
Consistently an outsider in the film, whether in to the world. Their activism is in total identification his apartment in Paris and repeatedly perches
Palestine or outside it, he guides us through an of all causes. That’s what’s making them more upon the laptop, interrupting his writing.
observation of the world, struggling to understand worldly, more activist and more citizens of the
its logic and exposing all its inconsistencies and world in their own homeland.” At the end of the film, sat in a bar, somebody
hypocrisies. remarks, “you Palestinians are strange. Everyone
At one point in the film, the filmmaker protagonist else drinks to forget, but you guys drink to
In an almost abandoned Paris, with glorious shots visits a swanky production studio, only to have his remember.”
of the city which Suleiman seems to have all to script rejected for not being ‘Palestinian’ enough.

NATASHA SELF is General Manager / Head of Media and Communications at PCF

28 PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020


Hello Palestine!24TH - 30TH OCTOBER 2020 HALWFETEEKRM

Let us introduce DAY 1 ARRIVAL
you to Palestine
- come and see Acclimatisation,
the land & meet dinner, and
the people. overnight in
Nazareth
NAZARETH DAY 2
DAY 3 JENIN & AL FARA
Learn about
human rights for Learn about
Palestinians living refugees,
in ’48 (Israel) and detention and
visit some of the imprisonment, and
about Palestinian
ancient sites of culture, and enjoy
Nazareth a walk through
the stunning
NABLUS DAY 4 countryside of
the West Bank
Learn about
education DAY 5 BETHLEHEM

in Palestine Learn about
and about the the wall, land
distribution of confiscation and
checkpoints, and
resources visit the SOS
Children’s Village
BATTIR & HEBRON DAY 6 and the Nativity
Church
Learn about rural
Palestine and DAY 7 JERUSALEM

walk through the Learn about home
UNESCO World demolitions in the
Heritage site of Holy City and visit
Battir, and see the the Holy sites
unique situation

in Hebron as
we learn about
its non-violent

resistance

DEPARTURE DAY 8

We will transfer to Tel Aviv airport for departure.

This trip is organised by Palestine Community Foundation (PCF)
AND supports SOS Children’s Village - CONTACT US TO APPLY NOW

0300 777 1 777 [email protected] paPlAesLtEinSeTfoINunEdaVtOioInC.EorgI.usks/uheel4lo2-P0a2l0estine 29


COLOURING IN -

JERUSALEM

We’re delighted to have sold 250 Palestine Colouring Books so far, reaching all around the world!
From a children’s woodcraft festival preparing the “woodchips” for a Palestinian delegation
visiting next summer, to a woman who bought them for two young people from Gaza she knows
living in the UK, to keep them connected to their homeland.
From BDS Australia to a Jerusalem bookshop and to individuals in Canada, Switzerland, the USA
and all over the UK. We mapped out everywhere the colouring book has reached so far.

You can get your colouring book for just £3 on our Etsy store: etsy.com/uk/shop/PalestineCommunityUK
30 PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020


GET INVOLVED WITH PCF!

Submit a piece for the next edition of Palestine Voice to
[email protected]

Sign up for our monthly email newsletter and our weekly
Palestine Pulse

Request a free pack of resources from us for your Palestine
organisation or event from [email protected]

Come to our event on January 12th to hear about our cyclists
time in Palestine and for more information on the next
advocacy trip in October 2020

Intern with us! Get in touch if you’d like to spend a couple of
weeks inside an NGO and think we could benefit from your
skills/enthusiasm

Organise a fundraiser or cultural event for Palestine.
Get in touch for support.

Follow us on:
Instagram @palestinecommunityuk
Twitter @PalCommunityUK
Facebook facebook.com/palestinefoundationuk

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020 31


0300 777 1 777 [email protected] palestinefoundation.org.uk

32 PALESTINE VOICE Issue 4 2020


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