Palestinian Children who visited Sheffield face military court

lajee dancer peace gardens
Lajee dancers spend some time off in the Peace Gardens


On 9th July this summer, over a hundred people saw at Sheffield’s Broomhall Centre a performance by 20 Palestinian teenagers, from Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem.

The previous day, Sheffield’s Deputy Mayor had welcomed the group, the Lajee Dance Troupe, at the Town Hall. On Wednesday, salibaOctober 5th, three of the 14-year- old dancers, Mustafa Bdair, Mutaz Barakah and Omar Radi were arrested by masked Israeli soldiers.

Attacks by the Israeli army on the Lajee centre have escalated since Celtic football fans raised over £170,000 divided between Medical Aid for Palestine and the Lajee Centre in Aida Camp.

These night raids by Israeli soldiers fit into a pattern of reprisals that have followed international gestures of solidarity with the Centre under an Israeli military occupation that the UK and other governments consider to be illegal.

Israeli soldiers attacked the Lajee Centre with teargas and rubber bullets on 19 Sept while the children were inside. The following night they forced open the gate of the centre, threw teargas grenades inside and closed the gate, trapping the children inside, forcing them to inhale toxic teargas.

Mutaz, Mustafa and Omar have been released on bail but will be tried by an Israeli military court where defendants are routinely found guilty.

In total, 440 children under 18 are currently held in military detention almost two-and- half times the number imprisoned a year ago. According to the Defense for Children International–Palestine (DCIP), no other country in the world systematically prosecutes hundreds of children in military courts each year.

Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign are urging Sheffield MPs to call on the Foreign Office to condemn the Israeli government’s campaign of intimidation against the Lajee Centre and to press for the dropping of the charges against the teenagers.

This year’s Scholarship Fund students announced

Sheffield Palestine Women’s Scholarship Fund is supporting 41 Palestinian women into university in Gaza this year. The students are studying a range of subjects from medicine to English Literature, from Law to Sociology. See the full list here and watch the video of students who have received funding this year: جمعية آفاق جديدة – منحة شيفلد

Students sign for their scholarship cheques

There are some this changes this year as we have been asked by the organising committee in Gaza to alter how much we pay for each scholarship. One university has reduced its fees to $500, others remain at $600 but medical and health related courses vary from $1-1500. By paying the additional fees for the medical and health related subjects, we are able to support Palestinian women to aspire and achieve.

However on top of this, the exchange rate this year has been very poor. This means that though we sent out more money than last year, it is worth less in dollars. Therefore, this year we are sponsoring 41 students (in 2015/16 we sponsored 43 students).

Please join us in wishing our students an enjoyable and successful year.

The Big Ride


Over 200 cyclists  took part in the Big Ride to Shenstone.   There it joined with other protesters on Monday 8th August, including a good contingent from Sheffield PSC.  The wholly owned Israeli Elbit  factory there makes engines for drones.  Drones helped the attack on Gaza in 2014.   This attack killed about 1,500 civilians including 500 children.  The oppression continues today.

While our PSC bank accounts which help educate young women and  fund children’s projects have been closed the daily business of making weapons for the Israeli military goes ahead as normal.  Time to end it.

More pictures are here.

There is also a lovely video of the Sheffield leg of the ride and protest.  It is made by Angela Martin from Sheffield.   Please have a look at it and share with friends.  It is here.

The Big Ride


We are cycling to raise awareness of the UK’s complicity in arming Israel.  Groups of cyclists from London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and Sheffield will converge on Shenstone.  The Elbit factory  there is a wholly owned Israeli arms manufacturer.  It makes parts for drones.  Two years ago drones helped kill 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza.  Most were civilians, over five hundred were children.

Send us on our way at Sheffield Town Hall 10.30 Saturday 6th August.

Or cycle with us for a hundred yards or a hundred miles.

Or you can drive to Shenstone on Monday the 8th August to join the protest.

More information here.