An emotional address from a number of Palestinians was given in front to the town hall on Saturday 12th May as part of the Nakba vigil in Sheffield.
Re-telling their family stories of escape in 1948 and determination to return – and to remember – showed us how pathetic was the prediction from Ben Gurion – and how stupid its current proponents – that ‘Palestinians will forget’ .
Palestinians do not forget and nor do their supporters.
The right to remember is indivisible and cannot be demolished however many houses are raised to the ground.
Many of you will know that there are actions around the world as part of an extended Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) – that have been taking place since February. This is an international series of events that seek to raise awareness of Israel’s apartheid system over the Palestinian people and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
This year will be 70 years since the Nakba and over 50 years of occupation. Palestinians still have the keys to the buildings their families fled from all those years ago, symbols of hope, of yearning and of resistance.
The IAW actions are part of a global resistance to stand with Palestinians and take action in our daily lives.
On March 9th, Sheffield Palestine Women’s Scholarship Fund and Northern Women for Palestine (NWfP) jointly staged an event called “Women of Palestine: the ongoing Nakba” at the Central United Reform Church. The event was also staged in 7 other northern towns by NWfP.
Dr Al Fara will talk about the desperate need to help children in Gaza traumatised by war, and siege and seeing their parents and wider families devastated by Israeli aggression.
The grave situation in Gaza
The Gaza Strip is the most densely populated region in the world. Over 80 per cent of its people are refugees and their descendants, expelled from Palestine in the 1948 war that established the state of Israel. The majority of the 1.8 million residents are under the age of 15.
Israel’s attacks on Gaza in 2008/9 killed 1,473 Palestinians. Israel’s 2014 bombardment, lasting 51 days, reduced entire neighbourhoods to rubble and killed at least 2,100; of whom 539 were children.
According to UNICEF, 373,000 children in Gaza suffer from some degree of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Additionally, 11,000 were injured, one third with permanent disabilities and more than 18,000 Palestinian homes were destroyed. Israel’s siege and the periodic bombardments of Gaza have prevented people rebuilding their lives. Many still live in tents and makeshift homes. Water and electricity are still only available for a few hours a day. For schools, hospitals, workshops, farms and homes to be restored Palestinians need international solidarity.
Khuza’a is a town of 10,000 inhabitants in the south east of the
Gaza Strip. It is situated only 500 metres from the border with Israel. In the 2009 attack, it was reported the Israeli army bulldozed houses in Khuza’a with their residents still inside, and civilians were shot when carrying white flags.
These accounts were corroborated by the Israeli human rights organisation, B’Tselem. Khuza’a was one of the three areas that suffered particularly badly during the 2014 Israeli attack on the
Gaza Strip. Hundreds of its civilians were killed and large areas of the town were wiped out. Some residents were used as human shields by the invading Israeli army. As a result, thousands of children are still traumatised and in need of psychological help.
Khuza’a is about six kilometres from the Never Stop Dreaming Project, which has been supported Sheffield PSC for many years.
It will manage and support the new project, with the help of the charity, Middle Eastern Children’s Alliance (MECA). Sheffield’s Yemeni community raised £9,600 towards the Centre’s construction, and a resident of Khuza’a has donated the
land for the building to be constructed on. The building work will be
finished by the Spring of 2018. The existing staff from the Never Stop Dreaming Project, that is already involved with the local community, will be provided with additional training to support children with post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Thanks for reading this. Please do come to our meeting
A great rally on the City Hall Steps on Saturday yesterday, 9th December.
Over 100 people there – including many different faces and many students. The banner – which read ‘Trump: Jerusalem is not yours to give away‘ made a great focus and made it really clear to all why we were there.
Amongst those holding the banner were a man from Syria, a man from Algeria, a young Yemeni woman, a British Jew, a Palestinian, two students – Sheffield’s humanity in action.
There were some excellent speeches from students, from a representative from Labour Friends of Palestine Pearn,who has just returned from her first visit to Palestine, and a beautiful song by a Yemeni teenager were highlights .
So the clear thing here is, just like Palestine itself was not Britain to give away, so Jerusalem is not Trump’s to dispose of.
Keeping our spaces inhabitable for future generations is a problem world wide. For Palestine and Palestinians, the devastating impacts of occupation is no better demonstrated than with the imperilled state of the water supply in Gaza.
All this and more is fantastically demonstrated in our new calendar pictures from Gaza and infographics from Visualizing Palestine