Our chair, Sybil Cock, local residents Mary Brodin and Ruby Hirsch, actor Doug Holton and cartoonist Tim Sanders, arrived in Palestine this weekend and will be joining The Freedom Theatre’s Freedom Ride across the West Bank from tomorrow.
The last few days they took a look around Jerusalem before travelling up to Jenin to stay with an old friend.
The man in the picture (right) had his family home in Jerusalem Old City stolen by settlers a few years back while his family were attending a wedding. This man only managed to save part of the extensive family home because he didn’t go to the wedding. He now lives in the tiny white building attached to the lovely old building.
A little later the Israeli settler family who had moved in to the ground floor attacked his two sons. The sons were arrested and spent two years in prison. In 3 weeks time he is going to court for the 3rd time to stop his total eviction.
The top floor remains empty, protected by surveillance cameras and a neighbouring security force. The plaques inside the front door show that 2 New York families have funded this terrible policy of Palestinian evictions from the Old City of Jerusalem, alongside the Israeli flag decorating the entrance of what was once a Palestinian home.
The man in the picture (right) is a volunteer manager at the Al Bustan community Centre in Silwan, just outside Jerusalem old city. Silwan has long been a target for settlers and many houses, including this centre are threatened with demolition.
His son has been arrested 21 times in 9 years, the first time he was 9 years old. He talked about ‘existing to resist’. He feels that the rest of the world has abandoned Palestine, but gets on with organising children’s activities, such as dancing, drawing, painting and music.
He asked for us to pressure our decision makers to fix the bad decisions of the past, like Balfour. He lives in fear, has no power, but he is strong because we have the right to be here. The trees are older than the Occupation.