Yousef Awad, Director of International Relations for the Governor or Jenin Province visit Queen Mary’s, University of London and meets Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets (full report on the visit available here).
Our visitor from Jenin, Yousef Awad, took the time to meet the Palestine Society of our local University, Queen Mary’s. His talk discussed the situation in Jenin, current events in Palestine, and the links between Jenin and Tower Hamlets.
On Friday 9th October, THJFA held a very productive meeting with Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs, Deputy Mayor Rachael Saunders, and Speaker Abdul Mukit. They all listened with great interest to Yousef Awad from Jenin , who told personal stories about the effects of the Israeli occupation on his life, and we reflected on the current violations that Israel is perpetrating on Palestinians who live under military occupation. We discussed, in some detail, strengthening the links between our communities, and all were invited to visit Jenin and Palestine.
Yousef also received a very warm reception from several councillors from the independent group in Tower Hamlets, some of whom had visited Jenin with THJFA in 2013 (left and centre), and was welcomed by a delegation from local trade unions (right).
Packed into his busy schedule were also a rewarding and productive visit to East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre, a tour of the history of the East End, its diverse communities, and its history of radicalism and anti-racism, by David Rosenberg, and there was even time for some sight-seeing in Kew Gardens!
THJFA and Tower Hamlets PSC Protest London Arms Fair, Netanyahu’s visit to London, and Israel playing Wales in Cardiff
Early September was a busy time for Palestine activism in the UK, and Tower Hamlets PSC and Twin Jenin have been well represented, joining protests at DSEI, the world’s biggest arms fair in London, protesting Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to London, and joining protests in Cardiff against the Israeli national football team being welcomed to play Wales in a Euro 2016 qualifier.
At DSEI Arms Fair
Protesting Netanyahu’s visit
In Cardiff outside Wales vs. Israel
THJFA Local Boycott Action: Boycott Israel, Buy Palestinian!
On Saturday, Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association teamed up with other local groups including Tower Hamlets Stop the War Coalition, Hackney PSC and Haringey Justice for Palestinians on the streets of Whitechapel to ask the public to refrain from buying Israeli produce and support Palestine by buying Palestinian!
We spoke to local people about Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s ‘Taste the Indifference’ campaign and gave out postcards for people to send requesting that Sainsbury’s join the Co-operative supermarket in refusing to stock goods from illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land.
After this, some local activists took this message straight to Sainsbury’s and unfurled banners reading ‘End Israeli Apartheid’ and ‘Boycott Israel, Buy Palestinian’. You can find more photos here.
Caroline Day speaking about boycotting Israeli goods and supporting Palestine:
Security guards preventing protestors from entering Sainsbury’s
THJFA Delegation of Tower Hamlets Councillors to Jenin – August 2013.
Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets Ohid Ahmed and Councillors Rania Khan, Shahed Ali and Lutfa Begum, along with local representatives from unions, schools and businesses in Tower Hamlets visited Jenin and other areas of Palestine on a visit organised by THJFA to learn about the situation for the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and colonisation. Their activities ranged from tours to understand Israeli settlements, to meeting Palestinians who were affected by the Israeli apartheid Separation Barrier, to being received by the Governor of Jenin, to attending the celebration of the release of Palestinian prisoners, to educational meeting to learn about different aspects of the conflict. All the while, of course, enjoying the famous Palestinian hospitality.
In Jerusalem and Ramallah – below the delegation overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, along with the Palestinian Deputy Governor of Jerusalem Abdallah Siam, meeting Zakaria Odeh and the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem and visiting the tomb of Yasser Arafat.
In Jenin, the delegation were welcomed by the Governor of the Jenin Province, Talal Dweikat, who visited Tower Hamlets in 2012, and (on the right-hand picture) the Mayor of Jenin Town Waleed Abu Mowais and the Mufti, along with THJFA’s partner Yousef Awad of the Jenin Creative Cultural Centre (with the microphone).
The delegation were invited to attend the celebration of the release of three Palestinian prisoners from Jenin, who were freed from Israeli jails as part of the build up to the current negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. In the left-hand picture, the Governor of Jenin is giving a speech welcoming the prisoners home, in the middle the three released prisoners stand on the left, with the Governor in the middle, and councillors Ali, Khan and Ahmed on the right. The delegation also had the opportunity to meet Khader Adnan, a former Israeli prisoner, whose brave hunger strike not only brought world wide attention to the plight of Palestinian prisoners, but inspired many of his comrades in and outside of jails. You can read about his case on our website here. In the photo on the right, Khader stands in the middle of the back row (in the blue shirt) surrounded by the delegation and Palestinians from his village of Araba, where this photo was taken.
The delegation also spent a lot of time learning about the issues which affect Palestinians and how the Israeli occupation impacts their lives. This included a village to Bartaa village, an enclave which has been surrounded by the Israeli Separation Barrier, so there are only two entrances and exits to the village, both of which are of course entirely controlled by Israel. Below are a picture of the delegation at the checkpoint at Bartaa, and a photo of the barrier as it steals the villagers’ farmland. The delegation also took some time to catch up with young Palestinians from Jenin who had previously stayed in and visited Tower Hamlets (see here) and visited the Cinema Jenin project.
Visit of Talal Dweikat, Governor of Jenin, and Yousef Awad, Head of Jenin Cultural Center – November 2012.
The day before the historic vote at the UN, PSC held its annual lobby of Parliament. Talal and Dweikat attended the lobby at Parliament and met with many activists and politicians, including one of Tower Hamlets’ two MPs, Rushanara Ali, who represents Bethnal Green and Bow. Yousef and Talal are shown in the following pictures talking at the PSC’s post-lobby meeting, flanked by Jeremy Corbyn MP and Jeff Halper, the Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, secondly with Palestinian Ambassador to the UK Manuel Hassassian, and then with former MP Martin Linton.
The visit of our guests coincided with the aftermath of Israel’s bombings of Gaza in mid-late November. They took part in the national protest with members of THJFA and gave speeches to the gathered demonstrators.
A video of Yousef’s speech is available here.
Yousef and Talal were able to visit a wide range of organisations in Tower Hamlets, shown below meeting Rajib Ahmed, the Speaker of Tower Hamlets Council and First Citizen of the Borough at Brick Lane Mosque.
Here Talal and Yousef are at the local Brady Arts Centre, with its manager Jerry Deeks and THJFA members Ruksana and Willie.
They also visited several local schools, including photos shown here from Langdon Park and Raines schools, meeting students and teachers and talking to groups of students about the situation in Palestine.
Delivering Letter of Concern about Zakaria Zubeidi to Palestinian Mission in London. Sep 2012
Members of THJFA delivered a letter of concern to the Palestinian Mission in London, as prisoner Zakaria Zubeidi, of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin, was on hunger strike in PA prison. You can find more information here.
School Students Visit Summer 2012
School students from Jenin Refugee Camp visit schools and meet students in Tower Hamlets. (Their visit to the UK was organised by CADFA). Students in Oaklands School had raised money for ICT equipment in Jenin Refugee Camp, which they presented to the Palestinian visitors.
The students also visited Tower Hamlets Town Hall, where they were met by Councillor Rania Khan.
Vigil for Hana Al-Shalabi. March 2012
Members of THJFA attended a vigil at King’s College London, along with Palestinians visiting with CADFA’s womens visit.
Guy Shennan’s 2011 Backgammon-a-thon.
For more details read the East London Advertiser’s piece here.