From Balfour to the Nakba Britain’s role in the disaster the Palestinians face today.

Public Meeting Thursday the 18th May 2017 7 pm, 

Venue Carrs Lane Church, Carrs Lane Birmingham B4 7SX

Speakers 

Bernard Regan whose book The Balfour Declaration Empire the Mandate and Resistance in Palestine

Kaimel Hawwash a British academic of Palestinian origin recently refused entry into Jerusalem.  

Every year Palestinians mark the Nakba – “catastrophe” in English – when in 1948 around 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes during the creation of the state of Israel. 500 villages were destroyed in a premeditated campaign,and their inhabitants never allowed to return. Zionist militias, who later became the “Israel Defence Forces” (IDF), committed massacres in the villages of
Deir Yassin, Lydda, Tantura and dozens of other Palestinian communities. The Nakba came just thirty years after the Balfour
Declaration, when British Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour wrote to the Zionist movement pledging UK government support for a Jewish state in Palestine. The declaration famously stated that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. The existing ‘non-Jewish communities’ were the Palestinians. They constituted 94% of the population, and were not consulted when their land was given away. This was a typically colonial British act of the time.
The Declaration began the process where one group of people (the British) pledged the land belonging to a second group (the Palestinians) to a third group of people (the Jewish people). The British Mandate followed (1922–1947) with the bloody suppression of the Palestinian campaign for self-determination. The Nakba of 1948 was a direct consequence of British policies.
A century following the Balfour Declaration Palestinians still face the Nakba..The ethnic cleansing never ended, and continues today, with hundreds of Palestinians losing their homes due to Israel’s demolition policies in Occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the
Palestinian Bedouin suffering repeated dispossession and displacement in the Naqab/Negev desert in Israel.
Israel continues to deny Palestinians their fundamental rights, including, crucially, the right of return. While Israel’s Law of Return entitles automatic citizenship to Jewish people born anywhere in the world, Palestinian refugees are denied the right to return to their homes and land, from which they were expelled. Millions of Palestinians live in refugee camps in Israel’s neighbouring countries, and the occupied Palestinian territory, with many having been made refugees two or
more times.
Many Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip are refugees from the ethnic cleansing of 1948. Palestinian citizens of Israel (the minority who remained following the ethnic cleansing of 1948) are today subjected to dozens of discriminatory laws and other forms of systematic racism.
Well over half a million Jewish Israeli settlers continue to colonise Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, with settlement expansion rising dramatically under the Netanyahu government. These illegal settlements displace Palestinians, cutting them off from their land, monopolising scarce water resources and subjecting them to frequent attacks from armed settlers, who are protected by the Israeli forces.
West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign has invited Bernard Regan whose book The Balfour Declaration Empire the Mandate and Resistance in Palestine examines the hundred year history which saw the creation of the state of Israel, the Nakba and the dispossession and occupation of Palestine.
Bernard will be joined by Kamel Hawwash who was refused entry to his own country by the occupying forces. He was forcefully separated from his family. They were returning to Jerusalem to spend the Easter break. Kamel’s both parents were born in Jerusalem. Many of his family still live in the city. Now he faces the prospect of not seeing some of his elderly relatives. Kamel Hawwash plays a very active part in campaigning for the Pa lestinian rights. He also holds British nationality and contributes widely to the multi-cultural city of Birmingham where he teaches at the city’s leading university.
Despite all this the British government refuses to take any positive action against the state that violates Kamel’s rights as a Palestinian as well as a British national. Instead our Prime Minister is inviting the Israeli administration to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration later this year in London. Instead of celebrating a declaration that century ago laid the foundation of the Nakba that is still continuing today.
We demand that our government to reflect on that declaration and take positive action against the state to reinstate the Palestinians their rights in Palestine. From Balfour to the NakbaBritain’s role in the disaster the
Palestinians face todayBoycott Divestment and Sanctions
Meeting Thursday the 18th May 2017 7 pm

Training Session for the Big Ride Saturday the 1st April 10 am by MAC in Canon Hill Park

WMPSC is starting the training session for cyclists wishing to take part in the several events he Big Ride is planning to mark the various anniversaries including the centenary of the Balfour Declaration that led to the Nakba (catastrophe) that Palestinians face today.

There will be a big ride event in July against the Arms Trade and marking the anniversary of the bombing of Gaza that left over 2000 Palestinians dead.

Please come and join us on Saturday by the MAC to start the training and help campaign for the end of the occupation of Palestine. Please visit the facebook event page to register your interest.

https://www.facebook.com/events/404178996606064/

 

Birmingham City Center High Street Stall

West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign has a stall with information on Palestine and on solidarity activities with the Palestinians. The stall is generally outside the Marks & Spencer outlet on the High Street in Birmingham City Centre, Birmingham, B4 7SS

The stall is there from 1pm to 3pm most saturdays. If you can spare a few minutes visit the stall and help us promote Palestinian rights as they are dispossessed of their lands and homes in Palestine .

West Midlands Palestine Solidarity campaign will welcome you to visit the stall and to discuss with the volunteers manning the stall how you can help promote the rights of the Palestinians in the West Bank as they live through the 50th year under occupation.

Also, hear how the Palestinians feel about the Balfour declaration made a century ago that contributed to the Palestinians losing their homeland.

 

State of Terror & Balfour and Me

Why has the so-called ‘conflict’ in Palestine endured for over a century, with no resolution in sight? Tapping a trove of source documents heretofore poorly explored, Suárez challenges the prevailing narrative of a clash between Arabs and Jews as depicted by the mass media, demonstrating what to many informed observers is obvious from the present reality: that the entire tragic history is at its root the violent takeover of Palestine by a European settler movement that couched its goals in pretenses of messianic entitlement—Zionism.

Suárez details a shocking campaign of Zionist terrorism in the 1940s and 1950s that targeted anyone in the way of its political goals, whether the British government, the indigenous Palestinians, or Jews. Indeed, Suárez challenges Zionism’s self-proclaimed raison d’être—safe Haven for Jews—by exposing the racial-nationalist movement’s exploitation of Jews and Jewish persecution.

The historical evidence demonstrates that Zionism pursued its goals at the expense of, not for the benefit of, persecuted Jews, yet continues to wield the smear of anti-Semitism to silence its opponents. Today’s seemingly intractable quagmire is Zionism’s unfinished business, an Israeli state driven by unrequited territorial designs and the dream of ethnic ‘purity’. As such, the ‘conflict’ is neither complicated nor unsolvable, but ending it will require stripping Zionism of its false narrative. Suárez addresses this by laying bare the historical record.

Arthur Balfour was born in 1848 on the family’s Scottish Estate in East Lothian. In 1916, he was appointed Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

I am Fatima, a 35-year old asylum seeker living in Scotland. I was born a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon. In 2001, I came to the UK to seek refuge and rebuild my life. Why am I here? Who was Arthur Balfour and what relates him to me? Arthur Balfour & Me is a visual and emotional journey through history and present time, an untold story about how a politician’s action has to this day affected my life as a young woman from the Middle East.

In exile since I was born, I dream to see the day when I will be able to return to my homeland. The land of my parents and grandparents was Haifa, now an Israeli city. Two weeks before the official creation of the state of Israel in May 1948, my parents fled their village El-Yajour, in the north East of Haifa in the hope they would be able to come back within a matter of weeks or possibly months according to UN officials.

But what began as a short-term refugee status for my family turned into a lifetime in the refugee camp in Lebanon. I have never experienced a proper home. I have lost so many relatives, some I have never met and others I have not seen since I was a small child.

The film will also appeal to a general audience, both nationally and internationally. I have also asked my Jewish friend Henry Maitles, a
University lecturer and antiZionist, to accompany me on the journey. As a Jew, the Declaration has also affected him. While I am not allowed to go back to the land where I come from, the Balfour Declaration gave Jewish Henry Maitles the right to go and live in the newly created state. The only Jewish people I ever knew while in Lebanon were Israeli soldiers. Henry was the first Jewish person that I met after arriving in Scotland. I was shocked when I found that a Jew could be supportive of Palestinian Rights. By telling you my story, and by showing the impact of a letter “one political act”, I hope to convey to you, the audience a more intimate picture of a global issue, one where the human side is often omitted because of its political nature.

Set in Scotland, the film looks at a little known aspect of Scotland’s political history, which will be of great interest to the Scottish viewer

Rally against Mark Regev Israeli Ambassador visiting Birmingham Feb 8th 2017 9:30 am Victoria Square

Unwelcome Israeli Ambassador mark Regev 

‘ israel refuses to meet the most minimal bench marks of international behavior’  

The Israeli ambassador, Mark Regev is visiting Birmingham, at the Council House on Wednesday, 8th February to meet the Councillors.  We are asking the Councillors to boycotting the ambassador and show solidarity with Palestinians and the majority of Birmingham residents outraged about Israel’s inhumane treatment of Palestinians and the continued building of illegal Israeli settlements which are contrary to the values of a multi-ethnic and multicultural Birmingham and an obstacle to peace.

In response to his visit, we are in a rally outside the Council House starting at 9:30 am on 8th February to oppose Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and illegal occupation and breaches of international law.

The increasing international outrage and condemnation of the occupation of Palestine, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and the degrading inhumane conditions that Palestinians, are forced, daily, to endure. Last year, over 684 Palestinian houses were demolished in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and 35 Palestinian children had been killed by Israeli soldiers, police and armed settlers  In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Palestinians have no freedom of movement and schoolchildren are forced to endure checkpoints or to walk several miles to circumvent an illegal Wall that Israel has constructed on occupied land.

The numerous violations by Israel of international and humanitarian law in respect of Palestine which are well documented by international organizations including the United Nations and Amnesty International.

The continued blockade of the Gaza strip, now in its 10th year.  The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in 2015 declared that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020. A consequence of the Israeli blockade and continuing military aggression in Gaza (three devastating military operations since 2007) has laid to waste its economic and social infrastructure. Today, the people of Gaza have electricity for only four hours a day, suffer 60% unemployment and 47% face severe food insecurity. They are prevented from fishing in less than one third of the fishing area allocated under the Oslo accords.   Of course, we cannot forget that the Ambassador visiting Birmingham was, in the summer of 2014, justifying Israeli violations of international law and war crimes on our TV screens when Gaza was being bombed killing over 2000 Palestinians including over 500 children

The non-stop denial of rights and home demolitions of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Only last week, eight houses were demolished and two people killed, one a Palestinian school teacher, Yaakup Abu al-Qiyab,  in the attempted demolition of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev. These villagers had been ethnically cleansed from their land in 1956 and their land given to a Kibbutz. Today these same villagers face being ethnically cleansed from their homes for a second time to make room for Jewish-only homes.   Among the injured during the demolition was a Palestinian  member of the Knesset and chair of the ‘Joint List’ coalition of Palestinian-based political parties in Israel.

 

Draft Letter to Your Member of Parliament (Copy and Paste please and personalise)

Dear Member of Parliament

You will be aware that the Labour party has called on the government to immediately launch an public inquiry into “improper interference in our democratic politics” after an investigation by Al Jazeera and Mail on Sunday into the activities of an Israeli embassy official.

The shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, has described the recent exposure of an Israeli embassy official discussing how to bring down or discredit a government minister and other MPs because of their views on the Middle East as extremely disturbing.”

The revelations have also provoked anger among some Conservative politicians with one former minister in David Cameron’s government believing that the embassy’s efforts to exert improper influence on British public life went far further than any plot to “take down” unhelpful members of parliament.

This former minister, writing anonymously in the Mail on Sunday, stated that “For years the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) and Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) have worked with – even for – the Israeli embassy to promote Israeli policy and thwart UK government policy and the actions of ministers who try to defend Palestinian rights”.

It is utterly unacceptable for the UK government to accept the Israeli embassy apology and consider the matter closed. These revelations add to existing concerns that those who raise legitimate criticisms regarding Israel’s policies towards the Palestinian people will be subject to smears and character assassination. Politicians, like all citizens, must be able to speak freely about their views on Palestine without fear of consequences.

I write to you asking you to support the call for an immediate public inquiry to determine the extent of improper interference in UK democratic politics and to demand from the Israeli government that it is brought to an end.