Welcome to Palestine Initiative,

Occupied Palestine, March 29 2012

Dear Friends of the Welcome to Palestine Initiative,

We want to express our gratitude for your solidarity efforts and “welcome you to Palestine”.

As the secretariat of the Palestinian national committee for the World Social Forum “Free Palestine”, we want to invite you during your stay in Palestine after April 15 to a preparatory seminar.

This World Social Forum “Free Palestine” will be held at the end of November 2012 in Porto Alegre, Brazil and will be a historic four day event focused solely on building and strengthening solidarity with Palestine.

This WSF “Free Palestine” is a unique opportunity, challenge and responsibility for all of us. It is exciting to be able to unite people, organizations, movements, unions and networks from across the globe and to discuss, strategize and build together solidarity and more effective and sustainable actions and campaign strategies.

The process towards the WSF “Free Palestine” is almost as important as the forum itself as it will set out our ability to come out of the four days of discussions with concrete and forward looking work plans, strategies and visions. We further believe it is important to develop a truly global preparatory process, including the formation of an international committee. In this context, we would be very happy to be able to organize together with you a preparatory seminar on April 18th.

Looking forward to welcoming in Palestine,

Secretariat of the Palestinian national committee for the World Social Forum “Free Palestine”

WELCOME TO PALESTINE 15th APRIL 2012

Why We Are Flying to Tel Aviv on 15th April with “Welcome to Palestine”

Norma Turner, Sandy Broadhurst and Pia Feig from Greater Manchester

On Sunday 15th April 2012 hundreds of people from across the world will be flying into Israel’s Tel Aviv airport demanding the right to visit their Palestinian friends in the Occupied Territory of the West Bank.
Many from Scotland and the North of England will be flying from Manchester Airport – among them Norma Turner, Sandy Broadhurst and Pia Feig from Greater Manchester.
Palestinian people in the West Bank are looking forward to welcoming 1500 international friends, in particular so that they can help build a vitally needed school in Bethlehem.

Norma Turner, a retired nurse who has trained nurses in Palestine, explains why the “Welcome to Palestine” initiative is so important:
“The Israeli state denies Palestinian people all of their basic human rights including in many cases access to water; food; jobs; justice through the courts; good health care and medicines. The continued collective punishment of the indigenous population of Palestine is enforced through military might and support of America and Europe, including the British Government.
“The Palestinian people are prisoners in their own land and cannot freely receive visitors from abroad.
“That is why I am flying out to insist on the right of my Palestinian friends to receive visitors freely from abroad.”

Pia Feig is Jewish and has family living in Israel. She is going on the flight to Tel Aviv on 15th April in solidarity with the Palestinians, because the Israelis have created a ghetto for the Palestinians.
She says this initiative is about breaking down the walls of the ghetto. Being Jewish she feels strongly that Israel shouldn’t reverse the history of the Jews onto the Palestinian people.

Pia is a health worker, in the NHS in Manchester, and a trade union activist. She has the support of her trade union, Unison, which nationally gives public support for the Palestinian cause.

“As individuals we have talked to people who we know and work with and local people are really interested and want to support this initiative, on a personal level. People should have the right to travel. We should all have the right to visit and to receive visitors. People should not live in ghettos.

“Many of our friends and contacts will be coming to the Manchester Airport on Sunday to see us off – and to help us break the walls of the ghetto imprisoning the Palestinian people.”

Sandy Broadhurst is a teacher from Stockport. She says:

” The purpose of my trip is to assist in building a school in Bethlehem plus other humanitarian activities such as the reinstatement of water cisterns, tree planting, education through community arts and so on. As a life long teacher and someone who is totally committed to education, the school project in Bethlehem is of particular interest. Education, so important for everyone, is absolutely crucial to liberate deprived people.

“As a British citizen, with a British passport, I should have free access to any country for the purpose of such humanitarian activities; and of course, Palestine should have the right to invite and receive visitors of their choice too.”

Local MP Gerald Kaufman has also written to the Foreign Secretary in support of his constituents.

CONTACT – Norma Turner – noturn3@hotmail.com; 0161 225 0302
information on www.welcometopalestine.info and www.coordin8.org.uk

BELOW – picture of Sandy Broadhurst (attached of Norma Turner in Jerusalem in January 2012)
FURTHER BELOW – The Welcome to Palestine Statement, signed by Desmond Tutu, John Pilger, Tony Benn and others – and the “weclome” from the Palestinian National Committee
FURTHER FURTHER BELOW – BIOGS OF NORMA, SANDY AND PIA

Welcome to Palestine Initiative 2012
“We, the undersigned, endorse the call from the Welcome to Palestine 2012 Initiative for supporters of Palestinian human and national rights around the world to openly visit Palestine during Easter 2012.

“There is no way into Palestine other than through Israeli control points. Israel has turned Palestine into a giant prison, but prisoners have a right to receive visitors.

“Welcome to Palestine 2012 will again challenge Israel’s policy of isolating the West Bank while the settler paramilitaries and army commit brutal crimes against a virtually defenceless Palestinian civilian population.

“We call on governments to support the right of Palestinians to receive visitors and the right of their own citizens to visit Palestine openly.

“The participants in Welcome to Palestine 2012 ask to be allowed to pass through Tel Aviv airport without hindrance and to proceed to the West Bank to take part in a project there for children to benefit from the right to education.”

SIGNED:

Sam Bahour
Tony Benn
Noam Chomsky
Jonathan Cook
Hedy Epstein
Ambassador Manuel Hassassian
Ronnie Kasrils
Nurit Peled
John Pilger
Nawal Al Sadaawi
Vauro Senesi
Desmond Tutu

Invitation to Welcome to Palestine participants

Occupied Palestine, March 29 2012

Dear Friends of the Welcome to Palestine Initiative,

We want to express our gratitude for your solidarity efforts and “welcome you to Palestine”.

As the secretariat of the Palestinian national committee for the World Social Forum “Free Palestine”, we want to invite you during your stay in Palestine after April 15 to a preparatory seminar.

This World Social Forum “Free Palestine” will be held at the end of November 2012 in Porto Alegre, Brazil and will be a historic four day event focused solely on building and strengthening solidarity with Palestine.

This WSF “Free Palestine” is a unique opportunity, challenge and responsibility for all of us. It is exciting to be able to unite people, organizations, movements, unions and networks from across the globe and to discuss, strategize and build together solidarity and more effective and sustainable actions and campaign strategies.

The process towards the WSF “Free Palestine” is almost as important as the forum itself as it will set out our ability to come out of the four days of discussions with concrete and forward looking work plans, strategies and visions. We further believe it is important to develop a truly global preparatory process, including the formation of an international committee. In this context, we would be very happy to be able to organize together with you a preparatory seminar on April 18th.

Looking forward to welcoming in Palestine,

Secretariat of the Palestinian national committee for the World Social Forum “Free Palestine”

Norma Turner Lives in Longsight, Manchester This Is Her Story

I started work in the NHS in 1964 at the age of sixteen. I retired from nursing on my 60th birthday also the 60th birthday of the NHS. I have been an active Trade Unionist and socialist all my adult life and campaigned against injustice and for peace.

During my nursing career I have worked as a Health Visitor, Clinical Nurse Specialist for people with HIV disease and as a Macmillan nurse caring for people with cancer.

My goal was always to empower people I have nursed to control their own lives with dignity and without fear. I have worked with nurses in Gaza and it is impossible for them to work with that goal because Palestinian people do not have any control over their own lives. They live under the continued illegal occupation of the State of Israel which itself was founded in my birth year of 1948. The suffering and injustice that I have witnessed on my visits to Gaza and the West Bank on the Palestinian people, many of them children is worse than anything I have experienced in my whole career as a nurse in England, India and Africa.

The Israeli state denies Palestinian people all of their basic human rights including in many cases access to water; food; jobs; justice through the courts; good health care and medicines. The continued collective punishment of the indigenous population of Palestine is enforced through military might and support of America and Europe, including the British Government. The Palestinian people are prisoners in their own land and cannot freely receive visitors from abroad.

This is why I will be flying into Tel Aviv on April 15th 2012 as part of Welcome to Palestine to insist on the rights of Palestinians to freely receive visitors from abroad.

Sandy Broadhurst, Stockport Resident, Says:

On Sunday 15th April, I am travelling from Manchester to Palestine via Tel Aviv.

The purpose of my trip is to assist in building a school in Bethlehem plus other humanitarian activities such as the reinstatement of water cisterns,

tree planting, education through community arts and so on.

As a life long teacher and someone who is totally committed to education, the school project in Bethlehem is of particular interest .

Education, so important for everyone, is absolutely crucial to liberate deprived people.

I am as well, looking forward to the arts project, having extensively used the arts as a teaching technique professionally.

I am going to ensure the Israelis allow me free access to Palestine.

As a British citizen, with a British passport, I should have free access to any country for the purpose of such humanitarian activities;

and of course, Palestine should have the right to invite and receive visitors of their choice too.

I’m going to Palestine, as part of a wider initiative called ‘Welcome to Palestine’, the purpose of which is, through humanitarian activities,

to publicise the lack of free access to Palestine caused by the Israeli state.

You can find out more information about this initiative at www.welcometopalestine.info/

Pia Feig is from Chorlton in South Manchester.

Pia is Jewish and has family living in Israel. She is going on the flight to Tel Aviv on 15th April in solidarity with the Palestinians, because the Israelis have created a ghetto for the Palestinians.

She says this initiative is about breaking down the walls of the ghetto.

Being Jewish she feels strongly that Israel shouldn’t reverse the history of the Jews onto the Palestinian people.

Pia is a health worker, in the NHS in Manchester, and a trade union activist. She is going on “Welcome to Palestine” with the support of her trade union branch, Unison, and her union nationally gives public support for the Palestinian cause.

“As individuals we have talked to people who we know and work with and local people are really interested and want to support this initiative, on a personal level. People should have the right to travel. We should all have the right to visit and to receive visitors. People should not live in ghettos.

“Many of our friends and contacts will be coming to the Manchester Airport on Sunday to see us off – and to help us break the walls of the ghetto imprisoning the Palestinian people.”

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Discussion meeting: Supporting Women in the Gaza Strip to the right to Education

Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign Discussion Meeting:

Supporting the right to Education for Women in the Gaza Strip

Speaker: Sara Gowen from Sheffield Palestine Women Scholarship Fund

Thursday 15th March 7pm Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester City Centre

The right to Education is a fundamental human right. Israel’s obstruction of education in the West Bank and Gaza Strip not only violates the human rights of individuals. It is an attack on the development of Palestinian society as a whole.

Women’s education is under serious threat in Palestine. The current political situation, particularly in the isolated Gaza Strip, has created a new kind of poverty in Palestine. Unemployment has been growing to a point where families can no longer sustain themselves to provide the basic needs for survival. In these hard times, expenses for education have become a luxury most cannot afford and families have been concentrating on their sons, which puts girls at a major disadvantage when times are hard.

By helping Palestinian women into higher education, we can help their communities, in the poorest of the poor families. 11 per cent of families are headed by women because their husbands have died or are in prison. Without an education it is difficult for these women to support their families and their communities.

Most Palestinians feel that they have lost their land, but one guarantee for the future is an education. This is why the Sheffield Palestinian Women’s Scholarship Fund is so important. Come to the meeting to find out more about the Education of Women in Palestine and how we can support Women to have a chance of University

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Women of Palestine: a Celebration for International Women’s Day

Join us in a series of meetings with Palestinian women speakers from Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon and Nazareth to hear about their place in social, cultural and political life and learn about the role of women in the struggle for justice for Palestinians.

Organised by Palestine Support groups from Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, Manchester, Rochdale and York.

MANCHESTER EVENT 1.00pm and 7.00 pm Saturday March 10th (Contact 01706 648104)

Details of others below

Women only afternoon workshops with Palestinian speakers and guest Reem Kelani (Free entry)

Open evening social event, celebratory meal and singing by Body of Sound. £10 and £5 concessions. (Pay on door.) Both events at the Saffron Restaurant, 107 Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester M8 8PY

Women of Palestine: Manchester March 10th, a Celebration for International Women抯 Day

Afternoon Workshops with Palestinian visitors for women only: Arrive at 1.00pm to register (free entry).

Choice of workshops, light refreshments, stalls of Palestinian produce, photographic exhibition and grand finale group singing with guest Reem Kelani.

Evening celebratory meal (same venue) open to everyone, 7.00pm (�10 or �5 concessions, payable on the door)

Come along for fabulous food, songs about Palestine by the Sheffield choir, Body of Sound and poetry in English and Arabic.

Other Events in Programme

BRADFORD Friday March 2nd: 6.00 pm (Contact 07920 729734)

Civic Reception with Lord Mayor of Bradford welcoming our Palestinian guest speakers: Anam抯 Restaurant, 211 Great Horton Road, Bradford BD7 1RP

YORK Saturday March 3rd: 10.00 am and 2.30 � 4.30 pm (Contact 01904 289250 or www.eventbrite.co.uk/org/1831840749)

Morning workshops at York St John University YO31 7EX and Open House afternoon at the New School House Gallery, YORK. YO1 7PW

HALIFAX Sunday March 4th: 1.00 � 4.00pm (Contact 07801 275674 or 01484 450945)

Family afternoon at the Maurice Jagger Centre, Winding Road, Halifax HX1 1UZ

HUDDERSFIELD Monday March 5th: 7.00pm. (Contact 01484 450945)

Public meeting and discussion HWG/03, The Harold Wilson Building, University of Huddersfield, HD1 3DH

SHEFFIELD Wednesday March 7th: 6.00pm (Contact 07946 557740)

Women only event: food, social and singing followed by talk at St Matthew抯 Rooms, Carver Street, Sheffield S1 2FE

BRADFORD Thursday March 8th: 6.00 pm Public meetings: University of Bradford, Richmond Road, BD7 1DP (Contact 07920 729734)

ROCHDALE Thursday March 8th: 7.00pm Crescent Radio, Devon Street Rochdale. (Contact 07985 624968)

:
Help us send a message of friendship and solidarity back with our visitors as they return home to Palestine.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Monthly discussion meetings and film:

Presenting monthly discussion meetings and film:

Thursday 16th February 7pm Friends Meeting House Mount Street Manchester

Linda Clair and Norma Turner of Manchester PSC will give an illustrated talk on:

Palestinians in Beirut: The Forgotten Refugees

Under the pretext of preserving the Right of Return for Palestinians, the Lebanese State has deprived 400,000 Palestinians of basic rights. They are barred from 73 job categories� including medicine, law and engineering. They cannot own property and need special permission to leave refugee camps. They have no access to Lebanese Health or Social services.

It has been said that every people in the world lives in some place except the Palestinians. Come and understand why to Palestinians the Right to Return to their homeland is sacred.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Welcome to Palestine Initiative

On behalf of the Welcome to Palestine Initiative we are asking people to join us to fly to Tel Aviv on April15th 2012 to insist on the rights of Palestinians to freely receive visitors from abroad.
Some people in Manchester have already booked their flights and the plan is that everyone from the North of England travel together from the same airport.
If you are interested email contact@welcometopalestine.info and you will be directed to the Northern coordinator. For more information visit the website www.welcometopalestine.info

We are also asking Palestine Solidarity Branches to formally endorse the event and also publicise the event, someone from Welcome to Palestine would be happy to talk to the branch.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Film: The Heart of Jenin

Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Presenting monthly discussion meetings and film

Thursday 15th December 7pm
Friends Meeting House Mount Street Manchester

Join us to celebrate the festive season with Palestinian Food.

Watch the award winning film: The Heart of Jenin

The Heart of Jenin tells the moving story of a young Palestinian boy Ahmed who died after being shot by the Israeli Army, and of his father, who decided to donate Ahmed’s organs to six Israeli children 12 hours from his son’s death.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Discussion Meeting on BDS Thursday 17th November 7pm

Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign monthly discussion meetings and film
Thursday 17th November 7pm
Friends Meeting House Mount Street Manchester

Speaker Greg Dropkin reporting back on the Boycott Israel Network weekend with ideas and activities to promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign. BDS is developing as an effective tool for the international Palestinian solidarity movement supporting the demands: End the Occupation; full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel; the Palestinian right of return

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Public Meeting PROFESSOR NORMAN FINKELSTEIN

The venue and time of the Manchester University Action Palestine public meeting with Professor Norman Finkelstein have changed as University Management closed the venue to the public capitulating to JSoc pressure.

1. Details of the meeting
2. Letter from Action Palestine
3. Template letter of complaint to University of Manchester.

1. Public Meeting PROFESSOR NORMAN FINKELSTEIN
on: “How to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
DATE: Tuesday 08/11/2011 at 18:00
VENUE: Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street (Near Albert Square / Behind Circular Central Library)

Norman Finkelstein is a world renowned and outspoken Jewish American academic, a fierce critic of Israel and the son of Holocaust survivors. He has published several important books including ?mage and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict , The Holocaust Industry and This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and consequences of the Gaza invasion.

Professor Finkelstein will be discussing Israel? relationship with America and Palestine? UN bid for statehood followed by a Q&A session where attendees will have a chance to ask the prestigous speaker questions about the conflict and his personal experiences.

This is a great opportunity to hear one of the worlds foremost commentators on the Arab-Israeli conflict speak in Manchester.

Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, M2 5NS on the same day 08 November, 18.00.

Ticket Information:-

Call any of the following numbers with you name, number and email address.
This will be added to a registration list for the event and on the day you will be asked to pay the ?3 and will be given a ticket to go into the event.
Tanzil Chowdhury 07540764666
Matiin Nasir 07895690964
Arash Sajedi 07545191512
Aneeqa Khan 07583690587

Please invite friends, family and all friends of Palestine.

In Solidarity.
Manchester Action Palestine Chair,
Sana AbuRawa
2. Message from Action Palestine

Dear Friends,

We hope this message finds you well and you are looking forward to NORMAN FINKELSTEIN lecturing on 憇olving the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Today, Martin Conway (martin.conway@manchester.ac.uk) and Pat Sponder (pat.sponder@manchester.ac.uk) of the university management and the Union Director capitulated to pressure from JSOC to limit attendees of the event to students only, depriving the public of seeing one of the world抯 foremost commentators on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Members of the JSOC shoddily argued that the talk would endanger the safety of Jewish students, all the while promising to attend with some members promising to picket the event.

The management issued an ultimatum to Action Palestine that either the talk would have to be limited to students (an unfair and logistical nightmare contacting all non-students who have reserved tickets) or cancel the meeting.

We have therefore decided to move the venue from the University altogether to the much more accessible and welcoming Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, M2 5NS on the same day 08 November, 18.00.

In light of these developments, we have had to limit seats to 300 (possibly 320) but it shall be open to all people. We are trying to provide a weblink and over flow room and will update you accordingly. Sincere apologises but unfortunately, we cannot control our 憆epresentative university� from bowing down to a small extremist minority.

You shall be contacted regarding the status of your reservation shortly. In the meantime, we would be grateful if you could please write a short letter of complaint to Martin Conway and Pat Sponder. See template below which you can sign with your name and send.

The demands put on us before, in which we have been fully complaint, have transgressed into completely unreasonable and show the University of Manchester in a very negative and uncompromising light.

Regards,

Action Palestine

3. Letter of complaint.

Dear Martin Conway/Pat Sponder,

I would like to complain about your decision to showcase the Norman Finklestein lecture to students only, particularly as many non-students had already reserved tickets.

With such a prestigious speaker as Professor Finklestein, it is unreasonable to make this event exclusive to students and potentially jeopardise relations between the student and non-student populace in Manchester. It is also deplorable that the University administration has capitulated to pressure from a student society over the 慳lleged safety concerns� of certain students despite the very same students likely to attend and even picket the event.

This displays a blind obedience on part of the university, defeats the notion of making knowledge accessible and shows you personally and, as an institution, very poorly.

It is very unfortunate that the University of Manchester no longer adheres to being an institution which is open, not only to its students, but the wider community.

Regards,
[Name]

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Manchester Branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign