We hope that Monday, 14th June, 2021 will be a pivotal day for the UK’s relationship with Palestine. A petition with 129,694 signatures so far has forced a Parliamentary debate that calls on the Government to ‘formally recognise the State of Palestine’.
The Kennington Bethlehem Link has written to our MPs Florence Eshalomi and Neil Coyle to urge them to take part in the debate. Florence Eshalomi (MP for Vauxhall) has registered her interest in speaking during the debate.
We also got in touch with Anas Abu Srour, the director of the Youth Center in Aida Camp, to send our MPs a message ahead of the debate. Here is the moving testimony that Anas sent:
This is a message from a third generation refugee, who was born in a refugee camp in the West Bank and grew up in the shadow of the separation wall in the most teargassed community in the world, and who has always dreamed to live in freedom and dignity. I have been shot twice, once by live ammunition in my abdominal area and once by a rubber bullet in my leg. I have been detained by the Israeli occupation forces for being a political activist at my university. I have been enduring discrimination and humiliation every time I pass by an Israeli checkpoint, or when they raid the camp or my house. I am living in a refugee camp with more than 5,000 people living in an a very small area edged between the separation wall, seven watch towers, and an Israeli military camp. I live less than 0.5 kilometer from an Israeli settlement built on lands occupied since 1967, all of the settlers are immigrants from different European countries. When I studied history, I learned that Britain is one of the main actors that caused the misery we live in today, and is in fact still playing a major role in the continuation of our misery. Last night, after my friend asked me to write something to deliver it to one of the members of the British Parliament, I dreamt that I was London riding the bus to a university where I was doing a master’s degree with a grant from the British government, after they had recognized their mistakes in Palestine, such as the Balfour Declaration and their wrongdoings over the course of the British mandate in Palestine. I hope that one day, I can walk the streets of London and see the Palestinian flag next to a British flag, after Britain has recognized Palestine as a state and finally has given freedom and dignity to the Palestinian people – the indigenous population of what is now Israel. Public opinion worldwide is changing, as people are starting to understand that the Palestinians live under an apartheid system. I hope that you can see this too, and understand that you can play a big role in giving Palestinians a life of dignity and freedom. I hope that I can live the reality of the dream I had last night.
ANAS ABU SROUR – Director of Aida Youth Center