Saturday 19 April 2014

Women in Action 2014

The women's visit happened! 

Bisan from Beit Sourik joined the group and four of the women stayed in Hackney. More information is on the project blog

Thursday 12 December 2013

Next women's visit from Beit Sourik to Hackney!

*** We're now planning for a young woman from Beit Sourik to join the WOMEN IN ACTION project and visit Hackney in March 2014.  Look out for information about this exciting project ... there will be 14 Palestinian women and many UK women involved...  could you be one of them? We are going to organise local visits and a public event in early March when the women are here.***

Sunday 25 November 2012

Festive night out - Tuesday 4 December 2012

Hi all

We are going to get together to watch a film about Palestine together at Hackney Picturehouse at 6.30pm on Tuesday 4 December. This is a chance for us to meet up socially, watch a relevant film together and have a chat about the year ahead for our friendship association.

The film, 5 Broken Cameras, is described as follows:

In 2005, there were two arrivals in Emad Burnat’s home: his son Gibreel, and his first video camera. Compelled to capture the constant antagonism Gibreel would face in the shadow of Israel’s security barrier, Burnat began filming. With the help of Jewish-Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi, his astonishing footage has culminated in the unparalleled and tremendously moving account of one community’s peaceful resistance against the odds. Daringly meshing personal essay with political cinema, 5 BROKEN CAMERAS is a remarkable work of both cinematic and political activism, showing how images and cameras can change lives and realities.
Further information here:

Tickets are £10 for adults, £9 for retired people and those receiving income support and £5 for students.

If you would like to join us, please let us know and we will arrange a place to meet up on the night. We will not book tickets as a group as this could get complicated! But we will meet up at the cinema for a nice festive get together and a chat about the year ahead for our friendship association.

Hope to see you there - new faces and old - all very welcome to join up with us.


Checkpoint Rock - Songs from Palestine - Tuesday 27 November 2012 - ALL WELCOME

Hackney Palestine Solidarity Campaign presents:

CATASTROPHE CLUB  Films from or about Palestine


Tuesday 27th November 7.30pm


Checkpoint Rock:

Songs from Palestine

Dir.  Javier Corcuera and Basque musician Fermin Muguruza,  2009, 73 min.


Checkpoint Rock takes audiences on an incredible journey through Palestine, guided by some of its best-known, most inspiring musicians. The film spotlights the superb talents of the contemporary Palestinian music scene. Rappers, a wedding singer, and classical musicians express their personal struggles through their music. From the billboards and neon of Tel Aviv to the poverty and oppression of Gaza and the West Bank, the film presents a diversity of extraordinary performers who will change the vision we have of a people under occupation. 

PLUS: please join us in welcoming Ehab, a Palestinian student who is livingin Hackney for 3 months in order to develop the Hackney Beit Surik Friendship Association. Sponsored by CADFA (Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association)

At  PASSING CLOUDS Hackney E8 ( corner Kingsland Road and Richmond Road behind the Haggerston pub)

doors open 7.00 /admission free
all welcome - hope to see you there!

November 2012 Visit to Beit Surik

This past week we, Clare and Tahmina, had the opportunity to stay in Beit Surik for a week. 
We are volunteers currently based in Abu Dis with CADFA, nearly 2 months into our 3 month stay here in Palestine.

Whilst in Beit Surik we had the opportunity to visit the two local schools, the local council, the local women's centre and meet some local beekeepers. 

A bit about Beit Surik

Beit Surik is a small town in the North West Jerusalem area. There are about 4,500 residents there. It is completely surrounded by the Separation Wall with just one road coming in and out of the village.

Traditionally people have made their money from agriculture or from working in Jerusalem. The Separation Wall and the settlements which now surround Beit Surik have separated villagers from much of their land. In 1948 Beit Surik had 14000 Dunams of land, today it has access to just half of that. Furthermore, checkpoints, ID requirements and the Wall have prevented the vast majority of residents from being able to work in or even visit Jerusalem. Therefore unemployment is very high in the area. We were given one estimate that it could be as high as 55%.

 One of the three settlements next to Beit Surik. The tall tower is a military tower.

 Some of the goods made by the women at the centre in Beit Surik.

Another settlement which surrounds Beit Surik and has taken the village land

                                           Sunset view of the mosque in Beit Surik
                                   Tahmina on one of the roads in Beit Sourik
                                          A street in Beit Surik

We had a particularly useful and fun time at the UNRWA School for girls (The UN refugee school) in Beit Surik where the local girls attend until they are in grade 9/year 10.
There are around 40 children in every class and compared to British classrooms there are few resources for the teachers to use, so they have a tough job! We got to see English teachers Asma and Fadwa work their teaching magic though!
We also had the opportunity to lead a grade 5 lesson, with Asma translating, where we told the students all about the different aspects to life in London (not just tourist London) and particularly life in Hackney. We showed the students pictures of Victoria Park, Hackney Town Hall as well as pictures of the Pembury Estate.
As the attack on Gaza was sadly going on at the time, we also showed the students pictures of demonstrations in London in solidarity with Palestine.

We hope that a long-term relationship will be forged between the UNRWA school and schools in Hackney. The teachers and the Principle were eager to improve their student's English whilst educating people in Hackney about the Occupation in exchanges between the two places.

 Grade 5 doing English
 Grade 9 doing Food technology
 Girls in the playground

 Talking to a Grade 5 class about London

With Asma and Fadwa, the two English teachers at UNRWA
                                                 The UNRWA school building

We also had the opportunity to meet with local bee keepers which was fascinating since we knew so little about it! Unfortunately, it seems that there will not be any twinning links to bee keepers in East London since the few bee keepers in Beit Surik are farmers who don't use computers or have access to internet, we were told.

Being shown the Wall, the settlements and the military camps which surround Beit Surik
There are three settlements which surround Beit Surik. 
We saw where the Separation Wall cut through the land and cut off farmers from their fields and olive trees.

 With Mandila, who showed us the land and how it has been affected by settlements
 Land which now lies on the other side of the wall. You can see the settler-only road in the middle of the land. There is only one road in and out of Beit Surik so residents cannot use this road.
 Beit Surik is a rural, agricultural community where much food grows.
 The military camp tower looms over the village
 You can see barbed wire fence to the right. This is where the village land has been cut off. This barbed wire fence is the 'Wall' here- and this means it can be moved to take away even more land if the Israelis decide it.

The military camp which overlooks Beit Surik.

Our Visit

We stayed with a local family who kindly fed us and allowed us to feel completely at home :) We had lots of fun with the children with lived there.
We were also lucky enough to sample some other local hospitality when two lovely grandparents invited us into their house as we just happened to be walking past it. They fed us grapes and sweet tea :)

Mariam and Rafeek- who invited us in for tea, grapes and to meet their grandchildren

                                             With some of the children we lived with.

Meeting with the Council

We asked many questions to the local Council about life in Beit Surik and about twinning.
Like many of the people we had the opportunity to speak to the Council expressed a big hope from twinning being that it will educate people outside of Palestine about the struggle of the local community her and also in wider Palestine. The leader of the Council said that he considers the future for Beit Surik to be much like the future in all parts of Palestine. He wants peace, but Israel are stealing Palestinian land and denying Palestinians their rights. He asked where were the UK, where were the US in all of this? (The recent attack on Gaza shows where the US and UK government are quite clearly).

We felt very fortunate to be invited and so welcomed by many people in the community in Beit Surik.
We found that the main thing local people want out of twinning is increased awareness about the occupation and the living conditions in Palestine.

We also met with the Council in a neighbouring town- Qatanna- where they were also excited about the idea of twinning!

Sunday 18 November 2012

Protest for Gaza - London 24 November 2012

Please join pro-Palestinian activists and compassionate people from all over the country in a protest against Israel's continued onslaught against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The protest is on Saturday 24 November 2012. People will gather together at Downing Street at 12 noon and then march to the Israeli Embassy.

If you would like to meet with other people from Hackney and travel there together, please get in touch with us - we are happy to arrange -

Don't Dance with Israeli Apartheid - Boycott Batsheva Dance Company in London

Hello everyone

If you have any time this week on Monday 19, Tuesday 20 or Wednesday 21 November from 6.30pm, please join up with our friends in Palestine Solidarity Campaign as they protest at visiting Israeli dance troupe Batsheva. They are part of the Israeli government's attempts to show the 'pretty face' of Israel to the rest of the world. The people of Gaza are extended no such courtesy, and at the time of writing over 60 people have been killed in the latest attack by Israel on Gaza.

More details here:

Thank you for reading.