The following participants of Welcome to Palestine 2012 are amongst those denied boarding by Jet2 after instruction from the Israeli government.
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.
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.”
I am 30 years old. I am a support worker for the homeless in Edinburgh. My interests are running and cycling and being an activist. I am joining Welcome to Palestine 2012 in order to challenge the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Palestinians are exposed daily to the brutal Israeli program of apartheid and ethnic cleansing. On my visit to Jerusalem in 2003, I was sickened by the treatment of palestinians by the Israeli border police. Palestinians face massive restrictions of movement in the form of borders, the wall and checkpoints. Simple fact- Palestinians have no freedom. I will travel to Tel Aviv in April in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
I am an English teacher by profession. I work in education; writing textbooks, setting exam papers and delivering conferences for A Level students. I am a keen supporter of education as a human right and an investment in young people and their futures – and therefore all of our futures. The ‘Welcome to Palestine’ initiative to build the International School in Bethlehem – and, moreover, visit Palestinians in their own country – makes perfect sense to me. It is a small contribution towards the efforts of Palestinians who strive and struggle, against huge odds, to provide their communities with the basic human rights and facilities that many of us take for granted.
In my everyday life (I am 48), I like to write and read poetry, swim, walk by the sea, listen to live music, spend time with my daughter. These are my leisure choices. Many Palestinians cannot begin to make such choices as they battle against the deprivations and dangers of their everyday lives. For me, visiting Palestine is an act of solidarity, to stand with the Palestinians in adversity. Building a school is one concrete start.
I am a Scot, living in York; a mum and grandma. I’ve worked in education and community work – in recent years mostly on a voluntary basis.
Through social media, I am in touch with friends in Palestine on an almost daily basis. I’ve been there 5 times, firstly on a visit to Christian Aid projects and then in recent years, volunteering on a farm and with community projects, visiting craft producers (whose goods I sell), observing checkpoints, sharing in non-violent demonstrations, meeting and talking with Palestinians, etc.
I’ve learned that almost everything we take for granted is a struggle for the Palestinians. Most of what we think of as basic human rights are denied to the Palestinians because of an occupation by the country which purports to be the only democracy in the Middle East!
I think of the mothers and grandmothers I have met in Palestine and ask myself why ordinary life has to be so impossible for them. I don’t know the answer, but as I am free, I owe it to them to do what I can.
My name is Sandy Broadhurst. I live in Stockport, am a retired teacher and a former Stockport councillor. I have been an active trade unionist, peace campaigner and fighter for human rights, all my life. I am currently involved with RAPAR the Manchester based Human Rights organisation.
The fact that Israel denies the human rights of Palestinians on a daily basis, and so breaks international law in recognised world wide. The Palestinians are ghettoised internally through the apartheid separation wall, the checkpoints and restrictions on travel. They are ghettoised externally by not being allowed visitors from abroad. The world accepts that these abuses happen but does nothing to right them.
I am taking part in Welcome to Palestine 2012, to draw international attention to these injustices. I am going to the West Bank to help build a school, reinstate damaged water cisterns and plant trees. To suggest that I, as a life long peace activist, am a security threat to the Israelis is a nonsense. Denying my entry to the West Bank is just another way for Israel to subjugate the Palestinians and deny them their human rights. I cannot stand by and do nothing while the Palestinians suffer. Palestine must be free.
I live in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. I work as a neurology nurse and also teach nursing for two universities. My hobbies include making wine cork heads and twirling my baton in an adult marching band. My band performed at President Obama’s inauguration.
In 2009, I went to Gaza with my niece and daughter. I was not engaged in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict at the time, but after being there a week, I left knowing I had to stand up for the people of Palestine. I came back to the United States and began acquiring information on the situation and learned that my tax dollars are a huge contribution in aiding Israel and allowing them to maintain their strangle-hold on the people of Palestine. I realized that I needed to join forces with others who also have this goal, to raise our voices louder, to work on public opinion and governmental policy, in order to help bring justice to Palestine.
I have been an activist for many causes for over a decade, but Palestine has always been particularly close to my heart. I traveled to the Gaza Strip in May/June 2009, in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead. I saw first-hand both the incredible destruction of the Israeli military attack and ongoing siege, and the amazing spirit, resilience and generosity of the Palestinian people. In 2010 I traveled to the West Bank and witnessed the myriad legal and physical restrictions which keep Palestinians there under their own kind of siege. I participated in Welcome to Palestine 2011 and spent four days in prison for saying I was going to Bethlehem. I believe the Welcome to Palestine initiative is important to highlight that all of Palestine is under siege. The restrictions that internationals face are a pale reflection of the punitive system of permits, checkpoints, residency restrictions, and arbitrary arrest and detention without trial that Palestinians face every day.
I’m joining the Welcome to Palestine ‘Fly-In’ because it appears very likely to demonstrate how Palestinian residents of Gaza and the West Bank are effectively held in an open prison.
More generally, I consider it important to show the world at large how the human rights of Palestinians are violated in an ongoing and systematic, pre-planned way. Judging the State of Israel by what it does rather than what it says highlights the intentional ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people and the stealing of their lands. I do not hold the view that a peoples’ human rights should be subjugated to religious beliefs.
I’m going to Palestine to stand beside my Christian Brothers &Sisters who are imprisoned behind an ugly wall. They, like the Moslems cannot get to their Holy Places. Easter has come and gone and only a few will have been allowed to go to Jerusalem on Good Friday & Easter Sunday – the most important Feasts in the Christian Calendar. The few that have been granted written permission will have had to wait for hours at check points – Jerusalem is only about 4-6 miles away but they will be questioned, kept waiting,and only allowed to pass on the whim of some EDF soldier.
Palestinian Christians used to make up between15 to 20 per cent of the population but are now only about 2%. They have left because they cannot make a living as Israel has removed permission and permits to work. Soon there will be no Christians left in the Land where Christianity began. UNBELIEVABLE.