It has been terrifying to watch the Israeli attacks on the Palestinians, knowing that innocent men, women and children would die with each bomb and hundreds more would be injured with life-changing consequences and thousands more would be traumatised forever.
“This is nothing new,” I hear you say. It has happened before and nothing seems to change and you’re right. Now there’s a ceasefire but the occupation of Palestine continues, the blockade of Gaza continues, the daily incursions into the sacred grounds of Al-Aqsa by the Israeli soldiers continue, the daily humiliation at checkpoints continues. The injustice remains, the illegal settlements remain, the so-called security wall remains, the Israeli control remains, the demolitions of Palestinian homes carry on and Sheikh Jarrah may still be ethnically cleansed, sanctioned by ‘fake justice’ from the Israeli courts.
There cannot be peace when there is so much injustice. Whilst the Israelis continue with their aggressive settler colonialist agenda, how can there be peace?
That is why the work of groups like Halifax Friends of Palestine continues long after the bombing has ceased. For the last 15 years, we have worked to raise awareness of the injustices in Palestine. We have hosted Palestinian cultural events, speakers, film festivals, launched books, held demonstrations and vigils. Sometimes we have been lucky to have 20-30 people, usually the same old crowd.
Why do we do it if nothing changes? Well, the answer is easy: as long as the Palestinian people continue to exist and resist, we continue to assist them in every peaceful way possible. Many of us in the group have visited Palestine and have nurtured strong friendships. We have close links with the Lajee Centre in Aida Refugee Camp. Many of the young people there still call me ‘host mum’. One of our members is from Gaza and still has family there.
So we would like to thank everyone who has supported the demos, for coming out in your hundreds/thousands and raising your voices against Israeli aggression. But please do not stop at this. Here’s what else YOU can do:
May Allah keep the people of Palestine safe. May He ease their pain and suffering. May Allah enable us to be of help to our brothers and sisters. May He open our hearts to have the courage so that we give of our time, effort and wealth in this time of crisis.
The following video is a speech by our Chair, Jenny Lynn made at the pro-Palestine demonstration in Huddersfield.