Palestine is under an illegal military occupation. Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza have huge restrictions placed on their freedom of movement and many are unable to travel. So visiting Palestine and the refugee camps in the Middle East is an important act of solidarity. While it is very difficult to travel to Gaza it is relatively easy to go to the West Bank. You can see for yourself the situation on the ground and act as a “multiplier” by returning and talking to others, formally and informally, about what you’ve seen.

There are many ways of visiting Palestine, and many activities that you can undertake while you are there. Solidarity activities include joining protests against the occupation and volunteering in activities such as olive harvesting and teaching. Going on an educational tour will help to equip you to speak about the situation on your return and to increase awareness in the UK about the situation in Palestine.

Palestine is also an excellent place to study Arabic. Of course with the historical sites, good food and wonderful climate, Palestine is also a great destination for a holiday. Those who visit Palestine learn more about the Palestinians’ life under occupation, while experiencing the country’s rich culture, history and scenery. These visits also result in lasting, lifelong friendships.

The following links provide information on how to organise a trip to Palestine:

 

Study Arabic
As well as the Siraj Centre, the Olive Coop and the Holy Land Trust mentioned above, the following also provide opportunities for learning Arabic in Palestine:

  • Birzeit University summer course – Near Ramallah, offers a year-round programme of Arabic and regional studies.
  • Alquds University – In East Jerusalem runs and international summer school for university students who wish to study the region’s culture, language and history.

Branch twinning and friendship links
As part of PSC’s campaign to effect changes in consciousness on the Palestinian issue and to promote positive British government policy, twinning and friendship links are an important tool. In particular, they facilitate important links between PSC and grassroots organisations and communities in Palestine.

For more details about twinning groups visit the Britain Palestine Twinning Network website.

The Oxford Ramallah Friendship Association (Orfa), with members in Ramallah was set up on the initiative of members of Oxford PSC. It has been successful in encouraging friendship links between individuals and organisations in each city. Women from Ramallah have spoken at International Women’s’ Day in Oxford. Young People from Al Amari have twice visited Oxford and spoken at local schools, mosques and Churches,at Oxfam, and involved themselves in all kinds of activities with local young people. A visit to Ramallah by young people from Oxford is now being organised. Links with local councillors and with many other people were encouraged by the visit of Janet Michael, Mayor of Ramallah. Visits and communication continues and friendship established. The Oxford Ramallah Friendship Association.

Brighton Tubas Friendship and Solidarity GroupThis is a network launched in April 2006 fostering links between community organisations in Tubas, the Jordan Valley and Brighton.

The Tubas Region, which includes the Northern Jordan Valley, is an area which Israel is  ethnically cleansing and annexing for illegal settlements which produce fruit, herbs and vegetables for the UK market, while Palestinian farmers have their land and water confiscated for Israeli use.

The group has worked with Amnesty International, the Quakers, Sussex Action for Peace, Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Muslim Women’s Group, Unison, Sussex University Students Union and Palestine Society, Students at Brighton University, Brighton Arabic School and a selection of primary and secondary schools. A delegation from Tubas has visited Brighton and spoken to a wide range of groups about the situation in Palestine. They are hoping to make productive links with many other organisations in Brighton.

If you would like more information email: tubas@brightonpalestine.org or visit www.tubas.brightonpalestine.org.

For more details about branch twinning and friendship links visit the branches’ websites or contact us.

Student exchanges
A number of UK universities and colleges have twinning arrangements with educational institutions. PSC promotes and encourages these exchanges.