Spoken word by Scottish Palestinian Amira A Shanti
Amira Al Shanti (Actor / Writer); Rachel Flynn (Producer / Script Editor); Ryan Dewar (Director / Editor); Gordon Robertson (Composer)
The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government in 1917 during the First World War announcing support for the establishment of a ``national home for the Jewish people``, particularly those being displaced by the war and to regime them in Palestine. This decision also collided with Zionism, which arose in the late 19th century in reaction to anti-Semitic and exclusionary nationalist movements in Europe.
The Balfour Declaration of 1917, favoured the establishment of a new Jewish national home in Palestine. It was made during World War I (1914-1918) and was included in the terms of the British Mandate for Palestine after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The so-called mandate system, set up by the Allied powers, was a thinly veiled form of colonialism and occupation. Though the Balfour Declaration included the caveat that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”, the British mandate was set up in a way to equip Jews with the tools to establish self-rule, at the expense of the Palestinian Arabs.
Soon after President Truman took office, he announced his approval of a recommendation to admit 100,000 displaced persons into Palestine and in October publicly declared his support for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine recommending the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. On November 29, 1947 the United Nations adopted Resolution 181 (also known as the Partition Resolution) that would divide Great Britain’s former Palestinian mandate into Jewish and Palestinian states from May 1948 when the British mandate was scheduled to end.
After new borders were formed in 1948, Israel was named and created, the borders have changed on a regular basis as it has spread out and taken over more and more of Palestine.
Despite being renamed as Israel in 1948, 135 United Nations members still recognise Palestine as an Independent State and country opposed to simply a region. Palestine currently comprises mostly of parts of current Israel (occupied Palestine) and also features Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
There are 13 million Palestinians in the world today.
Christian Palestinians, fleeing the hardships of the Israeli occupation, have emigrated in disproportionate numbers from Palestine, particularly to the U.S., Central America, and Europe. Thus while most Palestinians are Muslims, many in the West are Christian.
In the Occupied Territories, Palestinian Christians now constitute about 3% of the population and are often very marginalised by the media and Western perception.
Palestinians are not homogenous.
Spanning across numerous ancient religions and representing numerous races, from blue- eyed and ginger Palestinians to Afro- Palestinians, and all colours in between.
Palestinians have local customs differing from town to town. You can see this clearly in their embroidery (Tatreez) traditions. With Palestinian women across the land donning various native clothes, each unique to their local village or community.
Palestine was among a few options that Zionists considered as a homeland - including Uganda and Argentina. The reason they chose Palestine was because it is at the heart of Abrahamic faiths, and therefore they could use Judaism as a guise for colonial desires.
The first Zionist Congress in 1897 concluded with a “practical program” officially calling for 3 actions: Organization, colonisation and negotiation.”
Tribune journalist Asia Khatun explains that:
“The normalisation of colonialism begins where it has always begun: in language. These language choices, be they irresponsible or just ignorant, reinforce the notion that this is a conflict in which both sides have the means to be equally as violent towards the other. But the fact of the matter is that Israel is one of the most militarised occupying nations in the world, backed with billions of dollars and weapons from the USA.”
By describing Palestinians as Arabs it takes away Palestinians' strong connection to the land they live in and love as well suggesting the idea Palestinians could simply go to another Arab nation.
Arab is an ethnicity which spans across North Africa and West Asia, but Palestinian refers specifically to the subtype of indigenous people who come from Palestine. Only naming Palestinians as ‘Arabs’ erases their identity, existence and country.
Palestinians are historically a farming society. Around 65% were farmers and the communities relied directly on the land for material sustenance. Without it, they would lose their lives and meaning as a coherent community. They need the land to exist. This is why Israeli forces and settlers uprooting Palestinian’s olive trees and crops as a means to erase their identity and belonging is so cruel.
Mahmoud Darwish, considered Palestine’s national poet wrote this:
“This land give us
All that makes life worth living:
Lady Earth, mother of all beginnings and
She was called Palestine
And she is still called Palestine.
My Lady, because you are my lady,
I deserve life.”
Anti Semitism does not equal Anti - Zionism, in the same way that the Jewish People do not equal the Israeli State.
Conflating anti - Zionist rhetoric with antisemitism undermines both the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality and the global struggle against antisemitism. It also serves to shield Israel from being held accountable to universal double standards of human rights and international law. This idea also erases the identity of the small minority of Palestinian Jews and causes Jews that support Palestine to face adversity - often being called ‘self hating Jews’.
Not everyone Jewish person is a Zionist, and not every Zionist is a Jewish person. Organisations like Scottish Jews Against Zionism and Jewish Voice for Peace work to support Palestinians and dispel these myths.
The foundational events of the Nakba took place during and shortly after the 1947-49 Palestine war, where 78% of land known as Palestine was declare as Israel, over 700,000 Palestines were expelled and denied a right of return, over 500 Palestinian villages were destroyed and Palestine geographically erased - replacing Arabic place names of Palestine with Hebrew ones.
Nakba Day on 15th May is a yearly memorial and day of mourning for Palestinians around the world.
There are hundreds of checkpoints within the West Bank which restrict freedom of movement of Palestinians and are in violation of human rights. Palestinian complaints of abuse, humiliation and violence are common. Israeli checkpoints have become death traps where Palestinians are immediately shot for the slightest mistake or even on mere suspicion, as well as being incredibly inconvenient and causing mass delays for Palestinian people. A report by the United Nations in 2007 found that checkpoints slowing pregnant women in labour reaching hospitals resulted in the death of 35 newborns and 5 women between 2000-2007, due to medical complications of being forced to give birth at checkpoints.
We would recommend watching the BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated short film ‘The Present’, directed by Palestinian-British filmmaker Farah Nabulsi. Available on Netflix, it is a touching and honest depiction of a man and his daughter going to buy his wife an anniversary gift and the segregation and struggle caused by Israeli checkpoints.
The crime against humanity of persecution, also set out in the Rome Statute, the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights on racial, ethnic, and other grounds, grew out of the post-World War II trials and constitutes one of the most serious international crimes, of the same gravity as apartheid.
Simply is the crime of using the policy or system in place to segregate or discriminate on grounds of race or difference.
Origins are from the Greek, diaspeirein meaning to ‘disperse’, from dia ‘across’+ speirein ‘scatter’.
The ‘one-state solution’ refers to a resolution through the creation of a unitary, federal or confederate Israeli-Palestinian state, which would encompass all of the present territory of Israel, the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and possibly the Gaza Strip. It outlines encouraging Israelis and Palestinians to coexist as citizens in one state, with equal rights and responsibilities.
The two-state solution envisions an independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel west of the Jordan River. The boundary between the two states is still subject to dispute and negotiation, with Palestinian and Arab leadership insisting on the ‘1967 borders’, which is not accepted by Israel. This solution becomes incredibly difficult to practically implement when you take into account the illegal settlements and occupation of houses in East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank, Palestinians living in 48/Historic Palestine, and the large volume of displaced Palestinians still waiting to return home.
There is wide-spread disagreement over which iteration should be implemented, and as such no resolution has yet been agreed.
Nablus Avenue can be found off Mariner Drive in Dundee (DD2 1TY), situated behind Ninewells Hospital. It is served by bus numbers 10, 39, 16 and 16B.
The Deir Yassin memorial can be found in the Kelvingrove Park. It lies within the grounds of Kelvingrove Art Gallery, near the rear car park. The stone was laid courtesy of Scottish Friends of Palestine.
Refuweegee are a Glaswegian charity dedicated to providing a warm welcome to displaced people arriving in Glasgow.
Al-Khair Foundation Glasgow is a UK-based Muslim charity that provides a wide range of services, including a soup kitchen, foodbank, refugee/asylum seeker help, and humanitarian aid abroad.
What can we do?
Full Range of Emotions
to Exist is to Resist
Voices of Palestine
Naji Salim Hussain al-Ali ناجي سليم حسين العلي drew Handala in 1969. The figure turned his back to the viewer from the year 1973 and remains an iconic symbol of Palestinian identity and defiance.
The artist explained that the ten-year-old represented his age when forced to leave Palestine and would not grow up until he could return to his homeland; his turned back and clasped hands symbolised the character’s rejection of “outside solutions”. Handala wears ragged clothes and is barefoot, symbolising his allegiance to the poor. In later cartoons, he is actively participating in the action depicted not merely observing it. The artist vowed that his figure, Handala, will “reveal his face to the readers again only when Palestinian refugees return to their homeland”.
Naji was assassinated in London outside of a Kuwaiti newspaper building on 22nd July 1987 and died five weeks later on 29th August 1987 at 49 years old. Read more at Handala.org
DOWNLOAD HANDALA. Print him out on A4 or draw your own. Cut him out. Colour him in. Be creative. Take him to your favourite Scottish or Palestinian landmark and post to your social media channels with the tag #handalaexists
What can we do to help Palestine, regain basic human rights, and other resistance to ethic cleansing.
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is devoted to ending international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, and pressuring Israel to comply with national law. On its website, the BDS National Committee (BNC) outlines five actions you can take to challenge the complicity of global governments and corporations, including boycotts, community mobilisation, and joining a solidarity group.
If international governments are not willing to hold the Israel accountable, we must do so ourselves. One of the best ways ordinary people can make a difference is to boycott companies complicit in this. This puts economic pressure on Israel to change policies, and to know that the rest of the world is watching.
BDS has real world implications, take the Ben and Jerrys decision on 19/07/2021.
Medical Aid for Palestine or MAP are a registered charity who are on the ground right now supporting those injured Click here🔗
The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund has been working in the Middle East for over 25 years constantly offering surgery and urgent aid to children of all religions and nationalities. Click here🔗
The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund has been working in the Middle East for over 25 years constantly offering surgery and urgent aid to children of all religions and nationalities.
Save The Children have been working for Palestinian children’s rights in Gaza and the West Bank since 1953. Click here🔗
Climb For Palestine is a Scottish-based fundraiser, raising money for the Lajee Center in Bethlehem’s Aida Camp, and Benaa Youth Center in Khan Yunis, Gaza. Click here🔗
Write to your MP
If you can’t afford to donate you can still try and enact change by writing to your MP.
FOA is a non-profit group campaigning for humans rights, and on their website they provide specific letter templates you can use to send to your MP such as a letter about saving Sheikh Jarrah – a Palestinian neighbourhood in Jerusalem where Palestinian residents are under threat of being forcibly displaced to make way for Jewish settlers. Click here🔗
Marches and peaceful protests have been going on globally asking for governments to step in and end the violence. Thousands of people around Scotland have joined marches in the last year. Keep an eye on your local social media pages for details of upcoming marches, events and other information on how to support in your local area:
Find a full list Scottish ally groups here: Click here🔗
Palestine Nature & wildlife
It resides in the desert regions of Palestine near the Dead Sea
They are used not only to produce the tasty fruit, but also as natural borders between houses and villages. It is promoted for treating diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and hangovers. It’s also touted for its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties..
البدن، أو الوعل
It resides in the Jordan Valley from the north to the south in the rocky areas of the eastern slopes of the mountains of Jerusalem
Olive production accounted for 57% of cultivated land in Palestine with 7.8 million fruit-bearing trees. They are draught-resistant and grow under poor soil conditions, they represent Palestinian resistance and resilience.
الوشق أو عناق الأرض
Recorded in the northern Dead Sea area Jordan River area –it’s Endangered and decreasing in numbers
‘Jaffa’ oranges, also known as shamouti, are practically seedless, with a flavour that has been described as “excellent” and “sweet and fine”.
Spring is scented with citrus blossom.
Located between Jerusalem and Hebron and the Dead Sea area
Figs were one of the oldest fruit trees known to Palestinian people and cultivated by them. Harvested to nature’s clock, fully ripened and partially dried on the tree. They naturally help hold in moisture in baked goods, keeping them fresher.
الراتل أو غرير العسل
It resides in the Dead Sea area and mountainous areas in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nablus
Almonds thrive on the rocky terrain, and growers from across 15 villages in Palestine pick and shell the whole almonds by hand. In flower; they produce fragrant, five-petaled, light pink to white flowers
The Palestine sunbird is a small passerine bird of the sunbird family
Grapevines are one of the main fruits yielded in Palestine. Also harvested and used to create wine. Historically grapevines are tied to biblical stories from Palestine. Grapevine cultivation is among the most important agricultural crops in the world for fruit and for wines.