Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Hurray - The Palestinian group have got their visas for France!

We're all really happy that the Palestinian participants' visas for France are now ready - their air tickets are bought and we are two big steps forward towards the exciting French Ma'an exchange.

In London, the group are beginning to prepare - they have had two meetings so far - and are looking forward very much to the exchange in France! Some of them are here - not the best photo but they are great people :)

Monday, 7 August 2017

The long struggle to get visas for the Palestinians - this time from France

Our Palestinian friends are already in the middle of a long struggle to get the visas they need to join the visit to France in October. It is a long and miserable process.

 Like the British, the French have, it seems, three systems for visas for people living in Palestine. They are following the rules made by the Israelis, who have made a completely separate system for Israelis whom they encourage to settle in the West Bank, Palestinians whom they have decided are Jerusalemites and Palestinians whom they have decided are West Bankers. Israel treats the Israelis in a completely separate way from all Palestinians, and divides the Palestinians into different categories.
Europe is echoing this. We are going to ask our French friends to join us in trying to extend the visa equality campaign, so far directed to the UK government, needs to go Europe-wide!

In the EU-Schengen area, Israelis don't need visas to enter.  Palestinians DO. Those who can be in Jerusalem can apply for visas through a faster process. Those who are stopped by Israel from entering Jerusalem, have to apply via Aramex in Ramallah - where (we hear from our friends), the conditions are uncomfortable and the questions unpleasant; the cost is higher and the wait is longer.

Our friends have tried once in vain and will try again to submit their visa applications, and we wish them good luck.

Here is the link to our visa equality petition...https://www.change.org/p/tobias-ellwood-make-visa-rules-the-same-for-palestinians-and-israelis

Please sign and share it.

Friday, 14 July 2017

A great evening in Llanidloes

We had a long drive through the beautiful hills of Wales to Llanidloes, where we met their friends of Palestine group. They gave us some time for a workshop that we needed to complete, and then took us on a walk round the town - to see the old company houses, market place and the lovely Severn river. 

We joined them for an event called 'Standing Together' at the Community Centre. 
Local people had cooked many sorts of food. We were pleased to meet people from Wales and people who had moved there from other parts of the UK and also newly-arrived Syrian refugees from Idlib. They are now living in nearby Newtown and trying to get used to a new language and environment.

The evening started with food and talk, and then with input from Wales  - singing (amazing). It then moved on to talks by the project participants, questions and discussion with the audience.

Big thanks to our friends in Llani for being at once so interested and so welcoming. Our French and Palestinian friends came away saying "Everyone in Wales is so open-minded and friendly..."

Not sure you can say "everyone = anything" in any place as people are different... but certainly the people we met and talked to were lovely.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

UK visa situation is terrible!!

Today, the Palestinians are leaving home to begin their journey - they will get to the UK tomorrow. When they get here, we'll ask them to describe the journey.

We hope they keep cheerful though, as one of their number, Mounia, was still waiting for her passport yesterday after the Eid holiday, and it didn't come today - She has not been able to leave with them. We are still hoping that she can catch up, even if a bit late.

More soon on the UK visa situation which treats Israelis and Palestinians differently.. see our petition on Change.org

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Arriving 30th June

Well, it was a difficult day but it ended fine. Mounia couldn't come because of the visa issue but we believe she will be with us shortly. Saliha wont make it. Shadow and Miriam both had health problems. Meg has a brace on her knee after falling down the stairs. Nandita had a medical appointment before a long drive. Abed's bag didnt turn up after the plane. The Palestinians were so tired after their long travel. And look at the rain ...

But it was great to get to Knighton, and here we want to put a very big thank you to everyone who helped make a veritable feast for the visitors. In the photo are Christine and her mum who did a lot of it and co- ordinated it all... We loved it and it was the best start ever.

Thanks too to our hosts in all three houses. You've all made sure that this is starting in the nicest way possible!  And its a lovely, friendly group.

Now the group from three countries are sleeping in two countries,  some in England,  some in Wales, but all in the same town haha.

Public events in Wales

Come along if you are in the area to the Welsh events...

Friday, 23 June 2017

Getting ready! And VISA issues

The project handbooks have arrived, tickets bought, venues booked, food ordered, participants finalised, plans of all sorts made... Looking forward to seeing our friends from Palestine and France and here in the UK, and hoping to see many more of you too...

One thing we hope will be resolved tomorrow is that Mounia's visa and passport are not yet with her....This reminds us again of the real inequalities put in the way of Palestinians by the UK government: please do sign this petition


Monday, 19 June 2017

Press release 19th June English and Arabic

CADFA press release – 19th June 2017
Ma’an-Together project begins

With another terrorist attack last night, this time directed at Muslims after prayer; with attempts to divide us in every relation and all over the world, the CADFA Ma’an-Together project feels very relevant. This youth project brings together people from the UK, Palestine and France to work together against discrimination and for human rights and begins in the first week of July.

This youth project organised by CADFA and funded by Erasmus+ (European Union) is one of CADFA’s many youth projects with our Palestinian partners Dar Assadaqa in Abu Dis, Jerusalem suburbs and this time also includes young people from Bordeaux, France.
In July, we will have a leaders’ training for a week, before they lead a series of youth projects to France, Palestine and the UK.  We invite you to meet them to discuss from many standpoints the state of the world in 2017, how this affects our young people and what we can do against discrimination and for human rights in all of our countries.

CADFA is a human rights charity based in Camden which brings people together to raise awareness of human rights and work together to promote human rights and respect for international humanitarian law in Palestine. In the last fourteen years we have organised numerous youth and other exchanges in the UK and in Palestine (with our partner). This is the first project with our new partner in France, Aux Couleurs du DEBA, Bordeaux.

Public events in early July
·         Llanidloes Monday 3rd July
·         Knighton Tuesday 4th July
·         Worcester Weds 5th July
·         Camden, London Saturday 8th July

We are happy to provide photos or further information. Telephone 07791 536620

Project blog: maantogether.blogspot.co.uk
CADFA is at cadfa.org | Facebook CADFA (Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association) | Twitter @camdenabudis