Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Monday, 7 August 2017
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
Monday, 3 July 2017
Thursday, 29 June 2017
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
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.
Friday, 23 June 2017
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