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Zaytoun talk in Cheltenham, organised by Global Footsteps

27 February at 14:30 at Friends Meeting House, Warwick Place, Cheltenham GL52 Zaytoun2NP

Taysir Arbasi, Palestinian Director of Zaytoun, with Almond and Olive Farmer Mohammad Rsheid of the Palestine Fairtrade Association, will talk about Fairtrade in Palestine – Supporting resilient liveliehoods.

Lunch is available between 1pm and 2pm at a cost of £5.



And for anyone in London …. ON NOW till March 14 At Royal Court Theatre,  a new play by Palestinian writer Dalia Taha http://www.royalcourttheatre.com/whats-on/fireworks

and discussions … chance to hear her and other Palestinian writers … and even Palestinian hip-hop …


Meanwhile, in Brussels: Views of two of our MEPs

The European Parliament has been playing an increasingly important role in supporting  Palestinians living  in the West Bank and Gaza.  It has also been highly critical in the past of Israel’s over-reaction to Hamas and its wanton destruction of the civilian infrastructure in Gaza.

So we were surprised to see that the newly elected Green  MEP for the South West, Dr. Molly Scott Cato, had voted against an EU resolution  in September condemning the latest attacks on Gaza in operation Protective Edge. We  wrote to ask her why.

ScottCatoWe have now received a very full reply on Molly’s behalf setting out both her own views and those of the  group of UK Green MEPs. It explains  that the decision to vote against the September resolution was because it didn’t go far enough.  For example,  Molly is also calling for  a comprehensive arms embargo throughout the region, the immediate lifting of the Gaza blockade and termination of Tony Blair’s role as ‘Peace Envoy’ for the Middle East.

Coincidentally, we have also been sent a copy of a reply from another South West MEP,  the Conservative Ashley Fox,  responding  to a request that he support the calls  being made for a suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.  This strikes a very different note, Ashley Fox2 starting with  “Hamas is a terrorist organisation.  lt deliberately provoked an Israeli military response whilst sheltering behind the people that it professes to protect in the knowledge that many of them would be killed in the violence.”   Mr. Fox did, however, vote in favour of the September resolution as did our other Conservative MEP,  Julie Girling .

You can read both responses here and draw your on conclusions.  MollyScottCato081214  AshleyFoxMEP

We are still trying to elicit the views of UKIP given that they also have  two MEPs representing  the South West.  Previous requests to the self-styled ‘Earl of Independence’  – a.k.a. William the Earl of Dartmouth – went unanswered but  we will try again.   And we will  write to Claire Moody,  the Region’s  one  Labour MEP .   Also newly elected in 2014, she too voted in support of the September resolution.

More to follow when we get a response.

Meeting with Martin Horwood MP, 11th December

Want to tell Martin Horwood how much you support his recent stance on  Israel/Palestine … or berate him for not doing enough?   Whatever your views,  now is your chance.   Martin has agreed to meet the Group at our next meeting – on 11th December at the Friends Meeting House, Cheltenham, starting at7:30 pm.   So  please come along and show him just how much interest there is in this issue here in Cheltenham.

This is the first of the meetings we intend  to arrange with candidates in next May’s general election; others to follow in the new year.

Click on this link for a note of the issues we hope to discuss.  Horwood 111214



The website of Gloucestershire Palestine Solidarity Campaign