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Action Palestine - our partner for University twinnings

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Twinning with Palestine

The Britain - Palestine Twinning Network - "promoting twinning and friendship links"

Activities for the network in 2011 include * Women's visit - March * Twinning Conference in Palestine - April * Visits to Palestine April and October * Conference in Liverpool - November.

Motions to put at Students Union meeting

- aim to highlight the injustices of the occupation, especially the Human Rights issues.

- try and get a commitment to scholarships for Palestinian students.

- commit the union to fight all forms of racism, including anti semitism and islamiphobia.

This was the motion used at the Manchester Students Union, which was carried

We suggest you base your motions on it.

On the 7th march 2007 at its student union general meeting, Manchester University passed a motion to twin Manchester University with An Najah in Nablus, Palestine.

Update - In November 2007 an attempt was made by Zionists to overturn the twinning. In an even bigger meeting, the attempt was decisively overturned. More ...

The motion, put forward by the student society Action Palestine stated:

Palestinian Students' Right to Education.

This Union notes:

1. That the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees equal rights for all, including the promise that 'Everyone has the right to education' (Article 26). That the status of the Palestinian territories (including West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem) is described in International Law as "Occupied territories", and that the Fourth Geneva Convention, 1949 states that "The occupying power shall, with the cooperation of the national and local authorities, facilitate the proper working of all institutions devoted to the care and education of children." (Article 50)

2. That over one third of the Palestinian population are students in full-time school or University education. That the 700 IDF roadblocks and other military obstacles frequently prevent students from being able to attend university.

3. That Birzeit University has been closed down by Israeli military order 15 times in its history; and that all the Palestinian universities and the majority of schools, including kindergartens, were closed down by military order between the years 1988-1992, when Palestinian education was effectively made 'illegal' by the Israeli occupation, denying a whole generation their right to education.

4. That Hebron University and the Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron were closed down by Israeli military order for much of 2003; and that the students of Hebron had to physically break down the gates to their universities, in defiance of the Israeli Army, to reconvene classes and demand their right to an education.

5. That students from Gaza are banned from reaching the 8 Palestinian Universities in the West Bank: In 2000 there were 350 Gazan students at Birzeit University, in April 2005 there were only 35.

6. That 362km of the projected 730km of the Israeli separation wall has been constructed, all of it on Palestinian lands, dividing, isolating and encircling Palestinian areas and Universities.

7. That 8 out of the total 11 universities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been shelled or broken into by the Israeli Army since September 2000.

8. That Al-Najah University of the occupied city of Nablus is a central location for students from other west bank districts such as Qalqilya, Jenin and Tulkarem.

9. That students from Tulkarem, Qalqilya and Jenin represent 50% of the 13000 students of Al-Najah University. A lot of those students are denied access to education due to the direct impact that the Apartheid Wall has on their cities. e.g. Qalqilya is totally enclosed by the Wall.

10. That the 2 major Israeli checkpoints of Howara and Beit Iba enclose the city entirely and have negative impacts on students who aim to reach the University.

11. That the village of Asira Alshamaleyah is 6km from Nablus, and in normal circumstances should not take the students more than 10 minutes to get to the University. Currently, with the presence of Checkpoints, the journey takes 2 or more hours (if they are permitted to pass).

12. That some Palestinian students left their villages due to the harassments and delays faced on checkpoints, and are currently renting accommodation in Nablus: an extra and unnecessary burden on students.

13. The economic impacts (taking into account that Nablus suffered the most from Israeli Occupation, siege and closure) made students postpone their education, and in other cases some have left the university to work in order to support their families or to pay their fees. This phenomenon has increased more during the last year due to the economic blockade suffered by the Palestinians.

This Union Believes:

1. Palestinian education has been severely hindered since the outbreak of the Second Intifada in September 2000 by blanket curfews, the presence of roadblocks and recently the erection of the Wall. The cumulative effects of these measures have put the future of many Palestinian universities at grave risk.

2. The measures noted above violate international law including provisions against collective punishment and guarantees for the protection of civilian populations under military occupation, students' right to education and the fundamental rights of human beings to live in dignity and freedom.

3. Education is critical to the healthy functioning of Palestinian society, as well as the possibility of peace and reconciliation between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. It is the responsibility of governments, civil society organizations and ordinary people to defend the universal right to education and to demand its realisation.

This Union resolves:

1. To send a letter of support and a copy of this motion to Al-Najah University Student Union inviting them to twin with UMSU.

2. To lobby the University to provide at least three scholarships for Palestinian students who wish to study at the University of Manchester.

3. To lobby the University to drop International Fees for all Palestinian students and charge them only home fees.

4. To support the students of Birzeit "right to education campaign" and to campaign for Human Rights for all Palestinians, both within the territory of mandate Palestine and for Palestinian refugees.

5. To raise the above concerns with colleagues in the National Union of Students and encourage NUS to support Palestinian students' right to education.

6. To publicise our policy of twinning with Al-Najah University Student Union by erecting a plaque, like that which publicises our links with Steve Biko, in the lobby of the Steve Biko building with the following words:

Palestine and the Right to Education

The University of Manchester Students' Union is twinned with the Al-Najah National University in Nablus. Students in Palestine have had their right to education consistently denied by the Israeli Occupation: checkpoints, attacks on Universities and limitations on movement seriously hinder the ability of students in Palestine to learn. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that everyone has the 'right to education': we fully support the struggle of our Palestinian brothers and sisters to realise this fundamental Human Right.

And this motion was passed in its entireity

I just wanted to share the good news!

In solidarity

Lamia Zafrani

Action Palestine (Manchester University)

Portsmouth

Union council Motion: Portsmouth-Palestine twinning initiative:

This Union believes:

• The occupation of Palestinian territory in the West Bank and Gaza is the longest military occupation in recent history. This year will mark the 40th anniversary of the 1967 war, which saw Israeli troops first occupy this territory.

• The construction of the West Bank partition wall is an act deemed Illegal by both the United Nations and the International criminal court in The Hague. It illegally transcends the borders agreed by the United Nations in 1963 and is tantamount to an act of Apartheid by the Israeli government.

• The partition wall besieging the West Bank is three times the size of the Berlin wall, and stretches the same distance that lies between London and Zurich.

• The security barrier surrounding Gaza has turned the city into the world’s largest open prison and alongside the closure of the airport and the naval blockade of the port amounts to economic sanctions against one of the poorest regions on earth.

• The Partition wall has cut though Palestinian land, residential areas, schools and universities thereby destroying homes and livelihoods. The wall has cut though the middle of East Jerusalem University resulting in students having to risk their life to attend lectures.

• Since the start of the Intifada in 2000 the IDF has commended most schools, colleges and universities in Gaza thus outlawing education for many Palestinians

• The cutting of aid from the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United states has added to occupation and resulted in a humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territory.

The Union resolves:

• To support the Palestinian right to Education in recognition of the fact the education is the key to understanding and peace, not hatred and violence.

• To Twin with a university or educational institution in the occupied Palestinian territory following the efforts of students in the Portsmouth to Palestine twinning initiative pioneered by the Arab society.

Union council Motion: Campaign against the Arms Trade:

This Union believes:

• In 2006 the British government though the office of the DESO (Defence export service organisation) sold £24 million of military aid to Israel in the form of cluster bombs, surface to air missiles, tank parts and landrovers. These weapons were then used in the invasion of Lebanon in August 2006 against civilians in actions, which the United Nations deemed as war crimes.

• That British companies such as Caterpillar which are not directly in the arms trade profit directly from the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. Caterpillar continues to sell D-9 Bulldozers to the Israeli defence force with the knowledge that they are being used to destroy the houses of Palestinians and the construction of the West-Bank partition wall.

• That the British government uses the offices of the DESO to send military aid to support despotic regimes around the world. This includes the continued sale of Land rovers and tank parts to Turkmenistan and Burma.

• That since 2003 the British government have indirectly armed paramilitary death squads in Columbia by selling weaponry to the Columbian government. These paramilitaries continue to carry out acts of intimidation, kidnap and murder against trade union members as is the case of the murdered Coca-Cola workers in 2003.

• That at this moment Portsmouth University is the only university not to invest directly in the Arms trade. This situation however is due to circumstance not intention.

The Union resolves:

• To join the Campaign against the Arms trade (CAAT) initiative to “clean up our universities” by making it official policy not to invest in the arms trade or companies which profit directly from the oppression of people. I.E BAE Systems or Caterpillar. Money from students should not be invested in companies who profit from the military oppression of innocent people.

Staffordshire Motion

UNION POLICY

PALESTINE AND THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION

 

THIS UNION NOTES

1. That Palestine Polytechnic University (Hebron) has a Youth Exchange Programme.

2. That the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees equal rights, for all, including the promise that ‘Everyone has the right to education’ (Article 26). That the status of the Palestinian territories (including West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem) is described in International Law as “Occupied territories”, and that the Fourth Geneva Convention, 1949 states that “The occupying power shall, with the cooperation of the national and local authorities, facilitate the proper working of all institutions devoted to the care and education of children”. (Article 50)

3. That over one third of the Palestinian population are students in full-time school or University education. That the 700 IDF roadblocks and other military obstacles frequently prevent students from being able to attend University.

4. That Birzeit University has been closed down by Israeli military order 15 times in its history; and that all the Palestinian Universities and the majority of schools, including kindergartens, were closed down by military order between the years 1988-1992, when Palestinian education was effectively made ‘illegal’ by the Israeli occupation, denying a whole generation their right to education.

5. That Hebron University and the Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron were closed down by Israeli military order for much of 2003; and that the students of Hebron had to physically break down the gates to their Universities, in defiance of the Israeli Army, to reconvene classes and demand their right to an education.

6. That students from Gaza are banned from reaching the 8 Palestinian Universities in the West Bank: In 2000 there were 350 Gazan students at Birzeit University, in April 2005 there were only 35.

7. That 362km of the projected 730km of the Israeli separation wall has been constructed, all of it on Palestinian lands, dividing, isolating and encircling Palestinian areas and Universities.

8. That 8 out of the total 11 Universities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been shelled or broken into by the Israeli Army since September 2000.

9. That Palestine Polytechnic University (Hebron) of the occupied city of Hebron is a central location for students from other West Bank districts such as Qalqilya, Jenin and Tulkarem.

10. That students from Tulkarem, Qalqilya and Jenin represent 50% of the 13000 students of Al-Najah University. A lot of those students are denied access to education due to the direct impact that the Apartheid Wall has on their cities. E.g. Qalqilya is totally enclosed by the Wall.

11. That some Palestinian students left their villages due to the harassments and delays faced on checkpoints, and are currently renting accommodation in Hebron: an extra and unnecessary burden on students.

12. The economic impacts made students postpone their education, and in other cases some have left the University to work in order to support their families or to pay their fees.

This phenomenon has increased more during the last year due to the economic blockade suffered by the Palestinians.

THIS UNION BELIEVES

1. That Youth Exchanges are one of the best ways to build links with students abroad and that the experience that this will give to both our students and students abroad is indispensable.

2. Palestinian education has been severely hindered since the outbreak of the Second Intifada in September 2000 by blanket curfews, the presence of roadblocks and recently the erection of the Wall. The cumulative effects of these measures have put the future of many Palestinian Universities at grave risk.

3. The measures noted above violate international law including provisions against collective punishment and guarantees for the protection of civilian populations under military occupation, students’ right to education and the fundamental rights of human beings to live in dignity and freedom.

4. Education is critical to the healthy functioning of Palestinian society, as well as the possibility of peace and reconciliation between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. It is the responsibility of governments, civil society organisations and ordinary people to defend the universal right to education and to demand its realisation.

THIS UNION RESOLVES

1. To do everything in the power of the Union to build links with Palestine Polytechnic University (Hebron) l Youth Exchange Programme and to lobby the University to do the same.

2. To send a letter of support and a copy of this motion to Palestine Polytechnic University (Hebron) Student Union inviting them to twin with Staffordshire University Students’ Union.

3. To lobby the University to provide at least three scholarships for Palestinian students who wish to study at the Staffordshire University.

4. To support the students of Birzeit “right to education campaign” and to campaign for Human Rights for all Palestinians, both within the territory of mandate Palestine and for Palestinian refugees.

5. To raise the above concerns with colleagues in the National Union of Students and encourage NUS to support Palestinian students’ right to education.

6. To publicise our policy of twinning with Palestine Polytechnic University (Hebron) Student Union by erecting a plaque, with the following words:

Palestine and the Right to Education

Staffordshire University Students Union is twinned with the Palestine Polytechnic University (Hebron) in Hebron. Students in Palestine have had their right to education consistently denied by the Israeli Occupation: checkpoints, attacks on Universities and limitations on movement seriously hinder the ability of students in Palestine to learn. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that everyone has the `right to education’: we fully support the struggle of our Palestinian brothers and sisters to realise this fundamental Human Right.

Warwick University. Outside link: www.sunion.warwick.ac.uk

Birzeit University

To twin with the Student Council of Birzeit University in Palestine and to affiliate to Birzeit University’s “Right to Education” campaign.

This Union Notes:

“Everyone has the right to education” as proclaimed by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The current Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 ordering the “withdrawal of Israel (sic) armed forces from territories occupied.”

The International Court of Justice declared the construction of the wall by Israel that divides Palestinian territories to be “contrary to international law” and increases “difficulties for the population concerned regarding access to health services, educational establishments and primary sources of water.”

The existence of road blocks and travel restrictions in Palestinian territories which, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, form “a primary cause of the humanitarian crisis” and “restricts Palestinian access… to basic services such as health and education.”

That according to “Defence for Children International - Palestine Section” over 820 children have been killed by the Israeli army since September 2000.

That according to the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education 200 university students and 39 teachers have been killed by the Israeli army since September 2000.

From April 2001 – December 2003, with two interruptions, there was a permanent Israeli roadblock near Birzeit University; after the dismantling of this roadblock, temporary checkpoints have further disrupted access to the institution.

Birzeit University’s “Right to Education” campaign.

This Union Believes:

Education is a basic human right.

Peace and reconciliation between the Israelis and the Palestinians is vital.

In the necessity of education in helping to improve the prospects of peace and reconciliation between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The Israeli occupation obstructs access to education in the Palestinian territories.

The University of Warwick Students’ Union and Birzeit University’s Student Council share equivalent roles and have a similar commitment to democratic procedure.

That support for Birzeit University’s “Right to Education” campaign and Birzeit University’s Student Council will; help defend Palestinian students’ right to education free from fear and harassment, and will aid the emergence of peace and justice in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

That twinning with any University or student body in Israel or Palestine would not constitute a political stance on the Israel/Palestine debate.

This Union Resolves:

That the University of Warwick Students’ Union twin with the Birzeit University Student Council.

That the University of Warwick Students’ Union affiliate with Birzeit University’s “Right to Education” campaign.

To form a working group that will facilitate ongoing cultural exchanges between University of Warwick Students’ Union and Birzeit University Student Council to enhance mutual understanding.

To promote wider understanding of the impact of the Israeli occupation on education in Birzeit University.

Destructive motions - Zionists often try and ruin or mitigate motions in favour of twinning with Palestinian Universities. Here is an example of a "no stance" motion from Warwick University, that was designed to neutralise a motion passed in favour of Twinning.

No Stance on Israel-Palestine

To hold no stance on Israel/Palestine and not to twin with any University or student body in Israel or Palestine.

This Union Notes:

1. That the campus community represents an enormous number of nationalities, cultures, religions and social groups.

2. That it is the Union’s responsibility to protect the welfare interests of all our members.

3. University Regulation 31, which regulates peaceful meetings on campus.

4. That broader conflicts around the world can create tensions on campus.

5. That many members hold passionate opinions on wider conflicts, and are able to express these in the appropriate forums.

6. That when a Union General Meeting in Term 2 of 2005-2006 discussed a motion on the Israel/Palestine debate, there was some intimidation of some students and Union Officers.

This Union Believes:

That the Union should actively seek to encourage the myriad groups on campus to be more tolerant and accepting toward each other.

That political debate, through societies and organised events, should be encouraged.

That we, as a Union, should not seek to hold a collective policy on the Israel/Palestine debate, as this may alienate some cultural, national or religious groups of students.

That twinning with any University or student body in Israel or Palestine would constitute a political stance on the Israel/Palestine debate.

This Union Resolves:

Not to hold any policy that supports or opposes either side in the Israel/Palestine conflict.

To encourage all groups on campus to form discussion forums and organise joint events aimed at facilitating political discussion in a safe and welcoming environment.

Not to twin with any University or student body in Israel or Palestine.

This is the text of a successful motion (2006) by Leeds Palestine Group, which has been subject to sustained attacks by Zionist Groups. Patience and careful wording can win the day.

Podcast from the debates

This Union Notes.

1. That in November 2004 the LUU Palestinian Solidarity Group (PSG) was refused permission to erect a model of the Israeli wall of separation outside the Student Union as part of the group's campaign against the building of the wall in the West Bank of Palestine.

The Student Union sent security guards and phoned the police to remove the wall from campus after receiving a complaint from one Zionist Jewish student claiming he was offended by showing the wall on campus.

2. That in November 2005 PSG was forced by a Union Executive to repaint the wall model, spending £150 of its budget, before allowing them to display it in a planned event. The repainting was requested to remove the words "Racist", "Apartheid" and "Zionist" from the wall, claiming they were inflammatory.

3. That the International Court of Justice has ruled in July 2004 that "the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated régime, are contrary to international law".

4. That the South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu described the apartheid regime in South Africa "a picnic in comparison with the utter brutality of Israel's occupation of Palestine."

5. That in November 2004 and October 2005, PSG were not allowed to distribute a leaflet about Zionism because of describing Israel as a "racist, Zionist state".

6. That in November 1975, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 3379 which determined that "Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination." Israel made revocation of resolution 3379 a condition of its participation in the Madrid Peace Conference, in progress in the last quarter of 1991. Under pressure from the administration of US President George H.W. Bush in the United States, the UN passed Resolution 4686 in December 1991, revoking Resolution 3379.

7. That in November 2006 PSG was ordered by a Union Executive to hide the word "Jews" in "Zionist Jews" printed on a banner quoting the Balfour Declaration, an official document issued by the British Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1917. The order was made after receiving a complaint from a number of Zionist Jewish students claiming to be offended by mentioning the word "Jews" in the quotation.

The banner was displayed in several outdoor events on campus in the past and has never received such complaints by any Jewish student.

8. That PSG were ordered by the Student Union in several incidents to make changes to their display material or to end their activity because some students were approaching their stalls or displays causing disorder, disturbing the peace and jeopardising the event.

9. That although the LUU Jewish Society (JSoc)is categorised by the Student Union as a religious society, a principal role for JSoc is to promote the state of Israel via its activities and affiliation with the National Union of Jewish Student (UJS), an organisation which openly declares itself as a Zionist i.e. political organisation.

10. That in February 2006 JSoc organised an Israeli Awareness week in the Riley Smith Hall of the Student Union building. Part of the activity was a huge map of Palestine laid on the floor without any border lines identifying the Palestinian territories, implying that the whole map is for Israel. A number of Palestinian students complained to the Societies Executive about the map but the complaint was ignored.

11. That from 1967 to 1988 the UN Security Council passed 88 resolutions directly against Israel and during that span, Israel was condemned 43 times. During the same time, in the UN General Assembly, 429 resolutions against Israel were passed, and Israel was condemned 321 times. Many other resolutions have been passed by both the Security Council and General Assembly since then. Israel has never complied with the vast majority of these resolutions.

12. That in October 2003, the European Commission conducted a survey representing all EU's member nations and included a list of 15 countries with the question: 'tell me if in your opinion it presents or not a threat to peace in the world'. Israel came first and was reportedly picked by 59 per cent of those interviewed.

13. That all UN resolutions related to the Arab-Israeli conflict starting from resolution 242 in 1967 onwards consider the Palestinian territories (including West Bank, Gaza strip and East Jerusalem) as Occupied territories.

This Union Believes

1. The University's Code of practice on freedom of speech ensures that freedom of speech within the law is secured for members, students and employees and for visiting speakers.

2. Considering every complaint received by the Student Union as a real complaint and taking actions according to it, without having a reasonable and logical basis for that complaint, is an arbitrary use of authority against the other party.

3. Requesting an event to remove or modify any of their display content should be the last resort -not the first- to avoid the breach of peace in the event, as long as the displayed material doesn't contain content that insult the members of a curtain faith or race.

4. It is the responsibility of the University Secretary and the Appointed Officer to ensure that adequate number of stewards, suitable to the Appointed Officer, is available, in addition to any security staff that the Appointed Officer may feel should be present to maintain order.

5. It is inappropriate to blame or take action against the organisers of an event for the disorder caused deliberately by other individuals or groups, especially as it is the duty of the Appointed officer and the security staff to protect the event and the organisers and to ensure they feel safe to speak freely on campus.

6. The Israeli-Arab conflict is, although complicated, not a religious dispute and thus it is open to controversy and debate. Advocates of both sides of the conflict should feel free to raise awareness and educate the university members, students and employees, about the conflict each from their own perspective. The same ruling should apply to all political conflicts and debates.

This Union Resolves:

1. To ensure that all political societies are practicing their freedom of speech without the fear of being silenced for the sake of satisfying other parties with opposing political stances.

2. To request the LUU societies executive to take all necessary security measures mentioned in (This Union believes - Paragraph 4) in all LUU society events to avoid any breach of peace by the organisers, the attendance or other external parties.

3. To formally advise the LUU Jewish Society that promoting and defending Israel in its activities indicate that JSoc is taking and advocating a curtain political stand in behalf of the Jewish students on campus. Therefore JSoc is expected to expect and accept having other parties declaring and promoting opposing stands in the University, as long as Judaism as a faith is not offended.

4. To send a letter to the University secretary with a copy of this motion.

Contact us

Events in 2011

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Women's Tour March 2011

Conference Palestine April 2011

Conference - Liverpool November 2011

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Help us develop the Twinning with Palestine network

Group Membership - Supporters

Join the Twinning with Palestine Groups facebook page for the latest news and events. www.facebook.com

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Please support our work - click here

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Would you like to visit Palestine? We regularly organise tours to Palestine. Book for the October 2010 tour now!

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Greeting Cards (Eid / Xmas)

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Gallery

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The Israeli Apartheid wall "security barrier"

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Twinning Banner

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Zaytoun Olive Oil

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Getting there - Airlines activists use

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