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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.

Twinning Info. / Visit reports - Luton to Battir (Apr. '06)

Press Release / Local newspaper article

Luton PSC are twinning with Battir near Bethlehem in Palestine.

Two supporters visited the town before the first Twinning Conference in Palestine.

An active programme of events has been held since.



- Contact made with all essential organisations in Battir

- organising meetings

- Now have the support of local MP Kelvin Hopkins

- Producing a leaflet and fundraising

- Keeping contact with our friends in Battir

This is a Press Release issued by Luton Friends of Battir and West Lancashire Friendship Links With Al Walaja.

PRESS RELEASE From Luton Friends of Battir and West Lancashire Friendship Links with Al Walaja

On 16th of November, or in the days following, the home of Almuataz is set to be demolished for the second time in one year. Almuataz’ home lies in the line of the separation wall infamously known as the Apartheid Wall.

The village of Al Walaja lies about 4km northwest of Bethlehem. The original village was further west but was completely destroyed by Israel after the 1948 war. In 1967 the Israeli authorities unilaterally expanded the borders of Jerusalem to include large parts of the new village of Al Walaja. Today about 70 homes in Al Walaja face the prospect of demolition, with homes being knocked down on a regular basis. The village is scarred by numerous piles of rubble that were once Palestinian homes. The typical excuse for the destruction of homes is that there is no planning permission. Yet not one Palestinian has been given planning permission in this area since the area was occupied, despite the fact that no national state or international institution has recognised Israel’s claim to this land.

When a delegation from Luton met Almuataz during a visit to the neighbouring village of Battir, he was helping friends to rebuild a neighbour’s home that had been demolished only weeks after his own home was destroyed.

What justice can there be for decent Palestinian families who face the destruction of their homes in the dead of night, with perhaps one hour’s notice to remove their property, whilst governments around the world sit back and watch Israel’s illegal expansion into the West Bank? While Palestinians are being terrorised from their homes, Israel is investing millions in massive expansion of their illegal settlements across the West Bank.

One of Almuataz’ relatives, Dr. Omar Radwah, who had his home - also the village surgery - destroyed two years ago, said, “When they destroy your home they destroy everything. My home for the last 20 years is lost. I have nothing for my children.”

The home of Monther Hammed (Almuataz’ father) as it looked in April 2006 having been demolished 40 days earlier. The family was billed £2000 for the cost of demolition

Monther Hammed was forced to live in this cave next to his home. His house has been partially rebuilt, while the rest of his family were put up by relatives.

Almuataz helping to rebuild the home of Khader Rahab with other volunteers from the village

Khader Rabah’s home being rebuilt by Almuataz and his friends in April.

Local newspaper report concerning the visit to Luton of three activists from Battir (Delegation: Samer Owineh, Jameela El Shame and Farar Battha) - Two towns but worlds apart…

Three people from the beautiful Palestinian village of Battir visited Luton last week following the town being ‘unofficially’ twinned with the small village in the Middle East.

The delegation invited over by Luton Friends of Battir – was formed to create greater links, show solidarity and friendship between the two areas.

The group visited schools, talked at public meetings, met with Global Peace at an unity event and are attending a national twinning conference today with the hope of building bridges not walls in Palestine.

Reporter, JOY DUNBAR, spoke to Luton Friends of Battir and the delegation from Palestine.

Battir is a small village of about 5,000 people – about six miles South- West of Bethlehem, adjacent to the armistice line, West of Jerusalem, and surrounded by Israeli settlements.

Three people travelled around 2,400 miles from the village to Luton last week to discuss the political, social and economic issues that face them on a daily basis and about what twining with Luton could mean.

Battir is an area of high unemployment, exacerbated since 2000 when the Israeli government no longer allowed Palestinians from the occupied territories to enter its area.

It is a place with no medical laboratories, operating rooms or Xrays and only has a small health centre and a pharmacy.

The Israeli government has also built what the locals describe as an ‘apartheid wall’ which isolates the entire village from its neighbours.

Palestinians say it’s to keep them in and under control.

The village is where 32-year-old sports club administrator, Fares Battha, social worker Jameela El Shame, 38, and teacher Samer Owineh, 33, all live.

The seeds of friendship grew after Dave Barnes and Janet Oryem from Luton Friends of Battir visited the area in April.

Mr. Barnes told this newspaper: “I heard about Battir at a twinning conference – so Janet and I went out there and visited the place in April.

“Since then we have maintained regular contact with the village and had events here to raise awareness. We had a request to do a summer school, as education is very important to Palestinians and raised £2,000 to support this summer school.

“We were always planning to bring this delegation over so that people can hear the conditions that they are living in on a daily basis.

“Palestinian opportunity to travel abroad is so limited. We wanted to highlight what life is like for Palestinians living in occupation so we had a fund raising evening in Bury Park.

“There are lots of different people involved in Luton Friends of Battir, including Quackery, Pakistani and Bengali Muslims, Jewish and Palestinian people and atheists.” The delegation says that the ruling Israeli government is trying to isolate them because of the village’s location, as it is near to Jerusalem and there are ten Israeli settlements in the region.

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.

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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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You tube links

Battir, Palestine

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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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