East Jerusalem is occupied but the hearts and minds of the children are not

This column first appeared in the Middle East Eye on 6/10/2016

Jerusalem has a special place in the hearts of people all over the world. I was fortunate to visit it again recently, or rather “return”, as my parents were both born in this great city.

My first sighting of the Dome of the Rock never fails to send a shiver down my spine. There is no other place like it. It is home to holy sites revered by followers of the world’s three great religions Islam, Christianity and Judaism. They are literally within shouting distance of each other.

Politically, Jerusalem is claimed by Israel as its “eternal united capital”, but the Palestinians too claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. No state, apart from Israel, considers it to be Israel’s capital and, in the absence of a Palestinian state, Palestinians can only dream of it becoming their capital.

The additional reality is that far from it being united, the city is divided into West Jerusalem, which is predominantly, if not exclusively, inhabited by Jews today after the expulsion of its Palestinian residents by Jewish gangs in 1948, and East Jerusalem with an overwhelmingly Palestinian population but an increasing number of Jewish settlers in illegal settlements which Israel has been building since the capture of East Jerusalem in 1967.

One city, two worlds

The contrast between the two Jerusalems could not be starker. As a friend who recently visited for the first time told me: “I could not believe the difference between west and east. The west in many places had a western, American feel with wide roads, pavements and grass verges, while the east seemed underdeveloped, crowded and chaotic.”

There are many aspects of the occupation of East Jerusalem that are troubling, including the settlements, the wall, house demolitions, house evictions, arbitrary closures, attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque and lack of permits for Palestinians to build and expand. However, the situation for children is particularly disturbing.

A quick drive through east and west reveals almost no playgrounds or parks for Palestinian children in East Jerusalem to use while a visitor would encounter many well-equipped playgrounds and parks in the predominantly Jewish west.

While Palestinian families occasionally make use of facilities in West Jerusalem, they do so reluctantly, fearing discrimination and harassment by their Jewish counterparts. Instead, some choose to make a journey to Ramallah or Jericho for their children’s and their leisure outings. This is sad because it reduces the opportunities for interaction between the two communities, especially the children, before their characterisation of the other is formed through parental or societal influence.

You have to ask what the municipality presiding over both parts of the city is doing to deliver services to the Palestinian taxpayers, who cannot turn to the Palestinian Authority for them because Israel does not allow it to operate in Jerusalem.

Never shall they meet

Opportunities for Jewish and Palestinian children to mix at school are almost non-existent. Jerusalem’s only Arab-Jewish school has faced attacks from Jewish extremists including an arson attack in November 2014, anti-Arab graffiti in June 2015, and even had its listing on Waze, a google-owned app changed to “a threat”.

While the two populations are largely segregated, the level of poverty in the city affects both communities with some 50 percent of Jerusalem’s 850,000 residents living below the poverty line including 82 percent of the population in East Jerusalem.

The impact of Israel’s “security needs” on Palestinian children is profound. Every year, hundreds are arrested and interrogated. Between January and the end of August, 560 children alone were detained by Israel. Many are taken during the night or in the early hours of the morning. They are reportedly often deprived of the presence of a parent or lawyer and sometimes are made to sign confessions written in Hebrew under duress.

In the absence of reasonable provision of leisure facilities and under a brutal daily occupation you would think that children can find some comfort, enjoyment and security in their East Jerusalem schools.

Well, on the face of it, this should be possible. However, in reality there is no happy story to tell. Israel, through its occupation, is on a mission to attract the hearts and minds of Palestinian children, to love it, adore it and accept it as the ruling entity over them, without question.

During my visit, I witnessed the start of the new school year. Families were busy buying books, stationary and the status symbol school bag for their children. The bag tends to be in the style of the current craze. This year, it seemed anything depicting images from Disney’s Frozen was a must have.

One of my young relatives was upset not because she had not bought a Frozen bag and book covers, but because her cousin was also planning to buy the same. “Why can’t she buy Mini Mouse?” she asked. Children will be children. She, like most if not all Palestinian children, was oblivious to the battle for her identity and belonging that is being waged by Israel on Jerusalem’s youngest residents.

Chronic shortage of space

East Jerusalem’s schools suffer from a basic lack of infrastructure and resources.

A report published in August by the nonprofit organisation Ir Amim found that the number of East Jerusalem’s Palestinian children studying in the “informal education system” – schools which are publicly recognised, but only partially funded and operated by third parties – has surpassed those studying in both the formal education system, which are fully publicly funded and operated, and those who study in private schools.

Ir Amim reported that the shortage of classrooms in East Jerusalem had grown to 2,672 units, stating that “authorities have perpetuated the classroom shortage by not allocating sufficient land to build more classrooms in East Jerusalem”.

The report also worryingly noted that 36 percent of students drop out of school in East Jerusalem. Anecdotally, the number of boys that drop out is higher than girls. As men are often the main breadwinner in families here, this raises a serious question about what the boys go on to do with their time, considering their low skill levels and the lack of opportunities for employment, and its overall impact on the society.

As a result of parent perception of the inadequacy of public schools, many are forced to turn to private education. This is extremely costly, particularly when one considers the economic situation in East Jerusalem characterised by low wages and high taxes.

Hearts and minds

The other worrying feature of the current situation is Israel’s attempt to influence children’s understanding of their identity and how they should view it. It has been trying to do this through the imposition of the Israeli curriculum as opposed to the PA curriculum in East Jerusalem schools. Israel has been trying to do this for years but, having faced severe resistance from parents and the schools themselves, it is now linking the release of investment in schools to the adoption of the curriculum.

People I talked to during my recent visit referred to this as “educational blackmail”. Several told me they felt that Israel “was brainwashing our children to forget their Palestinian identity while at the same time becoming admirers of their occupier,” as one put it.

The Israeli curriculum refers to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and encourages children to celebrate what Israel has done since capturing it or, as they refer to it, as its “unification”. This is only one example of how Israel attempts to impose its own narrative on impressionable young children in early school years.

My recent experience though tells me that Israel cannot win the battle for the hearts of the children who are Palestinian, feel Palestinian and will grow up as Palestinian. Israel may feel that imposing its own narrative through blackmail may change minds, but it will fail. Palestinian schools may adopt the Israeli curriculum in order to secure funds, but Israel should realise that the industrious and proud Palestinians will ensure their children think Palestinian too.

East Jerusalem may be under occupation, but the hearts and minds of the children are not.

– Kamel Hawwash is a British-Palestinian engineering professor based at the University of Birmingham and a longstanding campaigner for justice, especially for the Palestinian people. He is vice chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and appears regularly in the media as commentator on Middle East issues. He runs a blog at www.kamelhawwash.com. He writes here in a personal capacity.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Conference: Holding Palestine in the light

Lichfield is holding a conference entitled Holding Palestine in the Light 7-9 October.

This promises to be an excellent event and I am privileged to be contributing to it.

Details here

Q&A on antisemitism, anti-Zionism, and BDS

Produced by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC)

29, April 2016

We are being contacted by members and supporters concerned with the misrepresentation of the campaign for Palestinian human rights by media and public figures.

In the past few weeks and months there has been increasing discussion of antisemitism. It is important that we set out the campaign for Palestinian rights is an anti-racist campaign, and that any attempt to connect or conflate antisemitism with the campaign for the rights of the Palestinian people is wrong, misleading and harmful.

Our aims set out that ours is a campaign based on the principles of peace, justice and international law.

It may be useful to refer to Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s statement on the attack on Palestinian rights and boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign.

Why does Palestine Solidarity Campaign focus on Palestinian human rights?

Many Palestinians live under military occupation; others are living as refugees, barred from returning to their homeland; others live in Israel as second class citizens. None have the rights we take for granted. We are campaigning for all Palestinians to enjoy the same basic rights to live in peace and freedom that we ourselves have – rights that all humans should be able to exercise.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign was set up in 1982 specifically to campaign for Palestinian human rights. We are the biggest campaigning organisation in the UK dedicated to campaign for the rights of Palestinian people.

Does Palestine Solidarity Campaign oppose antisemitism?

Yes, we do.

Jewish people have suffered many centuries of persecution in Britain, Europe and elsewhere. It is vital that we stand against antisemitism and all racism.

As an anti-racist organisation, we abhor racism directed at any group. Antisemitism – hatred of or discrimination against Jewish people on the basis of their religion or ethnicity – must be challenged wherever it is found.

We encourage political leaders to defend equality for all religious or ethnic groups and to fight racism in all its forms.

Is antisemitism the same as anti-Zionism?

No, it’s not. As the Jewish Socialist Group have said:

“Antisemitism and anti-Zionism are not the same. Zionism is a political ideology which has always been contested within Jewish life since it emerged in 1897, and it is entirely legitimate for non-Jews as well as Jews to express opinions about it, whether positive or negative. Not all Jews are Zionists. Not all Zionists are Jews.”

Antisemitism is hatred or discrimination against Jewish people on the basis of their religion or ethnicity. It must be opposed and defeated.

Zionism is a political ideology that seeks to create a Jewish state that privileges Jewish Israelis above Palestinians, and that seeks to establish a permanent Jewish majority. While some seek to define Zionism as the right of Jewish people to self determination, the Zionism of the Israeli state has resulted in the denial of basic human rights to Palestinians.

The foundation of the state of Israel in 1948 was accompanied by the forced expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and the destruction of approximately 500 Palestinian villages and towns. Zionism, as enacted by the state of Israel, rejects Palestinians’ right of return, their right to self-determination, and their demand for equality.

The Israeli state privileges the right of Jewish citizens above Palestinian citizens. More than 50 Israeli laws discriminate on the basis of ethnicity. The racist nature of the Israeli state is unacceptable and must be challenged.

To confuse – whether deliberately or otherwise – legitimate criticism of the Israeli Government with antisemitism only serves to undermine the struggle against racism.

Why are you concerned about whether or not antisemitism is confused with anti-Zionism?

The UK Government has recently made efforts to revive a discredited definition of antisemitism (the EUMC definition) which explicitly incorporates criticisms of Israel within a definition of antisemitism. This has been supported by many of the Israeli government’s defenders in the UK.

If adopted, this definition would deny people the right to challenge the racism of the Israeli state – which privileges the rights of Jewish citizens above those of non-Jews.

We must protect our right to stand up against the dispossession of a people and to oppose the continuing oppression of Palestinians, whether living in the occupied territories, resident as second class citizens in Israel or living elsewhere as refugees. The racism intrinsic to the state of Israel must be amongst the forms of racist oppression that are opposed globally.

We oppose any attempt to limit legitimate debate or to prevent us from campaigning for the Palestinian people being able to access their full political and civil rights.

Why do you describe the campaign for Palestinian rights as anti-racist?

We believe in equality for all.

The Israeli Government subjects Palestinians to discriminatory treatment on the basis of their ethnicity. We want to Palestinians living under occupation, as refugees and Palestinian citizens of Israel to enjoy the same rights as Jewish Israelis.

We support Palestine in a framework of human rights and justice, and we campaign for the implementation of international law.

Where is your evidence that pro-Palestinian human rights campaigning is under attack?

In 2010 an influential Israeli think tank, the Reut Institute, launched a report whose main recommendations have been accepted as policy by the current Israeli Government. The report identified the global boycott divestment and sanctions campaign as the biggest strategic threat to Israel and proposed a process of rebranding BDS activists as racists and extremists. Pro-Israel groups in the UK have taken the strategy forward and found willing allies within the current UK Government.

  • In January of this year, the Government introduced guidance which aims to prevent Councils making procurement or investment decisions based upon companies’ complicity with Israel’s occupation and human rights violations.
  • In 2015 the Board of Deputies of British Jews lobbied to have an international conference at Southampton University on Zionism and International Law closed down. Under pressure the University postponed the conference citing police advice that the safety of attendees could not be guaranteed.
  • Cambridge University was threatened with legal action for allowing a protest in which a mock checkpoint was erected to illustrate the daily realities of life for Palestinians living on the West Bank, on the grounds that to stage such a protest represented an attack upon Jewish students.

To conflate antisemitism with the right to challenge the Zionism of the Israeli state is a form of McCarthyism (political suppression) which degrades political discourse, diminishes the fight against racism and undermines free speech and democratic rights. This should be of concern to all of us no matter our faith, ethnicity or political standpoint.

Is boycotting Israel antisemitic?

No, it’s not.

We support the Palestinian-led call for a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign which uses effective-yet-peaceful means to pressure Israel to end the occupation and ensure Palestinians have the rights we take for granted. It is civil society holding countries and companies accountable for their actions.

The Palestinian call for boycott (BDS) states:

“We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.

These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

  1. Ending its occupation and colonisation of all land occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall
    2. Recognising the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
    3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

Boycott is a tool human rights defenders have used throughout history. It is a non-violent, global and traditional form of protest used to oppose oppression. It is not racist to refuse to buy, decline to invest in or stop supplying goods, arms or services to companies and institutions that are knowingly supporting breaches of human rights and international law.

We proudly continue in the tradition of civil and human rights activists before us. If it was good enough for Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Nelson Mandela; boycott is good enough for us.

Rather than attack those defending human rights, the UK Government should be challenging Israel for its actions that breach international law.

It is not the place of politicians to tell citizens what we can or can’t boycott, nor to limit our freedoms to campaign for equality and justice. The job of the government is to uphold international law – and it is precisely because the government has failed to take any effective action against Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights that more and more people are joining the campaign for Palestinian rights.

We will continue to hold politicians to account for what they say and do to help promote Palestinian rights. We will continue to campaign for full rights of Palestinians and demand our right to do so.

PSC is part of a growing global movement in support of Palestine, proudly refusing to do business with Israel’s occupation, colonisation, and discrimination.

Isn’t there too much focus on Israel and not enough on other countries that deny human rights?

We support human rights and international law. Just as there are campaigns focused on other human rights issues, we are dedicated to campaigning in solidarity with Palestinians who have asked for the support of citizens around the world.

Judged by the actions of their governments over many years, Israel isn’t interested in peace. By erecting more and more settlements on Palestinian land it is in the process of building Palestine out of existence. The situation is urgent and deteriorating.

Our government is not only ineffective in opposing Israel’s human rights abuses, but by allowing financial links between Israel’s illegal settlement colonies and British businesses, it is complicit in these breaches. By blocking and attacking the rights of British people to support Palestinians’ peaceful call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, the Government is assisting Israel in its crimes.

It is not only our right to boycott those who aid and abet this occupation and colonisation of Palestine – it is our duty.

The next generation of Israeli leaders could complete Israel’s isolation

This was first published on the Middle East Monitor on Saturday, 19 March 2016

File photo of Benjamin Netanyahu and his colleagues greeting supporters after their electoral win last yearPhoto from the Middle East Monitor

The nature of Israeli politics tells us that elections could be called fairly quickly. Should that happen in the next couple of years it is of course feasible that current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could stand and win a further term. However, if he chooses retirement, then who might replace him is important both to domestic Israeli issues but crucially to the conflict with the Palestinians. Their record to date and their stated positions on a number of issues will tell us about their possible approach to resolving the conflict with the Palestinians.

The ongoing shift to the right both in Israeli society and Israeli politics suggests that a left wing coalition led by say the Labour party or the ‘centrist’ Kadima party is unlikely to win and have any chance of forming a government in the near future. However, before dismissing potential leaders from the left, an examination of the current party leaders’ positions offers no hope of a genuine attempt to achieve peace with the Palestinians.

Take the leader of Labour, Yitzhak Herzog. As leader of the Zionist Union bloc, he was touted as a potential game changer at the last Israeli elections in 2015. He claimed that if elected he would “try to reignite” the peace process with the Palestinians. However, in reality he was only looking at seeking “confidence building measures” which would have simply prolonged the occupation. There was no vision.

In recent weeks Herzog has demonstrated his true colours in relation to how he would really deal with the Palestinians. There was clear acknowledgement that the two-state solution was “impossible to realise under current conditions” and that rather than reaching out to the Palestinians and changing the dynamics of the conflict, his plan is to separate from them. “I wish to separate from as many Palestinians as possible, as quickly as possible,” said Herzog, speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

“They over there and we over here; we’ll erect a big wall between us. That is the kind of co-existence that’s possible now. You exist there and we exist here.” Remember, this “plan” is from the leader of the left in Israel. What hope then from the right?

Within the Likud party, Gideon Saar who was a minister under Netanyahu and then took a break from politics has criticised him for not taking hard enough action against the Palestinians. In 2012 he claimed that the establishment of a Palestinian state was “never part of Likud’s platform”.

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev, a former brigadier general in the Israeli army has been described as “Trump in high heels”. She has called for Arab Knesset members who pray at Al-Aqsa to be jailed. She believes that any “concessions on Jerusalem or the status of Palestinian refugees should require an absolute majority in the Knesset. Regev also called for the family of the Beersheba “terrorist” to be expelled to Gaza.

Another of the crop of possible future Likud leaders, Tzipi Hotovely, is the de facto foreign minister who holds some of the most extreme views amongst the potential leaders. Shortly after her appointment she proclaimed: “We need to return to the basic truth of our rights to this country. This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologise for that.”

To complete the crop of possible future leaders from Likud is Netanyahu’s number two, Gilad Erdan, minister of public security, strategic affairs and public diplomacy with the specific brief to fight the growing BDS movement.

The lack of possible moderate future leaders extends beyond Likud. Take former Likud member now Finance Minister and head of Kulanu Moshe Kahlon. He claims that he sees no possibility of reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians as he does not see a Palestinian partner with whom to negotiate and asserts that Jerusalem will remain united.

The views of Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party and Israel’s minister of education, provide no hope for peace with the Palestinians if he was ever to lead Israel. He famously said: “I’ve killed many Arabs in my life, and there’s no problem with that.” Bennett recently banned a novel on Jewish-Arab romance from schools in Israel for “threatening Jewish identity”.

As for the Palestinians, he believes that parents don’t keep children from terrorism because “the Palestinian Authority pays them”. Regarding the peace process, he said “the time has come to say Israel is ours” and “to go from strategic defence to a process of initiating the implementation of Israeli sovereignty over the territories under Israeli control in Judea and Samaria.” Thus he supports annexing the West Bank and is firmly against a two-state solution.

It is rather ironic that the Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked holds some of the most extreme views amongst the next generation of potential leaders. In 2014, the notorious Palestinian hater said: “They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.” She was recently heavily criticised for attempting to introduce a “transparency bill” designed to curb the activities of NGOs partly funded by foreign governments in what was seen as an attempt to silence criticism of Israel.

For those looking beyond Prime Minister Netanyahu to the new crop of potential Israeli leaders that could bring peace to historic Palestine, I have some bad news. Israel’s move to the right and to further denial of Palestinian rights appears to be permanent and the mirage of a final settlement based on a two-state solution is just that, a mirage as none of the potential leaders has come out in favour. They are for continued occupation, dispossession and oppression until the Palestinians submit. The Palestinians have shown no indication that they will anytime soon as evidenced by the continuing intifada. The status quo is therefore likely to continue and with it Israelis will see their country’s isolation accelerate. The next Israeli elections will not offer them a choice between moderate and extremist candidates, only a choice between extremist and more extremist. That is a bad situation for them but also as importantly, for Palestinians and anyone that wants to see peace in the Holy Land.

Professor Kamel Hawwash is a British Palestinian engineering academic based at the University of Birmingham. He is a commentator on Middle East affairs and is Vice Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. He blogs at www.kamelhawwash.com. He writes here in a personal capacity.

Three Palestinian teachers named among top fifty in the World

From Ramallah News

The PA’s minister of education, Sabri Saidam honoured three Palestinian teachers for their recognition among the World’s top fifty teachers.

Fida’ Za’tar from Nablus, Hanan Alhurub fromRamallah  and Jawdat Jamil from Jerusalem’s suburbs received the ‘Nobel award for education’ or the Global teacher award from the Varkey GEMS Foundation

  
The minister congratulated the finalists and said that it was an achievement for the Palestinian education system under the brutal Israeli military occupation.

Guardian advert calling for boycott of Israeli academic institutions 

I signed the Guardian advert together with over 300 UK academics calling for a boycott of Israrli academic institutions until Israel confirms to International Law.

The attacks the advert received from apologists for Israeli Apartheid, racism and occupation were predictable.

Those who claim dialogue is better than boycotts have been saying this ever since the idea of academic boycott was considered by the AUT now UCU. There is no evidence that dialogue with Israeli academic institutions has moved them to call for an end to the illegal occupation or the repeted attacks on Palestinians in the whole of historic Palestine.

Zionists who attempt to label those of us who call for pressure on Israel while it acts illegally  ‘antisemites’ abuse the term which should be reserved for anti Jewish hatred. They themselves are pro occupation, pro settlements and anti just peace. 

Calling for peaceful boycotts is moral and principled. It is Israel that is acting illegally, immorally and claiming to represent all Jews. It does not.

  

  

Israel apologists’ attack on the NUT and Edukid is shameful

hebron_settler_children

Pro Israel organisations recently launched a vile attack on the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the charity Edukid for developing a resource pack for teachers which depicts the reality of life under Israeli occupation for Palestinian children.

The subject used to tell the story is ten year old Saleh, a Palestinian child from Alkhalil, Hebron. Adults and children in this occupied city suffer terribly from the actions of the Israeli occupation army and the settlers who deliberately make the lives of Palestinians miserable. Both the army and the settlers are there illegally. Hebron fell to the Israeli occupation in the six-day war in 1967. Reports on the attack can be found here, here, here and here.

One objection to the use of Saleh is that he is pictured in a Facebook post holding a gun.  This is an Eid present, a toy gun. See below Jewish settler children holding real guns.

settler kids w-kids-to-hate.jpg

Where is the outrage form pro Israel extremists?

I wrote letters to the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Express in response and the main content is reproduced below. Neither has as yet been published.

Dear Editor I am concerned as a Palestinian that the aim of this viscous attack on the National Union of Teachers, mounted by pro-Israel groups is to discredit the work of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and EDUKID simply for accurately portraying the lives of Palestinian children under occupation by Israel.

We Palestinians did not choose our occupiers. Zionists chose Palestine for their state, and created it through violence and against our will, the indigenous people of the land. The telling of our story troubles Israel’s apologists because it exposes the oppressive, occupying state they have worked tirelessly to promote as a democracy and a startup nation. The world is seeing through this hasbara and they will now attack anyone that is determined to demonstrate solidarity and tell our story.

By providing real life case studies for teachers, of children that suffer through no fault of their own, the NUT and EDUKID are helping children understand the world beyond their bubble. Children are not stupid, they will engage in a discussion and will learn tremendously form this. It is true to say that Palestinians refer to their occupiers as ‘the Jews’. Are the agitators against the NUT claiming that the Israeli Defense Force is not overwhelmingly made up of Jews?

In almost all cases, the only Jews the children see are soldiers. Furthermore, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu himself works tirelessly to claim Israel is a Jewish, not a secular state. It is also important to note that Israelis almost always refer to Palestinians as ‘Arabs’ in order to deny their national identity.

Instead of this disgraceful assault on the NUT and EDUKID, those behind this attack should invite teachers who joined delegations to Palestine to talk to their constituencies about what they saw first hand. I can guarantee that they would not accept for their children what Israel, through its occupation army and its illegal settlers subjects Palestinian children to.

Better still, they should go and see the situation for themselves. They should visit Alkhalil, Hebron and see the impact on the children of the occupation and the illegal settlers. They should see how settler children throw rocks and excrement at Palestinians, protected by the army. They should see the checkpoints the children have to cross to get to school. They should experience the raids in the early hours to abduct children or their relatives for interrogation. They should experience a house demolition and the terror the children experience. It is Palestinain children that are on the receiving end of extremism. The telling of their stories is not!  Further, he Senior Conservative MP, Alan Duncan, called those who support the settlements as extremists. Your readers will find that many among those that have attacked the NUT support the settlements and Duncan’s label fits them well!