School links with Palestine
If you are interested in linking your school to a Palestinian school or discussing the important issue this work makes, you may like to join our conference on school links with Palestine, on 14th January 2023 (see ‘events’)
SCHOOL LINKS ON ZOOM
CADFA have been bringing teachers and students from the UK and Palestine together in creative projects for many years. In the past, our visits between the two countries helped. During Covid, we could no longer organise youth visits and instead we helped link a number of schools in the UK and Palestine through Zoom.
This was our SONUNU project which brought school and youth club groups together, typically once a week, and the young people told each other about their schools and home towns. Some helped produce a calendar, some made short films, some did some beginning Arabic or discussed particular issues. Most of them talked about human rights and joined a human rights day to which all the schools were invited on Zoom.
ADVOCACY FOR YOUNG PALESTINIANS
Sonunu activities also included work in Palestine on media and ‘speaking out’ (advocacy). In March 2022, young Palestinians contributed to a ZOOM CONFERENCE on Youth Links with Palestine – recordings from this will shortly be available. In summer 2022, young people who had been involved in Sonunu were able to join two further projects: a summer YOUTH VISIT to the UK in July 2022, and, in Palestine, the BEYOND THE CHECKPOINTS project included visits of young Palestinians from different parts of Palestine to each other.
WORKING ON PALESTINE IN SCHOOLS
We have also been working with schols in the Midlands, thinking about the best ways of working on Palestine in secondary schools . This goes beyond making materials to teach about Palestine, and also involves the important questions of the right of FREEDOM OF SPEECH about Palestine and of STARTING WITH HUMAN RIGHTS.
The government’s call for ‘balance’ when talking about Israel-Palestine (in a fundamentally unequal situation) has been interpreted by some teachers to suggest that there are equal arguments on both sides and even that some young people who care about Palestine have been exaggerating in their concern about the mistreatment of Palestinians living under Israeli military rule. This gets them into trouble when they are in fact standing up for human rights.
We have been exploring ways of helping schools look at this issue and not avoid it because of the pressure on them, by rebalancing this issue on the assumption of the fundamental equality of human beings and demanding decent treatment for everyone.
* We would like to thank the MSN Fund for their help with the Sonunu project and the Youth Visit to the UK in 2021-22.*