For the last three years, friends have celebrated the birthday of long-term campaigner for peace and justice, Moseley’s Elizabeth Way, by gathering to hear an overview of the situation in Palestine, given by a Moseley resident who visits the territory each year, giving practical and moral support to those in need.
On December 20th this year, the group enjoyed the Middle Eastern cuisine at the village’s excellent and relatively new venue, Damascena.
Sarah Teversham and another member of the group had just attended a protest outside Sainsbury’s Birmingham store in the City Centre.
Campaigners have now been protesting outside this store for over a year and during the attack on Gaza the store was closed down as several hundred protesters demanded that Sainsbury stop trading with Israel.
On that day – December 20th – the store management decided to take off their shelves products supplied by Israeli companies and mislabelled produce grown in illegally occupied territory.
Palestinian homes, agricultural land and mosques are threatened. Israelis are moving into what was formerly Palestinian property in East Jerusalem. In September a Lebanese newspaper reported one such incident in this ongoing process; Jewish settlers moved into seven homes in a Silwan, a Palestinian neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem, guarded by Israeli police. The homes were purchased by Elad, a pro-settlement group that uses funds from Jewish supporters in the United States and elsewhere to buy properties in Palestinian districts.
MJ Rosenberg is “horrified by the Israeli right’s efforts to “Judaize” Palestinian neighbourhoods in Jerusalem in order to erase these neighbourhoods’ Palestinian identity”. He recalls that in 1968, Jerusalem seemed like one city with two ethnic groups living in it. Today Arabs and Jews — along with their homes, shops, schools, etc. — are separated by highways (not to mention the separation barrier and checkpoints).
Personal observations formed during experience as an ecumenical accompanier to Palestinians passing though the Damascus Gate were then shared and will be published at a later date.