Sunday 19 February 2017

Questionnaire for student twinners with Palestine

If this is of interest, please answer these questions and return them to us at

CADFA and university/ college student twinning with Palestine
(February 2017)

CADFA has been involved in student twinning with Palestine for over 10 years now and we can help student unions/ Palestine societies/ others at universities to build links with Palestinian students.
We facilitate and support twinning links in order to spread awareness of the human rights situation in Palestine and encourage people to be active on the issue. Some of the things we have done are
·          organise visits of Palestinian students to the UK
·         And of UK students to Palestine
·         Organise volunteering/ internships in both places
·         Help give information and build campaigns around student human rights issues
·         Organise student twinning conferences
We know lots about student twinning, its positive side and its difficulties, and we can help!

Contact details
University group (if relevant)

NEXT STUDENT VISIT TO PALESTINE... Would you/ your group be interested in taking part, and which would be the best time for us to organise a visit?

NEXT PALESTINIAN STUDENT VISIT TO THE UK...  If we have enough universities involved (soon) then we will bring some students from Palestine on a speaking tour. The idea is that each university group will contribute a part of the money, and the students will come to your university for a day.
Would you/ your group be interested in taking part, and which would be the best time for us to organise a visit?
The costs will depend on the number of students that come and the number of universities that they go to.  Would your group be able to contribute say £800 towards this? If so, and you need to raise the funds, when  would you be able to contribute this?

How else can CADFA help students at your university to have better links with Palestine? Please tick and comment on any of these that seem relevant to you...
CADFA STALL on a regular/ occasional basis at your uni
BLOG written in both countries
VIDEO LINKS between the two countries
ORGANISING WORKSHOPS (What would be useful? We can offer Arabic/ Human rights/ Palestinian issues – many things/ Student twinning)

 How can we encourage students to join CADFA?

 How do you get your info about CADFA?  

Saturday 18 February 2017

Video of Al Quds Uni, Abu Dis

Thursday 16 February 2017

My Month in Abu Dis: Education Under Occupation

Access to a good education is a fundamental human right. Under the Israeli occupation though, the young adults of Al Quds University (situated adjacent to the separation wall in Abu Dis) have to live, and study, under the constant threat of abuse; casting a dark shadow over all their potential futures. During my time at the university, many were keen to tell me their story of just how hard getting a good education in the Occupied Territories can be.

The separation wall is in full view when standing in most parts of the university. Here, it can be clearly seen from a side entrance leading to the IT department.

One such student was Dareen, a 20 year old English language and literature student who vividly described how the occupation effects her studies. To reach Al Quds, from her home city of Jericho, Dareen goes through a heavily armed Israeli checkpoint where periodically, she experience's her possessions being rifled through, along with having to suffer regularly intimidation by the soldiers there. Not only does this result in her being late or absent for many of her important classes, but also leaves her feeling depressed and angry at the situation she and many of her friends find themselves in. In her own words, Dareen described this practice by the IDF as ''a violation of life'' leading to a ''very hard student experience''. As well as this, I was informed by Dareen of a particularly upsetting story of how, last year, The IDF invaded her home during term time at 1am, under the pretext of a falsified weapon's search. During that unsettling evening, she was hit about the head with a butt of a gun, all for just trying to help her distressed mother. All of this is incomprehensible for a student such as myself from the UK, and it's hard not to feel emotional regarding the plight of my Palestinian counterparts. When Dareen graduates, her desire is to be translator in Palestine, using her knowledge of the English language to teach and educate others about the occupation and its subsequent effect on daily life. Thus, not only is the Israeli army routinely and violently abusing the human rights of the students here in Al Quds University, but they are also making a sick attempt at depriving the world of a talented and hard working individual.

Although usually suffering under the occupation, Dareen Hawi stays upbeat and works hard through the adversity.

Although alluded to by Dareen at length during our interview, it was Ibrahim, a 23 year old political science student who gave a revealing account of the other abuses faced by the student's at Al Quds. In particular, according to Ibrahim, it's a recurring event here for the IDF to regularly attack students with tear gas, and shockingly, shoot at them with rubber coated steel bullets. Ibrahim himself also said that it's not unusual for many of the male students, including himself, to react to this by throwing stones at the attacking soldiers, which previously led to his internment in an Israeli jail for twelve months. As a result of this, Ibrahim not only lost a year of his life, but also now has what they call a 'black mark' on his Palestinian ID card, thus preventing him from undertaking any travel to Jerusalem and heavily restricting his movements to other parts of the Occupied Territories. However, despite the violence and adversity he continues to face, he still persists in completing his studies and strives to one day, become a professor of political science.

Ibrahim remains confident of getting his degree and continuing his past to becoming a doctor in political science, despite the setbacks.

The courage, confidence and resilience shown at Al Quds is an example to us all. From aspiring doctors and dentists to film-makers and writers, everybody I spoke to illustrates just how important determination is in the face of oppression. However, it is a sad reality that Dareen's and Ibrahim's accounts of life here are echoed by many of the students at Al Quds. This is such a backwards state of affairs in the modern world. I have also been told that Al Quds students are subject to this aforementioned treatment more than any others in Palestine due to the political connotations attached to the name of the campus; as Al Quds is the Arabic word for Jerusalem. Consequently, it seems getting a good education to enhance one's future here entails regular suffering at the hands of the powerful. How is it fair, or just, that this practice of human rights abuse should continue?

It's time for more to be done by our governments to help the hard working students here in Palestine.

Monday 13 February 2017

Birkbeck Stall

Last Thursday, the 9th of February, we held a stall in front of Birkbeck University.

We did not stay more than 4 hours, it was very cold and we were outside. However, we discussed with several people who were interested in our actions. As often, some of them were very involved and knew a lot about the topic while others were mainly curious. Both are interesting to talk with. We managed to get promises from some of them to be involved in the student links, we hope they will do it.

Although the weather was not very nice, it was a good first stall and an interesting experience, we are looking forward to holding the next one, which is planned in Westminster Uni, the 16th of February.

Stall near Birkbeck

CADFA student links stall outside Birkbeck College... gathering petition signatures, discussing links with Palestine... it was very cold!!

Friday 3 February 2017

Student day, third day, prospecting the Uni

This Thursday, we decided to prospect directly the Students' Unions in the Universities of Birkbeck, Westminster, UCL and LSE.

It was quite difficult to find someone to discuss with and we tried hard to find the right desk in each of them. We met Flora, who helped us in her Uni (UCL)

Speaking about the results, we managed to get some email adresses of people to contact and we have planned a stall in Birkbeck next Thursday (9th of February).

Speaking about the day, it was very interesting to walk around the different Universities and see what they look like, the campus and the facilities are both very nice and it seems to be good places to study. Let's see how the students will welcome such thing as a Palestinian charity stall.

Something else to notice was the presence of several Israeli stalls in and around the University of UCL. They distributed leaflets and were quite nice at first glance. They were against the "conflict" and were imparting about peace and stopping the settlements in the West Bank. I think they were left-wing and against the policy of the government. However, I listened a conversation between one of them and a woman, the man was using sentences like "I would love to live in peace with Palestinians but what would you say if you receive rockets on your house which kill your children, we are forced to react" or "You must understand that Jewish people have the right to live there, we were present even before Islam was created". That's the kind of arguments which could be used in a far right speech without any problem. In the same vein, one of them was wearing the Israeli flag as a cape. I think, that's kind of behaviour would be considered as a provocation by a majority of Israelis (wearing a Palestinian flag).