An Evening of Palestinian Culture with the Lajee Centre

Friday 21st June at 7pm in The Bridge: Dundee West Church Hall, 132 Perth Road, Dundee, DD1 4JW. (Opposite Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art).

After their spectacular performance in Dundee City Centre last year, we are delighted to welcome back the Lajee Cultural Centre from Aida Refugee Camp near Bethlehem.

A performance of dabke dance will be followed by refreshments and a talk on life in occupied Palestine. There will also be an exhibition of photography and artwork.The event is free but a donation will be appreciated.

Lajee Dakbe Dancers

Lajee Dakbe Dancers in Dundee in 2012

For a reminder of last year’s performance and a taster for next Friday’s event, visit:   

The event is supported by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Dundee University Action Palestine and Tayside for Justice in Palestine, with additional support from the Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education.


Lajee Dakbe Dancers

Lajee Dakbe Dancers in Dundee in 2012


Lajee Dakbe Dancers

Lajee Dakbe Dancers in Dundee in 2012

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Mahmoud Sarsak interviewed in the Sunday Herald

An interview with  Mahmoud Sarsak, footballer with Palestinian national team, ex-political prisoner and hunger striker is published in today’s Sunday Herald.

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Public meeting with Mahmoud Sarsak, Palestinian footballer and hunger striker

Monday 10 June at 7.30pm in Dundee Community Centre, 7 Guthrie Street, DD1 5DR

Mahmoud Sarsak was a member of the Palestinian national football team who was seized by Israeli troops, held without charge and tortured over many weeks in Israel’s notorious prison system.

After three years, i.e. six ‘democratic and lawful’ periods of six months imprisonment without trial or charge, Mahmoud went on hunger strike to demand that he be given prisoner-of-war status since he was being detained under Israel’s Unlawful Combatants Law. He refused to accept exile to Norway as a condition for his release and, near death at half his usual body weight, Israel released him unconditionally.

Mahmoud will be speaking at the Dundee Community Centre (the former Railwayman’s Club) on Guthrie Street where he will be raising awareness of Israeli’s war against Palestinian football, the torture and abuse of Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s gulag, and the role of multi-national G4S in running parts of Israel’s illegal programme.

He will also be raising the cases of two players of the Palestinian national football team, Omar Abu Rouis and Mohammed Nemer who have been imprisoned for over a year now in Israel’s dungeons with out any trial or charges being levelled against them.

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Al-Nakba Commemoration in Dundee

On Saturday 18th May from 12 – 2pm, supporters of Tayside for Justice in Palestine will hold a stall in Dundee City Centre in solidarity with Palestinian refugees highlighting Israel’s refusal to allow them to return to their homes and land.

Each year on May 15th, Palestinians and their supporters around the world mark Nakba Day. The Al-Nakba (the Catastrophe) commemorates the ethnic cleansing, 65 years ago, of thousands of Palestinians from their lands and homes. In the years since 1948, the Israeli state has continued this policy of forcing Palestinians from the homes and land.

Israel’s brutal occupation and apartheid polices continue to create Palestinian refugees from both within Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Today, there are 6 million Palestinian refugees around the world.

This is an on-going catastrophe, which Palestinians will commemorate again by taking to the streets.

Mohammad, a Palestinian refugee who has lived in the Tayside area for a number of years, stated:

My parents lost their homes in 1948 as a result of the creation the State of Israel. They not only lost their livelihood but also their homeland.  Despite the hardship, they never lost their hope and humanity.  Although I now live in Scotland, I look forward to the day when the Palestinian people achieve justice. Justice for Palestine requires that the Israeli government ends the illegal occupation and respects the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland as stated by the United Nations”.

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Planned protests force cancellation of JNF and Friends of the IDF fundraiser in St Andrews

An event to be held at a St Andrews hotel, aimed at raising funds for the Friends of the IDF and the JNF, has been cancelled on police advice in the face of serious mobilisations for planned protests.  Palestine activists, human rights campaigners and students joined forces to speak out against the inclusion of Friends of the IDF and the JNF in the list of organisations that will benefit from the fundraiser.

The Friends of the IDF fundraise for projects benefiting the Israeli Army and soldiers, an occupation force that brutalises, humiliates, kills and maims Palestinians, commits widespread human rights abuses to maintain the illegal occupation and settlements, and flouts international law.  The cancellation is a further blow to supporters of such human rights abuses; in late 2012 Stevie Wonder pulled out of an FIDF fundraiser after realising the nature of the organisation.

The Jewish National Fund, experts in racist land administration, have long-faced the opposition of Palestine solidarity campaigners in Scotland.  The JNF is responsible for dispossessing tens of thousands of Palestinians of their lands, for example building the “British Park” over the ruins of ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages.  Last week the Scottish TUC reinforced its commitment to opposing the activities of the JNF in enforcing an apartheid system in Israel and Palestine.

Earlier in the week a statement from Scottish Jews for a Just Peace stated:“We are deeply saddened and concerned that St Andrews Jewish society has been persuaded to use its charity ball to raise money for the Jewish National Fund and Friends of the Israel Defence Forces. The JNF takes over Palestinian land – including homes of Palestinian refugees and land in the occupied territories – and will not lease or sell land to non-Jews. And FIDF gives solidarity to an army whose attacks on Palestinian civilians have become increasingly persistent, violent and brazen. We urge everyone of conscience, Jew and non-Jew, not to go to this event. St Andrews Jewish Society claims to be friendly, welcoming and non-political. We ask it to live up to that description.”

Dr Hajo G Meyer, a long-time friend of the Palestine solidarity movement in Scotland spent ten months in Auschwitz as a Jew and member of the Dutch Resistance, sent a message of support to the protest saying, “I strongly urge the Golf Hotel to cancel this atrocious event on Friday since it is a provocation to all who support human rights. If I could, I would be with you to join your protest in support of universal values of freedom and justice and freedom from racist occupation”.

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Lajee Centre Arts & Cultural Tour and Financial Appeal‏

In June this year 15 members of the Lajee Center will leave Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, Palestine and travel to Scotland & Ireland on an Arts & Cultural Tour. Building on the success of last year’s tour, Lajee has organised a diverse and educational programme which is representative of Palestinian culture and life with insight into the positive work and activities of the Lajee Center.

The tour members are young, active artists and dancers aged between 15 and 20 years old, with four adult coordinators and speakers. Through an exciting and engaging programme of events in Scotland & Ireland they will be performing traditional Palestinian Dabka dance, showcasing their award winning photography & films, and talking about aspects of the their situation in Palestine and life as refugees in their own land.

The tour will begin in Scotland on the 14th of June with events in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee then Perth. Then from 24th – 30th June events in Ireland will be Derry, Belfast and then Dublin.

Here is a link to a sample of last year’s Dabke performances last year in Dundee, Scotland:

Aida refugee camp has a population of 5000 inhabitants and is surrounded on three sides by the apartheid wall with oppressive watchtowers, surveillance cameras and daily invasions from the occupation forces.

In the last few months, many have been shot and injured, one 15 year old boy Saleh Ammarin was killed, and 28 youths have been arrested in night raids. On 8th April, the head of Lajee’s Media Unit, while on the balcony of the Center, was shot in the face while photographing and documenting the soldiers shooting at youth in the camp ( .

The people of Aida and members of Lajee refuse to be silenced, they refuse their culture and lives to be expropriated by an illegal occupation. Lajee’s amazing work of supporting the community and spreading awareness of the Palestinian case internationally is a commitment to fighting for justice and our support as sisters and brothers is a demonstration of our dedication to stand with them throughout.

This project provides a platform to Aida’s youth to express their talents and creativity, to share their stories, lives and hopes for the future; it is an opportunity to further resist the restraint of silence imposed by the occupation. It is important for them and us to forge and strengthen our networks of solidarity between Palestine, Scotland and Ireland.

We are raising money to cover the cost of travel in order for this project to go ahead. This is a call to support Palestinian refugees, to support Lajee Center in Aida refugee camp and show our solidarity as well as learn together about how we can help. Please share this call; we are appealing to all organisations, mosques, churches and trade union branches to co-sponsor this project. We still have a target of £5600 which will cover all transportation costs which will bring the group to Scotland and Ireland and their travelling within the countries.

Every pound will be a significant contribution to making this tour happen:




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Protest against St Andrews Fund Raiser for JNF & the Friends of the IDF

7.00pm on Friday April 26th outside St Andrews Golf Hotel

On Friday April 26th, 2013 the St Andrews University Jewish Society’s Matzah Ball will be fundraising for, amongst others, two charities: the Friends of the IDF and The JNF. There is nothing charitable about racism and military occupation.

 The IDF, or Israeli Defense Forces, is the policing and military body that is instrumental to the ongoing occupation of the West Bank.  This occupation, which began in 1967, is illegal under international law and is condemned by governments worldwide, including the UK.  Among the numerous horrific effects of the Israeli occupation in the West Bank are the denial of the freedom of movement (through the separation wall and checkpoints) restricting access of Palestinians to healthcare, education and use of natural resources, and devastating consequences on the local economy with high unemployment and little or no access to international trade. Palestinians are attacked or shot for protesting against these grave injustices on a daily basis.  The IDF plays a key role in perpetrating these injustices.  One key example is the way in which the IDF supports the existence and further construction of Israeli settlements (illegal under international law and criticised by politicians of all the main parties in the UK) and settlers at the expense of the Palestine population in the West Bank. 

The IDF is also responsible for the killing of countless Palestinian civilians, for example numerous attacks on what has been called the largest open air prison in the world – Gaza.  During Operation Cast Lead in 2008-9 Israeli Defense Forces killed 1400 Palestinians in Gaza, including around 350 children, and there is much evidence that the IDF used white phosphorus on civilian populations in the attacks, again illegal under international law.  These crimes have been once again perpetrated with impunity during last year’s attacks on Gaza.  Last week the IDF again showed its true character when, as reported by human rights agencies in the area, soldiers used a 17-year old Palestinian boy as a human shield while firing shots at Palestinian protestors in Abu Dis in the West Bank.  

The Jewish National Fund has been one of the principal bodies responsible for dispossessing Palestinians from their lands, and preventing them from returning (e.g. by planting forests and building parks over the ruins of Palestinian villages).  JNF land (currently 13% of Israel’s land) can only be used by Jewish people, discriminating against all others who may want to live or work on the land.  Such discriminatory land distribution policies based on race and ethnicity are illegal under international law.  The JNF continues to play a key role in displacing Palestinians today, for example in its strong involvement in the village of Al-Araqib, in the Negev, which has been destroyed over 40 times since 2010.

We deplore fund-raising for such institutions and will protest it wherever it occurs.  Institutions that kill innocent civilians and are inherently discriminatory should be abhorred; they are not worthy of charity. 

We call on the Jewish Society of St Andrews University to remove its support for Friends of the IDF and the JNF.   We call on St Andrews Golf Hotel to retract its support for these fundraising activities unless these two “charities” are renounced by the organisers. 

We further call on people of conscience and supporters of human rights to send a letter of protest to the St Andrews Golf Hotel, and join us at 7pm on Friday April 26th outside St Andrews Golf Hotel to protest fundraising for apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

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Dundee Students in G4S Victory

On Tuesday 26th February 2013, the students of Dundee University Students’ Association (DUSA) voted overwhelmingly in its annual general meeting to cut ties with Anglo-Danish private security contractor G4S.

Read more on how this victory was won at the Action Palestine website.

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Ambassador Manuel Hassassian from the Palestinian Mission to the UK to speak in Dundee


On Wednesday 6th March at 5.30pm, Ambassador Manuel Hassassian from the Palestinian Mission to the UK will be speaking at University of Dundee in Room LT4, Dalhousie Building .

Hassassian is a politics professor and believes that the future lies in a single state solution. He will be speaking about his hopes for Palestine and taking questions.

Earlier in the day he will be meeting councillors and members of Dundee Nablus Twinning Association, seeing the Nablus firemen who are in Dundee for a training course and visiting Craigie High School.

His visit to Dundee has been organised by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and this talk is supported by TfJiP, Action Palestine and Stop the War DUSA.


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A battle for all Palestinians

Today’s Guardian carries an article by Samer Issawi, a Palestinian political prisoner currently on hunger strike in an Israeli prison, which describes his story and why he and fellow prisoners have taken this action against the Israeli occupation.

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