ICAHD UK’s Conference 2018 took place at Amnesty UK’s International Human Rights Centre on 19th May, with an impressive attendance of 120 participants. It opened on a solemn note, commemorating the dead protesters in Gaza, shot by Israeli soldiers. ICAHD UK’S director, Daphna Baram, commented on the connection between the struggle against demolition and displacement, and the solidarity and protest against the killings, “One hand does it all. The demolitions and the killing, the displacement and the oppression, the detention of poets and the maiming of civilians and the immigration policy; the short-term and the long-term plans of the government – are all aimed at ethnic cleansing.”
ICAHD founder, Jeff Halper, introduced the One Democratic State Campaign (ODSC) devised by the new Palestinian-Israeli initiative. Jeff highlighted the importance of the participation of Palestinians who are Israeli citizens in the new initiative, and their impact as a bridging force. He also outlined a shift towards a vision that is not binational yet acknowledges collective rights of both Palestinians and Israeli-Jews in the proposed new state.
Our keynote speaker, Dr. Nadia Naser-Najjab, shared her research regarding Palestinian and Israeli attitude to one state, and the changes in the views of the Palestinian Authority. She reflected on the deep disillusionment of the post-Oslo generation, and explained why only one state can still capture the imagination of the current generation and offer hope.
A panel discussion followed, led by Professor Colin Green, with Jeff Halper, Nadia Nassar-Najjab and Daphna Baram, which expanded on the prospects concerning one state, and elicited audience participation. Jeff and Nadia addressed questions regarding their presentations, and Daphna provided some insight about changing positions in the Israeli left.
After the break, we heard a little from Khalil Alamour, the Director of the Alhuquq Centre for Empowerment and Human Rights, an activist and an advocate for the social and political rights of Bedouins in the Negev. In the wake of the settlement deal that was forced upon the residents in Umm Al-Hiran and the relentless attacks of the Israeli governments on the Bedouins in the Negev, it was vital for conference attendees to hear from the arrowhead of the struggle against Bedouin displacement.
View conference highlights here.
Unfortunately, the conversation with Khalil had to be kept short, but we are delighted to announce that he will be with us in the flesh at Amnesty International’s Human Rights Action Centre in New Inn Yard, London, on 28 June. Details here.
The next panel was led by ICAHD UK Founder Linda Ramsden and included past participants in the Extended Tours to Palestine/Israel that are embedded in ICAHD analysis. Panelists spoke about the eye-opening effect of seeing the sites and speaking to the people on the ground, shedding misconceptions and misperceptions, and how they returned with enthusiasm and urgency to share what they had learned with their communities back home.
And after Daphna highlighted the upcoming events – Khalil Alamour’s talk, her own talk on 30 June for the Sabeel –Kairos Conference in Oxford, the Buy-A-Brick Campaign and the October Camp, it was time to close the day with some entertainment. Comedian Sameena Zehra, with her delightful tale of a Kashmiri childhood, provided a light-hearted ending to a successful conference.
We extend our thanks to the many volunteers who helped serve the refreshments and lunch, work on the stalls, and assist with other practical tasks on the day. ICAHD UK is opening a new year with much activity, renewed hope, initiatives and dreams. Join us for the exciting next chapter.