Palestinian women’s Hackney visit ends in tragedy

The group of women outside BSix

The group of women outside BSix - Credit: Archant

Four Palestinian women who visited Hackney to discuss human rights experienced a tragic end to their trip, when Israeli soldiers shot dead a judge travelling on the same bus as them.

Dr Fadwa Allabadi, Dalia Abufanouneh, Bisan Mansour and Nawal Tarteer stayed with host families in Hackney and attended a number of events in the week leading up to International Women’s Day on March 8.

But the women’s homecoming turned to tragedy last Monday, when the bus they were travelling home to Palestine from Jordan was stopped at the Allenby Bridge Jordanian-Israeli frontier.

A Palestinian-Jordanian judge, 38-year-old Raed Zeiter, was taken off, shot and killed by Israeli soldiers.

Sally Haywill of the Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association (CADFA), which arranged the trip, said the women are in deep shock.

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“The Hackney hosts had said goodbye to their guests at the weekend, never dreaming that the women would be undergoing such shocking experiences so soon,” she said.

“The summary shooting and killing of the judge vividly emphasized something of the grim reality of the women’s daily lives that they tried to convey in their visit, including the routine abuse of human rights by the Israeli government.”

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The women’s schedule included visits to local the Claudia Jones Organisation, a group which supports women and families of African Caribbean heritage in Stoke Newington.

At BSix Sixth Form College in Kenninghall Road, Upper Clapton they spoke to a room packed full of students and staff about the hardships they suffer at the hands of the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

And on Friday the women along with 11 other visiting Palestinian women were guests of honour at a fundraising evening at the Turkish Halkevi Centre in Dalston attended by over 150 people.

Over £1,000 was raised towards the costs of their trip to raise awareness of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The Israeli military claimed troops opened fire on Mr Zeiter after he tried to snatch a weapon from one of its soldiers.

But the Palestinian Authority and Jordan strongly condemned the incident and demanded an international investigation.

All the passengers on the bus were subjected to intimate body searches and were held at the crossing for about 12 hours.

Around 200 people demonstrated outside the Israeli embassy in Amman, demanding the Jordanian government expel the Israeli ambassador.

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