MP for East Ham Stephen Timms talks about his hopes for Palestine

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- Credit: Archant

New year bargain hunters in Piccadilly had a shock. In the churchyard of St James’ Church stood a lifesize replica, eight metres high, of the concrete wall which separates Palestine from Israel in the vicinity of Bethlehem.

I saw the wall on a visit to Israel and Palestine with Christian Aid in 2005.

There is no secret about why it was built. It has dramatically reduced the number of bomb attacks from Palestine into Israel.

But it is grim and oppressive for those who live in its shadow.

It has divided Palestinian communities, in some places separated farmers from their fields, and made life much harder for many Palestinians who were already struggling before the wall was built.


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On my visit, I met a young woman student returning home for the college holidays. Her home was behind the wall.

She had been kept waiting at the crossing point for days, and was staying in a mosque overnight. Each morning she went to the wall to cross to her home. Each morning, permission was refused.

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At 7.30 pm on Thursday February, 27 in the Khana Khazana restaurant, 249-251 Green Street, Forest Gate, I will be speaking at Hope for Palestine? Also speaking will be Rev Lucy Winkett, the vicar of St James’ Church, Piccadilly, (formerly curate at St Mary’s Church, Little Ilford), who recently returned from a visit to Palestine; and Muddassar Ahmed, local activist and, as chief executive of Unitas Communications, a regular commentator on international and public affairs. Local poet Omar Bynon will be reading some of his work.

For a ticket – £20 including meal – contact Steve Bonnick on 07970 100516 or sbonnick@mac.com. Lucy Winkett is patron of Amos Trust, led by Christian musician Garth Hewitt, which works among disadvantaged Palestinians. Money raised at the event will support the trust.

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