It was reported in the Palestinian News Network (6/4/2007) that my friend Kamal Hawwash is in Ramallah attempting to further the plan to twin Ramallah with a British City.
“Project Chairperson on the British side, Kamal Hawwash, spoke on behalf of his colleagues coming to Ramallah, saying that the current conference aims to ‘activate the popular ‘twinning’ relationship between Palestinian cities and villages, and their British counterparts.’
He told attendees, ‘ We come here today to share our experiences with our counterparts in the municipalities of Ramallah in the West Bank. These relations are maintained with some 22 Palestinian villages. The latest British fund-raising event was able to establish a children’s library in the village of Deir Ammer in the Ramallah District.’
Hawwash explained, ‘Social responsibility in helping the Palestinian people in their fight for justice and freedom, who are oppressed under Israeli occupation’ drives the movement. Fact-finding to combat a complicit media is also a motivator, he said. ‘We see the way information is falsified.’ ”
Earlier the beginning of a Mozart Festival in Ramallah was announced. Such activities help stop the feeling of isolation that Palestinians feel while they remain cut off by military occupation. The search for peace remains elusive and Israel continues to use the excuse *there is no Palestinian partner for peace”. Dr Mustapha Barghouthi , Palestinian Minister of Information in the new national unity government, turned the tables by saying “there is no Israeli partner for peace”. He doubts whether Ehud Olmert, Israeli Prime Minister, has the strength to carry it out.
It is difficult to see how Prime Minister Tony Blair is taking the matter forward. He will have please John Bolton by talking tough now that the British hostages are safely home. Bolton criticised Britain for its “softly softly” approach to the crisis. Should have sent in the cavalry no doubt. Dialogue seems to have worked however, but now we have retumed to the hard line, what will happen next time hostages are taken?