Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Undersecretary for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, visited the beseiged West Bank Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh this week. Nabi Saleh has been the site of weekly peaceful demonstrations, as villagers march to the spring that was stolen from them in 2009 by colonists from the nearby settlement of Halamish. Each week they are ritually and violently met by the Israeli occupation forces with tear gas, skunk water, and rubber bullets. Two Nabi Saleh residents have died recently in separate incidents.
Alistair Burt said “I recognise the suffering of Nabi Saleh”
Gill Knight, an activist from Hastings Friends of Yatma, met with the Nabi Saleh village leaders, Alistair Burt and Sir Vincent Fean, UK consul in Jerusalem, in the West Bank, Palestine yesterday. Burt said his visit was to convey his condolences the mothers of Mustafa Tamimi and Rushdi Tamimi who were killed by the Israeli army while peacefully demonstrating against the Israeli occupation and the settlement of Halamish, which has appropriated their land and the village spring. Also Burt said he wanted to get an update on events in the village and to see if the army were using less violent tactics.
This is Alistair Burt’s third visit to the village and he said that he would keep coming to Nabi Saleh to maintain the relationship and to show the families of Mustafa and Rushdi that they were not forgotten and their suffering was not in vain.
The visit included a visit to the local school where the UK government have just made a £5000 donation for additions to the library and scientific equipment. Alistair said that ‘he realised that the occupation caused a lot of suffering to Palestinian children and that “every child deserved a decent life”.
His next stop was Ramallah, to meet with Mohammed Abbas and he stressed that Senator Kerry was committed to get the peace talks started again and that this was the only solution for the people of Palestine. He stated that Nabi Saleh was a symbol to many both in Palestine and internationally.
Although many Palestinians think the two state solution is dead and prefer the idea of a one state democracy, his visit and support were greatly appreciated by the village.
Hastings Friends of Yatma is a solidarity and friendship group supporting Yatma, a village south of Nablus.