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It's very simple – we're asking for full equal rights for everybody who calls Israel/Palestine home.
It's very simple – we're asking for full equal rights for everybody who calls Israel/Palestine home. Just Walk to Jerusalem is a bold initiative to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration and 50 years of military occupation of the Palestinian Territories.
This is a year of bitter anniversaries for the Palestinian people. We want to mark 2017 with a simple but bold act of solidarity that will draw attention to a conflict that's gone on for far too long.
Why a Walk?
In some ways it's a pilgrimage for justice. In some ways it's an act of penance. After all, Britain certainly has something to answer for. But most of all we want draw attention to an issue that's in desperate need of greater understanding.
By walking from London to Jerusalem, we'll highlight the strong connection Britain has with the history of Israel/Palestine, a history many people have forgotten or are unaware of.
Why should people in Britain be concerned about Israel/Palestine?
Our country played a key role in setting the framework for the conflict through the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and through its Mandate rule of Palestine during the 1920s, 30s and 40s. We have a responsibility in Britain for what took place in the past and for its consequences today.
What do you hope to achieve?
We want to use the Just Walk to Jerusalem to share the stories and experience of our partners in the region so people in Britain can get a clearer picture of what's happening and why.
We've been working for the last 30 years with Christian, Muslim and Jewish partners in the Holy Land and that's given us a deep understanding of the situation. We want more people to hear their voice.
What exactly is the injustice that you say is happening?
Palestinians in the West Bank face discrimination every day because of the Occupation and the Settlements. There's discrimination against Palestinian families through the legal system; through freedom of movement; through water access; through which roads you can drive on; and who can and can't get permission to build a home.
And of course, Palestinians have no vote in the decisions that govern their lives. The international community, including Britain, is very clear that they consider all of this illegal.
But there's much more than just the Occupation of the West Bank.
In Gaza, you have nearly 2 million Palestinians living under a land, sea and air blockade for ten years. It's because of the siege and the successive Israeli assaults on the territory, that the local economy has been destroyed. Unemployment is sky high. Health services are broken.
Even in Israel itself, the 20% of its Palestinian citizens face legal, institutional and cultural discrimination. They don't enjoy the same rights or government spending that Jewish citizens receive.
And the Palestinian refugees and their descendants have no right under Israeli law to ever return to their homes. We agree that Israel is a democracy. But it's a partial democracy, and a failing one, if you are a Palestinian.
There are around six million Palestinians living between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean sea. One way or another, the state of Israel controls their lives in a discriminatory way. That's the injustice we want to end.
How are you going to draw attention to the situation there?
We're going to use social media to share thoughts, prayers, pictures and video from the Just Walk using the hashtag #changetherecord
We want to change the record of discrimination. Change the record of injustice. And turn up the volume for a peaceful and just resolution that creates fairness and security for all.
What solution do you support? One State? Two States?
There's something much more fundamental to agree upon by everyone before we get hung up on future political structures. We'll never make real progress until there is a basic agreement that the current status quo is wrong and that all who live in the land deserve to be treated equally.
That should be the starting point. And that's our focus. We want to change the debate from terrorism and security to equality and fairness.
What are you asking the UK Government to do?
We'd like to see the UK government back up its strong words of condemnation about the Occupation and the Settlements with stronger pressure for change. At the moment we send mixed messages to the Israeli government. Condemnation on the one hand, and growing trade deals on the other. We need a more consistent dialogue.
Do you support Boycotts Divestment Sanctions (BDS) against Israel?
That's not the focus of the Just Walk. Our Walk is about creating greater understanding for people in Britain about the situation and giving our partners in the Holy Land – Christians, Muslims and Jews – a chance to share their stories and the work they are doing for justice and peace.
At Amos Trust, we believe there are many ways to create change. Our Just Walk to Jerusalem is one of those ways. We also believe that peaceful economic or cultural pressure by individuals or governments is a legitimate response to a very serious human rights issue.
So does Amos support BDS?
As stated, we believe that peaceful economic or cultural pressure by individuals or governments is a legitimate response to a very serious human rights issue. We would always encourage people to invest responsibly and to ask that their churches, local authorities and pension funds do not prosper from activities that cause harm to others or have been deemed illegal under International law.
Do you think Britain should apologise for the Balfour Declaration?
The second half of the declaration, promising to protect the civil rights of non-Jewish inhabitants of the land, has certainly not been fulfilled. It would be appropriate for Britain to acknowledge that in this anniversary year.
A celebration of Balfour does not feel the right thing to do. An honest appraisal of Britain’s role and political motives during the First World War would be very welcome.
What will you do when you get to Jerusalem?
Rest our aching feet! Seriously though, we plan to hold a special service of thanksgiving for our safe arrival in a city so important to Jews, Muslims and Christians.
We'll gather with our local partners to pray for justice, equality and peace to come to such a troubled land and for the work of our partners to be blessed.
If you're not able to join us on the Just Walk itself, don't worry – there are still ways that you can get involved and support those that are.
We're looking forward to having people join us throughout the Just Walk – we really want people to join us for odd days. Here's all you need to know.
We need drivers for our Just walk to Jerusalem support vehicle. You'll have a crucial role to play and will be central to the success of the walk.
You may be walking for a week, a month or the whole walk, whatever you're doing, we need you to get involved and Turn It Up.
We need your support as we begin to Turn it up! There are five simple ways you can show your support to Just Walk to Jerusalem.
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