Our speakers from Palestine in 2024: Land and Food – before and now

We very really pleased to bring you a great programme in the Palestinian Voices Tent at small park BIG RUN 2024. Focusing on our theme of land and food, each speaker will bring fresh perspectives, their expertise and experience. We will be finishing with a discussion about the Israeli-made famine in Gaza.

The programme starts with a short film, On Our Land, a thoughtful and beautiful tribute to the older ways and elder people as the next generation learns more about, and tries to preserve the continuity of, the Palestinian heritage in land.

This will be followed by a zoom call with Fuad Abu Seif, who is a champion of food sovereignty and the director of Union of Agriculture Works Committees in the West Bank. Unfortunately he was not able to get a visa but will still be participating via a live video link.

Taysir Arbasi, coordinator for organic fine food retailer of Palestinian goods Zaytoun follows. Living in the West Bank Taysir is an expert on fair trade and organic conversions having built the the co-operative of Palestinian farmers that produces goods for wholesaler Zaytoun. Zaytoun will re running a stall at the small park BIG RUN with organic goods for sale

Our last travelling speaker from Palestine is Morgan Cooper , who will be telling us about heritage agriculture, and the steps she is taking to preserve the methods – some flavour of which we will have seen in the film.

Short biographies of each speaker are after the Palestine Voices Tent schedule below.

WhoTitleDay / Time
Short filmOn our Land (Film)Saturday 12.45-1.15
Fuad Abu Saif (via zoom)The reality of Food Sovereignty amidst the Israeli genocide war in PalestineSaturday 1.30 – 2.15
Taysir AbassiFair trade and farming for export under occupationSaturday 2.30 – 3.15
Morgan CooperTraditional agriculture under occupationSaturday 3.30 – 4.15
Sahar and MusheirGaza and famine and what we can doSaturday 4.30 – 5.15
Jawad and RubaControl of land and movement in the West Bank. (Jawad and Ruba will serve a Palestinian breakfast during the discussion)Sunday 10.00 – 11.00

Fuad Abu Seif

We are very honoured to welcome Fuad Abu Seif, the Director of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees. He is a Palestinian activist with expertise in agricultural, environmental and social activism. He dedicates himself to improving the lives of Palestinian farmers. Through social development initiatives, he fights poverty through projects that empower farmers and promote sustainable practices.

Fuad is a strong advocate for fair trade, he fights for Palestinian farmers to access markets and receive just compensation. Beyond agriculture, Fuad Abu Seif champions human rights, particularly for those facing the challenges of occupation. His leadership extends beyond the UAWC, with membership in various local and international alliances and boards.

Fuad is a frequent speaker at conferences and workshops, he shares his knowledge on agriculture, environment, and human rights. His voice is also heard in Palestinian and international media. His dedication has resulted in numerous agricultural development projects that uplifted thousands of Palestinian farmers. His advocacy for fair trade has improved their livelihoods and market access. He actively promotes environmental protection through projects focused on water conservation and sustainable land use.

Fuad stands as a respected activist , a powerful voice for sustainable agriculture, environmental protection, and human rights in Palestine. He will be addressing us via a Zoom link as the difficulties of obtaining a travel Visa were sadly insurmountable.

Taysir Abassi

Taysir Arbasi is a member of Zaytoun CIC, based in Palestine,

He has been working with farming communities for 20 years, advocating for fair trade and helping farmers evolve their methods so as to produce quality food.

He is the main liaison in the West Bank on behalf of Zaytoun UK.

A selection of Zaytoun’s organics produce will be available for sale at small park BIG RUN.

Morgan Cooper

Morgan is a US citizen living in occupied Palestine with her Christian Palestinian husband and two kids.  She is an ex chef and now frequent and passionate instagrammer showing the impact of occupation on Palestinian life. They have some land , in Area C , fully Israeli-controlled and only contiguous territory in the West Bank, on which they try to ensure they maintain traditional farming methods and heritage trees, crops and plants. Morgan started handmadepalestine.com in order to support traditional crafts and will be bringing some of their products across to sell at small park BIG RUN.

Sahar and Musheir

Sahar and Musheir are residents of Sheffield but both born have lived in Gaza.

Sahar has been a powerful voice for Palestinian people since the genocide started and established a camp outside the Town Hall in January 2024. She is a doctor in Rotherham and has worked to highlight the deliberate destruction of healthcare at the hands of the Israeli army.

Musheir while trapped in Khan Yunnis points out the damage to a neighbour’s house

Musheir is from Khan Younis in Gaza. He was trapped in Gaza for six traumatic weeks with his eldest son, Qassim, after October 7.

He has been chair of Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign for many years, written a powerful book about Operation Cast Lead which is dedicated to the testimony of Palestinian people who experienced the onslaught and has made a number of films about life in Gaza, most recently about fishermen and fisherwomen, all of whom have since lost their livelihoods.

Jawad and Ruba

Jawad is the son of a Palestinian – Hassan Qasrawi from the village of Awarta in the Northern West Bank. Much of his extended family remain in Palestine, but many have moved away as a part of the Palestinian Diaspora – now separated from their homeland for three generations. Living in Sheffield and brought up in the UK he is, like his father before him was, exiled from Palestine with no right of residence.

Ruba is a Palestinian from Nablus and is the cousin of Jawad. She lives and works in Sheffield – separated from her family in Nablus and Ramallah. She is in daily contact with home and will give an account of the extreme problems Palestinians are facing since the Israeli revenge operations in Gaza and the West Bank.