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UK in Israel

22nd November 2016 Jerusalem, Israel

Alastair McPhail

by Alastair McPhail

British Consul General to Jerusalem

Preserving a Palestinian Tradition

The olive harvest season in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Families get up early in the morning and journey to their land in the mountains and fields in order to pick those small green or black olives. They work under the hot sun for hours, have a traditional Palestinian meal and […]

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26th January 2016 Jerusalem, Israel

Alastair McPhail

by Alastair McPhail

British Consul General to Jerusalem

We must not forget Area C

It has been another hard year for the community of Fasayil.  Located in Area C of the West Bank, the community faced the demolition of 17 structures last August.  The demolitions left 48 people without homes.  Like other communities in Area C, Fasayil’s farmers face severe restrictions on access to farmland and irrigation.  The village’s […]

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21st August 2015 Jerusalem, Israel

Alastair McPhail

by Alastair McPhail

British Consul General to Jerusalem

Extremist Ideology and Settlers

As I saw the charred remains of the house in Douma where young Ali Dawabsheh and his father lost their lives, and listened to a community still struggling to come to terms with what had happened, I was forcibly reminded of the death of another young boy a little over a year ago – Mohammed Abu […]

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18th June 2015 Jerusalem, Israel

Alastair McPhail

by Alastair McPhail

British Consul General to Jerusalem

A Palestinian Magna Carta

What should be in a Palestinian Magna Carta or bill of rights? I asked this question earlier this week to twenty young Palestinians, during a discussion to mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. Two things struck me about their answers. Firstly, most of the participants wanted one freedom above all others. […]

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8th June 2015 Jerusalem, Israel

Alastair McPhail

by Alastair McPhail

British Consul General to Jerusalem

Let us look for hope after 48 years…

Forty-eight years ago this week, the Middle East was engulfed in war.  This war, known as the 1967 war or the Six Day War, changed the shape of the region.   And it dramatically changed the lives of many living here.  I have met Palestinians in the cities and refugee camps of the region and have […]

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23rd March 2015 Jerusalem, Israel

Alastair McPhail

by Alastair McPhail

British Consul General to Jerusalem

Palestinian Women; building a Palestinian state and society

Earlier this month, Palestinians joined people around the world celebrating International Women’s Day.  Palestinians have much to celebrate on this day.  I’ve been struck during my time here by the dedication of Palestinian women: running successful businesses; influencing politics; building communities in spite of the difficult conditions imposed by the Occupation. To celebrate International Women’s […]

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23rd December 2014 Jerusalem, Israel

Alastair McPhail

by Alastair McPhail

British Consul General to Jerusalem

Olives are the bread and butter for Palestinians

There is no escaping olive trees in this part of the world.  Olives appear on every table.  Olive oil is liberally poured on every dish.  The unmistakeable shape of olive trees lines every hillside.  Even the Christmas ornaments I hung on my tree last week are fashioned out of olive wood.  The olive tree is […]

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27th November 2014 Jerusalem, Israel

Alastair McPhail

by Alastair McPhail

British Consul General to Jerusalem

There is a Future, in Jerusalem, for Palestinians

Last month one of my friends took me on a tour of the Old City with my son.  We jostled with the crowds shopping at Damascus Gate.  We ate kaek.  We smelt the pungent spices and coffee.  We felt humbled by the sight of Christian, Muslim and Jewish worshippers heading towards their holy sites. Jerusalem […]

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15th October 2014 Jerusalem, Israel

Alastair McPhail

by Alastair McPhail

British Consul General to Jerusalem

UK will continue to support statehood building effort and to recognize the State at the right time

On Monday night, the British Parliament voted in favour of a non-binding motion, calling the government to recognise the state of Palestine as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.  Palestinians I have spoken to in Jerusalem and Ramallah, Gaza and Hebron have delivered the same message to me.  So what is the British […]

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18th June 2014 Jerusalem, Israel

Alastair McPhail

by Alastair McPhail

British Consul General to Jerusalem

A life free from fear

Visiting Hebron for the first time reminded me of my childhood in the Scottish city of Glasgow.  The narrow alleyways hung with washing; kids in the street playing football; conversations across garden walls.  A city in which family is everything and privacy is a rare commodity. But the similarities end when you enter ‘H1’.  This […]

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