Greenbelt Festival 2023

It was a delight to attend the 50th anniversary Greenbelt Festival held at Boughton House, near Kettering in August. I was part of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) team sharing a marquee with the Action around Bethlehem Children with Disability (ABCD). During the Bank Holiday weekend, I interviewed several speakers and participants.

Daniel Munayer is the Executive Director of Musalaha, a faith-based organization that teaches, trains and facilitates reconciliation mainly between Israelis and Palestinians from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, and also international groups, based on biblical principles of reconciliation. Daniel spoke at Greenbelt sponsored by Embrace the Middle East. In this short interview he shares his vision for the future in Palestine. 

Linda Ramsden is the founder and director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions(ICAHD UK) which is dedicated to resisting apartheid and building a shared democracy from the River Joran to the Mediterranean Sea. 

Robert Cohen is the Chair of Amos Trust, a small creative human rights organisation committed to challenging injustice, building hope and creating positive change. Listen in on a conversation between Robert and Linda Ramsden talking about ICAHD and Palestine.

Canon Garth Hewitt participated in the first Greenbelt, 50 years ago. Garth was the founder of Amos Trust. In this conversation he talks about his advocacy on Palestine and appreciation of ICAHD. Check out Garth’s music and writings at the Garth Hewitt Foundation. Garth is a member of the Peacemaker Trust Board of Reference. Now retired, he was one of the founding trustees.

Muhanad Qaisy was attending Greenbelt representing the Joint Advocacy Initiaitive (JAI) Olive Tree Project. Check out their website to find out how you can join one of their teams either picking olives (Autumn) or planting trees (Spring).

Ian White is the Executive Director of Micah 6:8, a Christian organisation offering support to the people of the Middle East. This ministry focuses on advocacy, friendship and practical support for a variety of projects across Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt. Through Micah68 Trading he also supports and promotes a fair trade organisation in Bethlehem, Palestine. 

A collection of photos taken at Greenbelt this year.

ICAHD UK was represented at the Greenbelt Festival in Kettering over August bank holiday weekend. We ran a stall in the Takeaway section which introduced punters to a range of organisations and issues and shared it with a marvellous team and dear friends of long-standing from Action Around Bethlehem Children with Disability (ABCD).

The festival celebrated Greenbelt’s 50th anniversary and once again Palestine was featured in the seminar programme and through musical performances.  Palestinian flags flew and keffiyehs were worn by many which demonstrated the prominence it now has which largely grew out of Rediscovering Palestine (RP) a network that existed for many years to raise the issue of Palestine at this festival and other events. 

During the festival we also engaged with Embrace Middle East, the Christian development charity talking poverty and injustice in the Middle East. Like ABCD it is another organisation that was part of RP, so we have a long history together. Embrace brought over Daniel Munayer, CEO of Musalaha, from Jerusalem. Musalaha is a faith-based organization that teaches, trains and facilitates reconciliation mainly between Israelis and Palestinians from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds.

The foundation for its work is recognition of Israel’s settler colonial agenda and apartheid policies so there must be no “normalisation” of the status quo when it brings people groups together. We were delighted to get to know Daniel and look forward to working with him and Musalaha on the ground.

Not forgetting the amazing variety of food and beverages at Greenbelt