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'Palestinians stick to their roots despite decades of dispossession'

More than 700 members of the Palestinian community in Britain held their 4th annual Iftar (fast-breaking) event on Saturday in north-west London. Organised by the Palestinian Forum in Britain and the Olive Youth Group, speakers at the event affirmed that Palestinians will continue to stick firmly to their roots despite decades of dispossession.

"Generations of Palestinians have not forgotten that their roots lie in the soil of Palestine," explained Dr Hafez Al-Karmi, the chair of the Forum. "The current protests in the besieged Gaza Strip have brought the issue back to its starting point, the 1948 Nakba [Catastrophe], when the refugee crisis was created by the founding of the state of Israel on Palestinian land." All Palestinians, he added, reject the US Embassy move to occupied Jerusalem.

According to Adnan Hmidan, the Palestinian Forum's media spokesman, the pro-Israel lobby in Britain continue to make efforts to prevent the Iftar event from taking place and block other activities in support of the Palestinian cause. "Their efforts are in vain," he told the audience. "This year there are 700 people here, whereas in the first year we had just 200."

The evening included a children's talent contest which was won by a young poet from Iraq. Lina Khattab's poem about Palestine was deemed by the international judging panel to be the most worthy of the £500 first prize. Her mother dedicated the win to the "martyrs and wounded of Palestine."

The objective of Palestinians returning to their land was evident throughout proceedings, with one elderly participant clasping the flag of Palestine all evening. A poignant invocation during the special Ramadan prayers was for Palestinians to be reunited with their land.

Donations were pledged by members of the audience to help British charity Education Aid for Palestinians. The charity's CEO, Moin Shabib, secured support for schools and freshwater projects.

In bringing the event to a close in the early hours of Sunday morning, presenters from the younger generation of Palestinians in Britain, Abdurrahman Tamimi and Leanne Mohammed, thanked everyone for attending. In particular, they thanked the volunteers who had worked so hard throughout the day to make sure that the programme was a success.

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