Five Palestinian student leaders were in Westminster to show their appreciation for Members of the UK Parliament who voted in favour of recognising the state of Palestine in a debate in the House of Commons.
They presented 44 MPs with inscribed commemorative shields made in Bethlehem out of olive wood to thank them for their support at a meeting in the House of Commons.
The five Palestinians, Iyad Dwikat, Mohammed Abuamira, Makram Daraghma, Tareq Eshnino and Abd-Alrahman Barghouthi, brought a letter of thanks to the MPs from the Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.
Makram Daraghma, who is the Prime Minister’s youth adviser, spoke briefly at the presentation and Tareq Eshnino, who is from Gaza, updated the MPs on the latest situation in the enclave.
The presentation was organised by the General Union of Palestinian Students which represents hundreds of students from the West Bank and Gaza studying at British universities.
The union’s Secretary-General, Fouad Shaath, told the MPs: “I don’t know whether MPs have any idea just how much encouragement this vote gave to Palestinians. We often feel close to despair – but this vote gave us hope.
“The vote was supported by MPs of every party in Britain and it was welcomed by supporters of every party in Palestine.
“The example set by British MPs was soon followed in Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal and the European Parliament and we believe that parliamentarians can galvanise their governments into international action that will bring us justice and peace.”
The Palestinian students’ union has members in universities across the UK and will be pressing all parties, all MPs and all candidates to declare their support for the recognition of Palestine in the coming election campaign.