The Antonine Friendship Link was established in Falkirk in 2004 following a conference organised by Scottish Friends of Palestine.
The theme of the conference was Israel’s apartheid wall and its devastating effects in dividing the adjacent rural and urban Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Following the meeting contact was made with the West Bank village of Jayyous and it was chosen to be the Palestinian ‘link’. The Falkirk-Jayous friendship link was established and has become known simply as The Antonine Friendship Link.
Jayyous had been chosen because of the devastation caused by ‘The Wall’. Until then it had been a thriving farming community but now ‘The Wall’ is strangling the local economy; cutting off villagers from their land, crops, olive trees, grazing grounds and aquifiers.
Falkirk had been chosen as Scottish ‘link’ because of its proximity to the remains of The Antonine Wall, a Roman wall which once crossed Scotland – a wall whose remains demonstrate the futility of wall building and military occupation.
In 2004 a Scroll was commissioned by The Antonine Friendship Link and was designed and created by local artist Susan French. It has been signed by many local dignatories including MPs, MSPs, councillors, clergy and members of the public condemning Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people. Since then The Scroll has been displayed in Falkirk’s municipal buildings, The Scottish Parliament, Callender House and various other venues throughout the Falkirk area including the Bo’ness library as part of Big Roman Week.
The Friendship Link works to raise awareness of the issues created by the illegal occupation by Israel and the building of a wall which has caused such hardship and suffering to the people of Palestine as experienced by the people of Jayyous.
In recent years the “Link” has also focussed on raising funds to help improve the education provided by the schools in Jayyous. Although not huge amounts of money are provided, it serves to let the people of Jayyous know that they are not forgotten.
The “Link” is a humanitarian organisation which acknowledges the Rights of people to choose and practice their religion, whether Muslim, Christian or Jew and to respect the Right of others to do so.