The British government is on the verge of cancelling an exhibition on the Palestinian cultural heritage over assumptions that organizers have links with Gaza ruler Hamas and Lebanon-based Hezbollah; two movements considered as terror groups by the United Kingdom.
Although the ban is not officially announced, organizers believe the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) led by Secretary of State Sajid Javid, is basing its decision on hearsays from pro-Israel lobbying groups.
“They have failed to provide any satisfactory reason as to why they have chosen to cancel an event, which seeks to celebrate Palestinian culture and heritage,” said Ismail Patel, founder of Friends of Al-Aqsa, one of the event organizers.
The DCLG is in charge of the QE2 Centre; the venue to host the event on July 8-9 week-end. Javid’s department, in a letter to organizers, said the organizers and those connected with it have expressed public support for a proscribed organization, namely Hamas, and that they have supported events at which Hamas and Hezbollah – also proscribed – have been praised.
The expo is one of the biggest Palestinian events in Europe and features political discussions, concerts, comedy acts, workshops, a food court and other events.
The department’s doubts have dealt a blow to the attendance trend. 1,800 tickets were sold prior to the letter and only 300 have been sold since then, the organizers say.
Ismail Patel however pledged to press ahead with the event adding that they will legally challenge the unlawful decision.