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By Sara Mersha
February 5th, 2015
Is it possible to hold Israel accountable for its violations of Palestinians’ human rights, and thus take steps to end at least some of the worst aspects of the Israeli occupation, through the arena of international law? That’s a question that could be answered in the coming years.
On January 16, 2015, the International Criminal Court launched a preliminary investigation into possible war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories. This is an initial inquiry, after which point the ICC could decide whether or not to take up a full investigation.
10 Photos for International Human Rights Day: A Tribute to International Social Movements for Resource Rights
By Sara Mersha
December 9th, 2014
December 10 is celebrated around the world as International Human Rights Day. On this day, Grassroots International is honored to call special attention to the social movements that are on the frontlines of the struggle for resource rights – the human rights to land and water, as well as food sovereignty and climate justice. We have much to celebrate, with several major successes that social movements have achieved in the struggle for resource rights over recent years. At the same time, over the past year, we have been heartbroken as we’ve lost many people who have been courageously defending resource in each of Grassroots International’s program areas. The photos and stories below are just a small sample of some of these movements and human rights defenders.
On October 15, 2014 Ali Abd El Rahman accepted the 2014 Food Sovereignty Prize on behalf of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC). UAWC shares the prize with Community to Community Development/Comunidad a Comunidad (C2C) of Bellingham, Washington.
UAWC is a Grassroots International partner and has been a leading force for the promotion of food sovereignty (not just food security) in Gaza and the West Bank.
Grassroots International has longstanding relationships with community-based organizations in the region, which can help get resources – such as medical supplies, food, and water – where they are most needed as soon as possible. Your gift now will help provide much-needed relief to the people of Gaza and the West Bank, and help them begin to rebuild.
Imagine if three teenagers where you live disappeared, and, in response, authorities began to raid, terrorize, and arrest the population at large. That is what has happened in the last few weeks in the Palestinian Territories as Israel has conducted raids, attacks, searches, and arrests throughout the Palestinian Territories and especially in the West Bank after three teenagers from an Israeli Settlement went missing.
Farmers everywhere need certain things to thrive: Land, water, seeds, and a little help from the weather. But Palestinian farmers face relentless obstacles even to get to their fields, let alone irrigate them.
For almost a decade Grassroots International has supported the work of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) in the West Bank. UAWC has been a key ally for Palestinian farmers exerting their right to farm in the face of settler violence, restricted access to farmland, confiscation of olive trees, and destruction of farms. In the videos below, UAWC farmers in two West Bank towns (Wadi Qana and Al Falamyeh) detail the many ways in which the Israeli occupation affect their livelihoods.
While Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories are portrayed as a region where water is scarce and where innovation has enabled Israelis to "turn the desert green," the truth is far more troubling. A new fact sheet from Grassroots International outlines elements of the 60-year water grab by Israel of area water resources, from the Jordon River to the Western Mountain Aquifer.
The Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories not only takes Palestinian land for Israeli use. The settler-only structures and infrastructure also annex land and cut off Palestinians from each other, curtail their ability to move freely, and make it difficult – and often impossible – for students to go to schools, patients to visit hospitals, and farmers to access their land and grow food.
Grassroots International and its partners in the We Divest coalition join activists from around the country in congratulating TIAA-CREF for taking a step toward living up to its motto, “Investment for the Greater Good”. “TIAA-CREF has made a move in the right direction by divesting its Social Choice Fund of Veolia stock given that Veolia's business model and practices have consistently put profit over people -- whether privatizing water resources around the world, or enabling Israeli occupation and segregation in the West Bank. This is a victory for all those concerned with human rights and justice,” said Nikhil Aziz, Executive Director of Grassroots International.
Read the full press release below.
The narrative below is the third in a series of three stories documented by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), a Grassroots International partner since 1996. PCHR has gained an international reputation as an independent voice on human rights documenting abuses carried out by both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. Raji Sourani, the founder and director of PCHR, recently received the Right Livelihood Award (known as the Alternative Nobel Prize). The PCHR documents human rights violations, provides legal aid to victims, advocates for greater economic and social rights, and, in particular, defends the rights of Gaza fishers who are routinely denied access to their fishing waters by the Israeli Defense Forces.