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By Claire Gilbert
November 12th, 2015
Earlier this fall, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation held its 14th annual conference in the city of Atlanta, Georgia. About 400 people from some 93 member groups dedicated to Palestinian rights, including Grassroots International, gathered there to strategize how best to advance our collective work for freedom, justice and equality. Check out videos and pictures of panels, workshops and performances from the conference.
Here are 10 reflections on the weekend:
Grassroots International Condemns Mounting Violence in Israel/Palestine, Calls for End to US Military Aid
Violence in Palestine and Israel continues to intensify, with mounting casualties. Since October 1, 50 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli forces and settlers and 8 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian knife attacks. Additionally an Eritrean Asylum seeker was killed after Israeli soldiers mistook him for a Palestinian.
One year ago today, the 51-day campaign of bombing, tank fire and all-out destruction by the Israeli military on Gaza finally ended. The 51 days of darkness euphemistically dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” were the third and most deadly round in a series of violent assaults on Gaza.
It is truly difficult, perhaps impossible to imagine life in Gaza, then and now, for the 1.8 million people who live there. First of all, there is the trauma.
“This is not about people who were killed, it is about us who were waiting for death every minute,” said Dr. Mona El-Farra to Grassroots International supporter and author Alice Rothschild during her recent visit to Gaza. Dr. El-Farra is the director of the Red Crescent Memorial Hospital that was bombed during the attacks.
By La Via Campesina
August 10th, 2015
A longtime partner of Grassroots International, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) is the first member of LaVia Campesina from the Middle East. UAWC has received several awards for their work advancing sustainable agricultural development, including two last year: the US Food Sovereignty Prize and the United Nation’s Equator Prize.
While Israelis water their lawns and swim in Olympic-sized pools, Palestinians a few kilometers away are literally dying of thirst.
California is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in the state’s history, prompting Governor Jerry Brown to declare a water “state of emergency.”
Ordinary Californians are bearing the brunt of this disaster. While the governor has imposed restrictions to reduce residential water consumption, businesses in the fields of agriculture and hydraulic fracturing have been largely exempt. Brown’s unwillingness to take on these gargantuan corporate water-wasters lends a sharp political element to an otherwise natural disaster.
“We stand in solidarity with the people of Susya, who UAWC (Union of Agricultural Work Committees) introduced us to in October 2014. These are people who welcomed us, fed us, gave us a place to sleep and shared their stories with us.
“We gather to bring our voices to the on-going struggle in the face of imminent demolition by the Israeli Military.
Last fall, a delegation of Grassroots International supporters and staff had the privilege of planting and harvesting olives, and spending the night with some of the 350 farming families of Susya in the West Bank.
This Mother’s Day we want to tell you three stories that keep the original spirit of Mother’s Day alive – justice, protecting their children, and unity. It’s a far cry from the fancy brunches and greeting cards that fill in for Mother’s Day now and instead returns to the political history of the holiday: of women working in the 1850s and 1860s to improve sanitary conditions, lower infant mortality, and unite a once-divided country through pacifism after the Civil War when the idea of Mother’s Day first came about.
For several months brave activists and residents have built protest tents outside of the Jerusalem gate in Eizaria. The Israeli military has destroyed their tents 11 times—but each time the determined activists build them again. They are saying no to an Israeli plan remove 2,500 Bedouins shepherds from their land, their homes and their traditional way of life while also displacing fellow Palestinians in Abu Dis and Eizaria. What will Israel do with the land in an area they term “E1” to the North and East of Jerusalem? Expand its largest illegal settlement: Maale Adumin.
International Women’s Day (March 8) celebrates the power and struggle of women all over the world. There are so many stories of women’s strength, inspiration and bold leadership in the work of our partners and grantees. Eighty-eight percent of the groups that Grassroots International supports work to promote women’s rights. Here are just some of the women-led projects that we have supported over the past year.