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January 20th, 2016
Water is life. Unfortunately, it is increasingly used as a weapon. And it can be a deadly one when political conflict meets drought.
For decades the Israeli government has had varying degrees of legal and coercive control over the Palestinian water supply. Eighty-five percent of Palestinian water resources are controlled by Israelis and all-too-often, wells and other agricultural projects are demolished or confiscated.
The result is a gaping inequity: Israelis have swimming pools, and Palestinians can barely survive.
The average Israeli uses 300 liters of water per day, but Palestinians are limited by bureaucracy and lack of access to 30-70 liters – and the World Health Organization recommends a minimum 100 liters per day.
Last year I had the honor of travelling to the West Bank with a delegation of 15 donors, activists and organizers all committed to winning the recognition of basic human rights in Palestine. We spent an afternoon in the village of Al Hadidiya in the Northern Jordan Valley. There Abu Saqer and his large family live. Abu Saqer was eloquent as he shared the reasons why he has worked with Grassroots International’s partner Stop the Wall to form the Jordan Valley Council--a project Grassroots supports to unite Palestinian farmers and herders who are under constant threat of demolition in Israel’s “Relocation Plan.”
Among the thousands of activists gathered in Paris as part of the Peoples Climate Summit, Hiba Al-Jibeihi represented multiple movements -- gender justice, land rights, food sovereignty, Palestinian human rights and, of course, climate justice. She wore the flags of the Via Campesina (a Grassroots International partner) and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (a Grassroots International partner and member of the Via Campesina). Here she talks about the importance of bringing together all the threads that lead to justice and peace.
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.