Stop the Wall Campaign

Al Hadidiya: Demolished again, steadfast still

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.” 

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. 

On Land Day Protestors Hold Their Ground

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.

Stories of Victory and Struggle from 2014

Grassroots International and our global partners are leading the way in developing sustainable solutions to the biggest challenges facing our world. From farming cooperatives and seed banks, to passing laws that protect ancestral lands and defending the human right to land, water, and food,  together we take on big struggles and win important gains. Below are just some of the successes achieved in 2014 with support from Grassroots International, standing up to challenge poverty, climate disruption and human rights abuses.

Moving Towards an International Declaration on the Rights of Peasants

Land, Resistance and a Door in the West Bank

The hulking Separation Wall cuts Abu Nidal off from his Palestinian Village.  He lives in the home he built in 1974. Israel began to build a settlement on the land just four years later and, since, has steadily surrounded Abu Nidal’s small house with towering barriers and illegal housing projects. At one point he had a cafeteria on the road. Israel demolished it.  He had a storage facility for his farming equipment.  Israel destroyed it 10 times.  He had a green house.  Israel bulldozed it.

I visited Abu Nidal with one of Grassroots International’s partners, the Stop the Wall Campaign. His story remains with me, feeding outrage at the atrocities he endures and hope for the ongoing resistance to land grabs.

Stolen Harvest: Occupation and Palestinian Olive Trees

Olives and olive oil are fundamental to Palestinian history, economy, subsistence, and culture. Olive trees symbolize Palestinian steadfastness and are deeply valued for their ability to thrive and send down deep roots in land where water is hard to come by. Many olive trees are thousands of years old and yet continue to produce olives. A worldwide symbol of peace, olive trees themselves have come under vicious attack by Israeli sol­diers and settlers.

This fact sheet highlights the impact of the occupation, settlements and the Separation Wall on olive trees, olive harvests and Palestinian society, including:

Land Means Everything Here: The Israeli Occupation is a Land Grab

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.

Advances on the Journey to Food Sovereignty and Human Rights

This last year has seen many advances around the globe for communities and activists pushing to regain their fundamental human rights to land, water, and food.  As we now approach the end of 2013, we take this opportunity a look back at some of the accomplishments that have marked the year.  In spite of the great challenges—and seemingly insurmountable odds—there is much to celebrate.  Below are some of many highlights from the last year.

Winning land for formerly landless farmers in Brazil

Palestinian NGOs Issue Statement Condemning World Bank-sponsored Red-Dead Sea Canal

The $10-billion proposed canal would divert water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea in an effort to save the later from “environmental degradation.” The project is a partnership between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. Grassroots International partners the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees, Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and Stop the Wall are among the signatories to the statement below that calls for a halt to the project. Palestinian organizations cite both political and environmental reasons for their calls to stop this water and land grab that would impede Palestinian rights.

In the Crosshairs

Cicero Guedes, a former sugar cane cutter turned land rights activist, worked in Campo dos Goytacazes, a settlement in Brazil. There he organized with the Landless Workers Movement (MST) to help families achieve what he had received: legal claim to land as part of Brazil’s agrarian reform movement.

For his tireless work, Cicero was murdered, shot more than a dozen times while he rode his bicycle to the fields. His assassination seemed intended to send a message to other would-be land rights activists: organize and you will pay the ultimate price.