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Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)
By Carol Schachet
September 16th, 2014
The US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA) announced that the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) of Palestine, based in Gaza and the West Bank is a co-recipient of the 2014 Food Sovereignty Prize. UAWC shares the prize with Community to Community Development /Comunidad a Comunidad (C2C) of Bellingham, Washington.
By Carol Schachet
September 4th, 2014
Making the connections between the bombing of Gaza, the ongoing occupation of Palestine, violence faced by black communities in the United States, migrant rights and climate disruption may seem like a tall order. But that is what happened on a recent Learning Call facilitated by Grassroots International co-sponsored by the Climate Justice Alliance, the US Food Sovereignty Alliance and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. (Grassroots International is a member of and works with these coalitions.)
Listen in by clicking the link here:
Latin American women raised their voices in solidarity with Palestinians. The video below features several Grassroots International partners, including members of the Via Campesina, the Landless Workers Movement and the Latin American Confederation of Peasant Organization (CLOC).
On July 20, six members of the family of Ziad Saad were killed. Ziad works with the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) in Palestine, which recently became a member of the Via Campesina.
On the way to a camping trip on Cape Cod last week, my family made a pit stop at a gas station. My partner took our four-year-old to the bathroom and I picked up a copy of the New York Times. I felt the ground shift as I saw the image of a tiny boy lying dead on the beach.
Imagine fishers heading out to sea on a beautiful day, ready for a hard day of work to support their families. They might face challenges—a poor catch, storms, not enough buyers—but ordinarily their job is fairly straightforward. Now imagine these fishers getting shot at—routinely—when they go fishing. Imagine the fishers stripped, searched, detained and their boats confiscated by the navy. This is an everyday reality for fishers in the Gaza Strip who live and work under constant threat of Israeli attack at sea.
This fact sheet highlights the impact of increasing restrictions and violence faced by fishers in Gaza. For example:
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:
The Women’s Empowerment and Food Sovereignty Project in Palestine, sponsored by Grassroots International and implemented with our Palestinian partner the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, works to bring practical, locally controlled food projects to various communities in the West Bank.
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.
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.
In this remarkable video, the Gaza branch of Grassroots International partner the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, documents the plight of fishers and farmers in the Gaza Strip. This video is a testament to Palestinians’ commitment to their land and livelihoods despite overwhelming Israeli military pressure to give up. Palestinian farmers and fishers continuously risk their lives by pursuing their craft amidst the Israeli blockade of Gaza. For them giving up their way of life, and a means to sustain their families, is not an option.