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Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)
By Chung-Wha Hong and Claire Gilbert
March 30th, 2016
Today is Land Day in Palestine. It’s a day when Palestinians mark with protest the continual expropriation of their land. There is a lot to protest since Palestinians have been losing land for 68 years. For Palestinians, the year 1948 is the year of the Nakba (or catastrophe) during which 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes, and land and hundreds of Palestinian villages were destroyed.
1967 marks the year when the state of Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, the Syrian Golan Heights, and Sinai in Egypt. This year is known to Palestinians as the Naksa (or grief).
Today, Israel continues with relentless plans to annex the Jordan Valley for illegal settlements.
March 22nd is International World Water Day and it serves as a reminder that water has not yet become a human right, and that millions continue to be denied access to water or have difficulty obtaining a fresh supply on a daily basis.
What We Celebrate from Paris: 14 Moments and Connections for a Stronger Global Climate Justice Movement
By Sara Mersha
February 25th, 2016
In a previous blog, we shared our critiques of the Paris climate agreement, and analysis of what took place. In this photo blog, we share some of the moments and lessons that demonstrate what Grassroots International celebrates from what took place in Paris – the clarity and strength of social movements on the frontlines of the climate crisis, and in the forefront of struggle to expose false solutions and promote real solutions to achieve climate justice. We were honored to be in that space with our Global South partners, US and other international allies, making connections across geographies and issues – these relationships are a key part of what it will take to heal and cool the planet, while developing deep resilience to the shocks and slides to come.
When Hiba Al-Jibeihi stepped off her flight in Paris in early December, it was her first time outside the occupied Palestinian territories where she had lived all of her 24 years. She wasn't quite sure how she would relate to her fellow international social movement delegates in parallel meetings to the climate negotiations taking place during the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21).
The daughter of a sheep breeder and teacher, Hiba works as an advocacy officer for the Union of Agricultural Works Committees, a well-organized group of small-scale farmers in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
On February 9, 2016, the US Supreme Court in a troubling example of shortsighted hubris halted Obama’s latest climate change resolutions which had emerged from the December Paris Agreement on global warming, thus also threatening commitments made by other top polluters, India and China. While China has now surpassed the US as the number one polluter, the decades of fossil fuel use by the US stills makes us the largest contributor to the climate crisis. The decision to freeze the resolutions which sought to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants until legal challenges are resolved, threatens to imperil an already inadequate approach to climate change.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Grassroots International stands with people on the frontlines of defending the human rights to water, land, and food. Recently, we awarded more than 15 grants to movements in Haiti, Latin America, Palestine, West Africa and India – bolstering the efforts of those leading the global struggle for climate justice and creating sustainable solutions that we can all learn from.