I spent much of the last month and more organizing to take part in work, learning and action in Susiya in occupied territory with an incredible group of partners from Palestine, Israel, North America and other places. Nearly 100 (mostly diaspora Jews) joined us. It was a lot of work and I am still thinking about how and what to express. We took part in an important thing with our partners in Susiya and we will continue to push on the system of injustice at work in this occupation, and we will continue to grow this movement, and we will continue to demand that our community(s) stand up with us against violence and oppression. We will continue expressing, continue telling, and continue working.
What happened last weekend was important. Many are paying attention, and we will continue. Here's just a bit of what happened. More to come.
All these Photos, except the larger two at the top of the page, were taken using a smartphone camera. Apologies for the low quality. Everything is from Susiya in the occupied West Bank June 12-13, 2015.
Here's what we set out to do in a collectively written statement from All That's Left:
Unprecedented Solidarity Event in South Hebron Hills
Jerusalem — June 4th, 2015
Over 70 Diaspora [it was actually closer to 100] Jews, Israelis and allies are joining Palestinian residents of the South Hebron Hills to engage in building projects and action in solidarity with local Palestinian communities living under occupation. This is happening June 12th-13th.
In recent weeks, the entire village of Susya, a Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills, was issued a demolition order and faces imminent demolition, leaving 350 Palestinians dispossessed of their land and homes.
A large group of allies and supporters has been invited to the South Hebron Hills to help to connect Palestinian communities in Firing Zone 918 by fixing transportation infrastructure, aiding in agricultural work and bearing witness to the reality in the South Hebron Hills. Diaspora Jews and other partners who are living in, and visiting Israel and Palestine, are answering the call to oppose the occupation and learn with Palestinian non-violent activists in the area. The two day action will include full days of physical work with community members and engaging education about life for Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills and nonviolent activism.
In the wake of Israel’s most recent election, with the reelection of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his direct statements which promise to maintain the status quo, a sense of urgency is growing, and a more assertive call for loud and vital Jewish opposition to the Occupation — approaching its fiftieth year — is on the rise.
That the participants are, in large part, from Jewish communities around the world makes this event unique. “As a Diaspora Jew living in Israel, I live between two worlds.” said Rena Oppenheimer, an organizer and participant in the action. “Prime Minister Netanyahu has suggested on multiple occasions that Israel represents us, but as a group we have found that we do not wish to be represented by unjust Israeli policies.” Oppenheimer continued, “We are identity holders with connections to this place, be they cultural, spiritual, familial, or historical. This connection makes us, in our own way, responsible for our communities’ institutional support for the occupation.”
“There is a growing call in Diaspora Jewish communities to actively oppose to the occupation,” said Karen Isaacs, one of the organizers of the action. She continued, “The occupation oppresses millions of Palestinians. It is also tearing Israel and our people apart. It’s time for us to stand up and end this injustice.”
For years, these isolated communities in the South Hebron Hills have been under constant threat from IDF and settler violence, lack access to basic resources, such as no direct access to water or electricity, and can be expelled from their homes at any moment. “The South Hebron Hills are a remote and inaccessible area in the West Bank facing discriminatory policies,” said Robin Levy, a member of All That’s Left: Anti Occupation Collective, one of the organizing groups. “These communities are not only representative of the general injustice facing Palestinians under occupation, but their isolation leaves them incredibly vulnerable. I feel that the sort of practical work we can do to help them is worthwhile.”
When asked why she felt compelled to participate, Shifra Sered, an Israeli-American in Tel Aviv for the year on a fellowship said, "If you're like me, and feel a connection to this place based on identity, and if you're like me and believe in human rights and civil rights, then you have a obligation to combine these two and help make a dent in the occupation. This injustice has to end. We are calling on our communities to join the work to end the occupation."
The action, part of a growing movement, is organized by All That’s Left Collective, in partnership with organizations including Ta’ayush, the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, and Palestinians living in the South Hebron Hills region. All That’s Left is a collective unequivocally opposed to the occupation and committed to building the diaspora angle of resistance. For more information, and to join the event, see their facebook page: All That’s Left: Anti-Occupation Collective.
For background information on the South Hebron Hills: http://www.btselem.org/topic/south_hebron_hills
Media is welcome to join us. Contact organizers here:
052 832 8595
050 570 8023