Palestine is flowering in resistance

 

    

Hundreds of Palestinians and Israelis demonstrate weekly against Jewish settlements in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem.   

Over the last few years, the intensity and breadth of the solidarity actions for Palestinian rights dramatically increased.     

The second Intifada was followed by a campaign of non-violent direct-action, popularized in the West Bank by a joint Palestinian-Israeli organization, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Based on the Freedom Summer campaign of the U.S. civil rights movement, the ISM (see http://palsolidarity.org/ ) has brought waves of internationals into the West Bank and Gaza to accompany Palestinians in their resistance. The overwhelming majority of Palestinian resistance is creative non-violence.   

Inside Israel, a new generation of Jewish activists join Palestinians to fight the occupation.   

Globally, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign has grown more in its first five years than the anti-South African apartheid boycott campaign grew in its first twenty, according the National Boycott Coordinator, Hind Awwad. October 22-24, Montreal is hosting a global BDS conference (see http://www.bdsquebec.org/ ).   

ISM co-founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf launched the Gaza Freedom Flotillas – ships carrying Pro-Palestinian activists and humanitarian aid to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza. There is now a Canada Boat to Gaza being organized (see http://canadaboatgaza.org ).   

For Jews, solidarity with Palestinians is also a platform for our own growing resistance against the Jewish right and the extremist politics of Zionism, just as the U.S. civil rights movement became a springboard for new feminism, gay rights, the anti-Vietnam war movement, etc..   

This photo essay shows a small sample of the visual resistance for Palestinian rights going on this summer. Unless noted as taken by ActiveStills (www.activestills.org, and  http://www.flickr.com/photos/activestills/ ) , photos are by Scott Weinstein, member of the Independent Jewish Voices. (see http://ijvcanada.org ).   

Bil'in, a small (international) village at the centre of non-violent direct-action.

 

 After the Friday noon prayers, villages throughout the West Bank dramatically and theatrically confront the occupation.  Bil’in with the help of Israeli lawyers, just won a legal case pushing back the Wall that was expropriating their land for the nearby Jewish settlement. Invited by  the Bil’in Popular Committee (see http://www.bilin-ffj.org/ ), The Independent Jewish Voices Canada joined this June demonstration in solidarity with the boycott of the Israeli diamond trade, which accounts for 1/3rd of the Israel’s export economy.   

Bil'in residents, Israelis and internationals walk up to the army gates separating Bil'in from the military zone protecting the settlement, take down the barbwire and open the gate.

 

A resident defies the army across the road.

 

Behind this youth, a section of the army is photographing the protesters, and coordinating their counter-attack.

 

The Israeli army begins by shooting tear gas over the protesters at the gates into the support crowd 1 - 200 meters away. Bil'in Popular Committee leader Bassem Abu Rahmah was killed last year by a tear gas canister fired into his chest.

 

Soon, the olive groves are full of tear gas smoke and fires.

 

The dry summer grass ignites easily from the hot tear gas containers.

 

Demonstrators extinguish the fires to protect the precious olive trees.

 

Burnt field from one tear gas canister.

 

Then the army invades again (they raided the village the night before arresting a teenage resident). Everyone escaped today.

 

After the protest, Popular Committee organizer Iyad Burnat hugs his daughter. Iyad was pleased no one was seriously injured or arrested this day.

 

 His colleague, Abdallah Abu Rahman’s imprisoned last December, was convicted in August by the Israelis for weapon’s possession (he had spent tear gas canisters), incitement and organizing illegal marches. An international campaign is mobilizing for his release.  (see http://www.popularstruggle.org/freeabdallah )   

Jooneed Khan addresses Bil'in solidarity rally in Montreal. (see Tadamon! http://www.tadamon.ca/ )

 

Boycott & Resistance from Within   

The most critical resistance against the occupation now is taking place inside Jerusalem. Israeli government and settlers are attempting to take over the Palestinian sections of East Jerusalem, and this has ignited outrage from Israeli anti-occupation activists.   

Benny, an Israeli farmer and member of Rabbis for Human Rights at a Silwan, East Jerusalem solidarity demonstration, pleads with the international community to save Israel from committing suicide.

 

Silwan, a Palestinian community in East Jerusalem is under assault by the Israeli government with the aid of settlers. This house stolen by settlers, is a good example of their justifiable paranoia.

 

Zionist archaeology is used to colonize Palestine. This Zionist archaeological project called The City of David is rapidly digging underneath Silwan, desecrating Muslim graves, expropriating territory, and most threatening of all, rushing toward the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third most holy Muslim site. If it starts to crack...

 

These Israelis have joined the Silwan community, mobilizing large numbers of people to protest the City of David and the settler take-over of Silwan. (see http://www.awalls.org/ )

 

Silwan settler tries to drive over Israeli protesters in August. Their tee shirt says "We refuse to be enemies". Photo ActiveStills.

 

Al Kurd family in front of their Jewish settler-stolen house in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem. The Al Kurds who live now in the 'garage', are helping organize resistance against the slow-motion Israeli occupation of their community. ISM member Emily Henochowicz who lost an eye protesting the deadly raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotila, stayed with the Al Kurds family, they fondly recounted, (see http://thirstypixels.blogspot.com/ ).

 

Jasmine played Israel's national anthem off key in front of the police at the Sheikh Jarrah protest. They asked her to play "something Israeli".

 

Noted Israeli author David Grossman at a Sheikh Jarrah solidarity protest. He has recently joined (as of this writing) 150 Israeli authors, actors and artists pledging to boycott any cultural events inside the settlements in the West Bank. Photo by ActiveStills

 

Cynthia Nixon, actor in Sex And The City, along with other American actors, pledged to support the boycott of events inside the settlements.

 

Mia, an Israeli army resister, is arrested in Sheikh Jarrah. Photo by ActiveStills.

 

Mia, banned from Sheikh Jarrah because of her arrest, now gives tours with the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, about how Israel colonizes Palestinian East Jerusalem. Section of the Wall in background. (see http://www.icahd.org/ )

 

In Tel Aviv, clowns denounce the occupation of Sheikh Jarrah. Photo by ActiveStills.

 

A country where Palestinians refuse to disappear    

A Palestinian is forced to walk beneath one of the Israeli-only highways inside the occupied West Bank. This tunnel is under Route 443.

 

Palestinians and Israelis attempt to take down the gate barring Palestinians from Route 443. Photo by ActiveStills.

 

The Bedouin Al Arakib village inside Israel , declared "illegal', was destroyed four times recently by the Israeli government. Photo by Orin Ziv, ActiveStills.

 

Palestinians, Israelis and internationals help clear the rubble of destroyed Al-Farisiya Bedouin village. Photo by Orin Ziv, ActiveStills.

 

Rebuilding Al Arakib village, Israel, this July. Photo by Orin Ziv, ActiveStills.

 

In Hebron, the struggle against ethnic cleansing is brutal. Ex-Israeli soldiers who served in Hebron formed Breaking the Silence (see http://www.shovrimshtika.org/index_e.asp) now take people on tours of Hebron. Shaduah Street from left to right: Jewish settlement, Israeli soldier, cleansed Shaduah Street, photo of street from several years ago, empty shops, graffiti of the terrorist Jewish Defence League.

 

Shaduah Street resistance. Her neighbours have been evicted by the settlers and the army, but this Palestinian woman from a 2003 photo, still remains today.

 

Hebron. Also from a 2003 photo, despite the hate graffiti and ammunition fired into their house, this Palestinian family remains today.

 

The freedom flotillas to break the siege of Gaza are global news. Both Canada and the US are planning boats for 2010. (see http://canadaboatgaza.org ). Photo from web.