End the military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and other Palestinian lands.
Allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.
Assure equal rights for all Israeli citizens, regardless of ethnicity or religion.
The BDS Movement was the outcome of several events that shaped the Palestinian national struggle and international solidarity with the Palestinian people.
BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. The BDS Movement was the outcome of several events that shaped the Palestinian national struggle and international solidarity with the Palestinian people following the Second Uprising (Intifada) in 2000.
Building on a decades-long tradition of civil disobedience and popular resistance, and invigorated by growing international solidarity with the Palestinian struggle as exhibited in the World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001, Palestinians moved into action.
[Ed. note: Although three years old, we thought this article by the BBC might be of interest to our readership.]
“My father always said, ‘We will never achieve peace in Palestine and Israel just by shaking hands — we need to work on people, to start with the grassroots.’ So what we do now, as a family, is fulfilling the dream of my father that people can build bridges, for hope, for understanding, reconciliation, dialogue, to achieve peace. This is the idea.” — Amal Nassar
On his farm outside Bethlehem, Daher Nassar is picking apples from the ruins of the orchard he planted at least eight years ago. The fruit is scattered across ground freshly opened and imprinted with the tracks of a bulldozer. At the field’s edge, branches reach out from inside a mound of earth, the bark stripped and mangled, unripe almonds still clinging to the trees.
On 19 May  a Palestinian shepherd from the village of Nahalin was out at first light and saw the bulldozer at work in the field, guarded by Israeli soldiers. By the time Nassar arrived the whole orchard — the best part of a decade’s work — was gone. His English is far from fluent, but there’s no mistaking the pain in his voice: “Why you broke the trees?”
A spokesperson for the Israeli military authorities in the West Bank said the trees were planted illegally on state land.
Nassar’s sister, Amal, has a different explanation. The government, together with the Israeli settlers who live around the farm, is “trying to push us to violence or push us to leave,” she says. Amal insists that her family will not move from the land, nor will they abandon their commitment to peaceful resistance.
“Nobody can force us to hate,” she says. “We refuse to be enemies.”
Amal Nassar told me a moving story about reconciliation, when I interviewed her. A few years ago, she unexpectedly chanced upon a woman jogging past her farm. The woman was an Israeli settler. The woman said to Amal, “What are you doing out here, in the middle of nowhere?” Amal replied, “This is my family farm. We’ve lived here for more than 100 years.” Incredulous, the Israel settler replied, “That’s not true. No-one lives here. This is empty land. Where are the houses and roads?” “Our homes are built among the caves,” replied Amal, “and all these vineyards you see are ours.”
This is the second in my series 12 Inspiring Women, looking at twelve passionate, courageous, prophetic Christian women, who inspire us to think deeply, act courageously, embrace others, and bring hope to the world. You can read the first one here.
A few years ago, I had the chance to visit The Tent of Nations, which is in the West Bank in the Palestinian Territories. There I met Amal Nassar, a Palestinian Christian committed to nonviolence, peacemaking, and reconciliation.
The Tent of Nations is a family farm, owned by a Palestinian Christian family. Its mission is “to build bridges between people, and between people and the land. We bring different cultures together to develop understanding and promote respect for each other and our shared environment. To realize this mission, we run educational projects at Daher’s Vineyard, our organic farm, located in the hills southwest of Bethlehem, Palestine. Our farm is a center where people from many different countries come together to learn, to share, and to build bridges of understanding and hope.”
How a 1923 college textbook describes the nascent conflict in Palestine.
[Ed. note: I recently came across my father’s college textbook, Europe Since 1815.* I was curious to see how it described the then-recent events in Palestine. Here is the complete entry on Palestine.]
It is quite obvious that the vague term “a national home” does not mean, and cannot safely be made to mean “a Jewish State.” For Palestine as a Jewish State with supreme authority in the hands of the Jews would mean a clear and flagrant defiance of the principle of self-determination. . . . [The Arabs] consider Palestine their country, as it is, if majorities have any rights which the world is bound to respect.
. . . Great Britain has also been given by the League of Nations a mandate for Palestine. Embodied in the mandate is a provision for the establishment of a “National Home” for the Jewish People according to the principle laid down in the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, which reads as follows: “His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of that object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
What this may mean remains to be seen, the term and conception of a “national home” being new to political science and of uncertain scope and significance. It represents the presented status of the Jewish nationalist aspiration expressed in recent times in the movement called Zionism. Great Britain as the mandatory power is responsible for the carrying out of this purpose. It has not yet indicated what its interpretation of the Balfour Declaration will actually be. It is quite obvious that the vague term “a national home” does not mean, and cannot safely be made to mean “a Jewish State.” For Palestine as a Jewish State with supreme authority in the hands of the Jews would mean a clear and flagrant defiance of the principle of self-determination accepted as the underlying basis of the system of mandates created by the Conference of Paris.
Palestine has a population of somewhat less than 800,000, of whom only about 80,000, or one in ten, are Jews, most of the rest being Arabs. The Arabs are absolutely opposed to the aims of Zionism. They consider Palestine their country, as it is, if majorities have any rights which the world is bound to respect. They regard the Balfour Declaration as the work of British politicians who have an eye to the advantage of British commerce and imperial expansion and who are sensitive to the influence of Jewish world finance. They see no reason why the should themselves be sacrificed to such considerations. There is an Arabic nationalist aspiration as there is a Jewish nationalism and a British imperialism. Whether the three can live together in harmony within the restricted area of Palestine remains to be seen. There are materials sufficient for a serious conflict. It should be noted, further, that there are nearly as many Christians as Jews in Palestine, 73,000 of the former, 83,000 of the latter. . . .
*Hazen, Charles Downer. Europe Since 1815. Henry Holt and Company, 1923. Excerpts from pages 999–1000.
The moral consequences of the triumph of Zionism: Ilan Pappé and Ari Shavit view Israel from different vantage points, but they agree the status quo between Israel and the Palestinians can’t be sustained.
Chaim Weizmann, the first president of the state of Israel, famously said that it is by its treatment of the Palestinians that his country will be judged. Yet, when judged by this criterion, Zionism is not just an unqualified failure but a tragedy of historic proportions. Zionism did achieve its central goal but at a terrible price: the displacement and dispossession of the Palestinians — what the Arabs call the Nakba, the catastrophe.
Zionism achieved its greatest triumph with the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The Zionist idea and its principal political progeny are the subject of deeply divergent interpretations, not least inside the Jewish state itself. No other aspect of Zionism, however, is more controversial than its attitude towards the indigenous population of the land of its dreams. Chaim Weizmann, the first president of the state of Israel, famously said that it is by its treatment of the Palestinians that his country will be judged. Yet, when judged by this criterion, Zionism is not just an unqualified failure but a tragedy of historic proportions. Zionism did achieve its central goal but at a terrible price: the displacement and dispossession of the Palestinians — what the Arabs call the Nakba, the catastrophe.
The authors of these two books are both Israelis, but they approach their subject from radically different ideological vantage points. Ilan Pappé is a scholar and a pro-Palestinian political activist. He is one of the most prominent Israeli political dissidents living in exile, having moved from the University of Haifa to the University of Exeter. He is also one of the few Israeli students of the conflict who write about the Palestinian side with real knowledge and empathy.
In “1948,” the assembled compendium of aspiration, folly, aggression, hypocrisy, deception, bigotry, violence, suffering, and achievement is so comprehensive and multilayered that no reader can emerge without a feeling of unease — which is to say, a sense of the moral and historical intricacy of the conflict.
For thirteen centuries, between 1200 B.C. and the second century A.D., the Jews lived in, and often ruled, the land of Israel. The population was clustered mainly in Judaea, Samaria, and Galilee. The Jews’ dominion was long but not eternal. The Romans invaded and, after suppressing revolts in A.D. 66-73 and 132-135, killed or expelled much of the Jewish population and renamed the land Palaestina, for the Philistines who had lived along the southern seacoast. After the conquest, some Jews stayed behind, and the faith of the Hebrews remained a religio licita, a tolerated religion, throughout the Roman Empire.
By the nineteenth century, Palestine had been ruled by Romans, Persians, Byzantines, Arabs, Christian Crusaders, and Ottoman Turks. When Mark Twain visited in 1867, his imagination soaked with the Biblical imagery of milk and honey, he discovered to his surprise “a hopeless, dreary, heartbroken land . . . desolate and unlovely.” Jericho was “accursed,” Jerusalem “a pauper village.” Twain’s passages on Palestine in “The Innocents Abroad” have, over the decades, been exploited by propagandists to echo Lord Shaftesbury’s notion that, before the return of the Jews to Zion, Palestine was a land without a people for a people without a land. Twain and Shaftesbury, as it turned out, were hardly alone in failing to recognize a substantial Arab population in the Judaean hills and beyond.
The full statement can be viewed as a pdf here.
Watch the full testimony here.
View the post-meeting press conference here.
Distinguished members of the Security Council,
As a representative of Americans for Peace Now — an organization that is committed to Israel’s existence and its future — it is not easy for me to speak before this body today.
It is not easy because while this forum will focus in large part on human rights violations by Israel, there are states represented here whose own human rights records are abysmal. There are even states in this forum that still do not recognize the existence of Israel, 70 years after that nation’s birth and despite its membership in the UN’s General Assembly.
It is also not easy for me to speak here today because of the deteriorating political climate in Israel as far as democracy is concerned. For some time now we have been witnessing an ugly campaign against courageous Israeli human rights and civil society NGOs — carried out by reactionary groups in Israel and by the Israeli government itself. Campaigns that target the legitimacy of NGOs like our Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav — Peace Now.
These groups are being targeted because their work reveals facts that some prefer to hide — facts that challenge the official Israeli government narrative.
Yet, I am here today because this institution is too important to boycott or ignore. The Security Council is the most important international body in existence today.
It would be irresponsible to miss an opportunity to argue our cause in front of it. It would be unpardonable to allow ourselves to be silenced by the cynicism of some of this body’s member states, whose hatred of Israel may blind them to Israel’s legitimate needs and fears. And it would be inexcusable to allow ourselves to be silenced by the disapproval of some who today equate speaking unpleasant truths about Israeli policies with national betrayal.
I am here today because the cause that we work for every day is too important to allow anyone to silence us.
On Saturday, October 29, 2016, local area leaders and concerned citizens gathered at Town Hall Seattle for an event, Islam in the Public Square, to examine the dynamics that have led to the gap in understanding about Islam in America. We discussed the many issues clouding the image of Islam and Muslims in America, sought to build understanding and tolerance across ethnic and faith lines, and looked into ways all of us can confront and overcome the misunderstandings and fears that divide us. Together, as one Seattle community, we explored ways to work together for peace and justice.
Our humble thanks to the many people and organizations whose contributions of time, effort, and resources made this event such a success.
Below are the events, with links to transcripts, video, and photos.
These essays are presented here for the general reader. Each author takes full responsibility for what has been written. The material has been thoughtfully researched, and is offered in the spirit of seeking peace through understanding.
1.6 million food-insecure Palestinians in need of food assistance
745,000 non-refugees in need of food assistance
65,000 internally displaced persons (IDP’s) in Gaza following the 2014 war
Decades of occupation coupled with severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods have undermined the living conditions and reduced access to livelihoods for Palestinians. Food insecurity is mostly due to a lack of economic access: food prices are mainly driven by Israel and out of reach for many poor households — the GDP per capita in Palestine (USD 4,700) is six times less than that of Israel (USD 30,000).
The impact of the 2014 conflict in Gaza continues to be devastating to the Palestinian people and economy. Against this backdrop, more than 27 percent of the population — or 1.6 million people — suffers from food insecurity. In Gaza, one in two is food insecure, and one in three is severely affected.
As poor and vulnerable Palestinians spend more than half of their income on food, WFP’s assistance is critical to meet their food needs. This prevents further deteriorations in food security and livelihood status, and prevents negative coping mechanisms. WFP targets 600,000 of the most vulnerable, food insecure non-refugees in Palestine who have been affected by the ongoing conflict and occupation, a fiscal crisis and a steady decline in living standards. WFP has been present in Palestine since 1991.
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