When the Israeli forces dragged Fadel off for taking water, his heartbroken five-year-old son Khaled could be heard screaming “baba, baba!” as his dad was torn away. This is daily life for Palestinians living under the brutal fist of martial law where their land and water has been stolen by settlers and they have no basic human rights. But after years of violence and hopelessness, a movement is growing in Palestine — a nonviolent resistance seeking the same thing that all Israelis already have: freedom, dignity and a state of their own.
For years, the media has focused on Palestinian militants, and to this day, extremists on both sides are pushing peace further out of reach. But what’s lost in all that vitriol are the loving families like Fadel’s that just want a normal life. Now, those families are stepping forward, leading peaceful marches, organizing sit-ins, and working with Israeli activists to seek justice and freedom. In response, the Israeli military has thrown them in jail, beaten up organisers, and ripped children from their beds.
Days ago, I went to the West Bank to meet with these brave, peaceful people. When I proposed that our community could come to their aid, their eyes lit up. They need funds for lawyers when they are jailed on spurious charges, cameras to document abuses, training in media skills and nonviolent tactics, and campaigners to take this local protest global. These families are the real hope. If enough of us pledge €4 now, we can boost the peaceful movement over the extremist ones and give Khaled a future worthy of his father’s dreams. Avaaz will only process the pledges if we get enough to make a real difference:
This occupation has gone on for too long and for too long the resolution of this conflict has been controlled by extremists on both sides. But today, there are a few things most people agree on: first, both the Israelis and the Palestinians should each be entitled to a state; and second, the treatment of the Palestinians in the occupied territories violates every sense of justice we have, from international law to basic common sense. Even hard-line retired Israeli national security officials agree.
But the current Israeli government is only making things worse. While they pay lip service to peace talks and a two-state solution, they expand more settlements in the West Bank, making a two-state solution permanently impossible. And the Israeli military subjects Palestinians in the occupied territories to a whole different set of laws than the Jewish settlers who occupy those lands, even throwing children into prison for months at a time.
The best hope for ending this injustice and finally reaching peace is this peaceful resistance movement. Here are a few of the ways we can support them:
- Support life-saving legal aid to help nonviolent leaders defend themselves from trumped up charges and kangaroo military courts;
- Bring in civil disobedience experts from other movements to share strategies and tactics with communities across the West Bank;
- Provide media equipment and trainings to leaders so they can both document abuses and get the word out to the world about this hopeful, inspiring movement;
- Hire top-notch campaigners on the ground to provide ongoing support to this movement, scale actions across the West Bank, and engage our global community to take this movement from local to global;
- Livestream their nonviolent actions on our site and organise a global day of action across the world.
The Avaaz community has been unwavering in its support for freedom, justice and conflict resolution across the world. Today, one of the most virulent bastions of injustice on the planet is the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestinian lands. But even there, hope springs. And together, we can be a part of the generation that brings freedom and peace to two peoples, betrayed so often by governments, both of whom so desperately need it. Let’s show what our community can do.
With hope and determination,
Alice and the rest of the Avaaz team
Video / Palestinian boy upset by father’s arrest garners international media attention (Haaretz)
When Montgomery comes to Nabi Saleh (Foreign Policy)
The Rise of Palestinian Non-Violence: A Conversation with Mustafa Barghouti (Daily Beast)
Israel in Peril (New York Review of Books)
‘Drip, Jordan’: Water supply as a focal point of occupation (Harper’s Magazine)
Is this where the third intifada will start? (New York Times)
For West Bank protesters, legal knowledge is power (+972 Magazine)
The West Bank’s 2012: The Year of the Israeli Settlement (TIME)