The North America Nakba Tour begins April 4th!
Please visit the Nakba Tour page on this site for full details.
Please visit the Events Calendar on this site to find details on events by date.
The North America Nakba Tour begins April 4th!
Please visit the Nakba Tour page on this site for full details.
Please visit the Events Calendar on this site to find details on events by date.
• a 750ml bottle of Palestinian olive oil
• 2 bars of olive oil soap
• a bag of za’atar
• a new, hand-curated Palestinian cultural product in each box (the first box will contain a downloadable album of music from Haidar Eid)
• a sterling silver piece of Arabic calligraphy jewelry.
The first Palbox ships December 1, just in time for the holidays. You must order during October to receive the December 1st shipment.
Here is our 2 minute promo video below:
The challenge in creating Palbox was how to support Palestinians living in Gaza, faced with an Israeli blockade of exports. Palbox overcomes with electronic downloadables from Gaza, like music, which bypass the blockade.
Here is Katie Miranda’s 10 minute “interview” with singer, BDS activist, and professor of Postcolonial and Postmodern Literature at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University, Haidar Eid, about his new album titled Gaza Blues: Hymns of Love, Death and Resistance. The album comes with the first Palbox. The reason “interview” is in quotes is that due to the inconsistent supply of electricity in Gaza, Katie could not do the interview over Skype, so she emailed him the questions and he recorded the answers. Katie is a successful career artist and former ISM volunteer who is part of the Northern California coordination team.
Palbox is most of all an act of solidarity with Palestinians. In addition to supporting the Palestinian economy with Fair Trade principles and practices, proceeds from the sale of Palbox products go to the Northern California chapter of the International Solidarity Movement, a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent methods and principles. We cannot single handedly stop bombs from raining down on Gaza but we can vote with our pocketbooks by boycotting Israeli goods and buying Palestinian.
What if you and everyone you knew used ONLY Palestinian olive oil ? Think what that would mean for Palestinian farmers…
Since the evening of April 10th, 2017, Israeli forces have imposed increased restrictions on the Palestinians of al-Khalil as colonial settlers and Israeli tourists celebrate Pesach – or Passover – across the city. So far, homes have been occupied, checkpoints closed, and Palestinian children attacked with teargas during the week-long holiday. Preparations for the festival began early in the week as an increasing number of Israeli soldiers and military vehicles arrived in Hebron.
Consequently, Palestinians have faced increased delays and harrassment from soldiers, both the areas of H1, officially under full Palestinian civil and security control, and H2, which is under full Israeli control – the two areas into which al-Khalil has been divided since this Ibrahimi Mosque massacre of 1997 by a Jewish settler. The number of ID checks, bag searches, and body checks have increased across the city’s checkpoints as well as in the Old Town, as a result of Israeli military incursions, both day and night. Israeli forces also entered the homes of Palestinians living on Shuhada Street – for whom the only entry is through the rear of the house – before occupying the roofs of the houses for hours at a time.
On Wednesday 12th April Israeli forces closed and barricaded the Ibrahimi mosque and the adjoining checkpoints, further restricting Palestinians’ rights to free movement and worship in and around the mosque. ISM activists were also informed by the Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) that teargas was being fired at Palestinian children by Israeli Forces outside Saleymeh checkpoint. Whilst the checkpoint nearby the Ibrahimi Mosque had reopened for Friday Prayers, Palestinians continue to face long delays and harrassment at the hands of Israeli forces.
Meanwhile that day, Israeli forces gathered outside Shuhada checkpoint for over five hours, shutting down a whole road in H1 to allow (often heavily armed) Israeli settlers and tourists to pass through the area. Two military vehicles blocked the road, causing significant traffic congestion along Bab es-Sawiyah, while upwards of ten Israeli soldiers and fifteen Border Police filmed internationals and prevented Palestinians from passing through. Shuhada checkpoint leads to Shuhada Street, an area where Palestinian vehicles – including ambulances – are forbidden. Palestinians are only allowed to enter the street if they are numbered and registered as residents of the area.
On both Wednesday and Thursday, the Palestinian-owned shops surrounding the Ibrahimi Mosque were ordered to close. Further closures and roadblocks were also imposed by Israeli forces during several incursions by large groups of colonial settlers which passed through the souk in Hebron’s Old Town. Whilst these settler ‘tours’ happen every Saturday in al-Khalil, this week’s incursions follow similar events in occupied Palestine this week, most notably in occupied East Jerusalem where 385 settlers stormed Al-Aqsa.
This year, Pesach is celebrated from the evening of Monday, April 10th, until the evening of Tuesday, April 18th. For Israeli settlers, the holiday this year has an additional significance in marking the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of Rabbi Moshe Levinger and followers of the Greater Israel movement – the first colonial settlers in al-Khalil – to the Park Hotel in 1967, posing as Swiss tourists. Today, around 700 colonial settlers live in the H2 area of al-Khalil and are accompanied by almost 1,500 Israeli soldiers as well as Border Police and Israeli civil police.
A Palestinian family living in the Old City of al-Khalil were subject to nightly home intrusions by Israeli forces throughout the week leading up to Pesach, or Passover. On Wednesday 12th April, ISM activists visited the home on Shalallah Street before staying with the family overnight to monitor the situation.
The father of the family told ISM activists how six soldiers would arrive at the house at roughly 2 am, banging aggressively on the door with their M16 rifles before forcibly making their way up to the roof of the family home. These incursions occurred several times throughout the week as the same soldiers would arrive in the middle of the night to access and occupy the roof where they would sit for just one hour before leaving again through the family home.
The father believes these nightly intrusions come as punishment from Israeli forces in response to him welcoming tour groups and tourists onto his roof to witness the family’s situation. The rooftop overlooks the illegal settlement of Beit Hadassah – from which members of the family often experience harassment from neighboring colonial settlers – as well as the nearby Israeli military outpost.
The family has eight small children, all of whom are frequently woken-up scared at the sight and sounds of Israeli soldiers entering the home. The intrusions occurred all week before culminating on Wednesday the 12th of April when Israeli forces – this time consisting of eleven soldiers and two dogs – appeared at the house a total of four times throughout the day.
The past week in Khalil has been characterized by an increased military presence, house intrusions, closures, and harassment as Israeli settlers and tourists celebrate the Jewish holiday of Pesach. However, incidents such as these are not unique, as many Palestinian families living close to illegal Israeli settlements or outposts across the occupied West Bank often experience night raids, vandalism, and harassment at the hands of both colonial settlers and Israeli soldiers.
Last week, amidst a slew of arrests by Israeli forces and subsequent court hearings, ISM activists had the opportunity to meet with Badee Dwaik; one of the four men arrested during the Land Day demonstrations in occupied al-Khalil. Badee, a seasoned activist of many decades and committee member of the Dismantle the Ghetto campaign, believes his arrest was targeted and spoke of how conditions inside the jails were “worse than they’ve ever been before” during his four nights of detention.
The peaceful Land Day actions began with the planting of olive trees near Kiryat Arba – an illegal settlement of roughly 8,000 people in occupied al-Khalil. The decision to plant olive trees was made because, as Badee put it, “we fear this land will be confiscated in the near future.” Throughout the action, many settlers attempted to provoke the demonstrators with violence, but nobody gave in: “They try to break us or block us but we ignore it and the army does nothing,” Badee says. He’s only a day out of jail, but seems calm and eager to tell his story. Every so often he takes breaks from talking to put a hand on his ribs, where he says they beat him.
“After we planted the trees, we marched up to the hill where we continued to protest,” where one of the soldiers held a sheet of paper which – as revealed during military court hearing – declared the area a “closed military zone.” Out of nowhere, Israeli forces began pursuing individual demonstrators and Badee found himself on the ground beneath a group of soldiers who beat and arrested him. Those detained by Israeli soldiers were taken down the hill, where Israeli police and Border Police were waiting: “They took us to the police. I was surprised to see Annan there.” It had appeared that the soldiers knew exactly who they wanted to arrest, and picked them from the crowd. They arrested three active members of the Dismantle the Ghetto campaign in what Badee believes to be part of a wider effort by the Israeli occupiers to silence the campaign and put an end to their non-violent demonstrations.
During their time in jail, Badee spoke of how the Israeli guards sometimes would not give the detainees their meals and did not administer Badee’s diabetes medication. When he told the guards that he suffers from diabetes, they told him “it’s not our business to bring your medication to you.” Only after being moved to another prison later that week was he taken the the medical doctor who told him he was at serious risk and he was injected with insulin on the premises. Badee was then moved to a third jail, where he said he was subject to conditions he had never experienced before. “The conditions were bad. When we arrived to this jail they made us throw our belongings away.” Here, Israeli guards made the men remove their clothing and do humilating acts while naked. When Badee refused, he was punished for it later: “We had no mattresses. We slept on the metal. They didn’t feed us a few meals and only gave cigarettes to those who cooperated with him.”
Afte four nights of detention, Badee was sat before Ofer military court, near Ramallah, on spurious charges largely based on a “secret file.” “I’ve never seen this [secret file],” he said, and was alarmed at the allegations they presented. Badee is convinced that there’s an initiative to break their coalition. The judge claimed Badee and the others were “dangerous, holding an illegal demonstration” and that the Israeli state should be “harder on these men,” however his lawyer managed to negotiate their release late that night on the condition that they paid 3,500 shekels per person. When Badee and the others were finally freed, many of their belongings had been stolen.
Whilst Israeli settlers living in the West Bank are subject to Israeli civil law, the Palestinian population lives under Israeli military law. Under this law, Palestinians like Badee can be held indefinitely in ‘administrative detention‘: detained without trail and often based on secret information. There are currently 500 administrative detainees in occupied Palestine.
16th April 2017 | International Solidarity Movement, Ramallah Team | Gaza, occupied Palestine
Today marks the 6th anniversary of the death of Vittorio Arrigoni, a journalist and an italian activist working with the International Solidarity Movement, in Gaza.
Arrigoni first went to Gaza in 2008, on an activist-organised flotilla seeking to defy the Israeli blockade over Gaza, imposed two years before. On April 16th 2011, when Arrigoni was 36 years old, his body was found in Gaza city, only a few hours after “The Brigade of the Gallant Companion of the Prophet Mohammad bin Muslima”, a Salafist group operating in Gaza, released the video where he was blindfolded and wounded. After investigations, his alleged murderers were arrested and sentenced to life-imprisonment (15 years after appeal).
Vittorio Arrigoni was one of the international activists present in Gaza during Israel’s attacks on the Gaza strip in 2008-09, while volunteering with the Palestine Red Crescent Society, and was one of the few international voices dispatching information during the attacks, especially after Israel banned the entry of journalists into the territory.
For almost his 3 years living in the Gaza Strip, Arrigoni was a committed ISM activist, working in solidarity with farmers and fishermen, whose lives were being severely constrained by the blockade. His presence in protests and demonstrations allowed him to document and report the impact of the blockade, warfare and human rights violations in that territory. Arrigoni’s involvement with the Palestinian struggle made him a target for arrest and injuries by the Israeli military several times, and also led him to volunteer in Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon.
After breaking the blockade in 2008, Arrigoni described that moment as being on of the happiest of his life, as “it became clear, not only to the world, but Palestinians also, that there are people who are willing to spend their lives to come and hug their brothers here in Gaza.”.
As it has been happening every year, Palestinians have commemorated the sixth anniversary of Vittorio Arrigoni’s death yesterday, by gathering in the port of Gaza. Vittorio’s memory is also honored in Gaza by the street and school that carry his name. Some of his thoughts on his experience in Gaza and on the solidarity with the Palestinian people have also been collected and turned into a book, “Gaza: Stay Human” (a nod to the way Vittorio used to sign his emails), first published in 2011.
ISM mourns this loss and hopes to honor Vittorio’s death by supporting and showing solidarity to the Palestinian people in their daily, non-violent resistance to the blockade in Gaza and the occupation.
“We must remain human, even in the most difficult times … Because, despite everything, there must always be humanity within us. We have to bring it to others.”
4th February 1975 – 15th April 2011
Having spent the last 15 years in an Israeli prison, I have been both a witness to and a victim of Israel’s illegal system of mass arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners. After exhausting all other options, I decided there was no choice but to resist these abuses by going on a hunger strike.
Some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners have decided to take part in this hunger strike, which begins today, the day we observe here as Prisoners’ Day. Hunger striking is the most peaceful form of resistance available. It inflicts pain solely on those who participate and on their loved ones, in the hopes that their empty stomachs and their sacrifice will help the message resonate beyond the confines of their dark cells.
Decades of experience have proved that Israel’s inhumane system of colonial and military occupation aims to break the spirit of prisoners and the nation to which they belong, by inflicting suffering on their bodies, separating them from their families and communities, using humiliating measures to compel subjugation. In spite of such treatment, we will not surrender to it.
Israel, the occupying power, has violated international law in multiple ways for nearly 70 years, and yet has been granted impunity for its actions. It has committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions against the Palestinian people; the prisoners, including men, women and children, are no exception.
Continue reading the main story
I was only 15 when I was first imprisoned. I was barely 18 when an Israeli interrogator forced me to spread my legs while I stood naked in the interrogation room, before hitting my genitals. I passed out from the pain, and the resulting fall left an everlasting scar on my forehead. The interrogator mocked me afterward, saying that I would never procreate because people like me give birth only to terrorists and murderers.
A few years later, I was again in an Israeli prison, leading a hunger strike, when my first son was born. Instead of the sweets we usually distribute to celebrate such news, I handed out salt to the other prisoners. When he was barely 18, he in turn was arrested and spent four years in Israeli prisons.
The eldest of my four children is now a man of 31. Yet here I still am, pursuing this struggle for freedom along with thousands of prisoners, millions of Palestinians and the support of so many around the world. What is it with the arrogance of the occupier and the oppressor and their backers that makes them deaf to this simple truth: Our chains will be broken before we are, because it is human nature to heed the call for freedom regardless of the cost.
Israel has built nearly all of its prisons inside Israel rather than in the occupied territory. In doing so, it has unlawfully and forcibly transferred Palestinian civilians into captivity, and has used this situation to restrict family visits and to inflict suffering on prisoners through long transports under cruel conditions. It turned basic rights that should be guaranteed under international law — including some painfully secured through previous hunger strikes — into privileges its prison service decides to grant us or deprive us of.
Palestinian prisoners and detainees have suffered from torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, and medical negligence. Some have been killed while in detention. According to the latest count from the Palestinian Prisoners Club, about 200 Palestinian prisoners have died since 1967 because of such actions. Palestinian prisoners and their families also remain a primary target of Israel’s policy of imposing collective punishments.
Through our hunger strike, we seek an end to these abuses.
Over the past five decades, according to the human rights group Addameer, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned or detained by Israel — equivalent to about 40 percent of the Palestinian territory’s male population. Today, about 6,500 are still imprisoned, among them some who have the dismal distinction of holding world records for the longest periods in detention of political prisoners. There is hardly a single family in Palestine that has not endured the suffering caused by the imprisonment of one or several of its members.
How to account for this unbelievable state of affairs?
Israel has established a dual legal regime, a form of judicial apartheid, that provides virtual impunity for Israelis who commit crimes against Palestinians, while criminalizing Palestinian presence and resistance. Israel’s courts are a charade of justice, clearly instruments of colonial, military occupation. According to the State Department, the conviction rate for Palestinians in the military courts is nearly 90 percent.
Among the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians whom Israel has taken captive are children, women, parliamentarians, activists, journalists, human rights defenders, academics, political figures, militants, bystanders, family members of prisoners. And all with one aim: to bury the legitimate aspirations of an entire nation.
Instead, though, Israel’s prisons have become the cradle of a lasting movement for Palestinian self-determination. This new hunger strike will demonstrate once more that the prisoners’ movement is the compass that guides our struggle, the struggle for Freedom and Dignity, the name we have chosen for this new step in our long walk to freedom.
Israel has tried to brand us all as terrorists to legitimize its violations, including mass arbitrary arrests, torture, punitive measures and severe restrictions. As part of Israel’s effort to undermine the Palestinian struggle for freedom, an Israeli court sentenced me to five life sentences and 40 years in prison in a political show trial that was denounced by international observers.
Israel is not the first occupying or colonial power to resort to such expedients. Every national liberation movement in history can recall similar practices. This is why so many people who have fought against oppression, colonialism and apartheid stand with us. The International Campaign to Free Marwan Barghouti and All Palestinian Prisoners that the anti-apartheid icon Ahmed Kathrada and my wife, Fadwa, inaugurated in 2013 from Nelson Mandela’s former cell on Robben Island has enjoyed the support of eight Nobel Peace Prize laureates, 120 governments and hundreds of leaders, parliamentarians, artists and academics around the world.
Their solidarity exposes Israel’s moral and political failure. Rights are not bestowed by an oppressor. Freedom and dignity are universal rights that are inherent in humanity, to be enjoyed by every nation and all human beings. Palestinians will not be an exception. Only ending occupation will end this injustice and mark the birth of peace.
**In PDF Format: ism_news_v132-december-2016-color
Last spring, I found myself facing several hurdles, and trying to get established with volunteer projects in Amman Jordan, having been turned away at the Allenby Bridge crossing into the West Bank by the Israeli authorities. While it was a big disappointment to have my passport stamped “denied entry” plus a big red line drawn across the page designating very clearly that there was absolutely no welcome mat for me, I gradually got my bearings, found my way, and even found myself smiling time and again when I was greeted by the national mantra, “Welcome to Jordan.”
My journey last year had been backed by a solid invitation to do health care rehabilitation and trainings in Palestine. I felt much more prepared for my role in this work, than I had 25 years earlier, during the first Intifada, when I first volunteered in a Palestinian village health clinic. Over the years, my clinical skills had improved, as had my appreciation for the struggles, the ever increasing squeezing of the Palestinian people, and how the military occupation severely affected the health status of the people.
As every year during the summer, the water shortage in the Gaza Strip is accentuated. At the same time, the energy shortage caused by the blockade prevents engines and water pumps from pushing it from wells and tanks to houses and farming fields.
The Beach Camp is one of the more densely populated areas of Gaza and therefore one of the most affected by water scarcity. In addition, because of its location, directly on the seafront, its aquifers are some of the most affected by the infiltration of seawater and wastewater.
We collected several testimonies of people affected by this problem in order to discuss them with the engineer Monther Shoblak, General Director of the Palestinian National Authority Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU).
in my home and in the homes of my four sons and their families we don’t have a drop of water
The first testimony is that of Azzam Miflah El Sheikh Khalil, who says “the water comes only once every three days, and just for a few hours, which is not enough [to fill the tanks]. People can’t imagine how we are suffering because of the lack of water. In addition, there is no difference between the water from our wells and the sea water… The main problem is that when there is electricity there’s no running water and when there is running water there’s no electricity . The only solution we have is to buy a generator to produce electricity when there’s water, but who can buy it if there is no work?”
[In late 2013, some of the Palestinian leadership of ISM in Palestine created their own nonviolent resistance organization on the same model, calling it the Solidarity Movement for Free Palestine (SFP). We at NorCal ISM decided to support both groups, which we have been doing ever since. The Israeli government came down hard on the new group, so a lot of our support in Palestine has consisted of paying fines and legal help for imprisoned leaders. But this is not the only support that we have given, as you will see below.]
In early June an international volunteer of the SFP visited the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon to show solidarity with the refugees of Palestine. The visit included touring the medical facilities built and run by the Palestinian population of the camps and learning about the vital role they have played in securing dignity for the residents during their exile, awaiting their return home to Palestine.
With help from NorCal ISM, SFP provided funds over the summer to the Nahr al-Bared maternity hospital project
Home to nearly 750,000 Palestinians, victims of the 1948 Nakba (‘Catastrophe’ in English) and their descendants, the tragedy but steadfastness of the Palestinian people of the Lebanese refugee camps endures. Nahr al-Bared camp exemplifies this more than many. Home to over 30,000 Palestinian refugees it was the scene of one of the latest examples of the continuing Nakba Palestinian refugees face in Lebanon.