Solidarity Day with the Palestinian People: International Presence in the occupied Territories
Interview by Wladek Flakin
Originally published in Junge Welt
An Interview with Neta Golan – Neta Golan is Israeli and a founding member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). She lives in Ramallah in the West Bank.
Q: The UN called for the solidarity day with the Palestinian People on Tuesday. How does your movement support the Palestinians ?
Neta: Our international Solidarity Movement was founded at the beginning of the second Intifada in September 2000. We support the non-violent resistance in Palestine. It’s a joint movement of Palestinians and foreign activists, so called internationals. The leadership of ISM is Palestinian.
There are several projects we work on it in parallel. A focal point is the support for the resistance against the annexing barriers, the walls and the fences who are build around the west bank. We focus on the village of Billin, near Ramallah. For ten months now, there is a demonstration every Friday.
In Nablus we support Palestinian farmers. Together with Israeli groups like “Rabbis for Human Rights” or “Anarchists against the Fence” we go to the fields to pick olives in areas under treat from the settlers.
Q: ISM is also present in Hebron.
Neta: Yes. We have a basis in Tel Rumeida, a quarter of the old city in Hebron where Palestinians live side by side with Settlers under apartheid circumstances. For example Palestinians are not allowed to use main roads, since they are reserved for the settlers. Young settlers throw rocks at Palestinian kids on their way to school. ISM activists accompany these kids to school every day. For Palestinians there, resistance means to stay in the area.
Q: How is the acceptance of ISM and other opponents against the occupation in the Israeli society ?
Neta: There are many defamation campaigns against us. From the foreign ministry, which we are not allowed to sue because of insult or from right-wing extremist settler groups. They publish incredible lies. They wrote about me, that I spent my entire life in a clinic for mentally ill persons.
Q: Israeli officials accuse ISM to support terrorist groups or terrorist acts.
Neta: Everything that happens here, is branded as terrorism by the army. When the British photographer Tom Hurndal was killed by soldiers in Gaza, the first press release from the army claimed that he was wearing camouflage and a weapon. Later they said that he stood side by side with a Palestinian fighter. The truth is, that a group of soldiers shoot at three children on a roadblock and Tom wanted to get them out of the fire line.
Q: How can we support the Palestinians and ISM ?
Neta: I know that it’s confusing, as every story appears in two different versions. Therefore I invite, I ask and I beg everybody to come to this place, in order to witness the reality in the occupied Palestinian territories by yourself.