9 September 2009
With rapidly escalating levels of settler violence in the West Bank, the International Solidarity Movement is issuing an urgent call for volunteers to participate in the 2009 Olive Harvest Campaign.
The olive tree is a national symbol for Palestinians. As thousands of olive trees have been bulldozed, uprooted and burned by the Israeli military and settlers, harvesting has become more than a source of livelihood; it has become a form of resistance. The olive harvest is an annual affirmation of Palestinians’ historical, spiritual and economic connection to their land, and a rejection of Israeli efforts to seize it.
Palestinian communities are inviting internationals to support and show solidarity with this resistance by working in the olive groves with them. By doing so, activists can reduce the risk of extreme violence from Israeli settlers or army through non-violent intervention and documentation.
The campaign will begin on the 3rd of October and run for approximately 6-8 weeks, depending on the size of the harvest. We request a 2 week commitment from volunteers.
In addition to the olive harvest, there will also be other opportunities to participate in grass-roots, non-violent resistance in Palestine.
In occupied East Jerusalem, ISM activists have been staying with the Hanoun and Ghawe families, prior and post their evictions. We will continue to support the initiatives of the families who face evictions or demolitions in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and other Palestinian neighborhoods in resisting the ethnic cleansing of occupied East Jerusalem.
ISM has been active in the village of Ni’lin, supporting its non-violent resistance to construction of the Apartheid Wall that annexes much of its land. Since May 2008, Ni’lin has been demonstrating and the Israeli military suppression of their unarmed protests has led to the death of 5 Palestinians and critical injury of an ISM activist.
In Bil’in, ISM has once again taken an apartment to participate in prevention of arrests and the ongoing night raids. Since the beginning of the summer, Israeli forces have been invading and arresting in the village of Bil’in, known for its creative resistance to the Apartheid Wall and construction of settlements on village lands.
Come! Bear witness to the suffering, courage and generosity of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation. Experiencing the situation for yourself is vital to adequately convey the reality of life in Palestine to your home communities and to re-frame the debate in a way that will expose Israel’s apartheid policies; creeping ethnic cleansing in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem as well as collective punishment and genocidal practices in Gaza.