21st August 2015 | International Solidarity Movement, Ramallah Team | Occupied Palestine
Update 6th September:
We are making an urgent call for volunteers to come and join us to support Palestinians in their daily resistance towards the Israeli illegal occupation of their land.
Just this last Wednesday, a 75 year old woman was brutally attacked by Israeli soldiers as she tried to defend her son from being kidnapped, in the village of Salem. The same soldiers then attacked and kidnapped 8 shepherds from that area. The shepherds of Salem struggle everyday to access their fields and do their work, and they urgently need our help to accompany them and secure a safe environment to prevent the soldiers from harassing and attacking them.
Likewise, in the Jordan Valley, Palestinian bedouins are suffering from massive house demolitions every week, leaving them homeless in extremely harsh conditions. There is an urgent need for international presence to prevent more destruction of houses, theft of land and construction of illegal settlements, and to call out for international actions and campaigns, as we did in Susiya.
And now that the season for olive harvest is soon to come, we also ask you to join us in October to pick up olives with the farmers. October is the time when the olives are ripe and ready to be harvested, but the Israeli authorities only permit farmers a very limited amount of time to do all this work, and they depend on our help to harvest as many olives as possible, since this is their main source of subsistence. Moreover, our international presence during harvest is crucial to prevent soldiers and illegal settlers from attacking the farmers during their work. This is why your presence makes a real difference.
During the months of July and August, there has been an escalation of violence from illegal Israeli settlers and the Israeli army towards Palestinians.
On a weekly basis, people throughout the West Bank are being arrested without charges, houses raided during the night, new houses have been demolished, settler violence has increased in the city of Hebron and in other villages, and the Israeli navy has increased the number of attacks towards Gazan fishermen.
On August 1st, the infant Ali Dawabshe was brutally murdered with an arson attack to his house perpetrated by illegal Israeli settlers in the village of Duma. His father, Saad Dawabshe, died one week after from severe burn injuries. Both his mother, Riham, and his 4 year old brother, Ahamd, remain hospitalized with severe burn injuries all over their bodies, with high risk of dying.
Since the end of the last Zionist massacre against Gaza there have been 1312 reported attacks against Gazan fishermen.
Since then, 22 boats have been stolen; 26 fishermen have been injured; one fisherman, Tawfiq Abu Riela, has been assassinated; 28 boats have been disabled by bullet fire; 2 big fishing boats have been sunken by rocket fire, one in Deir El Balah at 300m from the coast and one in Gaza City at 5 miles; 51 fishermen have been kidnapped while working and 3 fishermen remain prisoners until now.
The team in Hebron has reported an increase of night raids by Israeli forces and attacks by illegal settlers, which is terrorizing Palestinians living in Hebron. Two days ago, on August 20th, a group of French extremist Zionists intimidated and attacked international activists and local Palestinians. This group of extremists, called Kahane, which is considered a terrorist organization under Israeli law, was received with signs of sympathy by the soldiers.
At approximately 5:00 am, on Wednesday, August 19, the homes of the Totah and Totanji families were demolished by the Israeli army in the neighborhood of Wadi al Joz, in East Jerusalem. This neighborhood has been under threat of demolition since December, 2014, despite the fact that there are no accountable papers presenting a demolition order, nonetheless, the army has been slowly carrying out this plan. Neighbors live in constant fear that anytime their homes will be torn down.
In very similar conditions, the village of Susiya has been suffering from enormous fear by the threat of mass demolition orders issued by the Israeli government since 2012.
ISM also needs volunteers to join the 2015 olive harvest campaign.
ISM volunteers join Palestinian farming communities each year to harvest olives in areas where Palestinians face settler and military violence while working their land. Your presence can make a big difference, with Palestinian communities stating that the presence of international volunteers reduces the risk of extreme violence from Israeli settlers and the Israeli army.
The olive tree is a Palestinian national symbol, and the Israeli military systematically prevents agricultural fruition, in order to make life for Palestinians more difficult. The Israeli occupation provides a platform for Palestinian rights to be violated in an array of ways; the attack on agriculture is at the forefront.
Already documented this year, and to list a few cases; the trees have suffered settler sewage runoff , sabotaging fires, and being uprooted. Olive trees comprise of an essential 14% of the Palestinian agricultural economy.
We support Palestinians’ assertion of their right to earn their livelihoods and be present on their lands. International solidarity activists engage in non-violent intervention and documentation and practical support, which enables many families to pick their olives.
The campaign will begin during the last week of September and will last around 5 weeks. We request a minimum of 10 days commitment from harvest volunteers once they have finished their training, but stress that people staying for a longer period of time are needed as well. We ask that volunteers start arriving around the 20th of September, so that we will be prepared when the harvest begins.
We request volunteers who join us any time of the year to commit for a minimum of two weeks after completing training, but stress that people who can work with us for longer periods of time are needed as well. In the case of the olive harvest campaign, we ask volunteers to commit with ISM for a minimum period of 10 days after completing training. The ISM will be holding mandatory two day training sessions which will run weekly on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Please see the join ISM page or contact [email protected] for further information.