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Activity report - July 22, 2023

It’s been about a month since our last update. We shall try to provide a monthly update from now on.

The general protest is accelerating and reaching a climax with the attempt to have the Knesset (Israeli parliament) pass a law annulling the ‘Rule of Reason’. Within the general din we insist on our own, clarifying that the occupation is the beginning, the reason of all reasons for the destructive tendencies led by the present ruling coalition – but also the continued policy held by all of Israel’s governments until now. If we do not put the occupation on the table along with the general wake-up-call, we shall only be putting off catastrophe.

Beginning with the goings-on in the West Bank

The situation in Palestine is getting worse from day to day. The colonists take advantage of the fact that one’s attention is drawn to what happens in the Knesset and in the protest movement inside Israel. They are backed up by their leaders within the cabinet and exacerbate their criminal terrorist acts. Their goal is the ethnic cleansing of Area C as a mere first step, clearly continuing this trend into Area B. The Israeli “security forces” enable this, at best, and commonly even help the fascists and accelerate human injury. The colonists do not stop at harassing shepherds as these try to graze their flocks - they have also begun to act inside the residential areas of communities throughout the region. The Palestinians are helpless, and communities are considering leaving their traditional habitat and organizing anew elsewhere throughout Area A. Some of them have already done so.

Our ability to affect and help them is limited. We do our best, being present on the ground, documenting – trying to mobilize the army and police and interest the Israeli public in this catastrophe. We are active especially in the southern Palestinian Jordan Valley and in the areas west of it. We accompany the shepherd communities of Mu'arrajat and Nu'eima almost daily, and often visit the areas of Qabbun and Wadi As Seeq, confronting the colonists in these places. We have tried to help al-Mughayyir villagers reach their fields around Daliyah, but were twice blocked by colonists, who in their impunity have erected an outpost on the track and prevent Palestinian access to the fields. The army that arrived was friendly with the colonists and did nothing to alter the situation.

We have partially succeeded to act against a new outpost that sprouted above Mu'arrajat. The outpost was evacuated but has been rebuilt since. All these activities involve activists on the ground as well as the support group trying to make the “security forces” take care of things (on their right side…), and social media people who give voice to the exacerbating situation.

On recent Fridays, activists persevering in their weekly protest demonstrations at Za’atara Junction continued from there to Umm Safa village near Bir Zeit – a village inside

Area B! A new outpost has been erected near the village and for several weeks Palestinians have been demonstrating opposite the outpost, joined by Israeli activists. Friendships have sprouted between the villagers and the activists. Yesterday, during the demonstration, the soldiers shot to death a 17-year-old, and another youth was seriously injured – catastrophes abound.

We continue our project of building fences at Burin village – with the money donated to restore the town of Huwara. Two houses concluded the works, a fence was put up in one of them and a concrete wall in the other. We shall continue to promote this project.

The center at al-Auja – approval has been achieved of our placing a caravan in privately-owned land near the office of our friend Ayman (who has since been arrested again, and then released…)

We are consolidating a program that would include an action plan and budgeting. The vehicle we have purchased is active on the ground, and a group of young activists is being formed, to bring the center practical content.

Our participation in the protest:

The policy we have upheld since the protest demonstrations began – taking part in the general protest while making Occupation present – has been fruitful: more and more people realize the necessary link between the two.

In Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Saturday night demonstrations, we have become more prominent by going against the stream – and have brought Occupation to the central stage. We no longer make do with standing on our corner and marching on the margins. For the past three weeks (including today) we lead the ‘Anti-Occupation Bloc’ and march all the way on Kaplan from east to west, making ourselves present by powerfully marching at the heart of the streaming crowd and by holding up a huge banner – photographed by drones – its picture distributed on social and other media. The first time we did so, a short violent confrontation ensued with ‘Brothers in Arms’ who attacked us and tried to take down the banner. We stopped them (violence does not scare us and we don’t give in to it) and continued marching. Later a reconciliation took place, and we clarified that we intend to continue marching.

On the Disruption Days initiated by the leaders of the protest, we held two powerful demonstrations opposite the US Embassy, and later joined the demonstration on Kaplan and the Ayalon Road.

Our focal points in other spots around the country continue to be active – the largest being Haifa and Jerusalem, with many other places as well.

Jerusalem sees a demonstration every single Saturday night near the President’s residence. After a period when it was reduced to several thousands, last Saturday night’s demonstration grew again to include 20,000 people. The anti-occupation bloc is present in every such demonstration, cooperating with the drummers, the ‘Free Jerusalem’ movement and others. Miryam arrives with our signs and stickers to be distributed beforehand, so people enter the event with the signs. The demand is huge. The bloc stands at the edge of the demonstration with our slogans that are updated with the current week’s goings on. Several weeks ago, we presented a performance with an incinerated home at the heart of the general demonstration. Recently, the Sub Laban family was evicted from its home in Jerusalem’s Old City. Activists from Free Jerusalem along with our activists and others held support demonstrations and vigils inside the home all day. The eviction was not prevented, but support was extremely significant.

Following the acquittal of the policeman who shot to death Eyad al-Hallaq, the victim’s family came to the Jerusalem demonstration on Saturday night, and his sister read out Koran verses on the stage.

In our Thursday encampment we resumed activities in addition to our ongoing presence. Two lectures have taken place as well as the projection of the film “Arna’s Children”, about Jenin’s Freedom Theatre. “The Second Shift” have resumed its activity until the late-night hours.

Internationally – two months ago we created a group of international activists, and there are now about 20 members from the US and Berlin in our WhatsApp group, alongside a group of Mistaclim (Looking the Occupation in the Eye) Israel.

The idea, beyond reinforcing our bloc in protests overseas (with shirts, banners and stickers), is to create a platform for distributing and sharing our materials, as well as creating our own media group in English. An example is a Berlin activist, Yuval Carasso, who created the organization’s English WhatsApp group and works in close coordination with our media team. We are making contact with media channels abroad in our attempt to produce some kind of lobby vis-à-vis the authorities, organize and take part in anti-occupation demonstrations like the one organized this week in New York by JVP, that included an impressive presence of ‘Looking the Occupation in the Eye’.

Videos – we have begun to work on a series of videos with Israeli activists, and later with Palestinians as well, combining material from the ground. Activists will speak about their experience of the occupation and answer why we are calling for international intervention.

At this point we have filmed 5 activists, and are now working on editing. The website we have created is taking shape. You are invited to take a look. On media, in our “Newsletter” – the news is that there is no news! We are working on all fronts and have managed – even – to penetrate the mainstream media.

Vision – after long labor pains, our vision - formulated by a group of activists and approved by the relevant team - has now been publicized.

We have surely forgotten something – please accept our apologies…

So far, quite a bit – no? It all happens because you take part. Everything depends on this, on your active participation as well as in the organizing and running of things. Please accept the responsibility and join us!

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