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Activity report - November 23, 2023

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Dear friends,

First, we hope you and your loved ones are bearing this horrible time in the best way possible for you, and wish for the best.

These days, filled with physical, emotional and mental strain bring about deliberations and even controversies among ourselves. The war, in whose shadow violence in the West Bank has escalated manyfold, and the freedom of expression and human rights within the state have been significantly curtailed – all of these raise different preferences amongst us both regarding the war and its goals, and the way we should act now regarding the occupation.

Despite controversy, we all adhere to the continued struggle against occupation and the understanding that it is the main and most basic reason for the terrible situation we find ourselves in. We are also unified in our opinion that the reasons we established and acted on in ‘Looking the Occupation in the Eye’ are critically important for the future of this place.

A considerable part of our activity has been disrupted since war broke out. Bridges, the Sarona encampment, our permanent action in the Za’atara Junction and the presence of occupation within the general wider protest – have all been impacted. We have also seen disappointment and failure while trying to defend the communities of Rashash and Wad A-Seeq. The olive harvest, which should now be at its peak, is taking place in name only. We have taken part in these activities in the past and feel their lack, looking for a way to keep our struggle and activity going.

Many friends have joined our various protest activities: some of us joined Yaacov Godo who lost his son Tom on October 8th and has erected a protest tent opposite Israel’s parliament. Some of us have joined other activities demanding the ousting of this government and bringing back the hostages. Some of these protesters, especially those seen as ‘leftists’, ran into violent and anti-democratic resistance of the police itself, and we must take that into consideration. In the general rage we share, we must find the way to sound our unique voice and point to the strong connection between the ‘situation’ and occupation.

In the West Bank, the situation is dire. The colonists are using this war to make the lives of Palestinians absolutely unbearable and fix facts on the ground, and the army greatly supports and encourages this lawlessness.

In opposition to this reality, we have done our best in two channels: we direct media attention to these facts, and try to move diplomatic efforts pressuring the Israeli government to put a halt to these phenomena. We have succeeded in both to a certain extent. Broad items have finally been publicized in Israeli as well as in worldwide media, even mainstream. The Americans, headed by President Biden, are busy with this, and even Europe has responded. A meeting took place with Israeli activists, including Guy Hirschfeld, and the German Ambassador as well as other diplomats. Unlike similar events in the past, this was even made public. This activity affects the state of things on the ground, but is far from sufficient.

So what now? How does one continue in the shadow of the goings-on?

We are back to accompanying shepherds and farmers in the southern Palestinian Jordan Valley, we have begun to accompany a new community, and hope that after the rains, as grass begins to grow again, we shall return to more communities.

We shall try to harvest olives, helping the Palestinian farmers, and cooperating with other organizations concerned.

We are trying to promote our activity center at Auja. The initial structure already exists on the ground. We now need to establish it and begin our activity there.

We persist in our media and press presence, pointing to the situation in the West Bank and the connection between Israel’s military occupation and the general situation.

Most important and challenging – we are back to voicing and making the occupation present in the growing protest against the government, while taking care not to hurt other efforts and feelings. Bringing our message back to the streets might run into violent police resistance including arrests, as well as violence on the part of rightist thugs. We shall have to take that into account.

Good wishes and cooperation,

the team of Looking Occupation in the Eye.

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