Update | 4.23.2019
With the calls for the annexation of the West Bank and the wave of home demolitions across E. Jerusalem and elsewhere, the indigenous communities here are facing an existential crisis. Israel continues to target the South Hebron Hills with demolitions in Susiyah, blocking vital roads between Palestinian communities, and arbitrary imprisonment of human rights workers. Now is the time to enact real campaigns to resist the forces of colonization. The Good Shepherd Collective continues to build a movement to confront the mechanisms of displacement in real ways.
While we offer material support for vulnerable communities across the West Bank–most specifically in Um al-Khair with our greenhouse project–we recognize that these projects are but bandaids on the core issues of injustice and violence. While some like to talk about this so-called “conflict” in religious terms, pitting this as a great dispute among religions, or in a nebulous framework of community trauma as a means to explain the cycles of violence, we take an approach much more grounded in reality: The colonization and displacement is rooted in the set of laws and policies which privilege one group over another. Because after all, where there is social stability across the globe–for which there are numerous examples–there is one commonality: equitable enforcement of the law and a fair distribution of resources. While this is self-evident, it always seems necessary to highlight this rather mundane point.
As such, our work is more than just educating people on the ways that Israel creates false narratives to perpetuate a system designed to displace the indigenous people, we look at ways this system is upheld in direct ways and layout meaningful solutions to overturn the structures of oppression. This is why for the last two months we’ve embarked on a journey to create a Palestinian grassroots network from the South Hebron Hills to the Northern Jordan Valley to cut the funding mechanisms of Regavim.
Regavim is a Zionist organization which works through Israel’s legal system to displace the indigenous communities from their lands. Regavim has filed hundreds of petitions to evict Palestinian communities, most notably in Susiyah, Khan al-Ahmar and numerous Bedouin communities in the Negev. The communities that we are working with are willing to stand on the front lines of this campaign, fully prepared to take on the backlash from the Israeli settlement community because of the havoc and destruction that has been waged on their lives.
Regavim, like many other organizations which support Israel’s program of colonization, enjoys a vast amount of support from US taxpayers. We’ve watched the success of the campaign of Independent Jewish Voices Canda to revoke the charitable status of Beth Oloth Charitable Organization–an organization that was financially supporting the Israeli military. We’ve witnessed a turn in the Democratic party to challenge the ways which Israel’s settler enterprise can not only be critiqued publically–but also suggesting ways they can be curtailed. The ground is fertile for this campaign.
We have garnered the support of roughly 20 different Palestinian communities, another 40 different Palestinian activists from the South Hebron Hills to the Northern Jordan Valley and are beginning to take our coalition building to the western areas of the West Bank and the Bedouin communities in the Negev to expand the call-to-action. We’ve begun construction on the campaign website and have nearly finished 40 interviews from local Palestinian communities to talk about the impact of Regavim, the importance of the campaign, and how the international community can stand in solidarity. We hope to have completed about 70 percent of the coalition-building process in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Negev before Ramadan begins and then move to secure the support of Israeli organizations committed to meaningful justice work. We, of course, have secured the commitment of progressive Israeli organizations like the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and Ta’ayush, but there is much work left to be done. After we finish developing our network here, we will pivot to the United States to organize with our natural allies in the struggle for justice.
As we continue to build this movement, we need financial support to cover the costs of transportation to the various community and communication needs, like printing brochures, and the maintenance of the website.
Over the next few months, there will be a lot of heavy lifting putting this all together and your financial support is crucial. You can stand in solidarity with the local communities’ call to action and make a US tax-deductible donation through the Alliance For Global Justice here, or if you are an international, and don’t need a tax-deductible contribution, you can commit financially through this link.
We are counting on you. In solidarity, Cody