Update | 11.27.2019

Home demolitions, settlement expansion rising at alarming rates

As we finish the month of October, the lack of material resistance to Israel’s policies of indigenous displacement, home demolitions have hit an all-time high. Israel has demolished some 140 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem.

These attacks aren’t just taking place in Jerusalem, oftentimes to Palestinians who don’t hold citizenship. These tactics of displacement focus on non-Jewish Israeli citizens. Israel’s Bedouin Development and Settlement Authority are moving to displace some 36,000 indigenous Bedouin who hold Israeli citizenship. Israel claims the erasure of the native communities is necessary for the establishment of “economic projects” and the expansion of military training areas.

Palestinians in the West Bank are facing yet another large influx of settlers, which of course will result in violence and land annexation. The Higher Planning Council of the Civil Administration approved plans for 2,342 housing units. Altogether, Israel has approved 8,337 settlement units in 2019 – an increase of nearly 50% from 2018 (5,618 units). Since Trump has been elected, unsurprisingly, settlement expansion has doubled. Palestinians are starting to lose their property as a result of developing additional settler roads. Israel confiscated several hundreds of dunums in Beit Ommar this week.

This settlement expansion, as we always like to point out, doesn’t happen organically like mushrooms popping up after a fall rain. Private U.S. donors used nonprofits to funnel some $220 million dollars between 2009 and 2013 alone. This money which flows into the likes of Elad, the Hebron Fund, Im Tirtzu, and Regavim use this money for political lobbying, make deeper inroads into the Israeli political system, and leverage their power to demolish Palestinian homes, confiscate land, and call for the formal annexation of West Bank.

We see think this link between the exploitation of US-based charities and right-wing settler organizations as an essential target of our activism. While we are not the first deploy this strategy, others such as Truah have filed their own complaints with the IRS, for example.

However, because 501 (c ) 3 organizations registered both at the federal level and at the state level, in our analysis, there is a crucial distinction to be made between disrupting the flow of tax-free money through the federal level – like the IRS – and taking legal recourse through the state level with the Attorney General’s Office. Because unlike IRS, the State Attorney General is an elected official, and as such, a public affairs campaign can leverage their constituents to demand change in altogether different and effective ways.

Over the last several months we have been building a campaign which connects Palestinians who are impacted by these settler organizations, on both sides of the Green Line – linking up a campaign with Palestinian Bedouin voices in the Naqab with communities facing permanent displacement in the South Hebron Hills, the Jordan Valley and beyond. We’ve been creating a groundswell of activism around this campaign, developing networks, and organizing our communication strategy for 2020 while building a strong, diverse US-based coalition.

Currently, we are organizing talks across the United States, moving through Florida, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. to lay the groundwork for the launch of the campaign.

However, in sticking with our principles of building a bottom-up, grassroots approach to justice work – avoiding rigid grants which water down movements of change – this tour financed solely by individual donations. As we move forward, we are asking you to make a financial contribution to the work of the Good Shepherd Collective.

As you see how crucial it is to develop alternative models to nonviolent resistance outside of the current NGO model, we hope that you will invest $5, $,10 or $20 dollars a month. If you are a US citizen and want to make a tax-deductible contribution, you can do it through this link. If you are a UK citizen and want to utilize GiftAid, you can do so through this link. For all other donation types, you can use this link here.

Your financial solidarity keeps us actively engaged with the most vulnerable communities. Consider making a tangible contribution to the work on the ground.
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