Fight Back Against Settler Destruction
Last Thursday, December 24th, Israeli settlers–likely from the outpost of Havat Ma’on–entered Palestinian lands in the South Hebron Hills village of Atuwani in order to uproot and steal approximately 34 olive trees. Of those olive trees, 24 had been planted by the Good Shepherd Collective through our olive tree planting program, a program by which international donations are turned into trees to secure vulnerable Palestinian lands.
In the case of Atuwani, the trees were planted in the eastern section of the village’s Sumud Freedom Garden in cooperation with Youth of Sumud. The attack on these trees, as well as their theft, represents exactly what Israeli settlers have been doing across the West Bank for decades: expand their control of land and resources. Over the years, Israeli settlements have crept across the South Hebron HIlls, built on lands belonging to the villages next door, using similar tactics to intimidate the local Palestinian communities. In particular, settlers find a double success in sabotaging Palestinians’ ability to grow and sustain crops: it harms the community economically, while clearing land for use by the settlement.
That is the importance of our olive tree campaign. It is not just about planting olive trees for humanitarian purposes or to have photos opportunities announcing our dedication to solidarity, but rather to help secure vulnerable lands. All of the areas in which we plant trees are at-risk. Situated on the edge of the land still controlled by the village of Atuwani and beside all of the lands that have been taken over by the settlement, the Sumud Freedom Garden represents a space where residents of Atuwani can make a statement, challenge settler aggressions and link international advocacy campaigns with our foreign volunteer program.
But we need your financial support to continue this crucial work. We are looking to raise $1,200 immediately to replace the olive trees that the settler destroyed or stolen. Can you step into this space of solidarity and make a crucial donation? Follow this link to support our work in vulnerable communities.
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As we move forward with developing principled programs of resistance and building a broad-based, diverse network of individuals and groups willing to challenge the policies and law that perpetuate the oppression and violence, your material support is essential.
Until the next email, you can like our page on Facebook and make sure that you follow it–and set it to “see first,” so you can stay on top of our updates as we post them. Next, you can find us on Twitter and Instagram. Lastly, take a moment and urge your friends to visit our website, find out more about us and send them a link to our email sign up list.
We need your solidarity
As we continue with this work, we are asking you to join our current “Drive for $5” donation campaign. We are building a model of grassroots mobilization that rejects the restrictive and oppressive models of neoliberal foundations and nation-state aid. We are asking individuals to invest $5 a month to continue this work. You can do that by clicking this link here. If you want to make a larger donation there are other options. If you are a US citizen and want to make a tax-deductible contribution, you can do so through the Alliance for Global Justice by clicking here. If you are in the UK, you can use our partners the British Shalom-Salaam Trust and use GiftAid.
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Your financial solidarity keeps us actively engaged with the most vulnerable communities. Consider making a tangible contribution to the work on the ground.