Why join a work day?
Work days in the South Hebron Hills are not only an important act of resistance and solidarity but a deeply engaging way to understand the finer points of how Israel’s military occupation impacts everyday life. Palestinian resistance on the ground to Israel’s planning and zoning regime in south provides a glimpse into one of the many mechanisms of decolonization: staying and investing in their lands in tangible ways.
As Israel’s Civil Administration, in conjunction with the Israeli settler movement, continue to annex lands, restrict natural housing expansion, impose restrictions of movement on Palestinians and human rights defenders–silencing the call for justice–your physical presence is crucial. It is through these deep, meaningful experiences in communities facing expulsion that you are able to carry an alternative message into your networks and community and build upon the movement for human rights in the Holy Land.
What to expect at a work day?
At the work days, you always get a historical and political debriefing of the community, coupled with an analysis of the next action steps to take towards peace and justice. Palestinian hospitality always includes tea and/or coffee, as well as a meal. While the physical work is important, we also understand that everybody can only do tasks within their means. Thus, whether or not you’re able to take on a heavy load of manual labor isn’t as important as your willingness to find ways that you can take part in the movement of justice. There is always water, but it is helpful to bring your own. When thinking of what to wear, consider good shoes and modest dress, and always make sure to check the expected weather conditions. It is always wise to pack sunscreen and extra layers.
Depending on your situation, transportation can be complicated and because we try to be flexible with people’s travel needs, we let people take the ways that they feel comfortable. Some people are happy to make the trek to the Palestinian communities with public transportation; others are not. We organize buses from Jerusalem, but the cost of transportation is contingent upon the number of people that show up that day. The best way to keep updated is to make sure that all your contact information is correct so we can be in communication and provide updates leading up to the work day.