Saturday, 3 February 2007


This is written by a brave young Green Party friend of mine:

Over December I spent a month out in Palestine working with International Solidarity Movement, an organisation with the basic aim of helping support Palestinians with their non-violent resistance to the illegal occupation. Whilst resistance in Britain can largely be seen in terms of protests and demonstrations, simply living in Palestine is a form of resistance and the main aim of my work was to help Palestinians in their daily lives. It is difficult to give a summary of my time out there so check out and my blog from out there.Most of my work took place in Hebron, in the West Bank. This involved walking children to school to ensure they aren't attacked by Israeli settlers who 'share' the city centre with the Palestinians. These attacks take the form of verbal abuse, spitting, eggs or even rocks. Indeed one other solidarity monitor was attacked with a bottle in the face. The fact that these kids still want to learn is a testament to them and their families - having tried to bunk school for a good deal less at their age what they go through on a daily basis is pretty incredible. Of course it has huge psychological impacts on all members of the family. Other times I would go along and support demonstrations, often with farmers who had lost access to their land. Whilst I've seen some brutal police actions in Britain nothing compares to what I saw out there. At peaceful demonstrations, I was attacked by sound bombs, tear gas, batons and rubberbullets. Live ammo is on occasion fired, especially at demonstrations we don't go to. Daily life out there is pretty grim and depressing for Palestinians but despite this they were incredibly generous and appreciative to me whilst I was out there. Whilst what I achieved doesn't seem like much it does actually make a difference to their lives. Where international observers are placed there is often a lot less abuses of the Palestinians, whether that is waiting times at checkpoints, settler attacks or a whole host of other problems. Whilst it can be a disturbing experience I certainly think it is aworthwhile and enriching one at the same time. The occupation is not going to end with words alone and people's action is required in order to achieve this. Whilst the movement has to be Palestinian lead, they need international support and solidarity and I would urge those with time to go. Those who are time poor but perhaps slightly more cash rich, please think about sponsoring those who go out there.

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