By Salena Tramel
May 15th, 2011
GAZA CITY— The turnstile locks behind me and I’m standing in a small metal room. I flashback to the first time I crossed Erez checkpoint last year and remember the claustrophobic feeling of walking into a trap, three small metal doors blending into the steel. This time, I know the drill, and place bets on which one of these gateways to Gaza will randomly open. One finally does, revealing a seemingly endless open-air tunnel that snakes through the expanse of the buffer zone. I have been waiting for this moment, for the long walk alone to the other side. I crank up Gran Vitaly’s “Looming Hurricane” on my iPod and weave through the cage, separated from heavily armed soldiers by razed agricultural land. Time stands still for a while, and then before I know it, I’m back in the Strip.
After a relatively quiet few months in Gaza, conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians have erupted anew, with each side claiming retaliation rights. Flexing its superior military might—and causing mighty damage—the Israeli armed forces have intensified their attacks on the blockaded territory. And just like during operation “Cast Lead,” Gazan civilians are paying the heaviest price.
This article, Israel lays Gaza-like siege on West Bank village, highlights many threats to resource rights in Palestine, as the people living there have diminishing access to land, water, and food. These developments in Beit Ommar not only show the severity of the politics of occupation, but also stand in the way of a just peace .
At the rate the Separation Wall is being built, soon Palestinian Land Day (March 30) will need only a few hours. The Wall and the Israeli mandated buffer zones jut into the Palestinian territories by as much as 300 feet, gobbling up fertile agricultural land and precious water reserves, and make cool profits for companies like Elbit Systems Ltd. contracted to build the massive structure.
by Stephen R. Shalom
NOTE: the following is an excerpt from an article by Stephen R. Shalom, Jewish professor, writer, and advisory board member of the Israeli Occupation Archive. This article is a slightly edited and footnoted version of remarks delivered at New York University 28 Feb 2011 for Israel Apartheid Week
"No company is more deeply embedded in Israel's brutal architecture, occupation and segregation than Elbit."
-- Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
The Wall, currently being built by Elbit Systems Ltd., separates Palestinian families from thousands of acres of farmland, aqueducts and wells. To make way for the massive structure, more than 100,000 olive trees have already been uprooted. And with each slab of concrete erected and security trench expanded, Elbit reaps ever greater profits while Palestinians endure violations to their resource and human rights.
By Salena Tramel
December 29th, 2010
Year before last, I was sitting in the living room of my childhood home sharing a cup of morning coffee with my mother and musing over the holidays. We laughed over kitschy Christmas gifts from well-meaning relatives before deciding to turn on the news for five minutes on the brink of another vacation day. Those five minutes would turn out to be one of those times like 9/11—when you never forget exactly where you were when you found out. "Oh no," gasped my mother, tears welling up immediately in her eyes. "Gaza Explodes..." scrolled across the bottom of the screen, and plumes of smoke hung on the living room wall in high definition.
Our partner, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), works to protect human rights and promote the rule of law. They have been recognized as an effective voice of the Palestinian people through awards such as the Human Rights Prize from France. PCHR has gained an international reputation as an independent voice on human rights vis-à-vis both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Down south in the Negev desert, the sounds of jets fill wide-open spaces. Increasing militarization is constant -- at least 80% of the land there is used for military training purposes, including weaponry development. The Negev also contains the largest petrochemical processing center in the Middle East and Israel’s nuclear facilities. Bedouin communities who call the remaining land home are routinely -- and forcibly -- displaced.
By Alisa Pimentel
Among the almost 20,000 activists gathered in Detroit for the US Social Forum this week are several Grassroots International partners and allies. Grassroots International regularly provides funding to our partners and allies to participate in movement-building and leadership development gatherings.