By MARTY GOODMAN
The ever-escalating brutality of the Israeli Zionist state has shocked millions. As a result an altogether new level of international solidarity with Palestine has begun. Its recruits are mainly young activists from the anti-war movement and World Bank protests, Central America solidarity work, and anti-racist and trade-union activism.
One Palestine solidarity organization, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), formed in August 2001, has just completed its “Freedom Summer” project. Hundreds of activists from many countries traveled to Palestine to participate in non-violent “direct action” against Israeli apartheid.
The ISM states: “Under the protection of its powerful ally and benefactor, the United States, Israel has been able to continue the occupation, build illegal settlements, deny the most basic of human rights, and pursue policies aimed at removing all Palestinians from their homeland.” The ISM says it draws inspiration from the non-violent strategies of Dr. Martin Luther King and follows the “leadership of Palestinian peace activists.”
The ISM was formed in conjunction with Palestinian activists from the Grassroots International Protection for Palestinians (GIPP), many of whom are involved in the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees and the Rapprochement Center in Bethlehem.
The ISM was lending direct aid during the Israeli assault on Palestinian Authority President Yasir Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah in late March and during the 40-day assault on Palestinians in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
During Freedom Summer the ISM participated in demonstrations against the Israeli occupation. ISM activists directly challenged curfews and helped to open military check points, including putting their bodies between Israeli guns and Palestinians. The ISM has resisted the illegal demolition of the homes of resistance fighters and has aided families whose homes are under military occupation.
The next project the ISM is participating in is olive harvesting. It begins Oct. 12 through Nov. 15. Olives are crucial financially to many Palestinians, but curfews and illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands are preventing a harvest, driving families to possible ruin. Activists will be accompanying and protecting Palestinians in the villages around Hares in the Salfit region. Those interested should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.rapprochement.org.
Another project is being organized by trade unionists who are trying to get trade-union delegations to visit Palestine. We need the labor movement to finally break with its blind pro-Israel policies!