For many years, the Cultures of Resistance Network has been committed to the movement for Palestinians’ right to self-determination. We have been proud to work with leading organizations, activists, musicians, and filmmakers who are taking courageous stands for Palestinian human rights.
On this page, you will find links to our allies who are providing regular updates on the issue, background information and context, and suggestions for long-term action that you can take to show solidarity with the people of Palestine.
On May 30, 2020, CoR Network founder iara lee hosted a virtual discussion to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara, part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. The flotilla was an effort to bring humanitarian aid to the illegally blockaded Gaza Strip, and the largest boat in the flotilla was the Mavi Marmara. In the early morning hours of May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara and opened fire on civilians, killing nine passengers (a tenth passenger died later from his injuries) and wounding dozens more. You can watch the discussion below or on YouTube.
For up-to-date news, we recommend checking with the following organizations:
- Jewish Voice for Peace
- US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (formerly US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation)
- Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
- Human Rights Watch
Palestine Under Siege: An Overview
Given the frequent violence in Palestine and the political climate in Israel and the United States, the prospects for a peace process moving forward at the international level look dim. However, even the US State Department now acknowledges that Israeli authorities practice “institutional and societal discrimination” against Palestinians. US officials cite human rights abuses including “excessive use of force against civilians, including killings; abuse of Palestinian detainees, particularly during arrest and interrogation; austere and overcrowded detention facilities; improper use of security detention procedures; demolition and confiscation of Palestinian property; limitations on freedom of expression, assembly, and association; and severe restrictions on Palestinians’ internal and external freedom of movement.”
In addition to repressive policing and periodic military attacks, which result in the deaths of hundreds of civilians each year, the Gaza Strip continues to suffer from a blockade on imports and exports. “Israel imposes sweeping restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip. A general travel ban excludes only what Israel calls ‘exceptional humanitarian cases,’ meaning mostly medical patients and their companions, as well as prominent businesspersons who can obtain permits,” according to Human Rights Watch. Though Israel announced in June 2010 that it would allow “civilian” goods into Gaza, and Egypt partially reopened the Rafah border crossing in 2011, the blockade continues to have catastrophic humanitarian and economic consequences for the civilian population. According to the Human Rights Watch, imports and exports to and from Gaza remain severely restricted, while extreme poverty endures and many basic needs remain unmet: “Families in Gaza on average received 12 hours of electricity a day in the first 10 months of 2019… The continuing shortfall compromises Gaza’s water supply and sewage treatment.”
(Photo via War on Want)
In the West Bank, and especially in East Jerusalem, Israel persists in demolishing Palestinian homes under discriminatory practices that enable the building of unlawful settlements. Within a week of pausing hostilities in Gaza, Israel announced one of the greatest appropriations of land in the West Bank to date. Other flagrant violations of international law include severe restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement and the arbitrary detention of peaceful protesters, including children. Human Rights Watch adds that Israeli soldiers increasingly use unnecessary lethal force against demonstrators in the West Bank, Gaza, the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and across the border in Lebanon. Furthermore, occupying forces often deny West Bank Palestinian communities access to natural resources and basic utilities. These measures regularly lead to the mass displacement of West Bank citizens.
As Palestinian activists face increasing restrictions on their speech and ability to associate, international grassroots support for their struggle is now more urgent than ever.
Join the Struggle From Abroad
Beyond responding to crises, there is a need for ongoing solidarity with the Palestinian people. The Cultures of Resistance Network is committed to promoting creative, nonviolent actions that assert Palestinian rights in defiance of restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities. After reaching out to ally organizations and activists engaged in nonviolent struggle, we have identified a variety of ways in which you can get involved:
- Connect with other activists. On every continent, there are networks of people organizing around this issue. If you live in the United States, link up with the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (formerly US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation), a national coalition of more than 250 organizations working to change US policy toward Israel/Palestine, with a broad platform addressing human rights, equality, and international law. If you’re in New York, also check out Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, which is a local grassroots group that advocates for justice, equality, and human rights for the Palestinian people. Those living in the United Kingdom can get involved with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which has close to fifty branches across the UK. The International Solidarity Movement is another international organization with branches in a number of European countries, including France, Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic, and a number of other countries, as well as in US cities. You can check the list of “support groups” in the bottom-right corner of their main site to find out if there’s an ISM chapter in your country. Meanwhile, no matter where you are, if you have an internet connection, you can also get involved with Avaaz, a global online campaigning movement that has long advocated for the rights of Palestinians. With over 21 million members worldwide, Avaaz mobilizes social media to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere.
- Support humanitarian efforts. As innocent civilians and nonviolent protesters continue to be the targets of repression by the Israeli military, humanitarian assistance remains urgently needed, especially in the Gaza Strip and in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Among the vital organizations working to meet this need are the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS), a grassroots, community-based health organization comprised of Palestinian doctors and health professionals. The PMRS also works with other organizations, like the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Doctors Without Borders (MSF). These groups depend heavily on donations to sustain their efforts: click to donate to the Palestine Red Crescent Society or to MSF. Another organization to which you can confidently contribute is the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee, which works toward local solutions for food security in Palestine. Keep in mind that individual donations are only one way to support humanitarian efforts. If you want to magnify your impact, consider organizing a bake sale, house party, or benefit concert. Make it a group effort! If you email us at campaigns [at] culturesofresistance.org, we can put you in touch with fellow organizers who can help you plan an event.
- Volunteer or intern in your country. If you’re looking to volunteer or intern with a group fighting for justice in Palestine, get in touch with the Palestine Freedom Project. Dedicated to providing resources and logistical support to grassroots Palestine solidarity activists everywhere, the PFP lists opportunities for both volunteers and interns. There are also a number of more local US projects that engage in activist work in support of Palestinian rights.
- Travel to Palestine. Learning for the Empowerment and Advancement of Palestinians (LEAP) is a CoR Network ally seeking volunteers to assist with their three educational initiatives in and around Palestine. The Palestinian Medical Relief Society, listed above, also seeks local and international volunteers to join their efforts in Palestine. If you’re interested in visiting Palestine and learning about conditions there first-hand without volunteering, consider taking a reality tour through Global Exchange. Local Israeli and Palestinian groups such as Jews for Justice for Palestinians also organize reality tours; you can check their site for details.
- Put pressure on the US Congress. Our ally Al-Awda urges US citizens to tell their members of Congress that they want them to pursue a balanced, constructive foreign policy that will lead to an end of the occupation and the establishment of a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Click here to learn more about how you can effectively reach out to your representative.
- Stay up to date and spread the word. Visit Amnesty International’s Palestine page for regular updates on the situation in Palestine. In addition to staying informed, the Free Gaza Movement emphasizes a number of ways that you can raise awareness about the Israeli occupation in your community, whether by writing letters to local newspapers, calling in to political talk radio shows, or bringing up these issues in faith groups, reading groups, and other local outlets.
[Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.]