The Sumud Freedom Tour

This is our moment of unity, of coalition building

Holy Land Trust

Mission

Holy Land Trust and Nonviolence International have partnered to develop a multilayered tour of peace and justice work in Israel and Palestine.

This tour unpacks the broad range of nonviolent resistance methods employed by Palestinians and their co-resisters throughout the region and internationally. From December 21, 2017 to January 3, 2018, you will meet with leaders of grassroots organizations, NGO’s, and agents of change in the community who are actively engaged in challenging the systems underpinning Israel’s prolonged military occupation.

This tour is designed for social activists who are committed to deepening their analysis of global oppression. Whether you are engaged in the movement for black liberation, entrenched in the battle for immigrant rights, or fighting for women’s equality, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can serve as an important theoretical and practical framework for nonviolent resistance.

This program is designed to promote an exchange of ideas between movements. Those who have little or no background in the history of the Palestinian struggle are encouraged to join, as the intersections between our movements will allow us to relate to and better understand one another. And as a result, this tour will help us lay the foundation for necessary relationships that lead to broad, diverse coalitions of change.

Who we are

Holy Land Trust is a Palestinian Non-Profit Organization (NGO), located in the heart of Bethlehem on Star Street. Our work is centered on strengthening communities to empower them to find nonlinear solutions to problems; solutions which are rooted in social justice, compassion, and love.

Nonviolence International (NI) is a decentralized network of resource centers that promote the use of nonviolent action. Founded by Palestinian activist Mubarak Awad in 1989, NI is a 501(c)(3) organization registered in Washington, DC, USA. NI is also a non-governmental organization in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

More Information on the Sumud Freedom Tour
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Delegation on Incarceration, Detention, and Political Prisoners




LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MAY 2017 DELEGATION!

May 13 – 26, 2017

Incarceration, Detention, and Political Prisoners
Interfaith Peace-Builders
Co-Sponsored by Defense for Children International – Palestine

This delegation is your chance to explore Palestinian and Israeli efforts to achieve peace with justice and delve deeper into the issues of detention and incarceration, the Israeli military court system, and political prisoners.

Connect with leaders of the No Way To Treat A Child Campaign and gain knowledge and resources to organize against child detention and related issues. As with all IFPB delegations, you will also meet additional Israelis and Palestinians working for peace and justice as well as visit many impotant historical sites.

Get updates about this delegation, including how to apply to join, financial aid, and how we’ll support your advocacy after this life-changing experience.

SIGN UP TO LEARN MORE at Interfaith Peace-Builders

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Tsela Barr and Michele Bahl: Recent visit to Gaza heartbreaking

TSELA BARR AND MICHELE BAHL | members, Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Cap Times, Nov 22, 2012

Picture this normal scene: Teenage boys are playing soccer in front of their house on a sunny day in November. Just one problem: These boys live in the Gaza Strip. Suddenly a 13-year-old drops bleeding to the ground, shot by an Israeli soldier in a helicopter.

We were in Gaza at the time and paid a condolence call to the parents of the dead boy. The grief of his mother was unbearable to see.

A man at the funeral said, “We hope you will be strong ambassadors to reflect our message that we need protection. We are looking for freedom and peace.”

Since we left Gaza, over 149 people were killed and over 850 injured during “Operation Pillar of Cloud.” A majority of those killed in this eight-day assault were noncombatants including women, children and the elderly. The many hundreds more who were injured were overwhelmingly civilians.

We were in Gaza with a delegation organized by Inter-Faith Peace Builders. We met with human rights groups, women’s groups, fishermen, farmers, schoolchildren, refugees and other residents. Everyone we met has been severely impacted by Israel’s ongoing economic siege and by the destruction of “Operation Cast Lead” in 2008, when Israel killed an estimated 1,400 Gazans and destroyed thousands of homes and buildings.

Farmers are not allowed to export their crops, the water and sewage system has been destroyed, no garbage trucks are allowed in, fishermen are continually shot at, and people are not allowed out for crucial medical treatments. And for years, Israel has struck into Gaza at will, killing and injuring ordinary Palestinians on a daily basis.

While every death or injury is a tragedy, the enormously lopsided casualty figures are proof that this is not an even playing field for both parties. Israel is the occupier, with the world’s fourth-largest army supplied by the U.S. government, provoking and relentlessly bombing a small strip of land that they have lain siege to for the past six years, to which they control nearly all entry and exit by sea, air and land.

Largely protected from Palestinian retaliation by its U.S.-taxpayer-funded “Iron Dome” missile defense system, Israel set in motion its pre-planned “do over” against Gaza. On Nov. 14 it broke a two-day ceasefire by assassinating perhaps the only man capable of maintaining that ceasefire, Ahmed Al-Jabari, the head of the Hamas military wing. Israeli peace negotiator Gershon Baskin reports that Al-Jabari had just received a proposal for an extended cease fire with Israel hours before he was killed.

All aspects of civilian life were targeted, including schools, homes and infrastructure. It does not matter how sophisticated Israel’s “precision” weapons are, the 1.7 million people living in the densest place on earth were at enormously greater risk of death and injury than anyone in Israel who might be threatened by the primitive rockets of Hamas.

The Gaza that we saw right before this assault was inspiring because of the creative resistance of the people, yet heartbreaking because of the needless suffering they must endure. We were fortunate to leave before the major bombardment began and we can only imagine the chaos and terror of the the people who were so hospitable to us.

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Stories of Peacebuilding in Gaza and the West Bank

John Quinlan, WORT 89.9 FM – A Public Affair, November 19, 2012

On Monday November 19th, host John Quinlan was joined in conversation with visitors from a peace delegation sponsored by the Interfaith Peace-Builders.

The delegates just returned this past week from Gaza and and the West Bank. Permission for foreigners to obtain passage to Gaza is rare, and thus these interviews provided listeners with a vital opportunity to understand daily life in the Palestinian territories and how this existence is being affected by the current conflict. John spoke with Tsela Barr and Michele Bahl who just came back from a peace delegation to Gaza on November 12th. During the second half of the hour John spoke with Veena Brekke who recently returned from a peace delegation to the West Bank.

According to their website, “Interfaith Peace-Builders believes in the power of eye-witness experience and transformation. Given the opportunity to speak directly with Israelis and Palestinians, delegates return to the United States better informed, more energized, and with a deeper understanding of the possibilities for true justice in the Middle East.” Tsela, Michele, and Veena shared with WORT listeners their fascinating experiences from both Israel and Palestine.

Read more about Interfaith Peace Builders on their website: http://www.ifpb.org/

Listen to the entire show:

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Israel Attacks the Gaza Strip

On the day that the Interfaith Peace Builders delegation (with four women from Wisconsin) safely left Gaza, Israel’s attacks began … please read the following message and watch the news. The great fear is a repeat of Operation Cast Lead, launched exactly four years ago following the U.S. presidential election … emergency demonstrations are being organized around the world. There may be one in Madison, possibly downtown in the late afternoon on Friday, details TBA.

In the meantime, the US Campaign to End the Occupation is asking people to call the White House.

Today, Israel launched a major offensive in the Gaza Strip, killing the Hamas leader nearby civilians, including two girls under the age of five. The death toll continues to rise. The US Campaign strongly condemns these brutal attacks, carried out with U.S. weapons given to Israel as military aid and paid for by U.S. taxpayers, and Israel’s ongoing, illegal siege of Gaza.

Please act now and call on the Obama administration to exert diplomatic pressure on Israel to bring about an immediate cease-fire and to initiate an investigation of Israel’s misuse of U.S. weapons against Palestinians in this and previous attacks.

White House: 202-456-1111
State Department: 202-647-6575

An Ongoing Terror

Michele Bahl, Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, November 14, 2012

Yesterday we visited the Gaza Community Mental Health Program. Since the siege, which started in 2006 when Hamas won the election, there has been a medication shortage. Israel controls everything that comes into Gaza, and we were told that cancer medications are not allowed in. There are so many things that are not allowed into Gaza, such as materials to rebuild from the Israeli bombings, and utility vehicles to collect garbage. People are dying in Gaza not because there are a shortage of hospitals, but because there are a lack of supplies due to the severe restrictions that Israel imposes on the people of Gaza by this siege.

I haven’t seen one Israeli soldier here, but the population of 1.7 Gazans feel Israel’s presence here all of the time. It is a terrifying presence.

During Operation Cast Lead, which took place in Dec. ’08/ Jan. 09, Israel killed hundreds of innocent civilians. Over half of the population of Gaza is under 18 years old. There is no place that people feel safe in Gaza due to the reality that Israel can attack Gaza and cause widespread destruction at any time.

There is ongoing terror that people face every day, but Americans never hear about it. I believe if my fellow Americans were aware of the ongoing systematic violence that Israel carries out, they would be outraged and want to do something to stop it. If I didn’t believe this, I would have no hope.

Raji Sourani, the head of the Palestine Center of Human Rights, shared the following: “Never ever tell a free person what to do; a free person should know what to do.”

Through all of this disaster and trauma, the people of Palestine are incredibly resilient and will never give up their hope of having justice and being free. The many people we spoke with made it clear that the cause of the suffering of the Palestinian people is political, not humanitarian.

“We have the right to plan for our future, if even for one minute. It is a dream for us.”

“Everyone in the world wants to trust tomorrow, but you cannot trust tomorrow in Gaza.”

Gaza is an open air prison and I will work as hard as I can when I return to the United States to expose this truth and do whatever I can to work toward change. This is what the people in Gaza have been imploring our delegation to do.

2012 Gaza Delegation Photos

 


Michele Bahl and Tsela (Carol) Barr of the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project entered Gaza through the Rafah Crossing on November 5, 2012 as part of a 21-member delegation from Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB). This was the first IFPB delegation to enter the Gaza Strip since 2003. From the Interfaith Peace-Builders report:

    “Like other Interfaith Peace-Builder delegations, its purpose is to educate North Americans about the region and deepen their understanding of its conflicts.

    On the eve of the Presidential Election in the United States, the US-brokered peace process continues to show few results and US military aid to the region continues to flow unabated.

    This delegation focuses on the realities of Palestinian life in the Gaza Strip. Participants have the unique opportunity to hear directly from Palestinians throughout the territory regarding their hopes for peace and the role of the United States, the US government, and other international actors in promoting a resolution to the conflict.

    The Interfaith Peace-Builders delegation to the Gaza Strip is led by Michael Brown and Cindy Corrie.

    Michael Brown worked off and on in the Gaza Strip between 1993 and 2000 for the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. A former IFPB board member, Michael continues to work today on the media and Palestine. Michael led an IFPB delegation in 2008.

    Cindy Corrie is the mother of human rights activist and observer Rachel Corrie who on March 16, 2003 was killed by an Israeli military Caterpillar bulldozer in the Gaza Strip. Motivated by her daughter’s work and sacrifice, Cindy Corrie has dedicated herself to the pursuit of justice and peace in the Middle East and has visited Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza on numerous occasions. She is also president of the board of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, inspired by her daughter.”

The delegation visited the Palestinian Legislative Council, a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school and food warehouse, the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children, the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, and the Society of Women Graduates NGO. They also met with Khalil Abu Shammala, human rights advocate and Director of the Al Dameer Association for Human Rights. On November 14, 2012, the day that the delegation left, Israel attacked Gaza with the eight-day Operation Pillar of Defense.


Related posts:

  • VOICES OF CONSCIENCE: DELEGATION to THE GAZA STRIP
  • An Ongoing Terror
  • Israel Attacks the Gaza Strip
  • Stories of Peacebuilding in Gaza and the West Bank
  • Tsela Barr and Michele Bahl: Recent visit to Gaza heartbreaking
  • Tsela Barr and Veena Brekke at East High School