Newsletter December 2020 | Machsomwatch
אורנית, מהצד הזה של הגדר

Newsletter December 2020

Tuesday, 15 December, 2020

Best Wishes to Our Friends and Supporters
for the New Year!

 

International Human Rights Day 

I

n honor of International Human Rights Day 2020 we share the words of two human rights activists: Wangari Maathai and Eleanor Roosevelt.

“In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other.”

From Wangari Maathai’s Nobel Lecture, delivered in Oslo, 10 December 2004.

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?  In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination."

 

Eleanor Roosevelt

 ? Democracy or Occupation

 

Freedom of movement, the right to earn a living, the right to own property and freedom of expression are basic human rights. We have seen that the denial of these rights in the Occupied Territories does not stem from the security needs of Israel, but rather from the desire to gain and maintain control of the lives and property of the Palestinians. The denial of rights and freedoms has crossed the Green Line and the weakening of democracy is becoming increasingly evident to the citizens of Israel.

A country that oppresses millions of people cannot remain democratic.

 

Help us continue with our activity 

 

MachsomWatch during the Pandemic

A fun day  in Ein Sukkot                        Photo: Nurit Popper    

Since its establishment until now, for 20 years, the activities of MachsomWatch continue without a pause. As an organization that operates on the ground and maintains direct contact with Palestinians, we had to adjust our activities to the pandemic situation especially during the periods of lockdown. But despite the situation, our members continue, with dedication, to monitor the checkpoints and to maintain contacts with the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank; to be attentive to every complaint, and to assist, when possible, with any issue. Mainly, we keep our eyes and hearts open to people whose human rights are violated every day and every hour by the State of Israel, the army, and the settlers. We continue to report, to warn, and to sound the voice of those who have no voice.
 

In the Jordan Valley, we continue to accompany shepherds and to protect them from harassment by settlers and the army. In the midst of the pandemic, a kindergarten was established, and a “fun day” for children and their mothers was organized to improve the well-being of the Jordan Valley residents. We continue to report, even in these coronavirus days, on the cutting down and burning of olive trees. We participated in the olive harvest, because the settlers increased their harassments, damaged the fruit, at times looting it, and even attacked olive pickers, trying to destroy the olive harvest in any way possible.

As can be read in the reports on our website, and also in the press, cruelty toward the Palestinians has not decreased during the pandemic. For example, at the beginning of November, the Civil Administration destroyed 18 housing units in Khirbet Humsa in the Jordan Valley; 74 persons lived in those units, 41 of them minors. Sheep pens and other structures were also demolished. Members of MachsomWatch who know the families that suffered from this, along with other activists, developed a whole system for collecting food, housewares, and donations, in order to help the families re-establish the structures.


Coming Soon: Photo Exhibition – 20 Years of Activism 

 

This spring we will present a digital photo exhibition (in collaboration with Haaretz newspaper). It will express appreciation for the 20 years of the organization’s activities and gratitude to all the women of MachsomWatch for their activities. The exhibition will be curated by Israel Prize Winner and renowned photojournalist Alex Levac.

 


Within Reach: MachsomWatch Zoom Event

                                                

Qaddum: The tale of a small and stubborn village 
 

                                                                                            Jordan Valley: The silent transfer     

 

The COVID-19, the political situation, and the mishandling by the government of both the pandemic and the economic decline have led to demonstrations all over the country. We hope that cooperation between the diversified social groups will help spread the idea that Israel cannot remain democratic as long as it controls the lives of millions of people, deprived of basic rights, and that more people will take an interest in the lives of Palestinians on the other side of the separation barrier. 

MachsomWatch started as a political movement, protesting the denial of human rights of the Palestinian population in the West Bank. In the beginning, we focused on the right of free movement and monitored the checkpoints, and then continued with the bureaucratic barriers and the violation of property rights and the right to earn a living. We always regarded the dissemination of reliable information, which we obtained from our constant presence in the area, as one of our main objectives.

We decided to use the now popular platform Zoom and arranged a series of talks, called “Within Reach," to share the knowledge and the insights we gathered, with a wider audience. In each session, our members introduce themselves and present the issue that their team addresses and then answer questions from the audience. We hope to be able to provide simultaneous translations to English for future Zoom events, which will include talks about the Military Courts, the Maqamaat (Palestinian heritage sites), pre-military academies, and the festive opening of our virtual photo exhibition.

Support Our Activities into 2021
 

Qalandiya Checkpoint Then and Now

   Qalandia 2018                                                                                         The Bridge to Qalandia 2020
photo: Bruce Shaffer                                                                                   photo: Ronit Dahan-Ramat

 

The Qalandiya Checkpoint is the main entrance to Jerusalem for residents of Ramallah and the northern West Bank. It is located in the separation wall, amidst Palestinian neighborhoods, far from the Green Line. We were there when it was established in 2001 as a temporary post. We regularly checked on Palestinians crossing to Jerusalem, the center of most of their activities. We monitor it now, as the renamed “Atarot Crossing," equipped with quick electronic identification devices, and many more terminals.
 

The Qalandiya Checkpoint is a testimony to the fact that the occupation is adjusting and upgrading itself. But when the real objective is the more efficient control of the occupied population and keeping it out of Israel and away from areas it intends to annex, one can only make a “cosmetic facelift," and even this turns out not to be very successful.

 

Read more about what has changed at Qalandiya...

 

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