On Saturday 11th March, over 300 women, Israeli and Palestinian came together in a demonstration of solidarity and support, to say a resounding 'NO', to the ongoing Occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The Theme was 'Practicing Civil Disobedience'.
Over 120 Israeli women from Tel Aviv and beyond attended the event, many of them from the new civil disobedience movement, Lo Metsaytot Group (We Will Not Obey). One of the founders of the movement, Ilana Hammerman spoke passionately about the work of bringing (illegally) Palestinian children and women through the checkpoints for a day of relative freedom in Israel.
Other speakers for the day included Member of the Israeli Knesset (Balad), Haneen Zoabi, and Mrs. Ebtesam Zidan - Chair of the Palestinian Women's Struggle Committee Union.
|Embroidery by village women.|
In addition to the formal presentations, there was ample opportunity at the event for networking and catching up with old friends. Three guests from Green Olive Tours booked a multi-day program in the village of Beit Ummar, and were able to attend the conference in addition to doing tours each day and learning about the political situation on the ground in the Southern West Bank.
The host community, Beit Ummar, is situated in the middle of the Gush Etzion block of settlements and has a 25-meter (75 feet) high concrete military fortress/tower at the entrance to the village. The village is under constant harassment by the settlers of Bat Ayn and Karme Tzur, and the Israeli military (IDF) often closes the village completely to traffic. The IDF arrested 7 teenagers last week, taking them in the middle of the night from their homes. Beit Ummar is the home of the Palestine Solidarity Project and the Center for Freedom and Justice.
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