Everyone who follows the issue of the ongoing immoral occupation of Palestine knows we stand today at a critical moment. Not only have efforts to build a lasting peace been stalled for far too long, but facts on the ground have deepened the divisions and locked into place a brutal status-quo that is serving neither side well.
Today, we are pleased to announce that in the midst of this mess, our co-founder Jonathan Kuttab has just arrived home in the region for a month long journey to “change the conversation.” He asks all of us to join him in this effort and to help spread the word and build our collective power.
Four small but mighty groups have joined together in an ad-hoc coalition for peace and justice. Nonviolence International, Holy Land Trust, Just Peace Advocates, and Friends of Sabeel North America are working to support Jonathan’s trip and his larger vision.
Of course, we are not only hoping to help change the conversation, we want to change policy and thus impact people’s lives. And, we can’t do that without your help. So, we make these few clear requests of each of you who read this call.
(If you are new to this important topic, please visit this page and scroll down for resources that provide helpful background information)
1) We will be posting updates to this page and our social media accounts. Please come back to this page often and follow all of the groups in this new coalition on social media:
2) If you haven’t already, please read Jonathan’s short book or at least the brief and moving executive summary. Below, you will find several videos we have produced on this issue. The shortest is under five minutes long.
3) Please spread the word. There are some wonderful people already involved in this important effort. But, we also recognize that we currently do not have the clout to make real the changes we desire. So, we ask you to spread the word. Tell others about this effort and have the difficult conversations needed to change the world. Please do talk to people who already agree with us. Activate them or ask them to do even more at this critical moment. And, then stretch yourself to talk to people who see this situation quite differently than you do. To change hearts and minds, it is always helpful to listen first before seeking to be heard. Throughout the conversation remain true to our shared values that all people deserve to live in dignity with their basic human rights protected. Talk to friends, and family. Talk to co-workers and neighbors. Talk with those you fear talking with. Those conversations are never easy, but they can be the most valuable. If you’d like further suggestions on how to have these impactful conversations, please check out this resource from our friend Alex McDonald, a leader of the US Boats to Gaza, a fiscally sponsored partner of NVI.
4) Consider writing a Letter to the Editor of your local paper. This is one of the most read parts of most newspapers and remains a good way to reach out to new people. Or, if you are more focused on social media, post about this tour using the hashtags #JourneyWithJonathan & #Beyond2States.
5) If you are in the United States, please recognize the central role it plays supporting the ongoing occupation. We are proud to announce that Jonathan’s timely and visionary books has been hand delivered to every single US Senate office. That’s right - all 100 Senators have this book. This is an important step in changing the conversation.
February 7, 2023
I had the easiest entry I've ever had at the Tel Aviv airport with my US Passport: No questions. No search. No interrogation. No hint of difficulties. I submitted my passport, and within seconds was I given the visa printout.
The reason for this, I suspect, is the current request by Israel to have Israelis exempt from visa requirements for entry to the United States, to be among the countries granted an automatic visa waiver.
Arab American organizations, including the ADC (Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee) and others have waged a vigorous battle demanding that Israel not be granted that privilege until they stop the harassment, profiling, and often outright denial of entry for Palestinian Americans.
One of the conditions of the US visa waiver program (allowing entry without obtaining a prior visa) is a low rejection rate (under 3%), which the Israelis attained recently as a result of the reduction in travel throughout the pandemic. Most important, however, is the reciprocity requirement. Organizations like ADC, AMP (American Muslims for Palestine), and Right to Entry have vigorously campaigned not to grant this privilege to Israelis until assurances have been provided that they will not discriminate against US citizens who are of Arab or Palestinian origins, including those who hold palestinian ID cards. Arab and Palestinian Americans have been denied entry, the right to use the Tel Aviv Airport, or even travel to Jerusalem, despite having US passports, without obtaining additional permits (which are rarely given).
Whether the current easing of harassment, which I experienced, is a temporary feature (long enough to obtain the coveted visa waiver status for Israelis) or whether it is a genuine improvement for Palestinian Americans remains to be seen, but it is a reminder to us that persistent advocacy does work and sometimes even achieves results.
#JourneyWithJonathan #KeepingUpWithKuttab #Beyond2States
(Below, please find reports from Jonathan's 2022 trip)
March 1st, 2022, Update.
Update from Jonathan: February 22, 2022!
Beyond the Two-State Solution printed in Hebrew, Arabic & English!
Update from Jonathan: February 20th
A Reflection on Iqrit & Bir’im: Yesterday, along with Professor Eddy Kaufman, I had breakfast with Professor Nemi Ashkar (to my left) and Riad Ghantous (to his left). Ashkar is the chairman of the Iqrit Community Association, and Ghantous is from Bir’im and active in efforts on behalf of the village.
Update From Jonathan Kuttab, February 15th
A Day at the Israeli High Court of Justice
By Jonathan Kuttab, Co-Founder of NVI and Al Haq.
Yesterday, I attended a hearing at the Israeli High Court of Justice as an attorney for Mohammad Halabi, since he is being represented by my law office in Jerusalem. The hearing was also attended by more than fifteen diplomats from the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and several other countries, as well as supporters from multiple NGOs, including Save the Children.
As a reminder, Palestinian prisoner and humanitarian Mohammed Halabi, former head of World Vision Gaza, was wrongly imprisoned on blatantly false charges of redirecting millions of dollars of aid money for the people of Gaza to Hamas. Halabi has been kept in prison for nearly six years, despite there not being any physical evidence for the charges against him.
Under Israeli law, a criminal trial in which a defendant is incarcerated should be completed within nine months of his or her arrest. Beyond that, the prosecution needs to petition the High Court for a three month extension. Typically, the High Court does not get into the details of a case but only the reasons for the delay. A delay is usually granted once or twice. In addition, the High Court is free to refuse an extension and order the defendant to be released on bail, held under house arrest, given an electronic ankle bracelet for monitoring, etc., while the trial continues.
In the case of Halabi, the State has repeatedly requested and received extensions and has refused to consider his release on bail. Today’s hearing was the twenty-third (yes, the twenty-third!!) such a request for extension. The result is that Halabi has been in jail, without bail or conviction, for almost 6 years now.
Maher Hanna, the attorney from our office overseeing the case, was scathing in his presentation. He said that although the Supreme Court would not normally look into the specifics of the underlying trial, limiting itself only to the charge sheet, the court cannot ignore the facts of this specific case and needs to consider its substance. In fact, the charges listed in the charge sheet have long been superseded, for the State no longer maintains them. The State no longer maintains the bulk of the charges against Halabi. All testimony has been concluded, and there is no reason for any more delays. Hanna challenged the Court to at least read the summations of the case, but the judge refused.
Nonetheless, Hanna managed to slip into his presentation a few substantive points:
• The chief interrogator has stated under oath that he never investigated the evidence against Halabi, because it was too voluminous. He had access to all the files and computers of World Vision Gaza, but could not point to any evidence.
• The claim that Halabi mapped out the location of the Eretz crossings in 2010, on behalf of Hamas, is disproven by the Israeli records presented to the court showing that Halabi had not even been to the Eretz checkpoint between 2006 and the end of 2011.
• The state repeatedly offered Halabi the opportunity to plead guilty in exchange for a three-year (later four-year) term, but Halabi steadfastly refused and has insisted on his innocence.
• World Vision no longer operates in Gaza, so there is no danger of Halabi diverting any of its money to anybody if he is released. Anyway, even the state of Israel is now openly allowing Qatari funds to go to Hamas.
• The hearings, including all evidence as well as summations, ended months ago. Yet, still there is no verdict and no indication as to when the judge will issue his verdict (though he had hinted that it would take him months to prepare his verdict.)
In the end, the High Court judge stated he would speak to the District Court judge and ask when he expected to give his verdict, before deciding on this extension. Maher Hanna thinks this is a positive development and is cautiously optimistic that we may at least come to see an end to interminable delays.
Halabi, who attended the hearing by Zoom, had a rare opportunity as the judge left the room to greet all the diplomats and supporters, sharing a brief word with them before the court police cut off the connection. Halabi thanked the diplomats, telling them he is doing all this so that the important humanitarian work of several organizations, like World Vision and others, could continue in Gaza.
Jonathan Kuttab is a co-founder of Nonviolence International. A well-known international human rights attorney, Mr. Kuttab has established himself as a prominent speaker on nonviolence. He is also a co-founder of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq and is President of the Board of the Bethlehem Bible College.
Beyond The Two-State Solution is a short introduction to the current crisis in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism have been at loggerheads for over a century. Some thought the two-state solution would resolve the conflict between them. Jonathan explains that the two-state solution (that he supported) is no longer viable. He suggests that any solution be predicated on the basic existential needs of the two parties, needs he lays out in exceptional detail. He formulates a way forward for a 1-state solution that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism. This book invites readers to begin a new conversation based on reality: two peoples will need to live together in some sort of unified state. It is balanced and accessible to neophytes and to experts alike.
This video is under five minutes long:
Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism have been at loggerheads for over a century. Some thought the two-state solution would resolve the conflict between them. In this webinar, Jonathan explains that the two-state solution (that he supported) is no longer viable. He suggests that any solution be predicated on the basic existential needs of the two parties, needs he lays out in exceptional detail. He formulates a way forward for a 1-state solution that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism. This book invites readers to begin a new conversation based on reality: two peoples will need to live together in some sort of unified state. It is balanced and accessible to neophytes and to experts alike.
We are just starting to roll out the Arabic and Hebrew translations of Beyond The Two-State Solution, and already we are thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive response we are getting. These days many of us are looking for hope in hard times. Jonathan gives us just that.
If you want to help, please fill out this simple Google Form. https://forms.gle/ijtLN3JZXG4zgfgx6
In this episode of “Occupied Thoughts,” host Peter Beinart is joined by Palestinian human rights lawyer Jonathan Kuttab, who recently published the book Beyond the Two State Solution (available at no cost via the Nonviolence International website). Kuttab argues that a Palestinian state with no sovereignty or substance cannot deliver freedom or independence and it is time to look beyond the “false mirage of the Two State Solution.” He lays out in detail how a single, shared Palestinian and Jewish state would be structured – from roles in the military to language learning in schools – and how it answers the urgent needs for justice, equality, and security.
If you are inspired to support this work, consider making a donation or becoming one of our sustaining monthly donors.
Founder, Nonviolence International
“The Palestinian / Israeli conflict has had many ups and downs with hopes for peace, times of war, and relentless subjugation of Palestinians. Many people including myself and Jonathan Kuttab supported the peace initiative of a 2 state-solution even though many Palestinian leaders were initially reluctant to settle for 22% of original Palestine.
In his new book, Jonathan Kuttab, explains why, unfortunately, the two-state solution is no longer viable. Jonathan Kuttab articulates the fundamental needs of both Palestinians and Israeli Jews and then proceeds to think in a new one-state box about how a win-win future might be possible. This book is the start of a renewed conversation, a new frame, to end the current impasse which is causing so much suffering. It is for the reader to decide and to commit themselves to be part of real solutions to the conflict rather than irrelevant discussions about antiquated solutions."
Thomas R. Getman
Former Legislative Director to Senator Mark O. Hatfield & Past National Director of World Vision, Palestine
"The Two-State – One-State debate continues with new urgency inflamed by faux "peace treaties." More and more progressive and even Zionist Israeli and American Jews are expressing the fact that occupation and annexation of Palestinian people, homes and lands are a violation of core Talmudic values, and guarantee self-destruction of the State of Israel.
Jonathan Kuttab's Beyond the Two-State Solution is a treasured pathway to peaceful and just change. It is a gift of love to all who are suffering with this 73-year conflict. Indeed, none of us is free and at peace unless all are liberated from apartheid oppression. Jonathan Kuttab is a Palestinian American who has listened carefully and responded deeply, giving all of us who have worked and prayed for the imprisoned on both sides of the crumbling Green Line a possibility of a seizing together a Kairos moment. This carefully crafted monograph is a trail marker for real change and reduction of heart, soul, and physical suffering."
Dr. John Quigley
Professor at Mortiz College of Law (OSU)
"Whatever your position about the conflict between Arab and Jew, Kuttab will make you re-think it.” “A brilliantly even-handed assessment of what might work in Palestine/Israel.” “Based on Kuttab’s many years of first-hand involvement with what is happening on the ground."
Director, Center for Jewish Nonviolence
“This text is a great and an excellent contribution and pushes toward the conversation shifts that are emerging--yet still so lacking--in this moment. The writing and thinking is incredibly grounded, thoughtful, and detail-oriented, while simultaneously very accessible and easy to read. The attention given to a huge swath of factors, possibilities and perspectives is quite impressive. I look forward to seeing this booklet become an important part of the paradigm shifts we deeply need!”
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Pioneer Feminist Rabbi
“Wow, it’s amazing. I am deeply impressed and absolutely encourage, even insist, that people read it. I am completely inspired by Jonathan Kuttab's clear, concise and much needed vision of the future grounded in the realities of history and the longings of both people for equity, dignity and security.”
Nonviolent Resistance to the Occupation and Annexation of Western Sahara by Morocco
For those new to this topic, please scroll down to learn from the many resources below.
NVI has long supported Sahrawis who continue to resist the occupation and annexation of Western Sahara by Morocco. Invaded by Morocco in 1975 (with strong support from the USA), resistance has been armed and nonviolent. NVI supports nonviolent resistance and an end to the Moroccan occupation. The Western Sahara has UN status as the world's last major non-self-governing territory. In 1991, the United Nations promised to hold a referendum for self-determination for the people of Western Sahara. To this day, the referendum has not transpired.
In recent years, nonviolent resistance has been led substantially by Sahrawi women including the Khaya Sisters. In 2022, NVI in conjunction with other groups, intervened in the siege of the Khaya Sisters. At the invitation of the Khaya family in Boujdour, Western Sahara, US-based volunteers arrived at their home to protect them from human rights abuses and break the almost 500-day siege of the house imposed by Moroccan occupation forces.
Sultana Khaya was escorted to Spain by our team on Jun 3rd, 2022 to obtain medical care. She is now touring the world speaking out against Moroccan occupation and abuses.
On February 7th, 2023, Sultana Khaya spoke to the European Parliament about her experience in the aftermath of a scandal in which massive Moroccan corruption of the European Parliament led to failure to win the Sakharov Prize.
In December, the Vice President of Parliament, Eva Kaili as well as other key figures were arrested in conjunction with allegations that they recieved money in exchange for favorable actions for Qatar and Morocco. " The Italian newspaper "Il fatto quotidiano", quoting investigators from the federal prosecutor's office in Brussels, indicated that the interference of the Moroccan regime would not have been limited to influencing the decisions of the European Parliament concerning Morocco, but would also have been focused on the "appointment of members of Eurochamber committees that dealt with sensitive issues for the Maghreb country", including that of 'candidates for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought'. See here for the full article. https://www.spsrasd.info/news/en/articles/2022/12/24/43391.html For more information on the scandal, watch the Democracy Now Interview.
US-Based Volunteer Adrienne Kinne interrupting the siege with Sultana Khaya and friends.
Supported by the Human Rights Action Center (HRAC), NVI and a network of other human rights groups, the international unarmed civilian protection (UCP) volunteers, Ruth McDonough, Adrienne Kinne, Merwyn De Mello and Tim Pluth visited the Sultana family.
Since November 2020, the Khaya Sisters had been forcibly confined to their home and the family has faced many forms of abuse, including home invasions, sexual violence and injections of unknown substances. The Khaya sisters have been raped by Moroccan security forces in front of their 84-year-old mother. Furthermore, their water has been poisoned, furniture and property destroyed, and electricity cut-off.
Referring to her experience, Sultana Khaya shared, “I am not the first Saharawi woman to be raped by the occupiers. I am simply the first woman to speak publicly about it. I have to expose the reality of the occupation. And I need to pave the way for the next generation of Saharawi women.”
Sultana Khaya is a Saharawi human rights defender whose work focuses on promoting the right of self-determination for the Saharawi people and ending violence against Saharawi women, through active participation in nonviolent efforts and demonstrations. She serves as the president of the Saharawi League for the Defense of Human Rights and the Protection of Western Sahara’s Natural Resources, and is a member of the Saharawi Commission against the Moroccan occupation (ISACOM). She is a nominee for the Sakharov Prize and winner of the Esther Garcia Award. As an outspoken activist, she has been targeted by the occupying Moroccan forces while engaged in peaceful protests, enduring abductions, beatings, and having one eye gouged out.
The US-based visitors called for an end to the rapes, freedom of movement for the Khaya family and all visitors, and an independent international investigation of these human rights abuses.
Grounded in international law, Unarmed Civilian Protection is a nonpartisan strategy that revolves around the use of nonviolent methods by civilians to protect other civilians under threat. Such protection is provided on invitation from local actors and supports local agency and infrastructures for peace.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other highly respected investigative groups have documented widespread detentions, the torture of dissidents, and violent suppression of peaceful protests by Moroccan forces in Western Sahara.
On 1 July 2021, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, condemned the reprisals against Sultana Khaya and expressed “particular concern about the apparent use of violence and the threat of violence to prevent and obstruct women human rights defenders in their peaceful human rights activities.”
NVI has been worked to support nonviolent resistance to Moroccan occupation since 1991.
September 2022, NVI launches an online pledge calling on everyone to support nonviolent resistance to all occupations and forcible annexations, whether they be in Western Sahara, Golan Heights, Greater Jerusalem, or Ukraine.
June 2022, Sultana Khaya is escorted to Spain for medical care.
May 2022, A 2nd delegation of US based visitors to the Khaya family were kidnapped by unknown Moroccans and deported from Western Sahara.
May 2022. Moroccan authorities repeatedly smash the Khaya residence with a massive truck to kill all of its residents and US guests.
April 2022: In Nonviolent Strategies and Stories in Israel-Palestine and Western Sahara, Michael Beer and Osama Elewat speak with the Metta Center for Nonviolence on the power of nonviolence.
March 2022: NVI in conjunction with other NGOs, organized a team of US based activists to visit the Khaya Sisters and break the almost 500 day siege.
January 2022: Stephen Zunes writes in Foreign Policy in Focus that President Biden's refusal to reverse President Trump's policy on Western Sahara has dangerous global implications.
Zunes piece in The Progressive warned that the threat of further Russian aggression against Ukraine was real and noted that the Biden administration is in a weak position to lead an international response.
December 2021: Khaya Family Update
March 2021: Nonviolence International is proud to make connections across boundaries that for far too long we have allowed to divide us. This NVI webinar connects those resisting occupation from Palestine to Western Sahara. We believe in the power of active nonviolence and offer this conversation as a way to celebrate brave nonviolent leaders and our shared use of creative Nonviolent Tactics and Training to make us even more impactful.
(Video above shows Sultana Khaya - while under heavy surveillance - joining our webinar through Salka Barca. Note the 22-minute mark, at which Sultana Khaya dramatically confronts those who besiege her house.)
CNN featured Sultana Khaya’s powerful op-ed on a difficult topic that rarely gets the attention it deserves (Morocco: Western Sahara Activist Raped)
November 2020: NVI's Director, Michael Beer co-wrote this piece calling for an End to the Conflict in Western Sahara) and encouraging the US Government to change it policies towards Western Sahara.
Nonviolence International supports international law and opposes the unlawful and violent occupations of its neighbors by Israel, Morocco and Russia.
(Mubarak Awad & Jonathan Kuttab in Western Sahara in 2015)
2015, NVI's co-founders Mubarak Awad and Jonathan Kuttab are some of the few Palestinians and Americans who have gone and done solidarity work with them in the occupied territory.
2014, Jonathan Kuttab visits Western Sahara to speak about nonviolent resistance to occupation, human rights, and international law.
2005, NVI invites a Sahrawi representative to speak in Bethlehem at the World Conference on Nonviolent Resistance.
1991-2013, NVI is one of the only organizations to lead protests in Washington DC against Moroccan occupation and abuse in Western Sahara.
A BATTLEFIELD TRANSFORMED: FROM GUERILLA RESISTANCE TO MASS NONVIOLENT STRUGGLE IN THE WESTERN SAHARA
Dr. Maria J. Stephan and Jacob Mundy.
War Resisters International’s January 2021
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy's nine minute video on Western Sahara
Democracy Now's hour long documentary: Four Days in Occupied Western Sahara: Africa's Last Colony.
An 2022 update on the Geo-politics of Western Sahara, by Jacob Mundy.
Take Action: Pledge to take action to stand for international law and to oppose annexations of Russia toward Ukraine, Morocco's toward Western Sahara, and Israel towards Golan(Sryia) and East Jerusalem (Palestine). The US and Western European countries must stop their support for Morocco and Israel.
Take Action: Please contact the governments of China and India to dissuade President Putin from exploding nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
Take Action: Contact your elected representative and insist on a policy of asylum for conscientious objectors from Russia, Ukraine and Belorussia.
NVI Ukraine Director, Andre Kamenshikov, continues to support nonviolent approaches to ending the war. See the latest December 2022 detailed report on Russian public opinion and recommendations on anti-war messaging (English translation). The report is researched and produced by a volunteer team through out Russia.
We are also proud to share this visionary report written by NVI Ukraine Director Andre Kamenshikov. This work is a result of effective collaboration between NVI and the Peace Action, Training and Research Institute of Romania (PATRIR).
NVI Director, Michael Beer, spoke about the power of Nonviolent Direct Action and discussed the war in Ukraine. He introduces the mechanisms of nonviolent action and suggests nonviolent approaches for ending the war in Ukraine.
OTHER RECENT WORK AND ACTION ITEMS
Supporting the anti-war movement in Russia. NVI-Ukraine is currently working to strengthen the anti-war movement in Russia. We are organizing a meeting in November to develop and coordinate anti-war messaging in Russia.
Coordinating GPPAC. NVI-Ukraine serves as the coordinator of the Eastern European Network for the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). GPPAC is the longstanding network of peace groups in the region. GPPAC has long worked to ameliorate internal ethnic, religious and community conflicts in Ukraine and the region.
NVI-Ukraine and GPPAC call for an immediate cessation of all military actions which threaten the lives and livelihoods of citizens of all countries involved. In particular, we urge:
We call on Belarus, Russia and Ukraine (and all countries in the world) to honor the conscientious objection of their own citizens and of those in the opposing military forces. We call on Belarus, Russia and Ukraine to cooperate with 3rd countries and swiftly transfer them abroad if the resisters so request. If countries would like to be more generous to these courageous war resisters, then they should offer asylum to their immediate families as well. If the soldiers do not fight, then wars cannot be fought.
Nonviolent Resistance in Ukraine. Nonviolence International is assisting nonviolent civil resistance in areas occupied by Russian forces. While the focus of international media has been primarily on the military resistance of Ukraine to Russian aggression, ordinary unarmed citizens in areas occupied by Russia have been courageously demonstrating their resolve to remain with Ukraine by nonviolent means. In August and September, Nonviolence International co-organized meetings of Ukrainian civil activists who spent months in areas occupied by Russia and were organizing different actions of civil resistance. One outcome of the meeting was to support the establishment of underground clandestine schooling in occupied Ukraine. Here is a report written by Felip Daza Sierra of NOVACT, that documents Ukrainian nonviolent resistance in the first half of 2022. NVI Director, Michael Beer' book, Civil Resistance Tactics in the 21st Century, is cited often in the text and Andre Kamenshikov, NVI Ukraine Director is thanked in the acknowledgements.
Documenting/Monitoring Russian Public Opinion. NVI-Ukraine is helping ordinary Russian citizens with anti-war messaging from NVI's internal public opinion and messaging reports. Although Russia is a dictatorship - public opinion does matter a lot. In fact, the Russian government is not able to currently sell to its own population the concept of an all-out war against Ukraine, thus it uses euphemisms such as a "special military operation" etc. Due to this - the government cannot announce a full mobilization, it does not have the legal instruments to send people to the battle zone against their will and so on.
Police Officers Arresting Protesters in St.Petersburg (Source: Aljazeera)
As the war drags on, Russia's key military objectives remain unfulfilled. Our hope is that if anti-war attitudes and resistance will continue to grow, while the motivation of those who support the government remains insufficient, this will put the country's leadership in a situation where it will have no other option as to seek peace and discontinue its imperialist policies.
Facilitating Understanding. NVI-Ukraine continues to work closely with a variety of international efforts to facilitate visits, meetings, delegations, humanitarian efforts, and project explorations. We would like to draw attention the work of Nonviolent Peaceforce, Patrir, and PAX. We also speak out to the media on nonviolent alternatives in Ukraine, Russia, and the region. See below for media interviews.
Demonstrators for Peace (Source - Dmitry Serebryakov/AP Photo)
Preventing Nuclear War! Nonviolence International-Ukraine is deeply concerned about the possibility of Russia exploding nuclear weapons or destroying the nuclear power plants in Ukraine. NVI drafted a letter in April, NVI called on people around the world to appeal to Chairman Xi and Prime Minister Modi to call Putin to dissuade him from exploding nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Take Action: Please contact the governments of China and India to dissuade President Putin from exploding nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
No to All forcible annexations. NVI is a leader in calling for adherence to international law prohibiting the invasion, occupation and annexation of territory. Please sign and share our pledge.
Nonviolence International is proud that Andre Kamenshikov, NVI Ukraine director, was part of this impressive gathering.
How does civil resistance work and what can it achieve? This panel shares how civilians are using strategic civil resistance to diminish the power and impact of the Russian military.
In Ukraine, civilians replace road signs to confuse Russian military vehicles, they block roads with cement blocks and iron pins, and they have set up a complex humanitarian aid system with neighboring countries. Within Russia, protests and resignations by universities, media outlets, and professionals denounce the military invasion. Join us to learn more about the strategy of civil resistance in Ukraine and the region.
Panelists include leading experts in civil resistance, some joining us from the frontlines in Kyiv.
February 25, 2022: English-Speaking Expert Available to Speak to Media from Ukraine.
Michael Beer speaks with Metta Spencer about reaching out to Russians to end the war. https://tosavetheworld.ca/episode-459-reach-out-to-russians/
Andre Kamenshikov, NVI Ukraine Director, speaks on March 2, 2022 Democracy Now!: Nonviolence Int'l in Kyiv: Resistance Mounts to Russian Invasion as 2,000 Civilian Deaths Reported
Andre Kamenshikov speaks with NVI intern Paige Wright on March 7, 2022: Interview with Andre Kamenshikov: Violence in Ukraine and a Call for Peace
Andre Kamenshikov speaks on WORT radio on March 9, 2022: Kamenshikov on Russia's 8 Year War in Ukraine
Below is a collection NVI's press releases and statements from other organizations we support.
The Humanitarian Disarmament website launched a new Ukraine War and Disarmament Resources page to increase public understanding of the humanitarian disarmament issues raised by the war in Ukraine and to serve as an information center for advocates, journalists, and others.
Former NVI Intern now teaching English in Prague shares her perspective as war refugees are welcomed.
Our friends at the Metta Center for Nonviolence have created this impressive list of relevant resources.
Don't miss this collection from the Transnational Institute.
Daniel Hunter says Ukraine's Secret Weapon may prove to be Nonviolent Direct Action.
Stephen Zunes calls on us to Support International Law Everywhere
John Feffer asks that we Support Diplomacy and the OSCE
Joanne Sheehan notes that war is a crime against humanity on the Metta Center's podcast.
There is enormous civilian resistance to this war around the world. In Russia, hundreds of thousands of people have protested with signs and chanting in the streets and more than 7000 have been arrested. In Ukraine we see enormous civil resistance with tactics including various kinds of blockades, mutual aid, changing streets signs, boycotting Russian products, direct appeals to soldiers, singing. Please visit our database of 350 tactics that can inspire people around the world to do something at this time.
The brutal occupation of Palestine is likely to get even more repressive in the coming weeks and months. The new coalition government in Israel includes unrepentant haters and racists. They have wasted no time showing their true colors. The impacts will be immediate, widespread, and as usual those harmed the most will be Palestinians.
People who have been paying attention know that the occupation has been supported by successive governments of all parties. And still we recognize we are entering a new and dangerous moment. We will work to make sure that this is also a time with the potential for real and lasting positive change.
During this time, we will see suffering increase and we must urge people to open their eyes to the reality of the situation. We must find ways to make the power of active nonviolence relevant to this struggle. NVI co-founder Jonathan Kuttab wrote,
"Successive Israeli governments have pursued these goals steadfastly, while pretending that their aim was security and that their aspirations were for peace with Palestinians, not domination over them. The new Israeli government abandons all such pretense, rips off the mask, and dares the world to do something about it.
Acknowledging that reality is the first necessary step towards addressing it. When Israel determined it wanted to be a Jewish state, and further that it wanted to keep all the land of historic Palestine, the results were inevitable. The only two options Israel allows for are ethnic cleansing or apartheid. Calls for democracy and equality (where democracy includes giving Palestinians [50% of the population] the vote and a stake in running the country) are totally rejected.
The good news is that with this new government, the mask is off, and many people can see the reality. This includes a majority of the Jewish people in the United states and their supporters, who have always been liberal, democratic, and in favor of progressive values. Facing the reality of Israel may be painful for many of them, but it is an important first step towards seeking a new solution based on equality and human dignity, and which would also bring healing and peace."
Tallie Ben-Daniel, the managing director of Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP), said the new Israeli government has openly embraced apartheid.
“The horrifying actions of this new government, only five days in, prove exactly what Palestinians have been saying all along: Israel is an apartheid state, where Palestinians are treated as inferior. The dangerous escalations by the new Israeli government make clear that now is the time for action.”
US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib wrote,
“Not even one week into 2023, the new far-right apartheid government is moving to ethnically cleanse entire communities—which would displace more than 1,000 Palestinian residents, including 500 children. All with American backing, bulldozers, and bullets. #SaveMasaferYatta”
In the face of increased repression, our friends and allies are continuing and expanding their bold, creative, constructive nonviolent resistance.
Please spread the word about the reality of the situation and urge others to visit this page, learn more, and take action.
(At the bottom of this page, you will find background information from NVI and others.)
For those wanting to learn more about the Palestinian struggle for freedom, please see these NVI resources below. Below the NVI resources are primers welcoming people who are not yet immersed in the conversation.
The Popular University of the Palestinian Youth Movement Presents - OUR HISTORY OF POPULAR RESISTANCE: PALESTINE READING LIST
Do you have suggestions for other high quality introductory material we should consider including?
If so, please contact us.
And, of course, please help spread the word. Ask people to visit this page, learn, and take action.
(Art Credit - Kayla Ginsburg - from CJNV)
We celebrate a moment that we have been working towards for years - actually decades. Nonviolence International's longtime director, Michael Beer, has released his first book and it's an important one. Michael has updated Gene Sharp's seminal text training the world in the value of nonviolent tactics. We are pleased that our friends at ICNC, who published this book, have now translated it into both Spanish, Turkish, and Farsi. Get your copy and sign up to help below.
Watch this short video of Michael Beer explaining the essence of his book in under five minutes. Michael explains why he chose to write this book now and what he hopes his book will inspire in the future.
NVI hosted an interactive webinar with Michael Beer, Jamila Raqib of the Albert Einstein Institution founded by Gene Sharp, and Véronique Dudouet of the Berghof Foundation.
In partnership with our friends at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, Michael presented his new book. When you have time, please watch the full inspirational conversation, but don't miss our request for your help below. As Michael said at the end of the webinar, "being active is the essence of nonviolence." We look forward to working with you to promote our shared values.
Many years ago, when I studied Peace and Conflict as an undergrad and later in grad school, we loved Gene's book and even then we felt it was outdated. Finally, decades later when the world has changed so dramatically, someone is updating that foundational work. Whoever was doing this would have my active support. I'm proud it is my friend and colleague at NVI, Michael, and ask for your help getting this important book widely distributed. More on this vital next step below.
Creative nonviolence is always evolving and growing, but since Gene wrote the internet has fundamentally changed the nature of our world and thus our work. So we are launching this new book along with an interactive database of nonviolent tactics. This database celebrates our collective wisdom and our capacity to come together - in the face of massive challenges - and find powerful nonviolent ways to protest and to help build the new emerging world.
To say that we find ourselves at a difficult time is a massive understatement. Our society is dangerously addicted to violence. NVI believes that change has come in the past and will come in the future from social movements seizing our power and paving a way to a brighter future.
NVI is under-resourced for the challenges before us including doing justice to this mission-critical book launch. So, I must do what activists do, and that is ask for your help.
I have several key goals in mind related to this book launch. One is a strong desire to get this book into the hands of those who need it most. To me, that includes those studying nonviolence, peace, and conflict resolution as well as those acting to create a better world. We do not seek to replace Gene's book in classrooms, but instead, hope to supplement that still vital text with Michael's expanded take and online database. Can you help us achieve that goal? Are you a teacher who might know how to go about getting books into the classroom from high school through graduate studies?
We still do not have an active Communications Action Team (nor a Development Action Team). If you believe, as I do, that the world needs to learn about the power of NV tactics, please consider helping us make this book launch impactful. If you can volunteer your time and talents, please contact me. If you can make a gift to support this work, please do so here.
Nonviolence International has created a study guide as a tool for educators to help you use Civil Resistance Tactics in the 21st Century in your classroom. This Study Guide can be used at the high school, undergraduate, and graduate level and includes lesson plans with summaries of key concepts, discussion questions and classroom activities.
This book belongs on the virtual bookshelf of anyone who is studying or practicing nonviolent action.
For scholars: This book updates Gene Sharp’s 1973 seminal work Methods of Nonviolent Action, reworking Sharp’s classifications to include 148 additional tactics.
For trainers and teachers: Brief yet comprehensive, this overview of nonviolence explains the mechanisms by which nonviolent actions succeed.
For activists: This resource, in conjunction with Nonviolence International’s inspirational Nonviolent Tactics Database and our partnership with Rutgers University's International Institute for Peace our Nonviolence Training Archive, enlarges the activist toolbox. This monograph will serve as a foundational text not only “in the field” of action, but also in classrooms studying nonviolent action, civil resistance, peacebuilding, and creative conflict resolution around the world.
For everyone: If you wish to join the team to promote this inspirational text, fill out this form so we know how you can help move this effort forward. You can also help us promote the book over social media. This toolkit provides tips and directions on how you can be most helpful on social media platforms! Followed by images used to promote this text, here's an example of the type of post most helpful to this effort:
Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco and editor, author, and co-author of publications on Nonviolence, Middle-Eastern Policy, and War
“The use of strategic nonviolent resistance has grown dramatically worldwide in the nearly fifty years since Gene Sharp documented his now-famous 198 methods of nonviolent action. Since that time, scores of additional methods have been utilized and the theoretical understanding of civil resistance has grown tremendously. Michael Beer has brought us up to date with this impressive monograph with a revised, expanded, and recategorized list which is a must-read for both scholars and activists.”
Senior researcher and program director at the Berghof Foundation and author of many publications on nonviolent action and civil resistance
"Michael Beer’s new Monograph “Civil Resistance Tactics in the 21st Century” fully meets its ambitious goal of revisiting the field of nonviolent action in light of recent tactical and strategic innovations. Influenced by Gene Sharp’s seminal categorization of civil resistance methods – which remains an authoritative reference among activists and scholars alike – Beer adapts it to the contemporary realities of nonviolent activism. The rich array of approaches and cultural practices covered in this study is fascinating, with illustrations ranging from ‘maximalist’ campaigns to sectorial struggles for rights, justice, accountability and sustainability across the globe. It helpfully outlines distinctions between disruptive and constructive resistance, and between acts of expression, omission and commission. In particular, the monograph explores in detail positive inducements such as appeals, refraining acts, and creative intervention, which bring to light the constructive dimension of civil resistance. Moreover, it usefully spells out the ‘frontiers’ between nonviolent action and overlapping practices that belong to the domains of institutional, violent, third-party or support intervention. This monograph will be both highly valuable for activists who are interested in learning about the rich plurality of nonviolent methods to pursue social change, and for researchers to think creatively about new ways to systematize tactics and methods in relation to broader strategies and campaigns."
Maria J. Stephan
American Political Scientist and former Director of the program on nonviolent action at the United States Institute of Peace
"In his ambitious new monograph, Michael Beer explores the expanding universe of nonviolent tactics and helps us make sense of them. Building on Gene Sharp’s 198 methods of nonviolent action and integrating the frameworks of many other scholars and practitioners, Beer offers a revised and updated table and classification system for analyzing nonviolent tactics. His account, brimming with global applications of lesser-known tactics (exs. kiss-ins, virtual reality games, and reverse strikes) shines a light on creativity, ingenuity, and adaptability of activists, organizers, and movement leaders around the world. I expect that this new classification of tactics will be of great use to activists, academics, and practitioners seeking to strategize, understand, and support nonviolent campaigns and movements around the world - particularly in our new digital age."
Co-author of "Synergizing Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding" and the author of 10 other books on peacebuilding and social movements
“Stuck with just a few tactics in your go-to list for making social change? This book offers clear, compelling, creative options for making nonviolent action more effective and more engaging.”
Former Director of Amnesty International USA
“Awesome book for every human rights defender doing actions outside the court system.”
Renowned scholar and professor of Resistance Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
"This is a unique summary of nonviolent tactics that attempts to create a synthesis that brings several different existing definitions and categorizations. It is an ambitious compilation of different approaches to how to describe "nonviolent tactics," which avoids many of the existing inconsistencies and problems with suggested categorizations. And, in a great contribution to the practical needs of activists and the field of nonviolent action studies, Beer arrives at the most expansive mapping of the rich repertoire of tactics that I have ever seen. It is a must-read for scholars, activists and organizers of campaigns."
Senior Professorial Lecturer in the School of International Service at American University and Peace Educator of the Year
“This book is an invaluable tool for constructively transforming the current challenges roiling the US and the globe. Please join me in using this in your classrooms."
Mubarak Elamin, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, and Steve Williamson celebrate Michael’s new book!
(Content warning: images and descriptions of torture and abuse)
For background information click here.
Donate to support our ongoing efforts to promote nonviolence in Western Sahara here.
Read more below to see our report and updates from the field team during their deployment from March-June 2022.
June 3, 2022, Democracy Now broadcasts headline video of Sultana Khaya's arrival in Canary Islands.
June 1, 2022, Tim Pluta, Ruth McDonough, Sultana Khaya successfully arrive in Canary Islands Airport to a huge crowd and media conference.
May 28, 2022, NVI and delegation protest against Moroccan deportation and abuses in front of the White House.
May 27, 2022, Amnesty International Report. Morocco/Western Sahara: Investigate targeted assault on Sahrawi women activists.
May 27, 2022 US delegation arrives in DC and protests their Moroccan mistreatment and US policy towards Western Sahara at the White House an Noon.
May 24, 2022 Siege of Khaya home re-intensifies with more agents surrounding the house. These past few weeks we have seen women visitors beaten by Moroccan forces with chains, their hands broken so they can't hold Saharawi flags' and youth visitors arrested and abused. Sultana's niece got beaten in front of Sultana's house trying to enter. Her husband escorted her away from this unsuccessful visit.
May 23, 2022, US Delegation of women, were forcibly put on the plane to Casablanca by unidentified Moroccan men. No legal rationale or basis was provided. One woman felt that her bra and shirt we deliberately lifted up.
May 23, 2022, US delegation of women are deported by Moroccan forces at Laayoune Airport. They are trying to visit their friends in Western Sahara, in particular the Khaya Sisters.
May 21, 2022, Tim and Ruth, release a dove at the front of the Khaya house, calling on the Moroccan forces to stop their siege, lay down their guns as Tim did many years ago and build a society based on consent and justice not on domination.
May 13, 2022, Ruth McDonough ends her fast and calls on people around the world to continue fasting for Western Sahara.
May 11, 2022, Ruth McDonough fasts for an eighth day.
May 10, 2022, Morocco sends an unsolicited ambulance to visit the Khaya home. The ambulance was filled with men pretending to be medical workers who had previously attacked and raped the Khaya Sisters. Sultana turned them away. See press release here.
May 9, 2022, Ruth McDonough enters day #6 of a hunger strike. Sultan Khaya holds another protest today calling for human rights and self-determination. Solidarity fasts held around the world including Edward Horgan in Ireland.
May 5, 2022, Visitor Ruth McDonough begins hunger strike to demand an end to the rapes, siege and for a international independent investigation of the abuses of the Khaya sisters.
Please join Ruth and fast for a day in solidarity with her and the need to end the siege!
April 21, 2022 Morocco attacks Sultana Khaya's nephew, Mohammed Fadel Khayamore,yet nonviolent rooftop protests continue. Mohammed is released after two days in an adult jail.
April 20th. Live Report! Breaking a Siege in Occupied Western Sahara:
Shortened Version- 23 minutes
Moderator: Adrienne Kinne, past President and Vice President of the Board of Veterans for Peace USA and Field Volunteer, Presenters: Salka Barca, Co-Founder of Karama Sahara (Nonviolent US-based Advocacy Organization for Western Sahara); Ruth McDonough, Arabic teacher and Field Volunteer; Merwyn De Mello, international peacebuilder and Field Volunteer; Sultana Khaya, Renowned Western Sahara Human Rights Defender; Bill Fletcher Jr., Former President of TransAfrica Forum and Co-Chair of Campaign to End the Moroccan Occupation of Western Sahara.
April 19, 2022 Sultana Khaya installs flagpoles on the roof since the Moroccan government forces broke the hands of her friends who were holding the flag poles in previous days.
April 17, 2022, Brutalization of more activists in the neighborhood by Moroccan forces, yet daily protests on the roof continue.
April 16, 2022, 6 Women who joined the Khaya Sisters yesterday, were brutalized today at their homes. Moroccan forces tried to break their hands to punish them for holding Saharawi flags. Some are needing urgent medical attention.
April 15, 2022, Security has locked down the neighborhood for some reason unknown to all of us. Not a soul on the street, and the police chief is reported to be driving up and down the streets. Khaya Sisters and friends continue daily protests on the roof of their house. https://www.facebook.com/NonviolenceInternational
In the evening, Khaya family visited, despite barriers to the Khaya home, by prominent women's right and human rights activists, Boulsan Tufa and her sister.
April 12, 2022, Sultana Khaya assaulted by Moroccan settler outside her home. Moroccan settler threatened to kill everyone in the house which currently hosts two US tourists from the Human Rights Action Center.
April 6, 2022 Lilah Mohammed Habibi was released after being in police custody for 2 days where he was beaten. He has returned to his home. Protests continue daily on the roof. Moroccan forces surround the house but have not attacked.
March 31, 2022 On Thursday, March 17, Moroccan security forces abducted 14-year old Lilah Mohammed Habibi and his friend as they walked home after visiting nonviolent activist Sultana Khaya in Boujdour, Western Sahara. They forced the boys into their car and took them to the police station. Lilah was interrogated, yelled at, and violently struck on his arms and hands. He was ordered never to go to the Khaya house again. Later that day, both boys were released.Lilah was then taken back into custody on Wednesday March 30th after being asked to pass a nearby bag to a group of older boys. Moroccan police refuse to release the 14-year old who is being held in an adult detention center.
A call for an international investigation of the Khaya Sister’s abuse in Western Sahara continues from the UCP Volunteers.
March 24, 2022 After a week of visiting with Saharawi activist, Sultana Khaya, two of the international guests have safely returned home with no incident going through borders. They are available for interviews about the horrific human rights violations in Western Sahara. The other two guests remain, continuing to deepen connection, friendship, and solidarity with the Saharawi people.
March 22, 2022 UCP Volunteer delegation calls again for an International Investigation of Khaya Sisters’s abuse in Western Sahara after women and elders are attacked and prevented access to Khaya Home.
March 21, 2022 Sahrawi women are being attacked outside the Khaya family home while international visitors observe human rights abuse. Visitors leaving the house were shoved, stopped, harassed, phones were taken, they are back in the house, others went on the street to protest.
Strong coverage on Democracy Now!
March 19th, 2022 Wife & Husband Reunite During Halt of Moroccan Siege in Western Sahara
WASHINGTON, D.C./Boujdour, Western Sahara – Human rights defender, Mina Abaali, reunited with her long-separated husband at the home of Sultana Khaya which was recently released from a 482-day siege by the arrival of 4 international visitors in Boujdour, Western Sahara. Abaali had been forcibly separated from her exiled husband, Hasanna Dueihi, by the Moroccan Forces for three years due to their nonviolent protests for self-determination. When he heard that the siege had been lifted, he rushed to be with her. He told Khaya’s guests, “I am so grateful for you four volunteers that gave me this gift of finally seeing my wife. You are the other face of America.” Young boys who overheard his comment started chanting, “USA! USA! USA!”
March 18, 2022 - The siege has been broken for three consecutive days now. Sultana Khaya and several other activists were able to meet together and support each other today. Our UCP Volunteers continue to ask that their demands are met:
We call for and end to the rapes.
We call for the freedom of movement for the Khaya Family and all visitors.
We call for an independent international investigation of these human rights abuses.
March 17, 2022 - The Moroccans have halted the siege of the Khaya Sisters for 2 days; good friends and family can reunite after nearly 500 days of separation in Western Sahara. We hope the Moroccan approach will continue to change and that sexual abuse, repression, and dominance will be replaced by humility, friendship and respect.
Saharawi Women and the International Visitors joined the Khaya sisters in their daily vigil on their rooftop. Ruth McDonough said, “Our presence as Americans helped to break the siege but these women are the ones who are leading and all that I hope for them is for their voices to be heard and followed because it’s what they say that everyone needs to hear.”
A UCP Volunteer with Sultana Khaya
March 15, 2022 - At the invitation of the Khaya family in Boujdour, Western Sahara, US-based volunteers have arrived at their home to protect them from human rights abuses and break the almost 500-day siege of the house imposed by Moroccan occupation forces.
Supported by the Human Rights Action Center (HRAC) and NVI and a network of other human rights groups, the international unarmed civilian protection (UCP) volunteers, Ruth McDonough, Adrienne Kinne, and others, are currently guests in the Khaya family home. HRAC promotes adherence to the International Declaration of Human Rights.
Since November 2020, the Khaya Sisters have been forcibly confined to their home and the family has faced many forms of abuse, including home invasions, sexual violence and injections of unknown substances. The Khaya sisters have been raped by Moroccan security forces in front of their 84-year-old mother. Furthermore, their water has been poisoned, furniture and property destroyed, and electricity cut-off.
Referring to her experience, Sultana Khaya shared, “I am not the first Saharawi woman to be raped by the occupiers. I am simply the first woman to speak publicly about it. I have to expose the reality of the occupation. And I need to pave the way for the next generation of Saharawi women.”
UCP Volunteer in Western Sahara
On this week’s Spotlight, Rachel Knowles and co-host & fellow intern at Nonviolence International, Ahad Bashir reflected on the semester of spotlights. This season’s hosts discussed the influence of civil resistance on their interviewees, the creative process behind designing and interviewing selected candidates, & what they, as young nonviolent activists, take away from their time in the spotlight.
A few years ago we were told that computer algorithms would serve us. Now we have learned that we serve them. So, we are compelled to ask you to “please like and subscribe” to our new YouTube channel so that others will be introduced to the work you already support.