Important Update: Nonviolence International Stands in Solidarity with Al-Haq

At this critical moment, Nonviolence International raises up Al-Haq and our co-founder Jonathan Kuttab

August 2022: Jonathan Kuttab has written an insightful update to the important story below. This issue has received far too little attention in the mainstream media in the US. He concludes saying, “given that multiple European countries have now resumed their funding for these groups after having conducted independent audits and finding no evidence of malfeasance, it would behoove the United States to finally clarify its position on this matter. If the US wants to continue proclaiming itself a defender of human rights and the rule of law around the world, it must do so in all countries and in all cases, not just when it serves Israeli, or for that matter, US interests.”

Read the full piece on the Arab Center of Washington, DC’s site. An Update on Israel’s Terrorist Designation for Palestinian Civil Society Organizations


October 2021: Israel's Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, has declared six Palestinian Human Rights groups to be "terrorist organizations." Nonviolence International notes that these organizations are respected leaders in Palestinian Civil Society. They have received funding and support from the United Nations and the European Union, both of which do their due diligence to ensure their funds are used to build not destroy. 

NVI's co-founder, Jonathan Kuttab, is also a co-founder of Al-Haq, one of the groups wrongly designated as "terrorists." As advocates of nonviolence, we consider the search for truth to be essential to building a just and peaceful world. Those who made this designation know better. They have taken this action not to reflect reality, but to shape it. 

The Center for Jewish Nonviolence said, "Throughout history, nonviolent leaders and movements for liberation have been smeared as terrorists by oppressive regimes. As Jews standing in solidarity with Palestinians, we see this every day, and we stand unequivocally with the Palestinian civil society organizations being targeted by the Israeli government, and we know that they are being targeted because their work poses an existential threat to the violent and immoral status quo."

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, who work closely with many of these groups, said in a joint statement:

“This appalling and unjust decision is an attack by the Israeli government on the international human rights movement. For decades, Israeli authorities have systematically sought to muzzle human rights monitoring and punish those who criticize its repressive rule over Palestinians. While staff members of our organizations have faced deportation and travel bans, Palestinian human rights defenders have always borne the brunt of the repression. This decision is an alarming escalation that threatens to shut down the work of Palestine’s most prominent civil society organizations. The decades-long failure of the international community to challenge grave Israeli human rights abuses and impose meaningful consequences for them has emboldened Israeli authorities to act in this brazen manner.

How the international community responds will be a true test of its resolve to protect human rights defenders. We are proud to work with our Palestinian partners and have been doing so for decades. They represent the best of global civil society. We stand with them in challenging this outrageous decision.”

United Nations Human Rights experts put out a powerful joint statement which reads in part,

“This designation is a frontal attack on the Palestinian human rights movement, and on human rights everywhere,” said the experts. “Silencing their voices is not what a democracy adhering to well-accepted human rights and humanitarian standards would do. We call upon the international community to defend the defenders.”

The experts said that anti-terrorism legislation is designed for a specific and restricted purpose, and must not be used to unjustifiably undermine civil liberties or to curtail the legitimate work of human rights organisations. The United Nations Security Council, the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council have all been clear about the requirement to apply counter-terrorism measures in a manner which is consistent with international law and does not violate States international obligations, they said.

“The misuse of counter-terrorism measures in this way by the government of Israel undermines the security of all,” the experts said. “The freedoms of association and expression must be fully respected in order to enable civil society to perform its indispensable work, and cannot be undermined by the manifestly egregious misuse of counterterrorism and security legislation.”


Today, we ask all who declare their commitment to nonviolence to make real that commitment by standing for truth. Please read Jonathan's powerful statement below and take the quick action steps listed at the bottom of this piece. 

Jonathan has decades of commitment to nonviolence and human rights. Anyone who suggests otherwise should study his work and consider why they would make such foolish claims. 


Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) Statement on Israel’s Labeling of Top Palestinian Human Rights Agencies as “Terrorist Organizations”

By Jonathan Kuttab

FOSNA Executive Director, Al-Haq and Nonviolence International co-founder

About 40 years ago, Raja Shehadeh, Charles Shammas, and I created Al-Haq, the first Palestinian human rights organization. After our first publication, "The West Bank and the Rule of Law," an Israeli ambassador contemptuously dismissed us as “a mouthpiece for the PLO'' and for “making a mountain out of a molehill.” We argued back through the International Commission of Jurists, which was our sponsor, that we are totally independent and meticulous about our facts and documentation. We challenged him to prove his claims or to show that ANY of our publications contained any materially incorrect facts. He never replied.

In fact, we were viewed with some suspicion within the Palestinian community because we were strictly independent and spoke the language of human rights and international law, rather than political polemics. This was new for most Palestinians. We persisted, however, and other organizations followed in our footsteps. We managed to have a positive impact on Palestinian society as a serious human rights organization. Al-Haq is now one of several world-renowned and respected human rights organizations. I am proud to say that over the years Al-Haq has meticulously maintained its high standards and, after the Oslo process, was courageous enough to apply the same standards of objectivity, independence, and defense of human rights not just to the Israeli occupation, but also to the behaviour of the Palestinian Authority, and also of Hamas.

I was therefore shocked, though not surprised, when Israel today declared Al-Haq, together with Addamir, Defence of Children International-Palestine, and three other human rights organizations to be “terrorist organizations.” This is a far cry from the polemical, false accusations thrown at us occasionally by Israeli propagandists like the NGO Monitor. It carries practical consequences, such as the seizure of assets, arrest of personnel, and the criminalization of anyone who donates to or cooperates with us in any way.

The fact that Israel is choosing now to attack all six human rights organizations is deeply troubling. It may mean that we are finally becoming effective and successful, that Israel realizes it has lost the public-relations war, and that the world now knows and acknowledges the reality that it is an apartheid state and a systematic violator of human rights and international law. The Defense minister may be afraid that the day is approaching when he and other politicians and army generals may face prosecution before the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and he decided to silence these organizations and cripple their activities.

Another explanation, I am afraid, is that Israel no longer cares about its reputation and no longer fears international public opinion, or any sanctions by the international community. The fact that it has been successful so far in avoiding accountability, and that just a few months ago it ransacked the offices of Defense for Children International in Ramallah with little or no push back emboldened it to do whatever it wants without fear of repercussions. Its assault on civil society can go on unchallenged!!

For this reason alone, it is imperative that we must act now. Our churches, first and foremost, but also our elected representatives must hear from us immediately. Israel must know that its actions are monitored, noted, and will lead to consequences. At the very least, it can no longer claim to be a democracy and be part of the Western world. It can join the likes of Saudi Arabia and North Korea if it chooses, but as long as it pretends to be a democracy and lays claim to billions in economic and military aid from the United States and preferred trade treatment from the US and Europe, it must be made to abide by international standards, and at the very least, stop its attacks on human rights organizations. 

So please join with FOSNA and others in this action.

Learn More. Take Action:

Call now and urge your church, as well as your representatives in Washington, to take action and stop this assault on human rights activists and organizations.


For those interested in learning more about Jonathan's loving, visionary, and nonviolent analysis, please consider reading his wonderful recent book that is available for free from Nonviolence International. 

Latest posts

Nonviolence Can Heal National Traumas, by Jonathan Kuttab

Dear reader,

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and more generalized trauma are not only personal and individual in character but often afflict whole nations and peoples. Frequently historical in nature, trauma can be passed down intergenerationally. 

One of the greatest examples of such trauma afflicting  humanity is that of the Holocaust, compounding the historical experience of centuries of persecution, hatred, and discrimination against Jewish people. This is a trauma that made it easy for many to succumb to the doctrines of Zionism, offering Jewish empowerment via Jewish supremacy in a Jewish-dominated state as the only cure for their ongoing suffering. It has made many easy prey for fascist doctrines, of belief in the value of violence and military overkill as the only path to survival. It has also made it difficult for many to take seriously any path towards peace and reconciliation that is not firmly rooted in their military power and supremacy. And while many cynically exploit the traumas of the Holocaust for political ends, there exists a genuine phenomenon of authentic fear that cries out for healing and needs to be addressed.

That rabbit hole of domination and “deterrence” will likely doom Israeli Jews to eternal strife and enmity with their neighbors, leading to ever increased militarization since in their traumatized state no amount of military power will ever be sufficient, and any attempt by Palestinians to resist that domination is only likely to reinforce the trauma. Similarly, all peace efforts will be viewed with deep suspicion and reticence, particularly if they require concessions that seem to reduce Israeli military domination or appear to make Israel weaker or more vulnerable to the risk of future attacks.

As a Palestinian, I am keenly aware of these traumas. I realize, however unjust it is, that our liberation is tied to the healing of our oppressors from the traumas of the past, for which we are the current victims.

Rubble from a destroyed school in Palestine

I am also aware that armed struggle by Palestinians, however legitimate under international law—and even if it were directed solely at armed soldiers and settlers—still risks reinforcing rather than healing the trauma.

In addition to this, we cannot forget that the Palestinians also have a long history of trauma, are now being traumatized, and are in great need healing, especially when the current genocide stops and the difficult process of rebuilding Gaza commences. Tens of thousands of orphans, bereaved families, over 70,000 wounded, and millions who have lost their homes require not only justice but also time and space to undertake a long process of healing.

I am also deeply conscious of how attractive the call to violence can be for oppressed and traumatized peoples. The events of October 7—apart from the attacks on civilians at the music festival and the kibbutzim as well as the taking of civilian hostages, which are properly to be condemned in no uncertain terms—were also viewed by many Palestinians as a brilliantly successful military operation whereby resistance fighters armed with primitive hand held weapons simultaneously breached the sophisticated walls imprisoning Gaza in 30 locations, captured two army bases, including the headquarters of the Gaza Battalion, killing 340 soldiers and capturing about 40 others, and carried the fight into the territory held by their enemies (rather than their own). Despite the massiveness of the Israeli retaliation and the utter destruction of Gaza, the events of that day will likely hold an appeal to those who preach armed resistance for many years to come.

So we clearly need to resist the siren call for violence, especially in our pursuit of justice. But what can we do to bring about some measure of healing to these deep traumas that are currently feeding the cycle of violence and without the healing of which, no peace is possible?

NVI's fiscal partner, Holy Land Trust along with FOSNA held an extensive series of trainings, attended by over 70 Palestinians in the West Bank, to work on the process of dealing with ongoing trauma. We are also committed to pursuing such healing globally. 

Another conversation between NVI's new Co-Director, Sami Awad and Gabor Mate “From Pain to Healing: Healing Collective Trauma in Israel/Palestine” deals with this problem as well. It is this healing process that is urgently needed by all sides, and it is one area that supporters of nonviolence, can be part of the solution.

Peace,

Jonathan Kuttab, Co-Founder and Board Member

P.S.The Gaza Freedom Flotilla is delayed in Turkey, but another boat is headed from Sweden and is currently near Eurovision raising awareness of the ongoing blockade and siege of Gaza.

 

(Art Credit - Kayla Ginsburg - from CJNV)

US Boats to Gaza helps Freedom Flotilla Effort to Break the Siege

Update from global volunteers in Istanbul on April 20th including

Ann Wright, Huwaida Arraf, Dr. John Reuwer, Lisa Fithian, Wynd Kaufmyn, Cassandra Nixon and Shabnam Mayet.  All hosted by NVI Palestinian leaders, Mubarak Awad, and Sami Awad

 

 

Update from Ann Wright, April 15, 2024

Here is a beautiful Instagram that updates the world about the upcoming flotilla. Volunteers are coming from more than 30 countries!

 

Media Release
April 4, 2024

The international Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) will sail in mid April with multiple vessels, carrying 5500 tons of humanitarian aid and hundreds of international human rights observers to challenge the ongoing illegal Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. This is an emergency mission as the situation in Gaza is dire, with famine setting in in northern Gaza, and catastrophic hunger present throughout the Gaza Strip as the result of a deliberate policy by the Israeli government to starve the Palestinian people. Time is critical as experts predict that hunger and disease could claim more lives than have been killed in the bombing.

Getting humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza is urgent, but it is not sufficient. We must end Israel’s unlawful, deadly blockade as well as Israel’s overall control of Gaza. Allowing Israel to control what and how much humanitarian aid can get to Palestinians in Gaza is like letting the fox manage the henhouse.  And yet, this is what the international community of states is allowing by refusing to sanction Israel and defy its genocidal policies in order to ensure that enough aid reaches the trapped, beleaguered and bombarded civilian population.

The Cyprus maritime corridor, the U.S. floating pier project, and symbolic air drops of food are all distractions from the fact that these methods of aid delivery are insufficient, and still leave Israel in control of what aid can get to the Palestinian people, all while Israel actively prevents thousands of aid trucks from entering Gaza through the land crossings.

On January 26 the International Court of Justice ruled that, ‘the State of Israel remains bound to fully comply with its obligations under the Genocide Convention and with the said Order, including by ensuring the safety and security of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.’ On March 28, the ICJ ordered additional preliminary measures, which included requiring the Israeli forces to stop “preventing, through any action, the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance” to Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel has long violated its responsibility as occupying power to ensure the health and wellbeing of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Now, it is engaging in full scale genocidal conduct in Gaza and using starvation as a weapon of war. Israeli military and political leaders have repeatedly declared their intention to collectively punish the entire population of Gaza, including by denying them food, water and other life-sustaining aid. We therefore reject Israel’s control over the humanitarian aid that can enter Gaza and reject any Israeli inspection of our cargo.For everyone’s safety and to ensure aid is delivered to those who need it, the FFC is bringing hundreds of international humanitarian observers, from many countries and different backgrounds.

“The International Court of Justice’s preliminary measures ordered against Israel are very clear” comments Ismail Moola of South Africa’s Palestine Solidarity Alliance, part of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition. “The court’s ruling requires the whole world to play their part to stop the genocide unfolding in Gaza, including unobstructed access to vital aid. While our governments fail to lead in these urgently required humanitarian responses, people of conscience and our grassroots organizations must act to take leadership. When governments fail, we sail!”

###

Many supporters of Nonviolence International are joining this aid effort as volunteers.

If you want to donate, please donate here.

(Please see this page for background information, resources, and action steps on Palestine / Israel)


NVI fiscally sponsors groups that work to help Gazans. Please support them.

If you want to hear news and views directly from Gaza, please check the website and social media sites of  We Are Not Numbers.

US Boats to Gaza is a member of the global Freedom Flotilla Coalition. They seek to bring humanitarian aid by sea to Gaza and break the siege. Learn more about their important work below. 

Here are some photos from the big recent Washington, DC event for Palestinian humanity that was part of much larger global effort.


Don't miss this important event!

 

 

In this time of enormous unnecessary suffering, it is vitally important that people of good will everywhere raise up the humanity of Palestinian people.

NVI is grateful to the co-founder of our wonderful fiscally sponsored partner, We Are Not Numbers, Ahmed Alnaouq, who brought this short moving video clip to our attention.

Don’t miss US Representative Rashida Tlaib saying the name and last words of WANN writer, Yousef Dawas.

Then take a moment to watch her powerful video here.


We Are Not Numbers is featured in this moving piece in "In These Times."

“I yearn for our voices to echo across the globe with the truth, reaching out to those who seek it.”

SHERELL BARBEE FEBRUARY 7, 2024

https://inthesetimes.com/article/letters-from-gaza-genocide-palestine-culture-


 

We are thrilled that Ahmed's powerful voice was included in the Washington Post.

Here is his excerpt and a link (behind a paywall) to the full article, which includes other perspectives - several not rooted in personal experience or basic human compassion for the suffering of others. When militarists are welcomed into the mainstream press, the media doesn't feel a need to provide "balance." But, for some reason, the few times that Palestinian voices are heard, they present another perspective that often negates Palestinian humanity. 

The slaughter must end

Ahmed Alnaouq: Last week, Israel bombed my family home in Gaza, killing my father, as well as two brothers, three sisters and all of their children, in an instant. One friend described their bodies as “bags of meat” — an arm here, a leg there.

I write to you in mourning. Even now, we Palestinians are not granted the luxury to grieve. Instead, we are burdened with the responsibility to talk, to communicate the extent of our suffering and the injustice wielded against us.

So, first, I must say this: We demand an immediate cease-fire. We demand a lifting of the Israeli siege of Gaza and the restoration of electricity, fuel, water and food. And we demand unimpeded humanitarian access in line with international law.

Today, the word “genocide” is being widely used. I can’t think of another word that captures the magnitude of what Israel, a nuclear-armed military power, continues to unleash on a captive population of children and refugees. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the quiet part out loud: “Gaza won’t return to what it was before,” he said. “We will eliminate everything.”

But we Palestinians already knew what Gallant had in mind. Corralled in Gaza for the past 17 years, burdened with mass unemployment and poverty — even before white phosphorus filled the skies, or before we lay crushed beneath the rubble — we could not breathe. We were held captive like prisoners who had never committed a crime or shot down when we attempted to peacefully protest our incarceration.

Our 1 million children have never traveled outside Israel’s militarized cage and know nothing but the buzz of drones in the sky tracking their every move.

In the past week, I have lost everything. But I do not seek revenge. There is no “military solution” here, only a collective responsibility to finally grant Palestinians what they have demanded for decades, what they are owed: justice, freedom and their very basic rights as human beings.

Ahmed Alnaouq is the head of We Are Not Numbers, which pairs Palestinian writers with mentors overseas.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/11/02/gaza-ceasefire-civilian-military-humanitarian/

Click here to donate to support NVI's fiscally sponsored partner WANN.


Ahmed was also featured in this recent New York Times piece

After the Israeli military killed his older brother in an airstrike in Gaza in 2014, Ahmed Alnaouq says, he almost lost his will to live. “I sank into a deep depression,” he told me in a recent phone call. But an American friend convinced him to write about his brother and channel his grief into something productive. Together, they founded We Are Not Numbers, a project that trains young writers in Gaza and publishes their personal essays in English.

The name is a nod to how numbing numbers can be. The higher the death toll, the less we are inclined to care, since the scale of human suffering can feel overwhelming. Statistics don’t trigger empathy and action. Personal stories do.

“This project changed my life because for the first time, I thought that some people can care about us,” Mr. Alnaouq said, describing the response it got outside Gaza.

We Are Not Numbers began as a way to memorialize the dead, but it quickly turned into a lifeline for the living. For young people in Gaza, stuck in a political system with few rights and a blockaded economy with few jobs, it provides a vital outlet for self-expression...

“After losing my family, I did not stop believing in what I believe in,” he told me. “I don’t want other people to feel what I am feeling. Not the Israelis, not the Palestinians.”


These very painful, honest, meaningful videos feature WANN's co-founder.

Trigger / harsh reality warning. 


Mubarak Awad speaks on KKFI radio about Palestine

Moussa Elbayoumy, Yara Salamed, and NVI President Mubarak Awad discuss calls for a ceasefire in the current Israel-Hamas war. Moussa is an MD and chair of the board of the Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Kansas). Yara is studying Law at UMKC and is President of Students for Justice in Palestine there. Mubarak is a Palestinian born in Jerusalem in 1943, influenced by Mennonite and Quaker missionaries. He received bachelors, masters and PhD degrees from universities in the US. He became a US citizen in 1978 and returned to Jerusalem in 1983 to found the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence. He was expelled from Palestine in 1988 during the First Intifada for organizing nonviolent protests against mistreatment of Palestinians by Israeli military and settlers. Back in the US, he founded Nonviolence International. Moussa, Yara and Mubarak are calling for a ceasefire in the current Israel-Gaza war.      KKFI.ORG


Sadly, this short NVI video clip from two years ago is still relevant. 


Refaat Alareer, WANN's co-founder, killing featured in major media outlets. 

CNN

Al Jazeera

Time


In this episode of Mondoweiss’s podcast Culture Editor Mohammed El-Kurd

speaks with journalist and co-founder of We Are Not Numbers Ahmad Alnaouq.


Michael Beer quoted in LA Times article on effective activism. 


Please see these articles: 

Writing while expecting to die “Can you kindly publish the attached stories if I die?” This is what we have been hearing from the young writers we work with from Gaza in the We Are Not Numbers project.

7 steps to end the cycle of violence in Israel and Palestine:
The path to peace requires nonviolent action not just from Israelis and Palestinians, but also Americans, the media, aid organizations and others.
By NVI Founder, Mubarak Awad.  We are pleased to announce this piece was selected as Waging Nonviolence's top story of the year!  https://wagingnonviolence.org/2023/12/waging-nonviolence-top-stories-2023/

When will we learn that violence doesn’t lead to security?
To support Israelis and Palestinians is to insist on their right to equally live in peace and freedom — not help structures of state violence and cultures of militarization.
By NVI Board member, Mohammed Abu-Nimer

Solidarity with Palestinians and Jews Sign on Statement. 

By Jonathan Kuttab, NVI co-founder. Cat Zavis, Jewish Civil/Women's Rights Lawyer, Mediator, and Rabbi: Beyt Tikkun. Michael Lerner, Rabbi and Editor of Tikkun magazine.
Esther Azar, Arab Jewish Trauma Activist, and Rabbi: Trauma Informed Rabbinics.


Recent attacks by Israel on Gaza and Hamas fighters on Israel are tragic and will not resolve bring peace and justice to all.

NVI believes that nonviolence is the only way to end the savagery, brutality and cycle of violence between Palestinians and Israelis.

NVI urges all parties to cease all military attacks and prevent further escalation of violence that will only harm innocent civilians on both sides.

Call for an immediate ceasefire and end to all violence, including an immediate halt to attacks towards Israel and Israeli military attacks on Gaza.

Urgent humanitarian action is needed, including the establishment of a humanitarian corridor inside and out of Gaza, for the safe movement of people and the delivery of essential supplies. This includes opening Erez and Kerem Shalom / Abu Salem crossings to allow for the movement of people and goods and remove the ban on access to the sea. 

End violations of international law and impunity, including settlement expansions, forcible transfer, demolitions, settler violence, all part of ongoing and illegal de facto annexation of West Bank territory. Immediately lift all movement restrictions on Palestinian communities in the West Bank to allow the movements of goods and services. 

Take action at the UN Security Council to reaffirm UN Security Council resolutions calling for a nonviolent resolution of disputes, the reversal of the annexation of Greater East Jerusalem and the preservation of the status quo at holy sites.           

NVI supports nonviolent political resolution of the conflict by ending the systemic policies of oppression and discrimination of Palestinians, including the 16-year siege on Gaza and 56-year military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including. East Jerusalem.

We hope you will find this helpful and will share it with others.


US Boats to Gaza is a fiscally sponsored partner of NVI and a member of the global Freedom Flotilla Coalition. They seek to bring humanitarian aid by sea to Gaza and break the siege. Learn more below. 

In this video, Ann Wright, a leader of US Boats to Gaza, Veterans for Peace, and Code Pink interrupts the US Secretary of State to call for a Cease Fire Now. Timestamp 1:45


Check out this powerful video (from before the latest crisis), learn more about their important work, and please consider supporting this creative constructive nonviolent movement


 

Activists discuss global nonviolent movement for Palestinians April 8th

Don't miss this important event!

Join us on our youtube live channel, Youtube/nonviolence to watch this discussion of activist leaders on global solidarity and resistance for justice in Palestine.

 


 

(Please see this page for background information, resources, and action steps on Palestine / Israel)


NVI fiscally sponsors groups that work to help Gazans. Please support them.

If you want to hear news and views directly from Gaza, please check the website and social media sites of  We Are Not Numbers.

US Boats to Gaza is a member of the global Freedom Flotilla Coalition. They seek to bring humanitarian aid by sea to Gaza and break the siege. Learn more about their important work below. 

Here are some photos from the big recent Washington, DC event for Palestinian humanity that was part of much larger global effort.


In this time of enormous unnecessary suffering, it is vitally important that people of good will everywhere raise up the humanity of Palestinian people.

NVI is grateful to the co-founder of our wonderful fiscally sponsored partner, We Are Not Numbers, Ahmed Alnaouq, who brought this short moving video clip to our attention.

Don’t miss US Representative Rashida Tlaib saying the name and last words of WANN writer, Yousef Dawas.

Then take a moment to watch her powerful video here.


We Are Not Numbers is featured in this moving piece in "In These Times."

“I yearn for our voices to echo across the globe with the truth, reaching out to those who seek it.”

SHERELL BARBEE FEBRUARY 7, 2024

https://inthesetimes.com/article/letters-from-gaza-genocide-palestine-culture-


 

We are thrilled that Ahmed's powerful voice was included in the Washington Post.

Here is his excerpt and a link (behind a paywall) to the full article, which includes other perspectives - several not rooted in personal experience or basic human compassion for the suffering of others. When militarists are welcomed into the mainstream press, the media doesn't feel a need to provide "balance." But, for some reason, the few times that Palestinian voices are heard, they present another perspective that often negates Palestinian humanity. 

The slaughter must end

Ahmed Alnaouq: Last week, Israel bombed my family home in Gaza, killing my father, as well as two brothers, three sisters and all of their children, in an instant. One friend described their bodies as “bags of meat” — an arm here, a leg there.

I write to you in mourning. Even now, we Palestinians are not granted the luxury to grieve. Instead, we are burdened with the responsibility to talk, to communicate the extent of our suffering and the injustice wielded against us.

So, first, I must say this: We demand an immediate cease-fire. We demand a lifting of the Israeli siege of Gaza and the restoration of electricity, fuel, water and food. And we demand unimpeded humanitarian access in line with international law.

Today, the word “genocide” is being widely used. I can’t think of another word that captures the magnitude of what Israel, a nuclear-armed military power, continues to unleash on a captive population of children and refugees. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the quiet part out loud: “Gaza won’t return to what it was before,” he said. “We will eliminate everything.”

But we Palestinians already knew what Gallant had in mind. Corralled in Gaza for the past 17 years, burdened with mass unemployment and poverty — even before white phosphorus filled the skies, or before we lay crushed beneath the rubble — we could not breathe. We were held captive like prisoners who had never committed a crime or shot down when we attempted to peacefully protest our incarceration.

Our 1 million children have never traveled outside Israel’s militarized cage and know nothing but the buzz of drones in the sky tracking their every move.

In the past week, I have lost everything. But I do not seek revenge. There is no “military solution” here, only a collective responsibility to finally grant Palestinians what they have demanded for decades, what they are owed: justice, freedom and their very basic rights as human beings.

Ahmed Alnaouq is the head of We Are Not Numbers, which pairs Palestinian writers with mentors overseas.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/11/02/gaza-ceasefire-civilian-military-humanitarian/

Click here to donate to support NVI's fiscally sponsored partner WANN.


Ahmed was also featured in this recent New York Times piece

After the Israeli military killed his older brother in an airstrike in Gaza in 2014, Ahmed Alnaouq says, he almost lost his will to live. “I sank into a deep depression,” he told me in a recent phone call. But an American friend convinced him to write about his brother and channel his grief into something productive. Together, they founded We Are Not Numbers, a project that trains young writers in Gaza and publishes their personal essays in English.

The name is a nod to how numbing numbers can be. The higher the death toll, the less we are inclined to care, since the scale of human suffering can feel overwhelming. Statistics don’t trigger empathy and action. Personal stories do.

“This project changed my life because for the first time, I thought that some people can care about us,” Mr. Alnaouq said, describing the response it got outside Gaza.

We Are Not Numbers began as a way to memorialize the dead, but it quickly turned into a lifeline for the living. For young people in Gaza, stuck in a political system with few rights and a blockaded economy with few jobs, it provides a vital outlet for self-expression...

“After losing my family, I did not stop believing in what I believe in,” he told me. “I don’t want other people to feel what I am feeling. Not the Israelis, not the Palestinians.”


These very painful, honest, meaningful videos feature WANN's co-founder.

Trigger / harsh reality warning. 


Mubarak Awad speaks on KKFI radio about Palestine

Moussa Elbayoumy, Yara Salamed, and NVI President Mubarak Awad discuss calls for a ceasefire in the current Israel-Hamas war. Moussa is an MD and chair of the board of the Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Kansas). Yara is studying Law at UMKC and is President of Students for Justice in Palestine there. Mubarak is a Palestinian born in Jerusalem in 1943, influenced by Mennonite and Quaker missionaries. He received bachelors, masters and PhD degrees from universities in the US. He became a US citizen in 1978 and returned to Jerusalem in 1983 to found the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence. He was expelled from Palestine in 1988 during the First Intifada for organizing nonviolent protests against mistreatment of Palestinians by Israeli military and settlers. Back in the US, he founded Nonviolence International. Moussa, Yara and Mubarak are calling for a ceasefire in the current Israel-Gaza war.      KKFI.ORG


Sadly, this short NVI video clip from two years ago is still relevant. 


Refaat Alareer, WANN's co-founder, killing featured in major media outlets. 

CNN

Al Jazeera

Time


In this episode of Mondoweiss’s podcast Culture Editor Mohammed El-Kurd

speaks with journalist and co-founder of We Are Not Numbers Ahmad Alnaouq.


Michael Beer quoted in LA Times article on effective activism. 


Please see these articles: 

Writing while expecting to die “Can you kindly publish the attached stories if I die?” This is what we have been hearing from the young writers we work with from Gaza in the We Are Not Numbers project.

7 steps to end the cycle of violence in Israel and Palestine:
The path to peace requires nonviolent action not just from Israelis and Palestinians, but also Americans, the media, aid organizations and others.
By NVI Founder, Mubarak Awad.  We are pleased to announce this piece was selected as Waging Nonviolence's top story of the year!  https://wagingnonviolence.org/2023/12/waging-nonviolence-top-stories-2023/

When will we learn that violence doesn’t lead to security?
To support Israelis and Palestinians is to insist on their right to equally live in peace and freedom — not help structures of state violence and cultures of militarization.
By NVI Board member, Mohammed Abu-Nimer

Solidarity with Palestinians and Jews Sign on Statement. 

By Jonathan Kuttab, NVI co-founder. Cat Zavis, Jewish Civil/Women's Rights Lawyer, Mediator, and Rabbi: Beyt Tikkun. Michael Lerner, Rabbi and Editor of Tikkun magazine.
Esther Azar, Arab Jewish Trauma Activist, and Rabbi: Trauma Informed Rabbinics.


Recent attacks by Israel on Gaza and Hamas fighters on Israel are tragic and will not resolve bring peace and justice to all.

NVI believes that nonviolence is the only way to end the savagery, brutality and cycle of violence between Palestinians and Israelis.

NVI urges all parties to cease all military attacks and prevent further escalation of violence that will only harm innocent civilians on both sides.

Call for an immediate ceasefire and end to all violence, including an immediate halt to attacks towards Israel and Israeli military attacks on Gaza.

Urgent humanitarian action is needed, including the establishment of a humanitarian corridor inside and out of Gaza, for the safe movement of people and the delivery of essential supplies. This includes opening Erez and Kerem Shalom / Abu Salem crossings to allow for the movement of people and goods and remove the ban on access to the sea. 

End violations of international law and impunity, including settlement expansions, forcible transfer, demolitions, settler violence, all part of ongoing and illegal de facto annexation of West Bank territory. Immediately lift all movement restrictions on Palestinian communities in the West Bank to allow the movements of goods and services. 

Take action at the UN Security Council to reaffirm UN Security Council resolutions calling for a nonviolent resolution of disputes, the reversal of the annexation of Greater East Jerusalem and the preservation of the status quo at holy sites.           

NVI supports nonviolent political resolution of the conflict by ending the systemic policies of oppression and discrimination of Palestinians, including the 16-year siege on Gaza and 56-year military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including. East Jerusalem.

We hope you will find this helpful and will share it with others.


US Boats to Gaza is a fiscally sponsored partner of NVI and a member of the global Freedom Flotilla Coalition. They seek to bring humanitarian aid by sea to Gaza and break the siege. Learn more below. 

In this video, Ann Wright, a leader of US Boats to Gaza, Veterans for Peace, and Code Pink interrupts the US Secretary of State to call for a Cease Fire Now. Timestamp 1:45


Check out this powerful video (from before the latest crisis), learn more about their important work, and please consider supporting this creative constructive nonviolent movement


 

Mennonite Action Day of Action March 29, 2024

Send Aid Not Bombs, March 25-29, 2024

See a map of actions around the USA

 

For more information check out their website: https://www.mennoniteaction.org/

Donate here. 


 

 

Mennonite Action Prayer Service For Ceasefire in Gaza in the US Congress on January 16, 2024

Don't miss this prominent and positive coverage in the Washington Post. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2024/01/16/gaza-protest-cannon-building-mennonite-action/


We are people of God’s peace.

Mennonite Action is a movement of Mennonites bonded by a common belief that we must be public about our peace values. We believe that Mennonites have a responsibility to use our voices as powerfully as possible for the cause of peace and justice. We are taking public action as Mennonites. We are mobilizing Mennonites across the US and Canada to demand a ceasefire, end the US and western funded occupation of Palestine, and build for lasting peace.


 “To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic.  It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness...What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something.  If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction...And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future.  The future is an infinite succession of presents and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."  -- Howard Zinn

NVI is proud to be the fiscal sponsor for the this important project. Please consider donating here

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