Support The Brave Palestinians Returning To Their Homes In Sarura

Sumud: Freedom Camp volunteers protect the camp from IDF. Photo credit: @activestills

A coalition of Israelis, Palestinians, and internationals are in the process of helping a village of Palestinian families return to Sarura. The activists, trained in nonviolent protests, took the land and set up camp on a Friday. May 19, 2017. Sumud: Freedom Camp had three hundred volunteers to help rebuild the abandoned village. The camp was funded through an Indiegogo crowdfunding platform and personal fundraising from the volunteer rebuilders of Sarura.

The mood I caught on social media in the first days of the reoccupation was of excitement and the expectation of a raid from the Israeli Defense Force. After two days work, building and peaceful community growth, the IDF arrived in darkness on Saturday, May 20 to harass the nonviolent protesters. People were physically assaulted and threatened. Their camp structures were torn down and their generator confiscated.

The activists remained nonviolent throughout the assault. They linked arms to try and protect the camp, and they sang songs. They showed tremendous bravery in the face of the combat-ready, trigger-happy IDF. And, upon the departure of the soldiers after 45 minutes the message from the campers was one of defiance and rebuilding. The soldiers needed to  return again on the morning of May 25 to tear down the tent again. This came after a day of commotion when several protesters disrupted the Jerusalem Day celebrations in the contested city. They blocked a parade and were brutalized by the police. One American woman’s arm was broken, and many people were beaten and choked.

The coalition consists of Israeli and Palestinian groups focused on nonviolent resistance. The members of the coalition are the organizations The Center for Jewish Nonviolence, All That’s Left, Youth Against Settlements, Holy Land Trust, and Combatants for Peace. These groups use nonviolence in the face of IDF brutality at risk of physical harm, death, and incarceration from the apartheid war-zone.

This coalition may be in the midst of a development in the use of nonviolent direct action to protect vulnerable communities. The idea of a freedom camp is similar to the idea behind the Standing Rock Water Protector camps. They are attempts to build new social structures that make the status quo irrelevant, to paraphrase Buckminster Fuller. These camps address social injustice through NVDA and they address out-of-control consumerism and ecological destruction through the low-tech, low-energy lifestyle of those living in temporary structures.

The Sumud: Freedom Camp and the strategy behind it will help build bridges between international Jewish, Palestinian, and allied communities. Keep your eyes on Sarura, the IDF will return and the nonviolent volunteers there will need your support.

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