Watch our top 10 victories against Israeli apartheid in 2020 in less than a minute here:
For people across continents, 2020 was a challenging year due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Oppressed and colonized peoples were the most to suffer from the pandemic due to structural and systematic oppression and health negligence. In Palestine, during 2020, Israel has intensified its apartheid and settler colonial practices and has officially announced its plans to transform de facto annexation of 33% of the West Bank into de jure status. Yet, in 2020, we witnessed an intensification of different forms of popular struggle actions to combat Israeli apartheid regime.
We present to you our impact nationally and internationally during 2020 below.
Looking into 2021, we know that we are in a period that is decisive for our struggle and our rights. Will Israel be able to “normalize” its apartheid regime over our people or will we and the world be able to hold Israel accountable? Will we be able to defend our people to resist further ethnic cleansing and rise the cost for apartheid on the ground? Will we be able to ensure Israel’s human rights violations and apartheid are being investigated and effective measures taken to end them?
Will we, the people across the world, be able to come together to ensure that justice, freedom and equality prevails over profits, power and supremacy?
During 2020, we Palestinians have faced another plan to liquidate our just cause in the so-called ‘Deal of the Century.’ The Trump administration announced the no-peace plan on January 28th, 2020.Intensified construction of Israeli settlements has accompanied it.
Israel’s pillage of land has targeted almost every area in the West Bank. On the looted lands, more settlement housing units and new settler outposts have sprung up across the West Bank.
Yet, Palestinians have met the escalated settlement expansion with more counter popular actions. They have erected sit-in tents and organized protests on a regular basis. Stop the Wall took part in liberating large swathes of Palestinian lands by ousting nine settler outposts. Please read more about our actions of land decolonization here.
We showcase here some battles of liberation:
On Mount al-Arma, the Palestinian flag was raised!
Since the 1980s, the Israeli settlers have assigned Mount Al-Arma, Nablus district, a place in their strategic plans. They have definied it a historical Jewish site as a justification to seize it. Once they arrived to set up a first presence, Palestinians immediately mobilized. For a month, Palestinians protested and set up a sit-in tent until they succeeded in warding off Israeli settlers in March, 2020.
To know more Palestinian popular actions and sacrifices to take back mount Al-Arma from the grip of Israeli settlers, please read our report here.
Once upon a time, there was a settler outpost in Sinjel…
Sinjel is a small Palestinian village located 21 kilometers northwest of Ramallah. As Sinjel is perched on a hill, its strategic location has made it a target for settlement expansion. In 2020, a group of fanatic Israeli settlers set up a settler outpost consisting of movable houses.
To ensure that the popular actions of the people of Sinjel are well-coordinated, Stop the Wall has created a popular committee there. This committee succeeded in removing the settler outpost and ousting the illegal settlers. Although the settlers tried to come back, the popular committee was vigilant enough to thwart all of their attempts to establish a new settler outpost.
The walk to liberation is still ongoing….
Our protests are still ongoing to oust other settler outposts built on our lands.
Please read about the continuous protests in Beit Dajan and Kufr Qaddoum to free the colonized lands here.
Please, also read about Palestinian popular actions in the village of al-Mughayir here.
Stop the Wall has initiated in 2020 the campaign for the Right to Exist. The Campaign focuses on three rights: the Right to land, to water and to education. We seek to support those Palestinians that are threatened with expulsion and to strengthen their resolve to stay on the land despite Israel’s attempts to forcibly displace them. The Right to Exist Campaign will act whenever Israel denies Palestinians the right to water, education, building and access to and cultivation of their land.
Right to Education:
- We have formed the Right to Education Coalition, a network of national and international NGOs. The coalition has mounted its efforts throughout 2020 to resist Israel’s attempts to expel Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley. One of the main tools used by the Israeli occupation to force the people to abandon their communities was to deny them access to proper education. We succeeded in building two new kindergartens in Ein el-Baida and Al-Maleh. We also renovated the school and kindergarten of the community of Arab al Ka’abnah.
- Stop the Wall has conducted a research on the challenges Palestinians face in accessing education in the Jordan Valley. The research was based on testimonies of students, parents, teachers and popular activists in the Jordan Valley. The research recommendations have guided activities of the Right to Education Coalition. They will guide future actions organized by the coalition to facilitate access to proper education for Palestinians in the Jordan Valley.
Right to Land
Israel’s settler colonial project affects the daily life not only of the Palestinian society as a whole, but individuals, too. Abu Jamal, a Palestinian farmer and human rights defender from the village of al Luban al- Sharqiyya, Nablus district, has been bearing the scars of Israel’s systematic violence against him for 17 years. The most recent attack against him and his family was in last November. Israeli soldiers demolished their property and looted the intact property.
As part of the efforts to support the steadfastness of Abu Jamal, we bought him six sheep. The sheep represent a sustainable source of income for Abu Jamal and his family to continue to exist on their land against all odds. Please read more about Abu Jamal’s story here.
For seventeen years in a row, we have been asserting to our people in affected areas that we are with them through the ‘You Are not Alone’ Campaign:
Olive harvest season
Every year, we help Palestinian farmers subject to settlers’ violence in nearby settlements during the olive harvest season. Volunteers affiliated with the Palestine Youth Forum join in this collective initiative. Through that, we support farmers in dismantling Israeli apartheid’s invisible wall of fear by reaching their lands, harvesting their olive trees and celebrating this ‘national wedding’ as we usually call it. Please read more about the olive harvest initiative here.
Olive trees cultivation
During 2020, we planted over 750 olive trees in areas threatened with confiscation across the West Bank. The cultivation of olive trees is a tool to strengthen Palestinian attachment to their ancestral lands. This is a counter measure in response to Israel’s attempts to detach Palestinians from their lands through violent and intimidating practices.
Israel’s apartheid and settler colonial practices have caused an environmental destruction. Israel first ethnically cleansed the Palestinian people in a largescale campaign starting in 1947. Afterwards, it planted pine trees on top of the ruins to erase the traces of the crime. The afforestation projects of a shrubland ecosystem like Palestine threatens both animal and plant species with extinction.
At the same time, Israel constantly uproots trees belonging to Palestinians. This is another cause of the environmental destruction we face. Please read more about the war Israel wages on our nature to ethnically cleanse Palestinians here.
As Israeli apartheid practices to take over our land are never green, we believe that our effort to cultivate more trees is not only an anti-apartheid and ant-colonialist struggle. Rather, it has an environmentalist dimension, too. This asserts that our anti-colonial struggle is green as we are struggling to protect our environment on the long path of decolonizing our land.
Stop the Wall has co-founded and organized for the creation of the Palestine Cop26 coalition, a consortium of Palestinian grassroots organizations and Palestine’s Green party. We co-created the Palestine Cop26 Coalition to represent Palestine in the Global people’s Cop26 Coalition in Glasgow.
The Palestine Cop26 Coalition participated in the first global gathering of the people’s cop26 coalition titled, ‘From the Ground Up’ last November. We jointly held a webinar with Gastivists Network about the Eu-Israeli gas projects and how such projects entrench Israeli apartheid and fuel conflict in the Middle East.
The Palestine Cop26 coalition will also represent Palestine in other global gathering events throughout 2021. We seek to ensure that Israeli organizations taking the lead in greenwashing Israeli apartheid crimes are kept out of the people’s summit and eventually banned from the governmental proceedings, too.
Stop the Wall has helped the people of al Janiya, Ramallah district, to renovate an old and forsaken water spring. Recently, illegal Israeli settlers have repeatedly raided the site in an attempt to take it over. However, through our support, the people of al Janiya could make the water spring a destination for the residents of the village. The constant presence of Palestinians makes it more difficult for settlers to plunder the water spring and the surrounding area.
The renovated water spring has also become a source of irrigation for any cultivated crops. This has encouraged farmers to jointly cultivate large swathes of lands threatened with confiscation by the Israeli occupation.
Currently, more than one agricultural cooperative has been created in the area surrounding the water spring.
Reinforcing the culture of worker-owned and managed cooperatives is a way to fight back against Israel’s neoliberal system. Since decades of colonization and pillage of Palestinian land and natural resources, Israel has created a stunt and de-developed Palestinian economy. Palestinians, therefore, are forced to depend on Israel’s neo-liberal system of economy.
Throughout 2020 Stop the Wall has also ensured the continuity and development of another cooperative in Burin village, Nablus district. The cooperative is run by women and Stop the Wall has helped to establish it in previous years.
Bedouin communities living in Area ‘C’ (under full Israeli control) were the most to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic in Palestine. Israel’s apartheid regime bans the construction of health centers in these areas as a measure to coerce them to leave their land.
To counter Israel’s apartheid measures and support the steadfastness of these communities, Stop the Wall along with other popular groups launched two phases of the COVID-19 emergency response.
In the first phase, we provided health kits for Bedouin communities and overcrowded refugee camps. Please read full report here. In the first phase of the initiative, we also marketed the dairy products of Bedouin communities living in the Jordan Valley. Dairy products are the main source of income for these communities. Due to the lockdown these communities were unable to sell these products without our support.
In the second phase of the COVID-19 emergency response, which took place in July 2020, we distributed food kits to Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley and South Hebron Hills. This initiative is a show of solidarity with and support to the Bedouin communities that Israel systematically marginalizes in order to expel them from their lands.
The spread of the pandemic has prevented us from holding popular actions on the ground to mark the 72-anniversary of the Nakba. However, we commemorated it online through sharing a report about our ongoing Nakba, continuous resistance and the struggle Palestinian refugees share with immigrants and refugees around the world. Please find full report here.
Pedagogy of the colonized
As we are strong believers in the power that lies in our youth to create an anti-colonial, anti-apartheid and social change, in 2020, we continued to support our youth.
As part of our decolonial pedagogical efforts, we held two induction tours for the Palestine Youth Forum despite of the COVID-19 lockdown. Over 100 youth participated in these tours and acquired an indigenous knowledge of Palestine’s geography. Israel systematically reconfigures Palestine’s landscape. This effort is embodied in the construction of the Apartheid Wall, Jewish-only settlements, and bypass roads. This transformation risks to obliterate the memory of the precolonial landscape as young people may forget or not even ever know. To geographically and historically orient our youth, is a way to preserve indigenous knowledge of Palestine and to fight back.
The tours also included an overview about Israel’s settlement expansion practices and plans in the visited areas. We have also discussed how we can fight back against such practices.
In a two-day camp, our decolonial teaching of youth continued through participatory discussions with the youth. The meaning of mutual solidarity and joint struggle with other oppressed /colonized peoples around the world was one of the main topics that the participants touched on during the discussions.
During the camp, the youth also discussed the process of democratic representation of the members of the youth forum through elections; two weeks after the camp, the members of the steering committee of the youth forum were democratically elected.
Due to the spread of the pandemic, we could not be physically present in international events such as the Black July. Black July is a month of awareness raising and struggle held every year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It usually highlights racial injustices committed by the Brazilian government against the residents the residents of the favelas.
We organized a webinar where Palestinian and Brazilian human rights defenders decried exclusionary practices of oppressive regimes. The webinar endeavored to approximate the different, yet universal experiences of the people residing in the favelas and in Palestine. Please read more about the event here.
Solidarity from the Basque Country
Before the spread of the pandemic, a delegation from the Basque country visited Palestine. We organized the visits of the delegation in different areas in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the 48 area (present-day Israel).
Throughout the tour, the delegation met with Palestinians to hear their stories under occupation, which confute all Israeli lies on Western mainstream media.
International Students in Palestine
As part of our relentless efforts to inform people of life under occupation and apartheid, we conducted a lecture with international students learning Arabic at Birzeit University. The students who came from different parts of the world to Palestine have learned more about the trajectory of Israel’s Apartheid Wall and its long-term implications on Palestinian lives.
Throughout 2020 has continued to keep our supporters, friends and comrades and all those that want an update here and there informed. On our website, facebook and twitter we have continued to produce regular updates in English and Spanish on Israeli policies of apartheid, Palestinian grassroots struggle and sturdy steadfastness.
We have as well launched a new mobile friendly website with lots of great new features.
We have supported the Right to Exist Campaign and other actions on the ground. We have prepared information ad material to spread the news and build solidarity and effective action at international level.
Right to Education:
- We have released a detailed report on the Right to Education to present the campaign. It was launched in Palestine at the eve of the “Annexation Day” on June 29th with the building of a school in the Jordan Valley. The campaign also calls on the international community to hold Israel accountable for denying Palestinians in the Jordan Valley their right to education as it amounts to an apartheid policy. The in-depth report details how Israel systematically destroys Palestinian right to education as a tool to expel Palestinians from their land. You can read the full report here.
- Action to Protect Ras Al Auja School: In September, as across the world schools are slowly opening again after COVID19 lockdowns, Stop the Wall has launched the alarm to protect the school in Ras al Auja. A Bedouin community in the Jordan Valley. We called on activists to help us pressure their governments and contacted the consulates based in Palestine to protect the school under threat of demolition and to guarantee Palestinians the Right to Education. As well We thank all activists and organizations that have responded to the call! AS well thanks to your support Ras al Auja school is still standing
- Right to Water:
- We released an 8-page factsheet on the right to water. The factsheet brings case studies and an overall analysis on Israel’s policies to dispossess Palestinians from this vital natural resource. Please read the factsheet here.
Stop the Wall has released the most detailed map on the US-Israeli plan regarding de jure annexation, including a commentary. With the possible annexation of 33% of the West Bank, over 75 Palestinian villages, Bedouin and semi-Bedouin communities are to be annexed, with a total population of 118 000.
- While de jure annexation is delayed, this is the masterplan for the ongoing de facto annexation Palestinians are facing every day. See the map and commentary here.
The Global South Response
Stop the Wall has helped to build the Global South Response, which brings together notable figures, intellectuals, policy makers, civil society leaders and experts from Africa, Latin America and Asia in a joint effort to oppose Israel’s land theft and apartheid. We have contributed with our experience of building relations in the global south that spans over a decade.
The “World without Walls” initiative has shown to be as urgent and inspiring as it was 4 years ago. We launched the initiative together with Mexican movements as a call for a global day of action on November 9 in the aftermath of Trump’s electoral campaign promising a ‘big, fat, beautiful wall’, inspired by Israel’s walls. It has since then become an ongoing space of interaction of movements to find common grounds against different walls of injustice.
People, movements and organizations from Malaysia to California have once again participated in actions to build connections between movements and denounce the walls that oppress us. Webinars, radio shows, street action, release of photographic mosaics and infographics have marked the day. See more here.
A new report ‘Walled World, Towards A Global Apartheid’, produced in cooperation between Centre Delàs d’Estudis per la Pau, Transnational Institute(TNI) and Stop Wapenhandel,has been released. Download the report here.
Online exhibit “Walls in times of Pandemic”
“Walls in Times of Pandemic” is an online exhibit that has been prepared thanks to the contributions of many movements across the globe, from the Philippines to Mexico. It gives fragments of reality, traces connections and gives inspirations of struggle.
Walls are symbols of exclusion, oppression, exploitation, discrimination and dispossession. In times of the COVID19 pandemic, lockdowns and quarantines, the walls that oppress and exclude have risen higher, gotten more brutal and more visible. Beyond the walls emerges a network of people and their aspirations that build a World without Walls.
Visit the exhibition here.
World without Walls webinars
The World without Walls 2020 webinars “Resistance Rising: The Walls will Fall” have allowed us to bring together movements, particularly from the global south, in inspiring conversations and experience sharing about the walls of injustice they are struggling about. In a unique series of events we have been able to discuss the role of Palestine solidarity as part of the global struggle against the rising far-right regimes as well as Israel’s role in the construction and maintenance of digital walls, the Arab walls, the walls of the European Union’s anti-migration policies and denial of access to water as yet another wall of injustice.
- Watch World without Walls webinar #1: “Resistance Rising: Onwards towards a World without Walls”
- Watch World without Walls webinar #2: “The EU-Israel nexus: militarization, migration and apartheid”
- Watch World without Walls webinar #3: “Digital Walls: Israel’s role in digital colonialism and control”
- Watch World without Walls webinar #4: “Arab Walls: Repression and Division”
- Watch World without Walls webinar #5: “Water – a Common Good or a Privilege for the Few?”
Walls against Migration
In June 2020, over 10 000 citizens from all over Europe and beyond have signed a petition to demand an end to a drones deal between the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and Israel’s largest military company Elbit Systems. The effort was initiated by the World without Walls – Europe initiative that formed following an initial statement in May 2019. See the petition here.
In November we learned that the contract with EMSA for the Elbit drones has effectively been ended. Yet, Frontex – the European Union’s border guard agency has almost simultaneously signed a contract for the services of Elbit drones and another contract for drones with a consortium of Airbus and Israeli Aerospace Industries. As the European Union continues to profit from Israel’s experience in apartheid and repression to beef up its own militarization and anti-migration policies, the struggle continues.
As the COVID pandemic spread through the West Bank, Palestinian popular activists and youth volunteers started work with 255 marginalized communities most at risk, providing them with health kits and help them to organize local response groups.
The Palestinian communities are living the pandemic on top of a relentless ethnic cleansing policy aimed at making life impossible, even without the virus. Decades of lock downs and Israeli onslaughts have instilled in us an experience spanning generations on how solidarity and collective action allows us to keep strong even in the most difficult times.
You have joined in! Donations from across the globe have helped the Stop the Wall volunteers to bring the needed support to the communities.