The last two years have been the most brutal in the entire thirty-six year history of Israel's military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip; indeed the most violent since the creation of Israel itself. The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) was founded as a peaceful resistance to that violence. Its highly visible actions, which have included breaking the sieges in Ramallah and Bethlehem, as well as saving countless lives, have shone a spotlight on Israel's occupation. Outlawed in Israel and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, the ISM has threatened the governing coalition with fears that Israeli opinion might at last be turning against them.
In showing what risks Palestinians take, ISM volunteers have also tragically been targeted. The deaths of Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall, as well as the shootings of Kate Edwards, Caoimhe Butterley and Brian Avery, have never been fully explained, covered up in the US and UK and brushed aside in Israelan unfortunate consequence of Israel's "war on terror."
This collection of accounts, drawn from web-logs and diaries of ISM volunteers, news articles, press releases, writings from the Corrie and Hurndall families, Rachel Corrie's last email home, and cover photograph by Tom Hurndall, reveals the real horror of life under occupation and describes the first signs of a new wave of international solidarity.
On Friday 23rd December the UN passed a resolution demanding a stop to Israeli settlement in the occupied territories as, in a shock move, the US refused to veto the resolution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exploded, calling it a 'declaration of war' (having recently been granted a $38 billion military aid package by the US), and Secretary of State John Kerry criticised Israel's approach to the peace process. But with Trump tweeting that Israel should 'stay strong' until his inauguration, progress still seems unlikely.
Verso presents a list of books from Israeli, Palestinian, and anti-imperialist authors, to explain the conflict and provide some perspectives on the future.
Bernard-Henri Lévy — alias BHL, alias Bernard, alias the white-shirted philosopher — was invited to the European Parliament on 27 September to take part in a conference entitled "The future of Jewish communities in Europe."
He made a fifteen-minute intervention, passing relatively unnoticed, during which this liberator of Libya tried to give an overview of the situation of the Jews of Europe and of the "new faces" of anti-Semitism.
As if it needed saying, BHL could not stop himself repeating the old refrain that "anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism," unscrupulously amalgamating the Palestine solidarity movement with the most abject far-Right forces.
Nathan Witt reflects on the origins of Campus in Camps, an experimental, community-based educational initiative in Dheisheh Camp, Bethlehem. Read up on, support, or donate to Campus in Camps here, and the Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency here.
By Nathan Witt, July 2015
Campus in Camps in Dheisheh Camp, Bethlehem, was first set up by Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal from Decolonizing Architecture (DAAR) in 2012. It is an experimental educational programme run by local and visiting volunteers from various backgrounds. The focus of the programme is on the production of alternative methods of shared knowledge, seeking to empower both the volunteers and the community through the sharing of lived experience. This way, Campus in Camps affords opportunities to negotiate what is too seldom understood as a site of permanent and normalised exile.