Ellen Davidson and I are both active members of Veterans for Peace, and have organized two solidarity delegations to Occupied Palestine. The delegation’s intent was to join with Palestinian nonviolent resistance and oppose, vocally and simply by their presence, the U.S.-supported oppression of the Palestinian people. We made three demands:

  1. An end to the occupation.
  2. An end to the system of apartheid, referred to by Desmond Tutu as worse even than South Africa’s.
  3. An end to the 4 billion dollar U.S. military aid to Israel.

Our home base was in the Old City of Jerusalem and we visited popular nonviolent resistance forces and leaders in Bilin, Nabi Salah, Hebron, Al Masara, Bethlehem, often staying overnight in those places in Palestinian homes. Always we were welcomed with the warmest hospitality. You could not enter a Palestinian dwelling without being fed, no matter how poor the people were, the best that they could offer, which was always sumptuous. Palestinians are a hospitable people and it did not matter that three members of the delegation were Jewish. We were human beings and we were guests.

We marched in nonviolent protests, were fired at and had to duck tear gas canisters, which can and have killed people, we confronted members of the Israeli police and IDF with our rebuke, as veterans to what they were doing, what they were part of. We visited scores of homes that were bulldozed in the middle of the night, families having only minutes to vacate. We went to the Negev to visit Al Araqeeb where the Bedouins who love the land, the earth, the olive trees as their very own family have had the village and precious olive trees razed and bulldozed by the IDF over 100 times in the last ten years. They have nothing but their love for the land but we were fed, in a makeshift tent, the most delicious meal and drank the best coffee we ever had.

In the face of so much oppression we marveled at how the Palestinians maintained their humanity, their resolute determination to endure, sumud they call it, and in the face of all this, their love for life and joy.

 

-Tarak Kauff

 

Ellen Davidson and Tarak Kauff were part of a nine-person Veterans For Peace Team that went to the West Bank and the Negev in late February and early March of this year. Included in the team were Vietnam era veterans, veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and Miko Peled, author of The General’s Son, who was in the Israeli Defense Force.  Ellen and Tarak will speak and show dramatic video clips and slides from this eventful trip, soon to be made into a documentary series. They will be presenting at Brookview R&R on Saturday, Sept. 30th at 7:00 pm. Open to all. Free of charge (donations to Brookview R&R and Veterans for Peace are always welcome!)

Attend their presentation:

September 30, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

612 W. Main Street, West Barnet, Vermont

 

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