An urgent appeal from Ta’ayush

An urgent appeal arrived this morning from Israeli activist Sahar Vardi, of Ta’ayush.

Ta’ayush (Arabic for “living together”) is a grassroots movement of Israelis and Palestinians striving together to end the Israeli occupation and to achieve full civil equality through non-violent direct-action.

Many appeals emerge from the bitter struggle for freedom in Palestine-Israel.  Some are more desperate than this one.  Still, I pass this one along for your consideration, partly because I trust Sahar and Ta’ayush, but more because I believe that movements like Ta’ayush represent the only chance for a just peace in Israel-Palestine.  For that very reason, they are under escalating assault by the authorities.  (Read more about Sahar Vardi and Ta’ayush in Our Way to Fight.)

Sahar writes:

“Palestinians in the South Hebron hills face constant violence and harassment by Israeli settlers and the army.  Preventing access to their agricultural lands and water cisterns, house demolitions, setting fire to tents, and physical attacks are common methods in the authorities’ and the settlers’ attempt to push the Palestinian residents out of their homes.

after a home demolition, South Hebron (photo: Villages Group)

The Ta’ayush movement has worked for more than ten years to support Palestinian residents in South Hebron hills in their long struggle to preserve their homes and agricultural lands.

Recently we have witnessed increasing pressure on Ta’ayush itself from state authorities.  In order to discourage our activism, Israeli police have been making more frequent arrests and opening criminal proceedings against activists.

One of our activists currently faces a trial following a non-violent Ta’ayush activity to aid Palestinian farmers in their attempt to reach their agricultural lands.

Two other activists are also facing trial for accompanying shepherds as they grazed their flocks.

Recently, the police issued an indictment against an activist in a fourth case.  She, along with other activists, was accompanying Palestinian farmers to a water cistern that they cannot reach alone because of attacks by Israeli settlers.  These farmers, like the thousands of Palestinian residents in the South Hebron Hills, are not connected to the water grid and rely on these cisterns as one of their primary sources of water.

Ta’ayush is committed to supporting activists who face trial.  However, paying for these court cases is a heavy burden on Ta’ayush’s very limited financial resources; the costs of legal fees are so high that they threaten to curtail our solidarity activities.

For this reason, we are in desperate need of your support.

Donations can be sent via bank deposit to:

Bank Hapoalim
Branch 574 (‘Hapalmach’)
Account no. 160213
Swift code ‘poalilit’
IBAN: IL61-0125-7400-0000-0160-213

You can also send checks by mail, payable to:

Ta’ayush
c/o Yehuda Agus, POB 360
Timrat 36576
ISRAEL

Every donation, no matter how small, will help us to support our activists and continue our work on the ground for equality, justice and peace.

In solidarity and thanks,

Sahar M. Vardi, for Ta’ayush
Jerusalem

About Michael Riordon

Canadian writer and documentary-maker Michael Riordon writes/ directs/produces books and articles, audio, video and film documentaries, plays for radio and stage. A primary goal of his work is to recover voices and stories of people who have been silenced or marginalized, written out of the official version: First Nations (aboriginal) youth, Mozambican farmers, inmates in Canadian prisons, traditional healers in Fiji, queer folk across Canada, Guatemalan labour activists. Michael also leads courses, workshops and seminars for community organizations, trade unions, schools, colleges and universities.
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