Opinion

50 Acts of Resistance for 50 Years of the Occupation

Thought the battle over 1967 was lost? And for Israel's democratic character? Wrong. Here are are a sample of the protests, court cases and acts of nonviolent defiance since the start of this anniversary year.

A young Israeli holds a banner reading "Peace" in Hebrew during a mass demonstration against 50 years of occupation titled "Two States - One Hope" in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv. May 27, 2017
JACK GUEZ/AFP

Half a century since Israel's occupation of the West Bank began, the struggle to resuscitate Israel's democratic character, and for a just and sustainable future for Israelis and Palestinians, goes on. Here are 50 acts of resistance from the five months of this year alone.

1. January 11: The ongoing legal battle for a petition against the forced eviction of Palestinians living in Firing Zone 918, led by by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), rages on for its seventeenth year. 

2. January 18: Solidarity activists, public figures, and members of Knesset (MKs), demonstrate against housing demolitions in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran

3. January 21: Hundreds partake in a sister demonstration in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, across from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv against bigotry and tagainst equating support for Trump with support for Israel.

4. January 25: Thousands of Jews and Muslims protest threats of Druze and Arab home demolitions in the northern village of Maghar.

5. January 26: Approximately 300 African asylum seekers and refugees  protested in front of the Supreme Court, calling for an end to expulsion and internment at the Holot detention facility in the Negev. 

Protesters at the Flag March on Jerusalem Day, May 24, 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

6. February 5: Thousands of Jews and Arabs march together against home demolitions and racism in a protest organized by Standing Together in Tel Aviv. 

7. February 8: Despite attempts by Minister of Culture, Miri Regev, to prevent a Breaking the Silence lecture from taking place at Barbur Gallery in Jerusalem, the event went forward as planned with hundreds of demonstrators who arrived in solidarity

8. February 15: MKs hold a conference marking 50 years of occupation along with representatives of civil society in Israel, at the Knesset. 

9. February 24: Thousands attend Youth Against Settlements’ seventh annual Open Shuhada Street protest in Hebron, calling for the street to be reopened to Palestinian pedestrians. 

10. February 24: Eighteen Israeli human rights organizations stand in solidarity with Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch, in favor of “Border Control, Not Thought Control.” 

11. February 25: A group of queer activists protest the launch of a new project calling to integrate female and LGBTQ Israelis into combat units in the IDF, opposing the use of the LGBTQ community and its resources to promote oppression of others. 

12. February 26: The Knesset approves ACRI’s demand to have a ratio of women and Arabs that ensures fair representation for both populations on the Israel Land Authority Council, a body that has executive power over 93% of Israel's land resources.

13. March 3: Peace Now, Yesh Din, and ACRI, petition the High Court, on behalf of 13 Israeli civil society organizations and 27 Palestinian local councils, against the Expropriation Bill, which aims to retroactively legalize illegal settlement construction on private Palestinian lands. 

People take part in a demonstration held by Israeli left-wing group Peace Now, entitled "Two States, One Hope, A demonstration against 50 years of occupation", in Tel Aviv, Israel May 27, 2017.
AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

14. March 3: Hebrew University becomes the first Israeli educational institution to recognize Palestinian Authority test scores, in hopes of increasing enrollment by East Jerusalem Palestinians. 

15. March 8: Women Human Rights Defenders based in Israel issue a joint statement calling on the European Union (EU) and EU Member States to take urgent actions to prevent the shrinking space for Israeli civil society. 

16. March 10: Israeli and Palestinian women from the Bereaved Families Forum, mark International Women’s Day by participating in a joint vigil for those they have lost as a result of the conflict. 

17. March 14: Over 200 demonstrators protest the Kaminitz Bill, which seeks to increase home demolitions and further criminalize unofficial construction, outside the Knesset. 

18. March 17: Over 100 Israelis and Palestinians march in solidarity with the residents of At-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills, as part of a Freedom March hosted by Combatants for Peace.

Reuters

19. March 20: A Givat Haviva Conference brings together politicians, journalists, and NGO professionals to create a "roadmap for a shared society" working toward a peaceful and sustainable future. 

20. March 24: Eighteen-year-old conscientious objector, Tamar Ze’evi, released from military prison on grounds of conscience after 115 days. 

21. March 27: Hundreds of North American Jews march in protest of the occupation outside of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington, and are joined by Meretz Party MK Tamar Zandberg. 

22. March 29: The Coalition of Women for Peace holds a successful conference titled “Women Beyond the Siege,” on, and with, women in Gaza - in spite of pressure from the Ministry of Culture to cancel the event. 

23. March 30: The Al-Midan Theater strikes in protest of the Ministry of Culture’s budgetary restrictions on freedom of expression.  

24. April 1: Hundreds of Jews and Arabs march together for peace and an end to the occupation in Jerusalem as part of a coalition mobilized by Standing Together. 

25. April 1: Hundreds of journalists rally in Tel Aviv to protest Netanyahu’s decision to shut down the news division of Israel's new state broadcaster, resisting political influence on Israel's press. 

26. April 3: Haaretz calls for all who oppose ongoing incitement and the occupation to join the wave of demonstrations being led by Standing Together and a growing coalition of organizations. 

Yossi Zamir, Tag Meir

27. April 6: Eighteen-year-old conscientious objector, Tamar Alon, released from military prison after 130 days, while Atalya Ben-Abba remains in prison on grounds of conscience. 

28. April 7: Combatants for Peace hold a Freedom March for peace and security in the Jordan Valley, to stand in solidarity with their Palestinian partners in resisting calls for annexation of area C.  

29. April 25: German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel chooses civil society organizations over Israeli government following Prime Minister Netanyahu’s ultimatum calling for him to cancel his meetings with Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem. 

30. April 27: Hadash Party MKs, joined by members of the Histadrut labor federation, stand outside one of the busiest checkpoints at 5 a.m. to hand flowers and “know your rights” pamphlets to Palestinian laborers in honor of May Day. 

31. April 28: Hundreds protest in solidarity with the grassroots movement, Ta’ayush, and Palestinian shepherds in the town of Al Auja, following a settler assault a week earlier that left five injured. 

32. April 29: Hundreds march through Nazareth, including members of Knesset from the Joint List, to mark International Worker’s Day, calling for justice, peace, and labor rights.  

 Israel tears down Sumud anti-occupation encampment set up by North American Jews in West Bank village of Sarura. May 25, 2017
Screen capture

33. April 30: After 225 Palestinians were denied permits to attend a joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony in Tel Aviv, over 400 Jews and Arabs attend a solidarity ceremony in Beit Jala. 

34. May 3: A petition filed by Adalah and the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, compels the Israeli Prison Service to allow Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike to meet with lawyers

35. May 9: Joint NGO statement demands the humane treatment of Palestinian hunger strikers, calling upon the international community to cease Israel’s ongoing human rights violations against prisoners

36. May 10: Following a petition submitted by ACRI, Yesh Din, and The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, the State agreed to amend military legislation reducing detention periods for minors and adults in the occupied territories.

37. May 12: Over 30 NGOs, journalists, and former judges, join forces to create “The Council for the Protection of Freedoms,” a group dedicated to struggle against the rising tide of anti-democratic incitement, and to protecting freedom of expression in Israel. 

38. May 14: Peace Now’s complaint to the Attorney General succeeds in cancelling an illegal tender for a tourism project on private Palestinian land. 

Demonstration in Tel Aviv against the demolition of Umm al Hiran. January 18, 2017
Tomer Appelbaum

39. May 14: In response to a hate crime targeting Arab residents of the village of Naora, hundreds of Christians, Muslims and Jews march with Tag Meir in opposition to the hateful attacks and in solidarity with the villagers. 

40. May 16: Israeli Jews of Ethiopian descent partake in a conference at the Knesset to further their struggle for equal rights and a more just Israeli society. 

41. May 18: Haqel-Jews and Arabs in Defense of Human Rights hosts an interfaith field day in the Jordan Valley led by Ta’ayush, to raise awareness on regional challenges. 

42. May 18: Hundreds of Jewish women successfully hold a Torah reading with women at the Western Wall in an act of defiance, without interference.

43. May 19: Around 300 Palestinians, Israelis, diaspora Jews, and internationals build a protest camp in the South Hebron Hills, resurrecting the Palestinian village of Sarura to model a just and sustainable shared future, despite army attempts to dismantle the camp. 

44. May 23: Dozens of shops in West Jerusalem sign a petition, hang signs on storefronts, and even close in solidarity with Palestinian merchants in East Jerusalem who are compelled to shutter their businesses during the March of the Flags. 

45. May 24: Around 500 demonstrators attend a coalition-led rally on Jerusalem Day, highlighting the illusion of the city’s unification, and calling for equitable rights, treatment, and policies, for all the city’s residents. 

Women of the Wall. July 7, 2016
Daniel Shitrit

46. May 24: Members of Free Jerusalem, All That’s Left, and IfNotNow protest the March of the Flags on Jerusalem Day through an act of civil disobedience, calling for a peaceful settlement for all the city's residents. 

47. May 27: 15,000 Israelis attend a  Peace Now rally in the heart of Tel Aviv, calling for two states and an end to the occupation. 

48. May 30: Breaking the Silence to release “The Kingdom of Olives and Ash,” a compilation of pieces by acclaimed international authors on life under occupation, to mark its 50th year. 

49. June 7: INsecurity, The Military Industries Shadow Conference to address feminist and civil notions of security, along with the devastating impact of Israeli military industries. 

50. You, and all of us: We all have to keep showing up, to keep up the momentum. These acts of resistance are the building blocks of social change. 

Talia Krevsky translates for Kerem Navot, an Israeli NGO  established in 2012, which monitors and carries out research on  Israeli land policy in the West Bank and is a member of Standing Together.

Dana Mandler is an educator and Jerusalem-based member of All That's Left.