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Meet the peace activists...


Meet the peace activists...

A sampling of the people worldwide who have taken an active role in supporting the Palestinian struggle for freedom.

I am a 57 year old Catholic Sister and a university Professor of Religious Studies who has been actively involved with both Palestinian and Israeli peace groups, especially the Women in Black since 1995.

I have made six trips to the Middle East, most recently in the summer of 2002. On that trip we were documenting the injustices done towards the Palestinians and bringing that news to citizens of the U.S. I have been particularly concerned about how Palestinians, from small children through university students, are having their education curtailed. They are blocked from going to school. To build a just and peaceful Middle East, education is extremely important.

I have been with both Palestinian and Israelis professors and teachers who are begging the international community to interven to help deescalate the violence that is destroying the hope of both peoples. I encourage persons of all ages and backgrounds to go and be among the Palestinians, to learn what is going on, and to spread that news.

Nonviolent resistance is one of the most effective means of bringing about a more just social order as we have seen with Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. For nonviolenct resistance to work, those who are oppressed need to win the conscience of the others. This can happen as more and more of the truth is known and shared. Every step towards justice for Palestinians is a step towards security for Iraelis. Being part of the International Solidarity movement at this time is not only a benefit for Palestinians and Israelis, it contributes to a more stable Middle East and hopes for a more peaceful world.

My name is Danny Dworsky. I've served in the occupied territories since August of 1976 when I volunteered for active duty. I am one of 6 soldiers that survived my original platoon. I was honorably discharged from full duty in September of 1979 I am currently a reservist in the IDF serving as a field agent for the Military Justice Department METZACH since 1992. I am a first Sergeant and my military ID is DN BDRK 2297771. If the ISM is Guilty of anything they are guilty of making things not as bad as they could be. Last October I was doing my duty as an investigator. Armed gangs wearing morning prayer parafernalia were terrorizing innocent women and children during an olive harvest in the village of Yousouf. These actions were sometimes carried out in broad daylight in front of Civilian Police and IDF armored and infantry patrols. No one interceded on the part of these people. They were verbaly abused obsenely in arabic spoken in distinct Brooklyn accents. They were shot at and their tools were grabbed away from them. I caught much of this on film and Digital video up until the time I was attacked and my camera's were smashed. What I managed to capture was the Police and soldiers faces and the numbers on the vehicles that brought them to the scene. All police deny having seen, heardor even having found the place. This is a lie. The soldiers were less than three feet away. The two police men, who couldn't find the place, were leaning against the patrol car between me and the Settlers when I was told that if I pursued the matter, I would have a bullet fired "accidently" into the back of my head. Who were the bad guys here? ISM keeps the Sharon and Mofaz's IDF and lunatic Settlers wearing Tephilin and Talis' like some nightmare version of Fiddler meets Lord of the flies, from carrying out ethnic cleansing. They preach non violence to Palestinians. These ISM kids are my hero's. They save lives. They are practicing the purest form of what the great Rabbi's called "Tikun Olam" (*Tikun* - Repair) (*Olam* - World) It is upon all of us a Jews to "Repair the world". As a jew I owe a terrible debt to the humanity of these volunteer peace makers who are paying my tab with their own blood. My Family is available and our Home is open to everyone of these kids. They know that they have a hot meal and a bed waiting for them anytime they need it. We've been to funerals for realatives wounded and children lost to suicide bombers. If I thought for a second that the ISM had anything to do with terrorism, would I help them? As my kids would say, "Not!" Hugs not Slugs, Daniel M. Dworsky

My name is Tracy. I live in Birmingham, UK and am a 37 year old single Mother of three, two boys and a girl. I class myself as an activist, as I attend all demonstrations concerning the killing of civilian men women and children. I try my best to raise funds for the Palestinian people, as these people are in the roots of my heart. All activists are brave, courageous and in my mind and heart we are of the same mould. We are fighting for a better future for the Palestinian people. If my children were a little older, and when I obtain my degree, I wouldnt hesitate to be on the front line, like so many of the activists are.

I am a 51 year old male Canadian citizen, born in Iran. I support the Palestinian struggle and feel ashamed of humanity watching death of defenseless nation in silence. I know a few years from now, I will be supporting Iraqi struggle against American occupation as well as Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation.

My name is Suzanne; I'm a writer and a professor at Sarah Lawrence College. One of my former graduate students, Cindy Cruz, traveled to Palestine last year and worked in Tulkarem; I was very proud of her. In December and January I traveled through Israel and Palestine with Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, and met with Ghassan Andoni, who spoke clearly and movingly about the work of ISM; in February I interviewed Huwaidaa Arraf when she and Adam Shapiro were speaking at Rutgers University. It seems to me that the people associated with ISM are some of the clearest thinking people I have ever met. Maybe this is because they don't have to lie; they see the Israeli military occupation for what it is, because they know its violence firsthand, and are willing to take huge risks to stop it. From my perspective, the ISMers are some of the people in our time who are carrying on the legacy of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, insisting on non-violence and refusing to turn away from what that kind of thinking asks of them. During the 1960s, when college students traveled to the southern United States to stand in solidarity with the African-American people there, various official sources called them brainwashed, duped, used; but now history speaks of them, people like Mickey Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, quite differently. They are people who made the politics of love real, in an age whose sickening violence seems only to increase with passing time. The International Solidarity Movement is full of this kind of people, of many different personal temperaments but in their work turning anger and despair into the desperate hope for a new world. I for one in the shame and terror of this historical moment am so grateful for them.

Name: Steven Nationality (for those of us fortunate enough to have one): U.S.A. (St. Louis, MO) Age: 39 Background: "Son of a Preacher Man" (Southern Baptist Ministers--of a different stripe) Bayi rajul ed din. (See a recent interfaith-dialog article of his at http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/2002nov_comments.php?id=189_0_16_0_C.) Grew up mostly in Lebanon. Although not currently in Palestine, I have been there (Gaza, Jerusalem, West Bank). Why: I don't remember when I first became brainwashed--was it was studying American History as a kid in American schools? I do believe in certain "self-evident" Truths promulgated by the Declaration of Independence of the thirteen United States of America in 1776, such as "that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and [let alone] the Pursuit of Happiness." For these principles to have ANY real meaning, they must apply to "all Men" (including women and children) as "unalienable Rights." (Yes, even to the Palestinians, and other Arabs.) For any American to say otherwise, is nothing short of a "blasphemous" betrayal of these principles, and utter hypocrisy.

I'm 62. And my roommate during much of the time I spent in Palestine during the Olive Harvest campaign in Oct-Nov 2002 was 71. And by the way, she is Jewish and I am Muslim - both American born. I don't think older delegates are that uncommon, though you'd think from the media that the ISM is all college kids. I know a fair number of ISMers in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, too, although it is difficult for that age group to spend much time abroad since they are neither students nor retired.

I am an over 67 years of age retired fire fighter. In addition, I have served as a volunteer in my community in Canada for more than 38 years with the last 18 years assisting refugees from 27 countries. This work continues today. I have coordinated the program since 1985 and am a refugee advocate since 1990 mainly pertaining to helping victims of inhumanity living in countries of asylum within Africa. For the past few months I have become more informed of the oppression and brutality of the way in which Palestinians live their daily lives and will act on my concerns. I deplore the death, injury and destruction of both people in this conflict/war that live in both Israel and the Palestinian territory. This war has gone on far too long.

I went to Palestine for two weeks at the beginning of June 2002. I'm 49 years old with a PhD. At home, I teach graduate school and I also guide and support people who want to fast alone for three days in the desert wilderness. I live in a rural northern California county. I was motivated to go to Palestine because I have been tormented by my country's response to 9/11 in my name with my money. I've been an educator and protestor since the late sixties and needed to do more--putting my body in the way of abuse.

I am 44year old health practitioner in Tacoma, WA. I grew up in the apartheid era in South Africa until I was 9 years old, lived in Nigeria during the war with Biafra and lived in Cairo for 2 years after the 1967 war. My family has worked for Palestinian causes for the last 30 years. What we have paid Israel to do to the Palestinians reminds me alot of what the white South African government did to the Africans. We have paid for ethnic cleansing and apartheid of the Palestinians and it needs to stop. I encourage everyone and anyone of all religions and ethnic backgrounds to become involved in ending this brutal Israeli occupation. My only child is a Jew and I don't want her legacy to be one of genocide.

I am a 40-year-old businessman from Savannah, GA. If I can work out my schedule with my business, I hope to help with the Olive Harvest in the fall with your organization. I can probably do 10 days to two weeks, if that is appropriate. I may also be able to bring a laptop that I will leave there for your organization's use. I have attached an email I sent to my local congressman, Jack Kingston, about the Rachel Corrie murder and pending vote for an American investigation.

I am a 43 year old Woman from Southern California. I was in Palestine last summer (August 2002), as a participant in a delegation with Global Exchange. My reason for going to Palestine was to be a witness for them here in the United States. After I returned, I was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, was a guest on a radio program with a large listener base, and did a speaking tour to educate Americans on the realities of the situation in Palestine. I have hundreds of photos that I took there, and I carry them with me in an album to show to anyone that is willing. There comes a point when silence is betrayal. I refuse to be silent. A part of me remains in Palestine, and always will.

I am an Australian citizen living in New York city. I have lived in the United States for about sixteen years, during which time I have completed both an undergraduate degree at a small state college and a graduate degree at a private university. Before living in the United States I lived in South Africa for ten years, and Namibia for five years. I believe that, without going into too much detail regarding my past, my past obviously has effected the way I view the world and the many injustices and hypocrisies that are a part of it. I do not question Israel's right to exist in peace, however, I strongly disapprove of the way Israel is asserting itself in the region. I am in awe and highly respectful of those that are currently working as part of the I.S.M. in the Palestinian territories. With regards to the bad press the I.S.M. has been receiving - Who is to say that every young man and woman conscripted to do military service in Israel is not a victim of years of brainwashing and intimidation. I can much sooner believe that this is the case than believe that peace and justice workers are merely a bunch of impressionable youth. I am a 33 year old man and I, like so many men living in South Africa during apartheid, had to leave a country I loved after receiving "call-up" papers to serve in the South African Defense Force in order to keep South Africa free from "terrorists." I was of course all of seventeen years old! Fortunately, I was lucky enough to have options, in addition to parents with enough foresight and humanity to realize that what was happening in South Africa was wrong and would have to come to an end. I whole heartedly support your movement and do what I can to spread the news you send me.

I am 55, civil servant. I support the Palestinian struggle because it is just. I oppose Israel's confiscations of land, killings of Palestinians, and daily violations of human rights, because they are unjust.
So simple.
I demand Israel to comply with the 67 UN resolutions that it daily violates, and I'd like the UN to do something.
As long as no international force is deployed in order to protect the Palestinians, many people, young and old, feel compelled to do so, even risking their lives.

i am a photojournalist from rome, italy. I travelled to palestine this past christmas, and i discovered one thing: you've got to see the israeli occupation to understand what it is about. It is hard to argue about the "problem between israelis and palestinians' with who has not been there. Because once you see the destruction, the barbed wire, the caged grounds and the check points.. once you've lived for even one single day as a palestinian..your opinion this "middle-estern conflict will not be the same. I tell all who listen: go to visit the holy land go to the occupyed territories, go as a tourist.. and then speak again about terrorists.... in solidarity marianna bertagnolli

I am 56 years old, I live in the United States. I used to be a very strong Zionist and lived in Israel for 10 years. However, even then, I was an advocate of Palestinian rights and belonged to an organization that was promoting this position. In the past few years after listening to the news and the body counts, reading books by Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and Edward Said, I have come to regard the Israeli position in regards to the Palestinians (not only as regards the present government but past governments as well) as not only unjust and cruel to the Palestinian people but horribly short-sighted and extremely dangerous for Israel and the Jewish people around the world in general. One of my biggest regrets is that during the 10 years that I was in Israel I did not participate in the "Interns for Peace" program. If I were in Israel today I would definitely be taking an active part in the programs of the International Solidarity Movement.

Why would a 77 year old former university professor, grandfather, happily retired, take off for Palestine? Simply put, I am outraged at the treatment of the Palestinians by the state of Israel. I have read enough of Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Amira Hass, Uri Avnery, and other Jewish and non-Jewish writers to know that the state of Israel is committing grave crimes against an occupied and subjugated people. If a person is convinced that a great injustice is being committed, shouldn't he try to do something about it? It wasn't until I discovered the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) that I figured I could make a difference by going there and joining in the non-violent protest actions. ISM is a strictly volunteer movement, not even an organization in the formal sense. The leaders are a group of Christians, Jews, Muslims, of various ethnicity and citizenship, held together by some very remarkable people. There is no CEO or board of directors, just a group of activists connected by cell phones and email. I was worried that they might not be willing to take on a 77 year old with two artificial knees, but word came back by email, "Come on over, we'll fit you in." It was the greatest experience of my life. Did I make a difference? I think so. Perhaps Marissa McLaughlin and I prevented a family's house from being demolished by a D9 Caterpillar bulldozer. Perhaps I made a small contribution to the life of the Balata Refugee Camp. I showed solidarity with a group of farmers who have not been able to go onto their fields, and I attempted to help them. I observed, and I hope mitigated, the brutal house-to-house search in a Refugee Camp near Ramallah. Mostly my impact will be on my fellow Albertans now that I have been there and seen the appalling conditions under which the Palestinians are forced to live. I can bear witness to the systematic killing of a society, sociocide. Not as abrupt as genocide, but horrendous in impact. I will lecture, show slides, travel, and do what I can to get the message out. The occupation of the West Bank and Gaza must stop. See Gush Shalom, the Israeli peace block. There is another message I have. The Palestinians need help, and I think Albertans, and Canadians and Americans more generally, have to find ways to get aid to them. Not to any government, but to NGOs (non governmental organizations). I met a remarkable American Jewish woman, Penny Rosenwasser who has been aiding Palestinian children for years. She was in Palestine this time with ISM, but has been there many times before to work with NGOs who are helping children. I intend to support her work.

I am an Australian citizen living in New York city. I have lived in the United States for about sixteen years, during which time I have completed both an undergraduate degree at a small state college and a graduate degree at a private university. Before living in the United States I lived in South Africa for ten years, and Namibia for five years. I believe that, without going into too much detail regarding my past, my past obviously has effected the way I view the world and the many injustices and hypocrisies that are a part of it. I do not question Israel's right to exist in peace, however, I strongly disapprove of the way Israel is asserting itself in the region. I am in awe and highly respectful of those that are currently working as part of the I.S.M. in the Palestinian territories. With regards to the bad press the I.S.M. has been receiving - Who is to say that every young man and woman conscripted to do military service in Israel is not a victim of years of brainwashing and intimidation. I can much sooner believe that this is the case than believe that peace and justice workers are merely a bunch of impressionable youth. I am a 33 year old man and I, like so many men living in South Africa during apartheid, had to leave a country I loved after receiving "call-up" papers to serve in the South African Defense Force in order to keep South Africa free from "terrorists." I was of course all of seventeen years old! Fortunately, I was lucky enough to have options, in addition to parents with enough foresight and humanity to realize that what was happening in South Africa was wrong and would have to come to an end. I whole heartedly support your movement and do what I can to spread the news you send me.

Wendy ISM volunteer, summer 2002 (and returning summer 2003)
USA citizen

45 years old, Engineering professor, mother, jewish

"I am overwhelmed with grief that the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, financed by U.S. taxpayers, has caused unimaginable and daily suffering of a civilian population. I went to Palestine to offer whatever small help I could, and to be in solidarity with a people being subject to great injustice."

Linda Bevis is a Social Studies teacher at a local high school and a lawyer who worked for two years with a Palestinian human rights organization, al-Haq, in the town of Ramallah in the West Bank during the first Intifada/Uprising (early 1990’s). She was an international observer during the parade season in Northern Ireland in 1998. Linda lived in the People's Republic of China for two years and grew up in Lebanon and Canada. She holds a law degree, a Masters in International Studies, and a Masters in Education. She received her Bachelor's in English Literature from Stanford University. Here in Seattle, Linda frequently speaks on Palestinian issues to many organizations. She is an active member of the Palestine Solidarity Committee, the Palestine Information Project, and ISM Seattle. Linda and Ed Mast, her partner, first joined the International Solidarity Movement to End the Occupation in 2001. The ISM is a nonviolent Palestinian-led organization dedicated to challenging the Israeli occupation with civil disobedience following the model of Gandhi and King. Based in Bethlehem, Ed and Linda participated in dismantling roadblocks, challenging checkpoints, playing soccer on forbidden fields, and shielding homes in Hebron threated by Israeli settlers. They stood with Women in Black in West Jerusalem. They were arrested with nine others in East Jerusalem and held for 36 hours in Israeli jail for their civil disobedience work. (This is how they spent their honeymoon.) Linda and Ed returned to work with the ISM in December of 2002. They spent much of their time helping people out of homes occupied by soldiers in Nablus and at checkpoints and roadblocks in surrounding villages. They also spent time in Gaza City and Rafah and experienced the “longest stoplight in the world” between Khan Younis and Gaza City for 5.5 hours while soldiers checked IDs of the people going the other way. Linda and Ed joined an international march to end the occupation in Ramallah and visited Beit Sahour where the ISM headquarters are. They also visited Tel Aviv, as they do every trip, to see their Jewish Israeli friends. In 2002, Linda received a Human Rights Award from the UN Association of Seattle for her work. She loves to eat vegan food, jog, read, and commune with her cats. Her interests in human rights and social justice come from travelling throughout the world and witnessing global inequalities. Growing up in Lebanon made her especially interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially after she was evacuated during the 1967 war. The fact that so few Americans understood the conflict during the 1970s and 80s made her determined to live in the Occupied Territories and try to understand it more fully.

I came as a recent graduate of Brandeis University. I was one of the most religiously active Orthodox Jews on campus. (I did not have physical contact w/boys until I got married.) I came for a few weeks on a break from the Jewish school where I taught. I came to learn about Palestinians and to teach them that not all religious Jews were bellicose. I found myself standing in front of a bulldozer to protect Palestinians because I know that not all Palestinians are terrorists and they shouldn't all be treated that way.

My name is Don. I am 62 and have visited Occupied Palestine. I work for justice for the Palestinians. Although I am an American of Scot English ancestry, Arab blood flows through my veins.

I'm 59 years old and I work as a Lab.Techn. Assistant in Heidelberg. I'm very engaged in trying to help the palestinian people. Daily I spent several hours to spread the awful news (from different sources) to the world (Politicans, Media and privat people). And there are more of us! I hope it helps a bit to change the public opinion. November 2002 I was (the first time) 2 weeks in Palestine. It was a "Solidarity-Tour" to Palestine. We were "stationed" in East-Jerusalem and visited Bethlehem, Beit Sahour, Ramallah and some villages. I wanted to go to the refugees for example in Jenin, but this was impossible for me. If I'm retired may be next year and if I'm not to old for you, may be I'll join you. I'm really shocked about the assassination of Rachel Corrie, Tom Hundall and the hopeful unsucessful murder of Brian! This shows the WORLD the horrible character of this zionistic military-government - and they don't like this! Please stay engaged in helping the palestinian people. THERE IS NO ONE ELSE ! With many greetings to you all Annette

I am English, a retired accountant, aged 63. I have travelled in Middle-East. I am very supportive of the Palestinian fight for truth and justice. I admire the activists who go to Palestine as Internationals to convey to the Palestinian people our support and to bear witness of the continual Zionist abuse.

I am an almost all Caucasian (small part Choctaw) male, age 55yr, who works as a cardiology pharmacist in a hospital. I have students from UW Madison who come to the hosp for "clinical rotations". I still play drums, seriously ride bicycle, and practice Buddhism in a mix of tantric and zen traditions. My activities in groups supporting Palestinian rights, remind me of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

My name is Antonio, 63 years old. And I am profesor of economics at Santiago Chile

Last year I went to Rafah to support ISM I am a 49 year old fat, balding, English Accountant and Father of 4 and Grandfather of 3. and not a gullible teenager. My great grandfather was Jewish expelled from Russia.

My name is Bea; I am 51 years old and I have a daughter who is 27. I came to Palestine from Lawrence, Kansas, after working with some peace and justice groups there, including some that direct their efforts to ending the illegal occupation of Palestine. I feel strongly that as an American, having been forced to support Israel all my life through my US taxes, I have a responsibility to see how my money is being used here. I have seen the school buildings that have been damaged and destroyed by US weapons, met the children who were fired on in their own schoolyards, seen the pictures they drew of Apache helicopters firing into their playgrounds. I wept for shame when I remembered the people I have known and worked with in the US who designed, built, tested and repaired those Apache helicopters, thinking that they were serving their country and defending the US from the threat of foreign invasion. How would those nice American soccer moms and dads feel if they could see the Palestinian children who were fired on, wounded, terrorized and murdered by the Israeli Occupation Forces using US weapon systems? Would they like to sit with me while we visit with the families of young people who succumbed to the numbing despair and hopelessness of occupation and became suicide bombers as a final protest and ineffective action to get back at the occupiers and oppressors of their people? Would they cheer as the family, still in shock from the loss of their oldest son, their pride and joy and hope, now have to stand and see their home blown up with dynamite as punishment for their child's suicide? Americans have no idea of what the Palestinians are suffering from this occupation. Most have no idea at all that their taxes are being diverted from their own children's education, from needed health care, housing and transportation funds, and sent to Israel to pay the huge wasteful expense of armaments, checkpoints, the apartheid wall, and the whole horrible complex structure of harrassment, control and destruction of the Palestinian people and confiscation of their land. Israel controlls the US media so completely that the most Americans just have no idea what is going on here in our names and with our money. Palestinians know this; they are a highly educated and politically sophisticated people. They are also very sensitive and understanding of my dilemma as an American who loves my country and has to witness the shameful devastation which we Americans have enabled the Israeli government to wreak on them and their homeland. Recently I have also met many decent Israelis, some Americans by birth and some born here in Israel, who deplore what their government is doing. They are working with us to build foundations for Israelis and Palestinians to live as neighbors, and make the common greeting of 'shalom' a truth instead of the hypocrisy it now is. I am with the International Solidarity Movement because I believe that people who work together for a good cause are the greatest spiritual and moral force on the planet. It is a privilege to me to meet the Swedes, Danes, Brits, Irish, Germans, Aussies, Italians, Catalans, South Africans and all the other great folks who come here to embrace the Palestinians who join with us to resist the occupation in non-violent ways.

Diana Canadian/British dual nationality 58 years of age An ordinary middle class mother of two grown daughters Employed fulltime My sense of discomfort with the situation in Palestine began at the time of the invasion and attack on Jenin; I had noticed all the news reports were from Israel and little was reported from a Palestinian point of view. I had also been concerned for some time about the motivations of young suicide bombers; what could drive them to such destructive steps. I started searching the internet and eventually found some enlightening articles by a writer/businessman based in Ramallah, I contacted him and he very kindly added me to his mailing list. This was the beginning of a learning experience that led to many more incredible contacts including the work of the ISM. The simple fact that an occupied population requires international persons to help them get food, go to the hospital, visit a doctor, harvest their olive crop (such crops that have not been destroyed or stolen), help protect their homes from demolition and stand with them as witnesses at roadblocks and when being detained for no lawful cause, is reason enough to respect the ISM volunteers and support their work in a small way by forwarding their bulletins and emailing politicians.

I am a UK citizen, 62 years old, married with 3 children, have worked on 5 continents, am now a retired company director. In 1992 I briefly transited through the West Bank and Israel and was shocked by the racial discrimination against Palestinians, the barbed wire and watch towers in Nablus, the overweening presence of illegal settlements on stolen land. When I read of the worsening situation in the Occupied Territories I felt I had to do something and spent a few weeks with the ISM in non violent actions about a year ago. A painful experience of life in ghettos under a military heel only relieved by the courage, stoicism and kindness of the Palestinians and of my companions. Probably the most worthwhile contribution and humanly rewarding period of my life.

Charles, 33, is an Israeli American who grew up in Israel and now lives in the U.S. He's been active politically since the age of 15, after joining a Jewish-Arab coexistence group in high school. Later on, he served in the Israeli army, where he refused posting in the occupied territories. He joined the ISM twice, at the head of delegations of American Jews on a peace and solidarity mission to Israelis and Palestinians. He is currently president of Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel – http://www.jppi.org.

I am a 54 year old married white woman who works on a ranch in New Mexico. I have a Masters Degree in French. I have never even been in a peace rally till this year. I have been very conservative till recently. I cannot turn my back on the innocent people in the Palestinian Refugee Camps. If I could go to Palestine right now, I would. I am not religious even. I just care about the people in the world. I am a true example of the way Americans have become...we are so isolated from other cultures that we think our way is the right way. I want to support all of humanitie's right to a decent safe life. I want to help.

Hi, I'm Peggie, I'm 79. I wanted to join ISM, but my physical state means it
would be a burden on others. I always want 'to share' as much as one can,
have done so in other countries. Arrested on a Peace Walk in Israel 1992.
Palestinians deserve all our support, their suffering just seems to get
worse. Sharon I believe is a war criminal for his part in the massacre of
the Palestinians at Sabra and Chatila. The Israeli Army have wounded and
killed three members of ISM- young volunteers.. I was at the Gulf Peace Camp
in 1991. But what the ISM are doing is quietly and bravely risking their own
lives to try and support the brave Palestinians in their suffering.

Michael -- USA -- 45 -- Though the State of Israel often claims to act in the name and interests of Jews throughout the world, many of these actions do not reflect my Jewish values or beliefs. Why did I come to the occupied territories and help assist Palestinians at the Aby Holy checkpoint in Gaza? Rabbi Hillel, during the first century BCE, said it better than I could: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?"

Karen, 62-year-old American woman, English/Irish descent, Ph.D., 20 years in the software industry, May 2001 convert to Islam. I was in Palestine for the ISM olive harvest campaign in the fall of 2002. Why? Because I could not stand to watch this terrible injustice from a safe place any longer. Not since the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1960s against racial segregation had anything hit me this hard. Not going to Palestine would have been impossible. I hope to return.

I support the palestinian people. I support their struggle against occupation. I support their resistance to a racist, apartheid country. I am an American citizen and I am 19 years old. If I am angry at anyone for "brain washing" me, it is the American public school system. The American/Israeli media machine. I am angry at how the media portrays Arabs, and Palestinians in particular. Suicide bombings are not the actions of "crazy" people, they are the actions of desperate people. I in no way support violence in any shape or form, but instead of implementing horrible retaliation against suicide bombings, we should be asking ourselves, "Why would a young man or woman strap a bomb to their chests?" What kind of horrible conditions could make someone see this as a last resort?If anything, Palsolidarity is a light shining through the haze of nationalistic and ethno- chauvinistic pride.

I am 62 years old. I retired from the practice of law three years ago. I will continue to fight for justice in Palestine until I am dead or Palestine is free. Carole North Carolina United States of America

my name is hadas rivera-weiss (no, i don't mind identifying myself.) i'm jewish, 41 years old and live in oakland, california, usa. my parents were holocaust survivors and i have family in israel. i deeply respect ISM activists for their work towards ending the occupation.

Name: Pasquale Finaldi Born in: Naples , March 24 1969 Workplace: Milan, Italy Citizenship: Italian Profession: Quality Manager I support Palestinian people because everyone must have the right to education

I am 40 year old white male born and raised on the Florida and Alabama state line, and I still have a Texas country accent. I have never met a Palestinian or an Arab for that matter until I moved to Cleveland Ohio to find a good computer engineering job. I build, repair all types of computers and on the side I build computers that have Arabic as a secondary language. Doing this I met a Palestinian, changed from being a Christian to a Muslim and have been the happiest guy in town ever since. Of course I am a moderate Muslim but it fits me perfectly. I am trying to myself to start a non-profit group to help the Palestinians here. What I see is disorganization and just plain despair. The Israeli’s do such a good job of disinformation here in the states that most Arabs feel that you can do nothing and it’s all a hopeless cause. They cling to their Arabic roots and traditions as if it were their last chance see hear and feel their homeland. They all watch Aljazeera religiously which can sometimes be overbearing even for me to see what is going on. Then you switch over to CNN or CSPAN and the picture is a totally different aspect. The reason youth is interested in this is because they still have that fire in their souls and they have the attitude that they can do anything. This attitude is instilled in them by their parents that could take some advice of their own. The reason I am so interested is because I chose to get my news info from places like the United Nations and BBC which hasn’t been over-powered by the pro-Zionist movements like the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Press Association, not to mention the others. These are very powerful organizations and these are the ones that are fighting Palsoidarity.org and trying to spread spiteful messages about your organization. They often use smear campaigns in getting pro-Israeli voting politicians into office. Keep up the good fight. It is right. And know that many are behind you regardless of what you hear or see. I would be willing to go to Palestine in a minute to help the cause if it would do any good.

I am Larry, Texas native, age 59. I hold graduate degrees from Yale and Princeton (Ph.D. from Princeton in History of Religions). Formerly a college professor; now a professional woodworker. Active in peace and justice issues since the late '60s. Currently working with the Dallas Peace Center and helping create the Crawford Peace House near the Bush ranch. See our website, http:// http://www.crawfordpeacehouse.org.

I'm 47, EFL (English as a foreign language) teacher, a Brit currently living in the USA. I support the ISM because they are doing the job the UN international peace keeping forces haven't been allowed to do.

I am an ISM member from the USA. I am a 40 something year old mother from the state of Kentucky. I think Einstein summed it all up by saying "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it" Albert Einstein. I went to work in Palestine during the Olive Harvest with ISM. I now am in the United States doing presentations on the truth of what I witnessed in Palestine . I saw children shot and killed , human suffering , humiliation, education being denied, children being sound bombed...tear gassed...and shot to death. In am forever changed because of this and now fight for the human rights of all of those living under occupation in Palestine. I am not a teen. I am a mother of six children. I love animals, watching the sun set. Listening to the thunder storms on a spring day. I ride horses and can be found traveling in many places of the world. As I sit in America and watch my son play X Box or use his skate board another mother sits in Occupied Palestine and watches her son bleed to death at age 12 from a bullet from a soldier no more than 20 something for the boy was born Palestine. As my son is free to walk to a friends her son was shot . I watched him die. How can I keep silent... I will be silent NO more... Almarie

hi i,m ramy salem el modalall from palestine i live in gaza strip in rafah in tal el sultan in canda camp i want work with ISM all group here from ISM my friend and all here in rafah know me and i want wark with them becouse i want help them with my best wishes ramy salem

I have just returned from Palestine just over a week ago and I havent written anything on this site as I have been very busy since coming back speaking to people and writing of my experiences to others. My name is Jean and I am close to 76 years old. I am a Canadian and live on Gabriola Island, BC. I arrived in Palestine on April 16, the day Rachel Corrie was killed. I had intended to join the Right to Education Project, of escorting children to school and to teach children art and music in the schools. I brought a lot of art supplies with me. I am also a non-violence trainer and was willing to do workshops. However on my arrival, just before the war started it seemed that people were needed in Nablus, to stay in houses which were slated for demolition and to monitor checkpoints. Also to be there if needed in case of injuries (first aid). So I went directly there. It was a very difficult time for me. Cold, wet and I did not have adequate warm clothing. Hard also keeping up with young 20 year olds but I managed to get stronger and climb the hills with the others. One difficult part was having no cell phone. They kept telling me they would get me one. I was willing to buy one but needed assistance and it seemed no one had the time or inclination so I was at a disadvantage, not knowing the language and in danger of getting lost. Both Starhawk and I felt in need of orientation so we would know the area better. I at times felt ignored as though I had to prove myself. I have been an activist for 54 years, before many of the people I was working with were born, but I at times felt patronized which is something that never happens in my community. But I tried to seek out people one by one to find out about them and to make friends. I managed to stay healthy and positive in spite of all these things, finally staying in a hotel for three days to get dry when it snowed. The last few days were the best when some new people arrived. We formed an affinity group, something that was not done before, and worked together. That was very positive, and we had good results, bringing out the best in each other. I then joined with Starhawk and other locals in Beit Sahur to teach a training workshop. That was very positive for me. My time there was pretty short. I returned home on April 2, but I feel the work I am doing now and the publicity I am getting is worth it. It would be good to maybe design some work for older people and utilize their experience in the best way possible. I enjoyed staying in homes and doing the monitoring but yearned to work with children and it would have been better used at teaching the trainings. I would recommend other older people coming with their talents in mind. I realize this is a bit long but I hope it encourages the group to think and for others to come. In solidarity Jean

My name is Bolette, age 45, husbond and 2 children. Nationality danish. I went to Palestine november 2002. I always have had sympaty with the jewish people for their sufferings, which led mee to a great accept of Israel. But I got more and more worried by reports of how Israel treats the palestinian people. I therefore went to the occupied terretorries on the Vestbank to support the civilians against the millitary terror and see for myself and repport to others, about what is going on.

name : khaled abu-selmia location : Columbia, SC. USA Job: RN-BSN and willing to travell to aid those in Palestine if need arise under the solidarity umbrella please add my name to the list and inform me if I have to go there and defend the inocents keep up the good cause and speak up the truth god is great and peace prevails khaled

I am a 45 year old American woman who believes that there is no excuse for terrorism, no matter the “justification.” It is particularly odious when bullies, through mass media manipulation, present themselves as victims to the world in order to perpetrate their agenda, which seems to be a trend these days. Murder victim Rachel Corrie was tempted to use the word “genocide” for what she witnessed in Occupied Palestine – based on numbers, not brainwashing – but the very plausible concept, and the lamentable history it conjures, should give Israelis pause. I speak to both sides when I say violence only perpetuates violence. We each have a choice. Stop the insanity now.

Our committee is supporting palestian struggle and try to work for prisoners who are exposed to torture, administrative detention, and so bad things we all know. When we have enough information, we publish an issue of our newbulletin "La Conscience". And we have written that the zionist gouverrment must be put on trial for crimes of war and crimes against humanity. We are in touch with many groups in palestine or israel ; we know our place is in Palestine, but it's not always easy to atke a plane... Sorry. We have written to messages when gush-shalom asked us to do. And are, we are sending letters to our own government, and israeli governement, and UE... after the horrible affair for Rachel, Tom... You can put use this message as you need. If you want more info, contact us : mailto: mailto:laconscience@wanadoo.fr Solidarity is a weapon. Janine

A 60 year old American with a background in counseling psychology. I am affiliated because I believe the "Greater Israel" policy is the most direct threat to international order and to the constitutional rights Americas have enjoyed and want to retain for the next generation. Americans have provided the political cover and the funds for this expansionist policy which is a thorn in an inflamed wound in the M.E. and is opposed by every government in the world, save one. Americans make up a significant number of the religious zealots who move to Palestine and are dominant in the movement's leadership. I feel a particular responsibility to work toward an accommodation between the good people of Palestine and good people of Israel, to marginalize the zealots on both sides. I have admired the work of this organization, the way it has confronted the "Greater Israel" policy, exposed it's practices and I am pleased and proud to be affiliated.

My name in Palestine is Dhoud, but I'm a 59-year-old Canadian who has lived and worked in Nablus in the West Bank of Palestine for more than 2 years. I find the people of Palestine to be very warm, hospitable and generous, far from the image portrayed in western media. In point of fact, I've never had an unpleasant experience in all the time I've been here, in marked contrast to my life in Canada.

My name is Lee and I live in Hawaii. I'm fifty-eight years old. I retired from NASA where I worked first as an aerospace engineer and later as the chief of a public outreach organization (which included photo, video, graphics, history, public affairs, education, and technology commercialization). I'm currently the President of a small, high-tech company that develops software and hardware solutions for engineering problems. I served in the U.S. Navy from 1961-1964 and graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a major in physics.

I support your courageous efforts in Palestine because I believe that the Israeli Government with the support of the United States Government is implementing policies that are not only wrong but illegal. I believe that state sponsored terrorism--such as bulldozing houses and invading countries--is far worse than individual terrorism, although I abhor both.

Even though I am sometimes embarrassed by my government and its policies, I am still proud to be an American. And I am very proud of the "internationals" trying to protect the people of Palestine. You are all heros.

Hi,i am a 45 year old mother of two, and over a period of years i have become increasingly aware of the plight of the Palestinians. This culminated last year with the occupation of Jenin, when I felt as though I couldn't possibly sit back in frustration any longer, and I helped set up the Galway branch of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Group. I am certainly not young and impressionable, but I am angry to the point of frustration at how this holocaust, this annhilation of a people can be taking place with very biased publicity coming from the Irish Media. I am hoping that the Ireland Palestine Solidarity group will act as a permanent pressure group much in the same way as the Anti-Aparthied groups did regarding South Africa in the 1960's and 70's. I have realised that the Israelis' seem to be doing everything in their power to discourage the International Solidarity movement from sending witnesses to Palestine to see their appalling actions, they are now trying to kill the ISM volunteers.....I see no difference between the Israeli state and the Nazi's...I really can't. I just hope that with the continued growth of communications between oridinary people, such as the inter-net, and now alternative channels on satallite tv etc, that more people will become aware of the Palestinians position. The Zionists were only a small group 100 years ago, but they were determined and had a vision, a vision I despise, but never-the-less, they used every means at their disposal to get their way, I just hope that the Palestinian groups, including the solidarity movement also finds a strong vision which we can all work towards, and become a very strong force around the world, so that the Israelis' no longer feel confident to carry out their crimes against humanity with impunity.

My name is Mary, I'm Irish and I am a 43 yr old mother of one son. I am an educated, intelligent open minded individual and have always been a supporter of the Palestinian cause. It doesn't really take much intelligence to see that the Israeli governemnt and the IDF are abusing almost every human right that there is in existence, on a daily basis, and have been doing so for decades. I grew up in and around the Middle Eastern countries and have a great love for the people of that region. If I wasn't tied down by the fact that I have a young son and a responsibility to raise him I would be joining the ISM movement in West Bank and Gaza to help bring the attention of the world governments to the atrocities carried out on the Palestinian people, men, women and children. I wish them all luck and admire their dedication.

My name is Silvia Cattori. I am journalist. I decided to write what I going on here : the trust. My writing are going on everiwhere, mostly via internet. Specially in http:// http://www.aloufok,com, where under the link Chronique d'occupation you can read the ISM information nearly every day. I am born in the italian part of Switzerland. I discover ISM when I came in Palestine las year, very concern about the soffering of the population under Israeli military agression. I have seen on the ground how efficient and serious is this organisation. I think is very useful to joing ISM because this organisation is created by the Palestinians. They know better then us from outside what they need, what is the best we can doo to be in solidarity with the soffering of the people. From May 2003 I devoted my time to make ISM known in latin country. France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain. I habe two daughters. I am 58 years old. And my freinds in Switzerland can not really understant why I am risking to loose my live, when I have the chance to have a privileged position in my country. I am here because I feel obliged to be here to help, with my hope, peace to take place. To show to the poeple who is soffering so much because of the injustic, that we are not indifferent outside. I devoted my life to their cause because their cause after son many years of soffering need a just an quick solution.

Hola! Glad to be here and struggling along with you all. I agree that more has to be done. I'm 43 and have supported the realizing of a Palestinian State for the last 27 years, since becoming an advocate and activist. I'm from N.W. KS US. :) a partial list of non-profit organizations I'm a member in, advocate for, donate to, etc. :) Physicians For Social Responsibility, Physicians For Human Rights, Freedom House, The Southern Poverty Law Center, Amnesty International, Infact, Greenpeace, Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, Back From The Brink, The Campaign, The Moratorium Campaign, Buddhist Peace Fellowship, N.C.A.D.P., C.U.A.D.P., Tricycle, N.A.R.P.A., Rosebud Advocate Program, National Action Network, Womens International League For Peace And Freedom (nat. + local), Campaign For Tibet, American Civil Liberties Union (nat. + local), Human Rights Watch, A.A.P., St. Mark's Poetry Project, I.A.W.A., I.W.W.G., F.C.N.L., N.A.S.A., Rainforest Alliance, Green Party (nat. + local), Public Citizen, Citizen Works, P.E.N. friend, N.A.D.F., Council of Indian Nations, N.R.D.C., Union of Concerned Scientists, Planned Parenthood, Co-op America, S.A.V.E., Foundation for the People of Burma, The East Timor Action Network, K.O.L.A., The Smithsonian Institute, Defenders of Wilderness, American Indian Community House, American Indian Relief Council, Howling Acres Wolf Sanctuary, Wilderness Society, Lummox Society Of Writers, Native American Rights Fund, C.A.N., Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, Global Exchange, C.D.F., A.F.S.C., A.D.A. Watch, Afghan Women's Mission, L.P.D.C., U.N.I.C.E.F., A.A.H.P.E.R.D.; Stop World War III; Not In My Name; Peacenet; United For Peace and Justice; Justice for All; A.A.P.D.; P.S.R.A.S.T., N.O.D., Boreal Forest Network, I.A.A.P.A. (International and US), Bioneers, Code Pink, Global Health Council, I.C.S.P.P., Topeka Center For Peace and Justice, F.O.E., C.O.L., W.W.F., N.R.D.C., C.I.N., Tricycle, American Indian Community House, The Public Concern Foundation, Southwest Indian's Children's Fund, St. Joseph's Children's School for Indian Children, Urgent Call, The War Resisiters League, The Archaeological Conservancy, Earth Justice, W.A.N.D., F.O.R., M.A.D.D., N.A.M.I. ( and local group ), S.T.A.N.D., P.I.R.G., Circle of Life Foundation, E, Soujourners, Progressive Secretary, Move On, R.A.W.A., Etan, Shundahai Network, The Fund For Animals, P.E.T.A., Working Families, Ontario Clean Air Alliance, Refuse and Resist, N.P.C.A., Peace and Social Justice Center, A.S.P.C.A., Planet Save, L.W.V., C.A.P., Sierra Club ( U.S. and KS chapter ), A.R.A., Eco-Justice, Democracy University, S.C.I., Kol-Chai, Now Age Press, S.F.W.H.R., C.A.N., Oceana, Disarm, S.C.I., C.A.I.R., Gear That Gives, N.W.F., L.C.V., Campaign For Tobacco Free Kids, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, D.A.N., The Justice Project, C.W.A., E.D.A.N., Act For Change, P.S.R.A.S.T., American Association of People with Disabilities, Children's Defense Fund, The Wilderness Society, Association of Americans with (Dis) Abilities, W.A.M.M., Women's EDGE, W.F.E.N., I.A.C., R.A.N., Ecology Fund, Medicinal Purposes, F.O.E., Democracy Now, I.F.C.O., Writers Forum at Ranchi, Poet To Poet, Feminist Majority, Free Tibet, A.D.A.P.T., Musea, Welcome Wrold, Artists Against Corporate Art, National Geographic, National Trust For Historic Preservation, Doctors Without Borders, environmental defense fund, S.F.W.H.R., PP, Global Exchange, A.I.E.F., CaatForce, Naral, N.C.P.S.S.M., N.O.W. ( Nat. and KS ), Women Gathering, Bread for the World, C.C.A.D.P., 20/20 Vision, CAIR, ICSPP, NCPSS, Artist's Network, Mind Freedom, T.A.S.H., Welcome World, RadPsych, SPSSI, U.P.W.D., Bane Landmines, Tikkun, Freedom Clearinghouse, A.C.O.R.N., Mouth, Global Health Council, etc.. For all you do and don't, here's a twig of the poetree, for thee :) Injustices Addressing, not addressing them have costs, the former is individual, the latter is global, as well. As always, feel free to copy and share, as well. Enjoy a vernal eve' as you can. Ciao, for now.

I am Alex from Malta. I am 20 years old and I hate to see people dying, of course, no matter if they are palestinians, Israelis, americans, or Iraqis. What I see as most intollerable however is the fact that the US is aiding the Israeli government. The cause of the palestinian terrorist attacks is rooted in the occupation of palestine by the Israeli army. Violence fuels further violence which are both wrong but I distinguish between violence used to oppress and that used to survive and get freedom. The solution we know it; get those tanks out of Palestine, give the land to the palestinian people, help rebuild palestine and help the local people through communities rather imposing democracy. Solidarity Alex

I am a 32 year old graduate student in economics in Massachusetts, USA. My Jewish-American upbringing taught me an ethical code of respect for all humans of all kinds. (Of course I know that this ethic is not unique in any way to the Jewish-American community, but that is the background through which I received it.) In my middle 20's I began to doubt and investigate the Zionist mythology I had grown up with, and to recognize that it was inconsistent with the humanistic ethic that I had been taught alongside it. I realized I must choose: I could be a Jew who lived an ethical life of respect for all people or I could be a Jew who lived an ethnocentric life of oppressive (to Palestinians primarily but not exclusively) Zionist-nationalism. I could not live both simultaneously, and the horrible lessons of ethnocentrism throughout history proved to me that I must choose the first. When the current Intifada broke out, I knew that I must find a way to go and witness for myself the reality of the situation and to do what I could to reduce the extraordinary level of indiscriminate (yet totally discriminatory) destruction being wreaked on the Palestinian community. When I learned of ISM, I realized that this organization could be the vehicle through which I acted, and so I participated with ISM in January of 2003 in the Tulkarem district of the West Bank. Though miniscule in the grand scheme of things, I believe that my actions are part of the only viable movement towards peace for Palestinians and Israelis alike. I will return. -- Jonathan

I come from a relatively apolitical background. During my college years, in the early 80's, I paid scant attention to world events. I was much more concerned with my studies, my friends, an the search for a rewarding career path. During college, the closest I got to international events was from the rather comfortable position of a junior year abroad program, and as a typical American traveller with a Eurail pass and a modest supply of traveler's checks. When I was at UC Berkeley pursuing an advanced degree in computer science, the activism of the past seemed to me like a quaint anachronism from another planet. To me, Sproul plaza was on the way to lunch, and hippies seemed faintly ridiculous. What, then, could lead me to preparing to join the International Solidarity Movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories? After all, I'm in a quite comfortable position. I'm in my late 30's, and I'm a respected professional in the computer industry. The .com crash has taken a toll, but I still have a great job with a large software company. Even with the current economic situation, I have a lot of choice in what I work on, where I live, and what I do with my life. Why, then, have I bought a plane ticket to take me to the Middle East to join the ISM? Almost a year ago, the Palestine/Israel conflict acquired a human dimension to me. Before, I only vaguely followed it. Like many Americans, I had friends who had lived in Israel and visited. I always was vaguely uneasy with news reports from the region, such as firing missles into apartment buildings, but it didn't seem to have much to do with me. This feeling changed when I became acquianted with a friend who is a part of the Palestinian diaspora, and whose parents were children when they lost their homes in 1948. My natural curiosity lead me to read extensively on the subject. I learned from Benny Morris, Edward Said and Tanya Reinhart about the nature of the Israeli occupation. I also learned of the absolutely central role that the US plays, both financially and in terms of political support. I learned that the Apache attack helicopter that fires a missle into a high-rise apartment building is built and financed by my taxes. I learned that without knowing it, I had been passively supporting a policy of violence and terror, waged largely against a civilian population. When I read of the murder of Rachel Corrie, I was deeply affected. I won't go into the emotions this outrageous act caused, but out of that I searched the web to learn more. In the process, I found the ISM's web site, and I was very impressed. This group is courageously and effectively working to humanize the conflict, and make a difference. Within the American context, they're doing an incredible job of bringing out the real story behind the Israel/Palestine conflict. Through the American media, we already know much about the suffering of everyday Israelis; the ISM is doing an amazing job to balance this picture by exposing us to the incredible human toll of the occupation on everyday Palestinian families. They give names and faces to the thousands killed, the tens of thousands injured, and the millions forced to live in fear and deprivation. When I learnd of the ISM, I knew I wanted to contribute. I can give up the comforts of home for a month or two. In that time, maybe I can help a family or a villiage live with less fear of random acts of violence from settlers and the Israeli army. Maybe I can talk to the soldiers, and help them to understand that the occupation is immoral, and that it is hurting Israel. Maybe I can save a child's life, or a village's well. When I get back, I can tell people what I saw and experienced. I'll be able to speak with the passion and credibility of someone who saw with his own eyes what is happening, and maybe I'll help to change a few minds over here. I very much admire the work of the ISM. I will be proud to join them, and become a part of the struggle for peace, justice and understanding. I'm grateful that they're there, making it possible for me to do something that just might make a difference.

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