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Apartheid-Free Newsletter: March 2024

Painting by Silman Mansour – “Mother and her Child”

Welcome to the first issue of the Apartheid-Free Initiative Newsletter! You are receiving this newsletter because you or your organization have pledged against all forms of racism, bigotry, and oppression in our communities. Together, we are building an anti-apartheid movement and encouraging faith communities and all communities of conscience to distance themselves from any and all support for Israeli apartheid, occupation, and settler colonialism. See here a list of all pledge signers and find where you can add your community to the list! 

This month, we are observing Israeli Apartheid Month (IAM). This year’s IAM follows a significant ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), highlighting Israel’s involvement in apartheid practices against Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians. Despite the ICJ’s directive to end such discriminatory actions, including harming civilians and destroying infrastructure, Israel continues to perpetuate these violations, intensifying the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. 

Israeli Apartheid Month was spearheaded by the BDS Movement over 20 years ago. This month, we are urging for the most significant month of actions to date, as Israel is openly defying the World Court’s order to cease all genocidal acts against the Palestinians. Between March 1st and 31st, we must intensify our boycott and divestment campaigns and advocate for legal sanctions against Israel, including a comprehensive military embargo. Be sure to submit your public IAM events to the BDS calendar here! 

 As we recently marked the one-year anniversary of the soft launch of the Apartheid-Free Pledge, let’s continue to take action and to educate ourselves and our communities, and don’t forget to take a moment to acknowledge the small victories. With each other’s support, we can create an apartheid-free world!

Stories from Apartheid-Free Communities
Community Peacemaker Teams 

Apartheid-Free sat down for an interview with Human Rights Observers Ameera Nadir and Bahaa Sultan to discuss how the Israeli occupation affects their daily lives in Hebron, Palestine—a city divided by 24 Israeli checkpoints. Ameera and Bahaa both work for Community Peacemaker Teams, a Palestinian-led, nonviolent, grassroots resistance group against Israeli apartheid located in the H2 area of Al-Khalil/Hebron city and South Hebron Hills. Ameera and Bahaa discuss how their lives have been affected by Israel’s war on Gaza and speak to the Palestinian dream of life without apartheid and occupation.  

Ameera:  “I just want to go to any place I want to go. I just want to visit the sea. I’m 25 now and I have never seen the sea in my life. It’s the same for many Palestinians. I just want to go to Haifa. It’s one of my dreams to visit Haifa, but I can’t. I just want to have one week without the occupation controlling something in my life, but every single thing in my life is controlled by the occupation. It’s not just about checkpoints and soldiers. There are a lot of things I want to do, but can I do them? No.” 

Bahaa: “The children talk about their dreams, but the occupation is always the main problem. In the last session, we asked them to draw things about children’s rights. Most of them draw beaches or them playing football or something like that. They dream to move freely to anywhere without waiting at the checkpoint, many things like that.”Read the Full Interview 

Israeli Apartheid In the News

World Court to Review 57-Year Israeli Occupation “Governments that are presenting their arguments to the court should seize these landmark hearings to highlight the grave abuses Israeli authorities are committing against Palestinians, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.” – Clive Baldwin, senior legal adviser at Human Rights Watch Israel must end its occupation of Palestine to stop fuelling apartheid and systematic human rights violations “All states must review their relations with Israel to ensure that they are not contributing to sustaining the occupation or the system of apartheid. As European foreign ministers gather in Brussels today [Feb. 19], the need to make a clear and united call for an end to Israel’s occupation has never been more urgent,” – Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General

More: The Palestine Chronicle: From South Africa to Palestine: Israeli Apartheid Week 2024

Upcoming Apartheid-Free Events

What’s Apartheid Got to Do with it? Understanding the Violent Structures Behind Israel’s War on GazaMarch 14, 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PTJoin AFSC and guest speakers Ahmed Abofoul and Diana Buttu to better understand the violent structures behind Israel’s war on Gaza. Building on extensive research from several international human rights organizations that have clearly identified Israeli apartheid, this webinar will explain the role of apartheid in shaping this moment as well as provide ways we can work to end it. 

AFSC Action Hour for a Cease-fire NowEvery Friday at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PTJoin AFSC staff every Friday at 12 p.m. ET/ 9 a.m. PT to hear updates from Gaza. Then, take action with us as we contact our elected officials and call for an immediate cease-fire and humanitarian access to Gaza. Our elected officials need to keep hearing from us. 

Voices from the Holy Land Online Film Salon: “Israeli Apartheid in Action: Water Control”March 17, 3 p.m. ET / 12 a.m. PTVFHL offers three short videos describing the “hydropolitics” and structural water apartheid in the Holy Land. Their panel discussion will explore designed inequalities in water distribution; the physical, economic and regulatory controls; as well as the ecological problems of pollution and over-extraction.

Upcoming Dates for Organizing

The following holidays and events provide us with opportunities to organize actions that promote inclusivity and unity. While we have listed many dates, feel free create an event around the holidays that best aligns with your community. Visit our Take Action page for ideas and inspiration on how you can live into the Apartheid-Free Pledge. 

– Israeli-Apartheid Month: March 1 – 31
– U.S. President to Deliver the State of the Union Address: Thurs, March 7
– International Women’s Day: Fri, March 8
– ☪️ Ramadan begins: Mon, Mar 11 
– Commonwealth Day: Mon, Mar 11
– ✝️ St. Patrick’s Day: Sun, March 17
– ✡️ Purim: Sat, Mar 23: Sun, Mar 24
– ✝️ Good Friday: Fri, March 29
– Palestinian Land Day: Sat, March 30 – 48 years ago, Israeli police shot and killed six Palestinians who were protesting the Israeli government’s unlawful dispossession of Palestinian land. This incident sparked mass protests across Palestine. Since then, Land Day has been recognized as a day to commemorate Palestinian resistance and steadfastness.
– National Doctor’s Day: Sat, March 30
– ✝️ Easter: Sun, March 31
– Palestinian Children’s Day: Thurs, April 4 – This day, we celebrate and honor all Palestinian children. According to the Defense for Children International-Palestine, every year between 500 and 700 Palestinian children are arrested, interrogated, and detained by the Israeli army and police. Read more.

Actions and Moments of Togetherness Please submit photos and videos of your community’s actions to nnabulsi@afsc.org to be considered for a feature in the newsletter!
People hold up Apartheid-Free signs, Floyd Friends MeetingPeople hold up Apartheid-Free signs, from Floyd Friends MeetingPeople hold up Apartheid-Free signs, from Floyd Friends Meeting
Top photos: From Jim Best of Floyd Friends Meeting; Bottom left: Burlington, VT City Council meeting for a ceasefire. Watch our webinar where we invited Wafic Faour, a Palestinian-American activist in Vermont, to discuss more about Burlington’s push to be an Apartheid-Free city; Bottom right: Speech from Wedgewood Community Church by Melba Evans 

In Gaza

As Israeli forces prepare to invade Rafah, AFSC’s Serena Awad describes the situation facing displaced Palestinians in Gaza. Read a detailed update here and take action to call for a cease-fire now

In late February, our team in Gaza provided water and vegetable kits for cancer and kidney patients as well as displaced families who are taking shelter in a hall in Rafah. There are countless urgent needs of patients, as the only hospital in Rafah cannot adequately accommodate or provide essential necessities to host them. In response, our team distributed 59 kits, ensuring a week’s worth of support for them.
Providing water and vegetable kits for cancer and kidney patients as well as displaced families who are taking shelter in a hall in Rafah.Providing water and vegetable kits for cancer and kidney patients as well as displaced families who are taking shelter in a hall in Rafah.

Is your community, congregation, or solidarity organization actively fighting against racism, bigotry, and apartheid? If not, join the movement by signing the Apartheid-Free pledge – a powerful statement of dedication to fostering an inclusive and equitable society. 

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