Between the 11 and 23 of January 2014, a delegation of six academics and one labor rights activist based in the U.S. and Canada went to the West Bank and the 48 of Palestine.
The West Bank and Gaza are occupied territories of Israel. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) exercise military jurisdiction over the territories, purportedly in cooperation with the Palestinian National Authority (PA). IDF jurisdiction is reinforced by a 26-foot high concrete wall inside and around the West Bank, which is secured by 34 checkpoints and 634 “obstructions” (see stopthewall.org), and a barrier enclosing the Gaza Strip. The IDF claims full jurisdiction, in cooperation with Israel’s civil authorities, over the 48.
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the United Nations Committee on Human Rights, and the International Court of Justice have identified Israel’s relationship to Palestine as that of an apartheid regime, characterized not only by the wall around the West Bank and the barriers around the Gaza Strip but by Jewish-only settlements and roads and a discriminatory water system, use of identification cards, marriage and other civil restrictions, labor practices, and social services.
In respect of Palestinian rights to self-determination, members of the academic and labor delegation have supported the 2005 call by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaign for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel. Some delegates are members of the Asian American Studies Association, the American Studies Association, and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, all of whom signed resolutions in 2013 in support of BDS.
The delegation bore witness and studied for themselves Palestinian experiences under and perspectives about the occupation. They established working relationships and furthered their solidarities with Palestinian scholars, artists, and activists engaged in BDS and other efforts against the occupation.
Repeatedly, they witnessed the realities of apartheid, racial discrimination, ethnic cleansing, and the undermining of Palestinian rights by the Israeli government and military.
This notebook will be a selection of my own personal notes, reflections, and photos of those experiences and witnesses.