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50-OUT Political Rave commemorates, protests the ongoing Occupation

Saturday 10 June 2017

On Saturday, June 10, 2017 WAS-NS marked and protested the 50 year Occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem with a major event. Lasting the greater part of the day, the large, well-planned manifestation was attended by thousands.

The day came about thanks to months of hard work by many people in our community, both those with a formal role and many others, including young people and families. All the village institutions took part: joining the effort were the School for Peace, the Museum, the Peace and Friendship Library, the school parents, the Rescuers’ Garden, the Hotel and others.

Throughout the afternoon, workshops were held on the subject of nonviolent struggle, on the connection between 1948 and 1967, and on how to unify the struggle for social justice with the struggle for peace. In the Museum, an impressive exhibition featured artworks themed on the Occupation by Palestinian and Israeli artists. At another location we displayed a collection of photographs that I had personally assembled on the subject of "women in the shadow of the Occupation". The collection documented the role of women in the struggle and gender aspects of war. On the ground floor of the Library, we screened five specially selected documentaries. All of these halls were filled with dozens of visitors.

At the Visitors Center, we sold a range of items, including some new products created for the occasion and bearing the village emblem. We also offered tours to new visitors.

Young people of the village, wearing T-shirts with the village logo, welcomed the guests. They performed outstandingly, and we felt a real sense of pride that the next generation was involved in our work.

In the afternoon, buses transported the participants to the gathering place for a march along the Green Line, in which hundreds of people took part. The march was led by MachsomWatch, our partners in the event.

By the evening, the village was crowded with people who had come from all over the country to support the event and speak out against the Occupation. The amphitheater filled up, the stage looked amazing, and the lighting spectacular.

Following the Ramadan Iftar meal, the event was broadcast live over the internet. The speakers came to the stage one after another, the musicians sang protest songs, and the energy level rose to a high pitch. From the Palestinian side, the event was attended by a delegation from the PA as well as activists from peace organizations in Nablus and Tulkarem.

We made sure to bring a wide spectrum of guest speakers, including Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh, Zehava Gal-On of Meretz, Ashraf al-Ajrami from the Palestinian Authority, journalist Orly Noy representing the Mizrahi struggle, Avi Yalu of the Ethiopian community, and Ahi Dabush of the Periphery movement.

Despite the hostile atmosphere currently prevailing in Israel, the event succeeded in generating media coverage in Arabic, Hebrew, French, and other languages. It highlighted our community’s struggle for peace and its special role as a Jewish Arab village with something to teach about building an alternative future - one that will benefit everyone, whoever and wherever they are.

Photos from the Day

Visit the Gallery

For speeches and songs, see our YouTube channel

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