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Freedom Rides

  • Coming to terms with the death of a former partner in struggle

    Before he was killed in a gunfight with Israeli forces, Basel al-Araj was a nonviolent activist who fought for his village. His transition from nonviolence to armed struggle feels like a personal defeat for me. By Aviv Tatarsky Earlier this week, as I sat in my car in the morning, I overheard on the radio that soldiers had killed a Palestinian after coming to arrest him in the city of Al-Bireh, next to Ramallah. An hour later I see that Issa had uploaded a photo of Basel al-Araj. to his Facebook page. "Strange," I thought to myself, "I had no idea Issa…

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  • Reframing non-violent resistance: An act of moral piracy

    When we allow non-violence to be distorted as illegitimate, we fail to uphold our most cherished principles. It is not a strange phenomenon for morality to be the object of contestation. Competing groups often battle for the moral high ground when presenting their case to the outside world in a customary appeal for support. Far from being an exception to this rule, Israelis and Palestinians are its standard bearers, constantly providing their accounts for the entire world to see, hear, and sympathize. The tragedy is that this game has been played for so long, with arguments crafted in such minute…

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  • Palestinian Freedom Rides and the US Civil Rights movement

    In last week's Freedom Rides, West Bank Palestinians demanded equal access to settler roads and buses. Like African-Americans in the American Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, they seek to call attention to an inherently oppressive system and demand that it be dismantled. By Ben Lorber The “Freedom Rides” held last week in the West Bank to protest restrictions on freedom of movement of Palestinians, have a complex and contested historical legacy. As Fadi Quran, a Palestinian youth activist who was one of the organizers, said: “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides in the US. Apart…

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  • Israeli reactions to Freedom Riders

    The reaction of Israeli onlookers was overwhelmingly negative, with bystanders making racist remarks; after Israeli forces arrested the six activists, a Palestinian journalist was also detained After a short press conference in Ramallah early Tuesday afternoon, journalists followed a van of six Palestinian Freedom Riders to a bus stop in the Jewish settlement of Psagot, which is located in the West Bank. There, activists—who included Dr. Mazin Qumisyeh, a professor and the author of Popular Resistance in Palestine and Huwaida Arraf, a founder of the Free Gaza Movement—waited for a Jerusalem-bound bus. The Egged line they hoped to ride, 148,…

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  • PHOTOS: Palestinian 'Freedom riders' board settler-only bus in WB

    On November 15, six Palestinian activists boarded an Israeli bus in the West Bank in effort to call attention to Israel’s policies of segregation and restricted freedom of movement for Palestinians. Drawing inspiration from the U.S. Civil Rights Movement’s “Freedom Rides” of the 1960s, the activists rode the bus before being forcibly removed by IDF soldiers. Read +972's full coverage of the day's events here. All photos by ActiveStills Read More: IDF, police forcibly remove Palestinian “Freedom riders” from Israeli bus Palestinians to launch “Freedom Rides” campaign on Israeli buses

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  • Replacing the peace narrative with discussion of rights

    Non-violent methods being used by Palestinians and their international supporters are helping to reframe the conflict from a discussion of peace vs. violence, into a struggle for rights under Israeli occupation. Next week, a group of young Palestinians will board Israeli settler buses in the West Bank with the intention of traveling to East Jerusalem. The activists will likely be greeted by fully armed Israeli settlers, as well as soldiers. The threat of Israeli violence has not deterred Palestinians who maintain that they are prepared to pay a price to highlight Israel’s segregationist policies in the West Bank. While not officially…

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