Memorandum submitted by Angie Zelter on
behalf of IWPS-Palestine
IWPS-Palestine has just completed its first
full year in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This first
year has seen the successful establishment of the Women's Peace
House in Hares, Salfit. A continuous presence of women has been
provided despite three women being denied entry by the Israeli
authorities. The Team Members, supplemented by Volunteers, have
provided a service for local villagers who call on the internationals
to provide a witness and presence at roadblocks, checkpoints,
and where Israeli Settlers or Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are
engaged in human rights abuses. We have established a process
for making consistent human rights reports on arrests, house demolitions
and other violent incidents, which are sent on to human rights
organizations. We have documented and provided a presence, at
Palestinian nonviolent demonstrations and activities against the
military occupation of Palestinian lands, including helping with
the formation and development of the peace camps resisting the
building of the Apartheid Wall. Numerous reports have been filed,
photos taken, videos and presentations made. We have worked in
co-operation with many different Palestinian and Israeli NGOs,
committed to justice and peace, in an attempt to encourage creative
networking. A website (www.womenspeacepalestine.org) has been
maintained where our work and reports are easily available to
the public. As the siege against the Palestinians continues and
villages are dispossessed of their land and water resources through
the building of the Wall, Palestinians are becoming more desperate
and our presence is becoming ever more necessary and appreciated.
In the course of our work we take evidence and
information from Palestinian villagers and townsfolk living in
the Salfit Governorate, which is in the northwest part of the
West Bank. It is a beautiful olive-growing area, one of the most
fertile in all of Palestine, and consequently has the highest
concentration of illegal Israeli settlements. The 22 villages
of Salfit are now surrounded by 45 settlements, 17 actual colonies
and 28 outposts. The ongoing colonisation process and the effect
on people's daily lives has been documented in our many House
Reports and also through video and power-point presentations.
We have gathered together some of the material we have produced
in the last year, as being of most relevance to the International
Development Committee. For more information and to see the arrest
and incident reports, and village profiles, reference can be made
to our website where you will also find photographic illustrations.
IWPS also submitted the following items. Copies
of items 4 to 25 have been placed in the Library:
1. "A Glimpse into Salfit"a
45-minute IWPS Power Point presentation on the effects of the
Israeli Military Occupation on rural villagers in the Salfit region
of Palestine based on the first hand experience of the women of
2. "The Right to Education"a
20-minute IWPS videoexploring the systematic denial of
the right to education. The Israeli military occupation is shown
disrupting the functioning of the Palestinian educational system
by a variety of measures including curfews, checkpoints and roadblocks
that prevent students along with teachers from reaching schools
and universities, constant closures of universities, and the bombing
and gassing of schools.
3. The Wall in Palestinebook of facts,
testimonies, analysis and call to action and map of the location
of the wall in the West Bankproduced by the Palestinian
Environmental NGOs Network (PENGON).
4. Report No. 5Excerpts of an interview
with the President of the Land Defence Committee in Ramallah.
5. Report No. 7Who is terrorising
6. Report No. 9Land and water theft
in Falame and Jayous.
7. Report No. 11Palestinian Prayer
8. Report No. 12The Right to an Education.
9. Report No. 16Whose Rights, whose
10. Report No. 17Bombed out! For
11. Report No. 18Today . . . you
12. Report No. 20A thief locks his
13. Report No. 21Jayous Resists,
but is it too Late?
14. Report No. 25They cannot Wipe
15. Report No. 28A War against Children.
16. Report No. 30Poisoning Relationsthe
experience of one village surrounded by illegal settlements.
17. Report No. 31A New Occupation.
18. Report No. 33Beyond the Wall.
19. Report No. 34Latest Land Theft
is Killing us Slowly.
20. Report No. 35Checkpoints in the
West Bank: Lawlessness and Arbitrary Rule.
21. Report No. 36The Village of Zawiya.
22. Report No. 39The Plight of the
Palestinian Political Prisoners.
23. Report No. 42Jubara Students
Defend Their Right to Education.
24. First Annual Report of IWPS-Palestine.
25. Useful statistics on settlements, deaths
26. Urgent Action Required by the British
It is apparent from the material that we have
provided to you that the underlying causes of the violence in
Israel/Palestine are due to the illegal military occupation of
the West Bank and Gaza. There will be no peace in the region until
the structural violence of the occupation is ended. There will
be no peace in the area until basic human rights and international
law are respected. We have been told by many Palestinians that
what they need is international protection in order to be able
to try to live normal lives. They point to many projects and aid
that have been devastated by the Israeli military. They say: What
is the point of providing money for hospitals and schools when
they are taken over, occupied or destroyed by the Israeli military?
What is the point of support for a sustainable agricultural college
when the constant attacks by nearby Israeli settlers make it too
dangerous to work there and it has to be abandoned? What is the
point of providing a Red Cross food convoy in through the roadblocks
when the next day not only is the roadblock put back (preventing
the import and export of food stuffs) but also the village's local
chicken farm is gassed and all the chickens killed? They ask that
internationals be sent to protect any aid that is sent to them.
The colonisation must stop and be reversed.
The Israeli State must be persuaded by international action to
leave the occupied territories and go back to their own Israeli
State, leaving the Palestinian State to work out its own future.
The role of the international community is to stop trading and
providing financial and military help to the Israeli State and
to instead provide support for the immediate creation of a Palestinian
State and to provide the resources needed to support a large number
of non-violent international peacemakers to intervene to stop
human rights abuses.