Civil Peace Service in Palestine/Israel
The official peace negotiations are stagnating. Frustration about this is on the rise and bears a high risk for new escalations of violence. At the same time, on both sides civil society groups are active for an end of occupation and a just peace, with nonviolent means.
In this context and in the framework of the framework of Civil Peace Service we are supporting our local partners to reach the following main goals:
- Actors and initiatives that are part of the non-violent, human rights-based movements, have increased their capacities in participation mechanisms, expressing their concerns and addressing these non-violently. Women & women initiatives in particular develop their own modes of participation.
- Actors and initiatives that are part of the non-violent, human rights-based movements pursue more effective approaches and structures that contribute to their safety and that of other (Women) Human Rights Defenders (W/HRD).
- Actors and initiatives that are part of the non-violent, human rights-based movements, develop lobby- and advocacy strategies. By advocating for their concerns they specifically reach the promotion and protection of human rights and W/HRDs in a wider public as well as relevant decision-makers in the region and abroad, in order for these to more effectively engage in promoting an end of the occupation.
The Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) is a feminist organization in Israel. It was founded in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Second Intifada as a coalition of nine organizations and feminist initiatives, in order to promote a feminist struggle to end the Israeli occupation, and for just peace. Today, CWP is an independent organization of and for women activists from a wide variety of identities and groups, with its own office in Tel Aviv where Palestinian and Jewish part time employees, activists and board members work and meet. CWP is committed to ending the occupation and creating a more just society, by enhancing women’s inclusion and participation in the public discourse, and supporting grassroots initiatives and young activists' groups. CWP initiates public campaigns and outreach programs, working to develop and integrate a feminist discourse on all levels of society. Inside of Israel, CWP is raising the public awareness of non-violent action and is working towards a greater acceptance of these actions and their goals within the Israeli society. It also points at the economic profits generated by the occupation which exposes the interests of numerous stakeholders in its continuation.
Youth Against Settlements in Hebron have been founded in 2008 and are an initiative entirely run by volunteers. They run a youth and education centre in a Palestinian house, which had been occupied first by the Israeli military and then by settlers, but which has been won back for Palestinian use through nonviolent action. Goal of YAS is the strengthening and education mainly of young Palestinians, to encourage them to stay in the areas which are threatened and affected by settlements, to withstand and bear nonviolent resistance. Activities include direct action like for example the annual Open Shuhada Street Campaign. Also, they organize a nonviolent protection group, which supports residents who are affected by violence of settlers, by protecting presence and media work.
Based on the results of the feasibility study “Participation of women in the Palestinian non-violent resistance” in 2015 KURVE Wustrow initiated an exchange with a self-organised women's initiative in the village of Al Walaja near Bethlehem in 2016. This resulted in a cooperation project within the framework of the Civil Peace Service with this active group of women.
Geopolitically this village is an important part of the Palestinian “non-violent resistance”. Parts of the village are within Area B, parts within Area C, while other parts belong to the municipality of Jerusalem. Al Walaja thus reflects the complex and, at times, absurd reality of the implementation of the “Oslo Peace Accord”. Moreover, the village is potentially subject to being completely surrounded by the separation wall. Villagers thus already call their village “Little Gaza”. Focus of the cooperation with KURVE Wustrow is supporting the women’s capacity for Soumout (“existence is resistance”) and to increase their opportunities to achieve a higher quality of life. This means that for Palestinians living amid increasing repression, simply staying put is a success in its own right. Within the context of the project working towards these goals proceeds on the development of gardens as foundations for subsistence farming and as social spaces. The approach the women themselves have chosen for empowerment and their engagement in the village community are the basis for civil society activism. The experience with processes of solidarity that are based on collaborations in cultivating their gardens increases mutual trust in the group. Key values of this approach of “community organizing” are based on self-determination, social justice and solidarity. The aims of this approach are, among others, the creation of space for collective engagement, a strengthening of social relations within the village community and a strengthening of one’s own agency within the marginalized circumstances of life.
Project Details at a Glance
“Strengthening nonviolent initiatives“
Other non-violent initiatives
International Peace Worker:
Christina Bermann-Harms (CWP)
Katja Volkenant (with a nonviolent initiative)
Fee Schreier (YAS)
Nicola Busse (Regional Coordinator)
Contact Person: Henning Borchers hborchers(at)kurvewustrow.org