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The colonization of Palestine: our stance (February 2024)

Israeli_West_Bank_barrier,_graffiti

As an international NGO with partner organizations Bisan and Palestinian Agroecological Forum in Palestine, we raise our voice on the escalation of violence in Gaza since October 7th 2023. We condemn the war crimes on both sides of the conflict, of which Palestinian and Israeli citizens are the victims. We join the worldwide call to an immediate and definitive ceasefire and demand an end to the apartheid regime that the Israeli government implements in Palestine.

Through a policy of colonization and apartheid the Israeli government has been limiting the freedom of movement and the sovereignty of Palestinian citizens for decades. Not without reason people speak of the illegal occupation of Palestine (the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem). Resistance is suppressed by force and with impunity.

Since Hamas’ attack (the militant group in power in the Gaza Strip) on Israeli soldiers and citizens on October 7th 2023, the Israeli aggression barely knows no boundaries. Tens of thousands of Gaza residents, mostly women and children, have died by bombings. The access to the most fundamental basic needs (food, water, healthcare, electricity, etc.) is completely shut down because of continuous air raids and by blocking sufficient humanitarian aid. This causes an unprecedented level of food insecurity and acute famine in Gaza. In its 26 January verdict, the International Court of Justice found it plausible that Israel is committing acts of genocide, and is launching further investigations. Meanwhile in the West Bank repression is increasing heavily.

The fragmentation of Palestine in ‘Areas’ by Israel. Those who wish to go from one area to another, need to pass multiple checkpoints.

Agroecology as resistance movement 

Occupation is always accompanied by various forms of resistance and striving for a society with equal rights, peace and respect. In Palestine we saw numerous resistance movements long before the escalation of violence. One of those is the agroecological movement, which strives towards a different politic, social and ecological agriculture and food system, to which we contribute with Solidagro and our local partners Bisan and Palestinian Agroecological Forum. Agroecology centers on the right to food, which for Palestinians is flagrantly violated by the Israeli government.

Palestinian Agroecological Forum (March 2023)

Agroecology is vital for Palestinians as the Israeli army colonizes agriculture and food and water supplies, and uses them as a weapon of war. They block access to agricultural land by building walls and creating borders or by force. Fields, orchards and agricultural infrastructure are destroyed. Sometimes done to establish new Israeli settlements. The colonizers divert water sources to those same settlements and make food supplies dependent on Israeli import.

Belgian responsibility

We join the worldwide call to an immediate and definitive ceasefire. We demand that Belgium and the European Union (EU) recognize Palestine as a state, that both end their complicity by cancelling any direct or indirect support to Israel, and that both institutions impose sanctions, apply diplomatic pressure and impose a military embargo. Belgium and the European Union should intervene to protect Palestinian civilians from acute famine by putting pressure on Israel to allow humanitarian aid on a large scale.  We specifically demand that Belgium no longer allows arms or ammunition to be transported to Israel from or through Belgium. Belgium has the opportunity to take a leading role and be an example for other member states of the EU. 

Furthermore, we demand a boycott on agricultural products from Israel that contribute to the current Palestinian food insecurity.

In cooperation with civil society organizations, Belgium can change its own policy and take its responsibility to put pressure on the Israeli government, thereby encouraging other member states to do the same.

As long as there is no ceasefire, we cannot speak of the rebuilding of Palestine. However, we do believe in a future for the Palestinian people and emphasize the following fundamentals:

  1. Work must be done on the basis of equal rights for all citizens, Palestinian and Israeli, and not on the basis of geopolitical and economic interests of a minority.

  2. The apartheid policy must be abolished, freedom of movement must be guaranteed, and the right of return must be fulfilled for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees. From there, other political, social, economic and cultural rights of all citizens must also be fulfilled.

  3. Focus should be on autonomy, empowerment and solidarity among all citizens, with citizen initiatives such as agroecology playing a fundamental role.
What can I do as a citizen?
  1. Make your voice heard during the peaceful protests (you can follow this group on Facebook for all events)
  2. Follow the news, but be vigilant about the impact on your mental well-being.
  3. Sign the petition of our umbrella organization 11.11.11 (in Dutch only): click here.
  4. Make a contribution to Awda, a hospital group in Gaza that is in close contact with our partner Viva Salud: click here.

Nieuws

  1. Call to Action from Palestinian Civil Society and Unions: Join the Global Day of Action for a Ceasefire in Gaza

    June 19, 2024

    Call to Action from Palestinian Civil Society and Unions: Join the Global Day of Action for a Ceasefire in Gaza

    Our partner Bisan Center for Research & Development, together with Palestinian civil society organizations and trade unions, calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza on June 25. Israel's ongoing campaign of genocide has caused enormous suffering and destruction. "It is time for the world to unite in solidarity to end this humanitarian crisis," Bisan said. Solidagro supports the campaign. Below we share the call shared by Bisan on their website

    Read more about "Call to Action from Palestinian Civil Society and Unions: Join the Global Day of Action for a Ceasefire in Gaza"

  2. Pre-Pesticides, Pro-Farmer: The Rise of Agroecology

    March 13, 2024

    Pre-Pesticides, Pro-Farmer: The Rise of Agroecology

    Rice, the food that feeds the Philippines, is in climate change’s crosshairs. Sea-level rise, hotter temperatures and extreme weather are putting one of the country’s top crops at risk, as drought, floods and encroaching saltwater threaten rice paddies and the livelihoods of those who tend them. In a bid to future-proof this agricultural staple, one effort is borrowing from farming’s past.

    Read more about "Pre-Pesticides, Pro-Farmer: The Rise of Agroecology"

  3. Philippine partners deliver strong work despite El Niño

    February 7, 2024

    Philippine partners deliver strong work despite El Niño

    For Filipino farmers April 2023 marked the return of El Niño, a long period of persistent drought. The drought is sure to continue until February 2024. All the more reason for Solidagro's partners to put agroecology forward as a more resilient agricultural and food supply system. A key strategy is to start up agroecological educational farms that strengthen the knowledge and skills of farming communities.

    Read more about "Philippine partners deliver strong work despite El Niño"

  4. Strengthening links: partner visit in the Cordillera region

    March 29, 2023

    Strengthening links: partner visit in the Cordillera region

    With more than 10,000 kilometers separating us, it is sometimes difficult to make contact. That is why some Belgian colleagues visited the Philippine partners in March, with whom we carry out our programs together and who come face to face with the reality of farming communities on a daily basis. Together with CDPC (Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera), our partner since 1993, we set out on the site. We share the article published by CDPC after our visit. 

    Read more about "Strengthening links: partner visit in the Cordillera region"

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