|Institut für Palästinakunde|
- IPK -
PDF Presentation about the Welcome to Palestine Campaign.
Short video excerpts from the Concluding Press Conference of the "Welcome to Palestine Campaign"
At the bottom are some accomplishments made through this movement that involved
months of work and preparations and a remarkable level of international and
• The International Committee and key organizers around the world did a
remarkable job and recruited hundreds over a period of 4 months. With two
full time volunteers writing over 1000 letters to organizations and
individuals to seek support (even those who
• May 31, 2011 Press Conference held in Berlin and several other press gatherings and meetings in Paris and other cities increased the levels of interest around the world.
• We unified our message with the Gaza Freedom Flotilla
• We kept the focus on ending apartheid and ethnic cleansing
• We received good legal aid from Addameer and private lawyers
• Several highly skilled professionals took on media issues from their basis in Bethlehem, Beit Sahour, Jerusalem, Paris, Berlin, Scottland, and the US. We created five media centers that cooperated (with some glitches) and produced remarkable results
• Created a list that combined media contacts from different sources facilitating easy communication
• Unprecedented level of interest in Israeli media (channels 2, 10, Israel radio, Yediot Aharonot, J Post, Haaretz etc)
• Creation and maintenance of a number of websites and social media pages. This included a Palestine calendar that will now serve as a place to ut future events around Palestine
• Dedicated team of volunteers tracked poor coverage and wrote letters to editor and comments sections about distorted media coverage
• Managed to give the few Internationals who came here personal attention with minimal cost (less than 20 euros on average for food, lodging and transportation) with a deficit that was covered by local activists
• Flexibility in arrangements allowed us to keep a program despite the many obstacles (e.g. getting one of the buses with 20 passengers through blockades to Al-Walaja) [but this also suggested some level of disorganization]
Of course there were also many mistakes from all of us who worked hard on this campaign (and the more people do, the more mistakes they make). Beyond mistakes, there were also attempts at going beyond agreed principles of collective action and collective credit (principles of not directing work to serve a narrow interests). We learned from all of this and there are now discussions (especially among the youth and core group of independent activists) to create new models of popular resistance that draw on lessons from the past but also innovate for the future. Perhaps this in itself is a significant accomplishment. As we know the Chinese words for opportunity and difficulty share the same root J
This quote illustrates the potential of nonviolent struggle:
"A non-violent protest of 4,000 people or more, even if they only march to a checkpoint or a settlement, and especially if the Palestinian police do not deter them, will be unstoppable," one IDF officer claims. "Such a great number of determined people cannot be stopped by tear gas and rubber bullets." Quote from 'IDF has no way of stopping mass non-violent protest in West Bank'; IDF conducts drills in preparation for potential uprising in wake of Palestinian bid to seek UN recognition in September - by Anshel Pfeffer, Ha'aretz, 6-29-2011
The Arabic version of my book on popular resistance is out (available from Muwatin in Ramallah). In it I write more about challenges of the struggle than the English version. A core group of activists will be writing more in the months ahead to expose some of the causes of successes and hurdles of mass movement in Palestine and will do more to create new initiatives and work on them (let us know if you want to be on the Arabic listserve since much of this will be in Arabic). Stay tuned.
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home
Professor, Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities
Chairman of the Board, Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People,