Eyewitness Palestine: Moving to the Brink

The audience that attended the Boston University Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) event on March 7 experienced something of an emotional rollercoaster.

First, they heard from Nancy Murray, who talked about how drastically things had changed for the worse on the ground since her initial visit during the heady days of the Intifada 31 years ago, when Palestinians were convinced that their inspiring civil uprising would succeed in ‘shaking off’ Israel’s occupation.  

What her Eyewitness Palestine delegation encountered last November was a feverish surge in Israel’s settlement construction, and the acceleration of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land. 

Her bleak description of a Trump-enabled going-for-broke colonization of East Jerusalem and the West Bank and the factors which make it difficult to envisage the kind of unified civil uprising of an entire society she had witnessed in 1988 did not, however, mean that there is no hope.

Hubert Murray took up the narrative, conveying in vivid terms how Palestinians we met are still resisting and refusing to be dehumanized and defeated.   He talked of three kinds of resistance – agricultural, cultural and political – with slides to illustrate each one. 

Rev. Mariama White-Hammond then gave a heartfelt account of her growing awareness of what Israel’s ‘homeland’ has meant for both Palestinians and Israelis.  During her first trip to the region in 2015 she remembers thinking, “How can I as a Black woman be in a bus on a segregated highway built by survivors of the Holocaust?” 

During the 2018 delegation she found herself horrified by human suffering and ecological devastation. Israel is depriving Palestinians of water to drive them off their land, while depleting West Bank aquifers to maintain its agribusinesses and western life style.

Israel’s weaponization of water was a theme running through all the presentations, and returned to in the Q & A.  The audience was urged to join the World Water Day Stand Out at the BU Bridge on March 22 (4:30 – 6 pm) and the 1for3.org Walk for Water for Palestinian Refugees on May 4.