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Standing Together’s Humanitarian Guard defeats far-right settlers

A report from Standing Together’s National Field Organiser Uri Weltmann on the movement’s success in defending Gaza-bound aid convoys from settler attack.


Dear friends,

A little more than two weeks ago we launched the Humanitarian Guard, as a response to the violent Far-Right settlers stepping-up their attacks on aid trucks, carrying badly needed food supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip. In front of the eyes of Israeli soldiers and policemen, who stood idly by and did nothing, the food supplies were trashed, bags of flour and rice destroyed, the Palestinian drivers of these trucks beaten and hospitalized, and the trucks were set on fire.

We called on people in Israel to sign up to take shifts, coming to Tarqumiah checkpoint (which is the biggest border crossing connecting the Occupied Palestinian West Bank with Israel), and to protect the aid convoys from the violence of the extremist settlers.

Around 1000 people signed up to volunteer in the Humanitarian Guard, and every day dozens came to be physically present on the ground, coming between the Far-Right bullies and the aid trucks, forcing the police to do their job, which is to prevent the settlers blocking the road and attacking the trucks. Our protective presence was an overwhelming success, with us outnumbering the Far-Right hooligans, and the police forced to take action. When we were there, aid trucks were passing safely by the hundreds.

This weekend, the Far-Right settlers organizations have put out a statement that said that “unfortunately” they are forced “to pause” their actions, in order “to focus on rebuilding their organization”. But the reality is, this represents a total loss for their violent strategy, since they were unable to pursue their goals while the Humanitarian Guard was present. We won, and they lost!

This represents a tremendous victory. It proves that we can out-organize and outnumber the Far right. It is a case in point about the power of grassroots movement organizing. Politically, the Humanitarian Guard was not just our way to express our solidarity with the Palestinian civil population in the Gaza Strip, but it was also our way to fight over the moral character of our own society, not to allow it to be hijacked by the most genocidal, fascist-minded elements that raised their head following October 7th.

International press has covered the work of the Humanitarian Guard:

The Guardian

BBC

Al-Jazeera in Spanish

Jewish Telegraph Agency


The new proposal by Biden to end the war and release the hostages is a positive step forward, supported in a recent poll by 62% of Israelis. After 8 months of war, it is clear that the stated objective of “toppling Hamas” is unachievable, and the human price of the war is horrific: mass killing of civilians, growing starvation, and utter destruction of homes and civic infrastructure.

Netanyahu – and his Far-Right allies – continue to be the biggest obstacle for a ceasefire agreement and return of the hostages. Tens of thousands of protesters have been demonstrating on a weekly basis in Tel Aviv and other major cities in Israel, calling for the resignation of the government, because of its rejectionist positions in regard to ceasefire negotiations.

For Netanyahu, a protracted war is a political interest. The Rightwing parties that comprise his coalition are losing support, and according to polls – had new elections been called today, the pro-Netanyahu coalition is set to lose its majority in parliament.

Our statement regarding the new proposal – 

On Saturday, members of Standing Together intervened in the mass anti-government protests, stressing that the safe return of the hostages back to their families goes hand-in-hand with ending the war, and achieving a permanent cessation of hostilities, and not just a temporary ceasefire.

Photos and videos from the Saturday protests, including blocking traffic, confronting police:

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On Friday, we joined again with the movement “Women Wage Peace” to organize a peace protest in the Arab town of Iksal, near Nazareth in the northern part of Israel. Hundreds of Arab-Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel convened in the main street of the town, and joined by worshippers who have finished their noon prayer at the mosque, to march towards city hall, chanting in Arabic and Hebrew against the war and for the return of the hostages –

The march ended in a rally outside city hall. Before the crowd spoke the mayor Abd el-Salam Darawshe, as well as Dr. Dov Khenin and Sondos Saleh (both of them former Members of Knesset, and currently members of the leadership of Standing Together).

Additional two moving speakers were Ayala Mezger (the daughter-in-law of Yoram Mezger, who is held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip) and Sabreen Masarwi (a member of the leadership of Standing Together, teacher by profession, that was suspended three weeks ago for participating in a demonstration. Her suspension was since revoked by the Ministry of Education) –

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I was interviewedย by the Spanish-language online magazineย Nuevo Sociedadย about the current state of the anti-war Left in Israel.

An English translation was made public today by the Australian online socialist magazineย Links.