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Standing Together’s Humanitarian Guard defends aid trucks from settler attacks (21 May)

A report from Standing Together’s National Field Organiser Uri Weltmann on the successful defence of Gaza-bound aid trucks from attacks by far-right settlers.


Dear friends,

We are all horrified to see the images of violent settlers from the West Bank, who organize to attack aid convoys carrying food supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip. These Far-Right activists – who receive the backing of the government – form militias that coordinate attacks of aid trucks, setting them on fire, beating the Palestinian drivers, and destroying bags of flour, rice, and other badly needed basic necessities that were making their way to Gaza.

Their aim is to help reinforce the mass starvation of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, where there is an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe. And they do so acting with impunity, with soldiers and policemen standing idly by, allowing them to block roads and raise havoc.

Last week, we in Standing Together announced the formation of the Humanitarian Guard, and called upon people in Israel to sign-up for shifts in which we will arrive at Tarqumiah checkpoint – which is the main checkpoint through which trucks carrying humanitarian aid from Jordan pass through the West Bank into Israel. Our aim was to deter the settlers, document what is happening on the ground, and alert the police, demanding them to do their job. Hundreds signed up!

I was there the first day. We were around 40 activists – who mostly came by a bus we rented from Tel Aviv, with few coming in their private cars from Jerusalem and Beer Sheva. Within a few minutes of our arrival to the checkpoint, the settlers left the place, since they were outnumbered. We counted around 30 trucks carrying food that passed through the checkpoint, some honking to us, the cheering crowd. For the first time in more than a week, they were passing unhindered.

Since we were monitoring the WhatsApp groups that the extremist settlers use to coordinate the attacks, we learned that they ambushed a truck in a nearby junction. Our activists quickly arrived at the scene, discovering they had already blocked the truck and started destroying food supplies. Upon our arrival there, the policemen present suddenly became aware of us documenting the scene, and they removed the settlers from the road, allowing the truck to pass. Our activists collected the food packs that were dumped at the side of the road, and loaded them onto another truck. All in all, it was a successful first day!

Since then, this has been a daily recurrence, with dozens of activists arriving each day, allowing trucks to pass, detering the settlers. For us, this is not only our way to allow the food to reach the starving population in Gaza, alleviate the hunger, but for us it is also a fight over the moral fabric of our society: We refuse to allow our society to be overrun with messianic zealots, who pillage, vandalize, starve others, and for this to be the only voice heard. We insist on building an alternative on the ground, and call on others to join us, allowing them to participate.

Videos and photos from our actions these past days:

These actions were covered by the press:

In French

Radio France Internationale

Le Parisian

In German

ARD

In English

Times of Israel

Ha’aretz (English edition)